“Screw it! I can’t tie this thing!” I said a little too loudly, right in the middle of Nordstrom Rack. I may have even pronounced the word “screw” with an “F” but that’s water under the bridge, and there’s no reason to rehash the past.
I had been considered wearing a bow tie on a regular basis. I have no idea why, because I don’t regularly wear a tie or shirts that accept them. As I think about it, I realize that there’s a certain persona one heaps on one’s self by simply attaching a bow tie to one’s collar. I’m not talking about the James Bond-in-a-tuxedo sort of persona either.
To put a finer point on it, a similar affectation can be engendered in other ways, such as with wearing suspenders, round tortoise-shell eyeglasses, or by smoking a pipe and drinking sherry out of hilariously tiny stemmed glassware. Stay with me here. According to Warren St. John of the New York Times (June 26, 2005), stereotypes of bowtie wearers are as such:
“To its devotees the bow tie suggests iconoclasm of an Old World sort, a fusty adherence to a contrarian point of view. The bow tie hints at intellectualism, real or feigned, and sometimes suggests technical acumen, perhaps because it is so hard to tie. Bow ties are worn by magicians, country doctors, lawyers and professors and by people hoping to look like the above. But perhaps most of all, wearing a bow tie is a way of broadcasting an aggressive lack of concern for what other people think.”
In fact, conservative TV personality Tucker Carlson that a bow tie can be “like a middle finger protruding from your neck…almost designed to provoke hostility.”
I was disabused of the idea of wearing one on the day I mentioned earlier, when I went into a clothing store and was spontaneously tutored by a fellow customer as to how to tie one. Now, I’m pretty good at tying knots, and this dapper gentleman was extremely patient. After about 15 tries however, I gave up in disgust, said – uh – what I said, and never looked back.
This was a fortunate fork in the road for me because the last thing I want to do is inadvertently flip someone off – I’d rather choose those moments deliberately – and I’m not too much interested in provoking hostility in general, lest an unexpected knuckle sandwich be served to me as the day’s special. A small price to pay I suppose, but I’m not a big fan of surprises, particularly those that involve impact weapons.
In retrospect, this fortuitous retail floor happening also precluded me from wearing what amounts to a sign that says “Never wants to get laid again.”. Granted there are some guys that can totally pull it off. I’m just not one of them. One such individual who can is world famous jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, who as it turns out even has a bow tie named after him. How cool do you have to be to not only be able to wear a bow tie, but actually have one named after you?
All I can say is, I’m not nearly that cool. I’m the guy walking around in cargo shorts with a piece of spinach stuck to my leg. See what I’m saying? But for the right guy, a bow tie, suspenders, round glasses, a pipe – and heck even a tweed sport coat – can just really pop.
So you may be asking yourself what marbles may have shaken loose in my cranial vault to talk about bow ties. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’ll just go ahead and tell you: Morgan Motor Company.
No they don’t make bow ties.
They ARE bow ties.
Morgan is a company that makes hand-built cars whose owners are the exact stereotype of the bowtie wearer: Old Worldy and contrarian, quasi-intellectual, and aggressively lacking concern for what other people think.
Morgan asked: “Why not make the body out of wood in a style you might expect to see on the cutting edge of sports cars in the 1930’s?” and “Why use 4 wheels when 3 are all you need?” and “Why wear a long floppy tie that points – without subtlety – like an arrow at your gentleman’s sausage ,when instead you can attract the ladies by sporting a cloth daffodil on your throat?” Morgan answered that by saying “no reason why not, let’s do that”.
Beginning in 1910, that’s exactly what Morgan did and has been doing ever since.
This gold and brown 2-tone over cream leather interior 1968 Morgan +4 once agains serves up a heaping scoopful of aforementioned affectation with this beautifully crafted and restored example.
It doesn’t really get much more analog than this: dials, switches, knobs, levers all set into a wooden dashboard (an actual dash-board), topped off with a wood-rimmed steering wheel.
Currently owned by the past President of the Morgan +4 club of SoCal, this restoration was completed by Derek Willburn who is highlighted in a youtube video included in the original listing which I will also include below:
This 4+ is (i.e. should be) powered by a 2.1 liter inline-4 cylinder Triumph TR4 engine that was gone through at the time of the restoration, and the dual carburetors were rebuilt. The seller states that the bow tie and a tweed jacket fit perfectly – which is to say that the choke works as it should. Power is put to the back wheels – yes on this model, Morgan splurged on the extra rear wheel – via a 4 speed Moss gearbox.
According to the seller, this car is ready to go and is in investment grade condition. Title status is listed as clean and there are 74,000 miles on the odometer. Despite everything, I suspect that driving one of these actuall generates feelings of nostalgia in onlookers rather than provoking the open hostility of the bow tie wearer. This is a good thing, so that any middle fingers which may be flourished can be done with discretion rather than by default. An important distinction in a small, open top vintage roadster.
Contact information for this California bow tie of a car can be found HERE at the original listing on craigslist.