Life In Ties
I stare at the back of the wardrobe door and admire my DIY skills. Two cup hooks, twenty inches apart and joined together with taut string. Hanging over this miniature clothes line are my collection of Ties. Every style from kipper to bootlace and every colour from Banana yellow to Puke.
Far too many for a man that no longer wears them five days a week. Time to thin them out a little.
I slowly run the back of my hand along the line, spanning the decades.
I stop in the mid-eighties and hold bright red silk, my estate agent days. I remember paying seventeen pounds for it from a designer shop in Fulham. A small fortune back then, but it didn’t matter. I was a brash twenty-six year old with other people’s money to burn.
I continue on to 1990 and multicoloured paisley. Only worn once after one of the sales girls laughingly asked me if I’d just been sick. That hurt, I remember going into C&A at lunchtime and buying a new one. My wife Jane laughed when I told her. She said I was being too sensitive.
I smile as I touch 1992. “The Beauty.” Jane’s favourite. Black and White, Prince Of Wales Check. The day I bought it I asked her if she liked it. “It’s a beauty,” she said. I wore it for the interview for Sales Manager. I got the job.
Blue and grey stripes from 1994, the one with THAT stain on it. The day that Linda Evans got me a bit over excited in the car park of Asda. I parked up in the far corner in my brand new Granada Scorpio. I told her to stop, but Linda never was one for taking orders. I told Jane I’d been eating ice cream. She never did believe me. I lean forward and sniff. Yep, still reeks of “Anais Anais” I’m sure Linda used to bath in it!
Then one of my most treasured. Orange and Black stripes from 1997. I‘d just been offered the job of Sales Director. I phoned Jane to give her the good news. She just said, “Oh great.” Then hung up. We had a big row about it that night. She was convinced I’d always be away from home at “Sales Conferences.” I took the job.
1999 and the dark blue woollen one I wore to court for the custody hearing. Jane won of course, she said I was a serial adulterer who couldn’t handle responsibility. At the time I guess she was right. But I did get an agreement to see the kids every other weekend.
2003, Peach for my second wedding day. Tanya Roberts had been temping while my Secretary was on maternity leave. She was twelve years my junior but it didn’t matter, we were in love and wanted to spend our lives together. Tanya wore a stunning Peach wedding dress, so I bought the Tie to match. It was a great day, I just wished the kids had been there, but Jane wouldn’t allow it.
Red with white polka dots. 2006, the one I was wearing when Tanya called me to say she was pregnant. I was going to be a dad again at forty-eight. I also wore it twelve months later at Oliver’s christening. I turn around and look at a photo on my bedside table. It’s of Mum holding him on that very day, Dad’s standing behind her with a silly grin on his face. Very proud grandparents.
Red, White and Blue for Dads 70th Birthday party at the Golf Club in 2010. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so happy. Jane and the kids were there, first time I’d seen them in almost five years. She introduced me to her new husband. I noticed the kids called him Dad.
2014 and dark red with small gold flowers. I wore it when I met Tanya for lunch in the City. She’d called and said she wanted to meet up. She said she had something to ask me. We’d been divorced a year and I was hoping the question would be “Could we give it another go.” It wasn’t. She was asking for more money because Oliver’s school fees had gone up.
I stop at the black one. 2017. Worn at Dads funeral and then Mums just ten weeks later.
I close the door. Too many Ties and too many memories. I’ll sort them out another day.