Recently a friend was telling me how cute it was when her older son was showing his little brother how to make a tie for a job interview. It made me think of when I was a kid and my older brother showed me how to tie a tie so I wouldn't get beat up on the first day of junior high school. All summer the rumors intensified. The terrible things that happened to new seventh graders on the first day of school not wearing a tie. Kids who were found dead in the Hackensack River. Kids who had to wear crutches until Christmas. Like most entering seventh graders, I didn't believe the most grisly stories, but was of the prudence is the better part of valor disposition.
On the big day I trudged through the depressing halls of the junior high school and the even more depressing home room classroom. In it there was a loudspeaker with the Principal's voice saying that no hazing was permitted in this school and no special articles of clothing (he didn't say ties) are to be worn to school by any students. All the male students, save one, wore ties that day. It was the best dressed group of students the teacher had seen since the previous September.
Coming home from school, three kids chased after me shouting, "Where's your tie?" Seeing my tie they all shook my hand and wished me the best of luck in my educational experience. It was a quite moving moment and in it I knew I was no longer a boy but had become a man. A man wearing a tie.