06 April 2014

On Not Being Able to Tie a Bowtie (Sunday Meditation #38)

Field notes, April 4th, 2014 at around 6:30 PM. Department store blues.

It was a jacket for which I was searching, not a blow to the heart. Then again, it was a department store and they are supposed to have everything you need along with a lot for which you have no use. Who knew that a bowtie could hurt so much, cut so deep.

The table was strewn with brightly colored swatches of fabric that glowed like jewels and cut like diamonds. Bowties! I have little to do with regular neckties, much less with old fashioned (yet cool) neckwear that requires a different approach to tie right and wear well.

That I do not know how to properly tie a bowtie was much less upsetting than the realization that followed: the chances that I will teach my legacy how to tie a bowtie are slim to none. It is true that I have a daughter, and it is not outside the realm of possibilities that someday she will want or need to know how to tie such a thing. Yes, my head gets it.

But. There are always conditions to most things in life. The condition in this case of an accidental encounter with bowties is that I will not teach my son how to tie them. It is a ritual I most likely will not experience, this handing down of traditionally masculine knowledge and experience. 

It is not their fault, those bright scraps adorning the table, that as my eye was caught so was my heart, knowing that I don't know how to tie a bowtie. And I had not much incentive to learn since the death of my son so long ago.

Truly it has been over ten years since he slipped away from us, which may not be long in the scheme of things. Yet time and ties have ways to bind, even in an innocuous aisle of an ordinary store, when we realize what we miss.


  1. yeah ... time and ties . Last sentence is such a powerful wrap-up ... sigh.

  2. Ah Irish. Learn how to fashion a bowtie, not only for yourself because it's cool, but maybe, perhaps, some day...your grandson might wish to know how.

    1. That is a very good point. Perhaps I should start practicing :)


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...