Jewish World Review August 30, 2013/ 24 Elul, 5773
Another Cranky Man
By Greg Crosby
When dressing, a man can't get much dopier looking than when he puts on a bow tie. Any man wearing any bow tie will instantly turn into PeeWee Herman. Oddly, there are two exceptions to the bowtie rule: The first exception is when it is worn with formal dinner clothes. For some reason a black bowtie worn with a tuxedo or white dinner jacket looks elegant and right. Think Cary Grant. But the tie MUST BE BLACK otherwise we're right back to PeeWee. The one other exception is Winston Churchill. That blue polka dot tie of his gave him gravitas and charm, but it just doesn't work for anyone else. Don't ask me why.
To prove my point, (the exceptions notwithstanding) can you name any famous man who hasn't looked like a total nerd wearing a bowtie? The most charismatic, rugged, and elegant of men suddenly lose all sex appeal the minute they put one on. I became aware of this recently after watching a couple of Humphrey Bogart's latter pictures.
I really enjoy Bogart films and his best stuff was from the 1940's, his hardboiled, no nonsense, "I stick my neck out for no one!" period. The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, Casablanca, and To Have and Have Not …. that was classic Bogart. And guess what? Bogart never wore a bowtie in any of those pictures and he always looked great. But then along came the 1950's and … OH,NO - SAY IT AIN'T SO, BO! For some unexplained, crazy reason, starting in 1950 and until his very last picture in 1956 Humphrey Bogart wore nothing but bowties! And I'm sorry, but yes, Humphrey Bogart looked like a nerd!
A guy just can't be taken seriously in a bowtie, that's why very few politicians wear them, and the one or two that try always look foolish. Famous bowtie wearers include: Paul Winchell's dummy, Jerry Mahoney; that weird sportscaster Ken Rosenthal; silent era slapstick comedians; Orville Redenbacher the popcorn guy; Dagwood Bumstead; Jimmy Olsen from Superman; and Huckleberry Hound. See what I mean?
Really, Boggie? Why would you want to join that group of weenies? When you said "I stick my neck out for no one," you should have added, "But if I do, it'll have a bowtie on it!"
Now from bowties to bearded ballplayers. Hey, how do you like the Boston Red Sox's bearded sideshow freaks? Nice stuff, eh? With their shaved heads and thick black beards they look like characters from the old Popeye comic strip. Those beards are so thick, long and dark, they don't even look real. They look phony. Like something we used to buy at the party shop for Halloween along with the big nose and glasses disguise. Wow, these players look like joke characters out of those old Bing Crosby and Bob Hope "Road" pictures. Or maybe Duck Dynasty rejects.
The most extreme of them all isn't even a Red Sox player; he's the new pitcher for the Dodgers, Brian Wilson (no relation to the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson). Not only does this guy come with a full beard, it's probably the longest one in all of major league baseball. And then there's that little rubber band thing that he ties on the end of it, isn't that cute? Just another little way of sticking it to the man and saying "I'm so much better than everyone else that I don't even have to follow regulations." I guess that's why this clown is also tattooed from stem to stern and wears a Mohawk.
Why is it so hard for today's ball players to just be ball players and not freak show exhibits? Ball players wear uniforms for a reason. They're not supposed to be individualists, when they're on the field they are a team and they should look like a team. There is plenty of opportunity to be "your own person" after the game. You can turn into a hobo after you leave the ballpark.
But while you're on the field how about setting an example for the kids? Is it really so important to look like a thug or gangster? When did that start? What happened to the clean cut look of an athlete? Ruth, Kofax, Drysdale and all those other old-time "conformists" didn't have to use tattoos, piercings, weird beards and shaved heads to make an impression on their fans. Hell, they just went out there and played baseball better than anyone else ever did. And they did it without steroids.
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© 2008, Greg Crosby