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Tiegate: A Father’s Day Conspiracy

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Tiegate: A Father’s Day Conspiracy

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Ross Blanchard exposes the conspiracy that plays out year after year on Father’s Day: an epidemic of horrible ties that are inevitably gifted by our offspring and we’re guilted into wearing.


You know what, Bartleby? I like you. You’re not like everybody here in the sales office. Oh, don’t get me wrong. They’re fine people, good Americans. But they don’t know about the Father’s Day necktie conspiracy.

You’ve got kids, right? Of course you do. I see that beaten-down look on your face every morning and all the finger-painted bric-a-brac in your cubicle. Bartleby, brace yourself. This Sunday, Father’s Day, your spawn will present you with the most hideous necktie you’ve seen in your life. What’s new, right? Happens every year. But those little cherubs are complicit, however unwittingly, in the most insidious plot against us white-collar guys the world has ever seen.

Of course, they’re not in on it, Bartleby. They’re kids. They’re stupid. You ever see Stuart Wicker’s kids? You ever notice how Stuart never moves his arms when he walks and how he’s sort of slumped over and his mouth is always open just a little? Well, he’s got four kids just like that. Poor bastards. Now, Bartleby, do you think those kids are going to know about Tiegate? No. They’re just pawns in this whole thing.

I first became aware of all this last summer when Bill called me into his office. No, Not Bill Schwartzman, that motherscratcher. Big Bill up on five. Right, Bolo Bill. You ever notice he never wears a necktie, ever? Just one of those stringy things with the polished rock holding it together? Clear breach of the dress code in my opinion. Now, Bartleby, last year about this time, Big Bill takes me to lunch at this fancy joint. Little bowls of sauces and condiments everywhere. Well, I walked out of there covered in that shit. My best tie, ruined. Of course, Bill’s mini lasso is fine. I’m covered in splotches. The very next week, my kids give me a new tie for Father’s Day. That fucking thing. Have you ever seen plaid polka dots, Bartleby? Well, of course, I had to wear it the next day. Those little ingrates crying and whining that I don’t like their gift. And, yes, of course the next day is the beginning of the big summer sale. And what did I sell out on the floor looking like a Scotsman was murdering a hippie all over my chest? Jack shit, that’s what. It was the tie, Bartleby. The tie my kids bought from undercover corporate agents who secretly replace the real sales people at J.C. Penney’s every year at this time. Every year, one more ugly tie; every year, less sales for us.

And who made all the sales that next Monday while I’m standing there like an asshole wearing my kids’ tie? Those douchey “we don’t need no stinking neckties” Brooks bros with their perky, buttoned-down collars. Bill got to them, Bartleby! I used to think it was those blue collar guys in the warehouse or those v-necker hipsters in Marketing who were behind this. But I figured it out, Bartleby. You remember that fancy-schmancy Board of Directors dinner about five years ago and I won the raffle so I got to go? They said it was “black tie” so I put on this awesome thin, leather number I had left over from the ’80s. So, I show up wearing a black tie, and guess what? Everyone is wearing bowties, Bartleby. Fucking bowties. Even Big Bill.

How certain am I about this conspiracy? As certain as I am that there’s trace amounts of sturgeon urine in this here water cooler—just enough to make us horny but not enough to cure our erectile dysfunction. That’s how sure I am, Bartleby.

And, you know our parent company, those French fuckers? Check out their MySpace accounts, Bartleby. Not a necktie amongst them, just those half scarf, half pocket square thingies tied around their neck. Steve in Accounting says they’re part of this secret society called the Cravatois. Cra-va-fucking-twa, Bartleby!

This goes deep, my friend. Deep! I’m convinced the silkworms have been in on it for years. They’re bred to spin stain-attracting thread. They live on a steady diet of gravy and mustard! I swear to God!

Well, anyway … you know what, Bartleby? I like you, so now I’m going to let you in on a little secret about socks …


All apologies to The Dead Milkmen for channeling their song “Stuart” for this piece.




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Ross Blanchard

Ross Blanchard is the Publisher of PDX Magazine and is the Director of the Ford Gallery in Southeast Portland. He hosts the monthly arts and literary salon Last Saturday Salon.

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