TIM: Thailand, eh? I'd like to go to Thailand too.
M: Really? Thinking of taking a trip?
TIM: No, I need to buy some bow ties.
M: Um ...
TIM: I figure I can get some of those at Tie-Land.
M: Jeeze, Tim, you're ...
TIM: Incorrigible? Yes, incorrigible is the word I like to use about me too. Yes, I am incorrigible. Thanks!
I wasn't lying about the tie bit though. I did want to get some bow ties. Partly out of a notion that bow ties are something that it would be good to own. And partly because I'll be going to a wedding in a month or two, so I'm going to have to do my best to look incorrigible. Also, I've always wanted to be an eccentric economist, and I need a few bow ties to pull that off. Indeed, for a person who is so demonstrably unstylish and unknowledgeable about matters fashion-wise, I have a strange and enduring obsession with bow ties and neck ties.
So off I went on my quest for neck wear. Incredibly hard things to find, too. I looked up and down Melbourne's CBD for a 'gentleman's outfitters', on the advice of my mother. There was nary a tie in sight, much less a bow tie. T-shirts seem to be more the thing these days, and coats and the like for the businessman sort. I even visited the Melbourne Hatters beneath Flinders Street station, but although I learned that I'd have to get my brother's head measured just above the ears if I wanted to buy him a top-hat for Christmas, I couldn't find a bow tie.
I finally found a tie store in one of the arcades of Collins Street (there was a specialist sock store up the other end). It was sitting in the corner, easy not to notice when you went in the arcade. I actually did a full circuit before I spotted it. For a place specialising in men's garments, it was rather ... multicoloured. Grey's more the thing, I always thought. Anyway, got two bow ties there, one a simple black, the other a greyish tone with regular cross-hatch decoration on it. (I really wanted an eccentric-looking one with spots on it.)
When I got these at the counter, I spotted a couple of pink neck-ties on sale.
TIM: Do blokes really buy those things?
STORE LADY: Oh yes, they're very popular.
TIM: Hmmm ... goes with the pink shirts, I guess.
STORE LADY: I stay away from those guys, myself.
Pink ties? There's no accounting for taste. Bow ties, on the other hand, are eminently stylish. Well worth my Saturday explorations. Now, if I can just figure out how to tie the damn things ...