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WOLFE'S WORDSMarch 13, 2011
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Wear A "Shnips"* You're Not A Nerd
by: Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
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*In Yiddish, a necktie is a "kravat" and a bow tie is a "shnips."

Q. What do all of these people have in common?

  • Fyvush Finkel

  • Bill Nye

  • Pee-wee Herman

  • Paul Samuelson

  • Mark Russell

  • Gary Moore

  • Tucker Carlson

A. They all wore bow ties!

There's a bow tie revolution going on. Men's clothier, Jack Freedman, told The New York Times that wearing a bow tie "is a statement maker" that identifies a person as an individual because "it's not generally in fashion."

Kirk Hinckley, owner and president of The Bow Tie Club, a Clarksburg, MD-based company that sells bow ties online and through a catalog says, "In the cookie-cutter world we live in, where all the cars look alike, and men's clothes look alike, it's [bow ties] one of the few things a well-dressed man can wear and still look different in a very tasteful way."

The late Paul Simon, the Illinois Democrat, always wore a bow tie and a "shmeykhl" (smile).

NFL linebacker, Dhani Jones, proclaimed: "Just because you wear a bow tie doesn't mean you're a nerd." Jones urges guys to adopt his habit of wearing a bow tie and also his "filosofye" (philosophy), what he calls "the resurgence of the gentleman" ("der dzhentlman").

Tucker Carlson, the Conservative American commentator told The New York Times [2005] that he had consistently worn bow ties since childhood ("kindhayt") but he acknowledged that bow ties often provoke negative reactions, "like a middle finger protruding from your neck."

So, why am I interested in bow ties? None of my three sons, Matthew, Jonathan, and Daniel, wear one! My husband, Howard, doesn't own one, and my 99-year-old father never wore one either.

The answer: I recently gave a 1-hour talk titled, "Grandma, I Met My 'Bashert' on JDate - Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Dating Online." I had just read Lori Gottlieb's 2010 book titled, "Marry Him - The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough."

Lori and I are not related, although my maiden name is Gottlieb.

Ms. Gottlieb did an interview with Rabbi David Wolpe, the head rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles. He had just been named the #1 pulpit rabbi in America by Newsweek magazine.

Rabbi Wolpe gave this advice: In dating, people "dismiss people without really understanding them and they wonder why they can't meet anyone and why they're still single."

Ms. Gottlieb agreed with the rabbi and wrote about a third date that she had with Sheldon2. (I guess there was a Sheldon1.) He wore a "shnips"--a bow tie! and they were only going to "der kino" (the movie theatre!)

Gottlieb continues, "It wasn't even the same bow tie worn in his online dating photo. This one was a chequered grey and white number. How many of these did he have?"

"I guess I should have dressed up more when I opened the door and saw the bow tie. He laughed, and told me about his fondness for bow ties, even though he knows it's unusual. Then he explained how it started.

When Sheldon2 was a little boy ("yingl"), his grandfather (zeyde") always wore bow ties, and his grandpa was his best buddy. One day he told his grandfather, "When I grow up, I want to be just like you!"

"You want to be a dentist?" his grandfather asked, and Sheldon2 replied, "No, I just want to wear a bow tie!" That became a running joke. Twenty years later, after his grandfather died, Sheldon2 inherited all of the bow ties--his grandfather had remembered! So Sheldon2 likes to wear them because they remind him of his beloved ("balibt") grandfather."

Ms. Gottlieb was charmed by this story. She's a good "shalatten shammes"/"shpilmener" (tale bearer). In fact, the true story made her like Sheldon2 even more.

She concludes by writing, "And to think I almost didn't e-mail him because I thought, 'What kind of a dork wears pink polka-dotted bow ties?'"
When Marjorie Gottlieb (Wolfe) attended her Far Rockaway High School prom in 1955, her date, Saul Lowitt, wore a beautiful bow tie.


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