March 19, 2008



I have a long affection for ties even though I don’t wear them any longer. During high school and college, I hitch hiked a lot. My standard garb was jeans, a sport coat, and a tie loose around my neck. When I first got the job at UCLA in 1983 I wore ties. My students always commented about them in my student evaluations. I wasn’t ready to become “Prof Tie” so after I got tenure I stopped wearing them. I always imagined that I might become one of those natty professors who always wears a bow tie. That hasn’t happened yet. As I looked around the Faculty Center yesterday, I realized that most of my academic colleagues were also not wearing ties. The Chancellor and his crew all do, but then he’s the Chancellor.

Yesterday Jackie and I were interviewing candidates for an important staff hire for our two Departments. The conversation at one point veered towards attire when the candidate confessed that s/he chose to not wear a suit to the interview. I confessed that I had debated wearing a tie but didn’t, choosing to wear a black turtleneck sweater with a thick, grey Armani cardigan sweater. Regarding the tie, Jackie, an African-American woman, wrinkled up her nose and said “WHY would you want to do that?!” — her tone indicating that she was relieved that I was NOT wearing a tie.

So many baby boomers dress as they did when they were college students. Guilty as charged. And not wearing ties was one of the remnants of our rebellion.

Peace, man…

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: