9/29/2019
It takes a million neckties to hold us back

Now, I can be a lazy person. On most occasions when I feel compelled to wear a coat jacket over my long-sleeved top - think industry events, business forums, whether as a spectator or, very rarely, as a speaker - I don't wear a necktie. I can get away with it, and I long have, because not everybody does, too.

There are downsides to this, of course. One, this means I take longer to wear a necktie when I do have to, and that's because I have to relearn it all over again. It's not that painful - once you've done it a few times, it'll all come back - but that means I'm never happy with how I wear mine. Almost always I still see a bit of shirt where my tie should be. Does that even make sense? I doubt. But you do have the thinking that the necktie should be tight enough to hide that bit of your shirt under your collar. After four tries I end up looking slightly sloppy - or really sloppy, if you're unforgiving, and this being the corporate world, sort of, that can make or break your chances, even if you don't intend to avail them.

That also means I can never call myself sharp-dressed. All right, so that adjective is really vague. What does "dressing sharp" mean? When I hear that, I think custom-tailored everything, and looking crisp - what does "dressing crisp" mean? - all throughout, meaning you don't get ruffled whatever you do. Good luck with that. Even in days when I'm not particularly restless, it will look like I've gone through the wringer halfway through the engagement.

Sometimes I just think I'm not meant for these outfits. Even if I drive more often to these events these days - the only exception being Thursdays, when I'm legally forbidden to drive by virtue of plate number - I still walk a fair bit to where I have to get to. Parking to reception hall, for example. And then there are the times when I do take public transportation. Come to think of it, you rarely see anybody wearing a full coat and tie get-up riding a bus. I don't know if it's because our public transportation system is really shitty - I do not count ride-sharing apps - or if it's because of the wealth gap.

But then, I stuff my phone in one of my coat jacket's inner pockets and I feel a little more... awesome? That's a lie, but then again, my brain can be unpredictable. I just know these little details go a long way in making you feel good, even if you can't explain it. This feels nice. I should buy a second coat jacket. A different color. I can look better, dress sharper!

And then I remember that my necktie is sloppy.

And then I look around and notice that my table is filled with people who aren't wearing neckties, with people who can get away with having the top button of their shirts untucked. Sharp-dressed post-millennials who are slim, unlike me, and with even better posture, unlike me. (I tend to slouch.) It's just nine in the morning, and the event is running late. I will need coffee, even if I shouldn't, just to survive this internal embarrassment.

And your responses...

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