Excerpt From: Essay #6
A Tale Of Three Louis: Ambiguity, Masculinity And The Bow Tie
By Rob Shields
Waiter, Bouncer, Musician, Architect, Magician, Academic ... Who wears bow ties? There is a masculine mythology surrounding the bow tie itself and men who wear it. The bow tie is an accessory or ornament with unrivalled connotations, both positive and negative. It is heavily overcoded with signifiers of both arrogance and enslavement, of both masculinity and femininity; of both nobility and servitude. Even in its cultures of origin, it has been the exception for men to wear a bow tie. It has always been remarkable, extraordinary and provocative. The bow tie is outside the everyday dress codes, what Victor Turner would have called it ‘liminal zone' at the neck (Turner 1979). Just to be wearing a bow tie is to be dressed in a mantle of contradictory signification; it is to locate oneself at an unstable nexus of a contradictory flow of sense and sensuality.
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