“Tied Up” is the name of an excellent but little-known Olivia Newton-John single from 1982.
We’re both tied up in promises. Hers is something to do with love, mine is the promise of a Windsor knot.
I don’t know how I’ve managed to reach the age of nearly 35 without knowing how to tie a tie correctly, but I’m now at a point where I can no longer rely on a handy dad, uncle or unfortunate tie-wearing colleague to rescue me.
I’m attending a dinner where a tie is a must, and having long disposed of those brilliant pre-tied ties with the plastic neck ring, I’m left with a piece of cloth around my neck and not the slightest idea where to start.
Thankfully, this is the age of the Internet, I thought, so there’s bound to be at least a hundred helpful clips on Youtube instructing you step by step in the art of knottage.
While I was right about the number, I was wrong about the degree of helpfulness. The first one I came across, which had several million views and proclaimed itself as the bestest, easiest Windsor knot tie instructional video ever came in two parts.
The first, boasted the blurb, would demonstrate the steps in easy animations. The second would have Windsor knot fashion expert person Ashley Snobb actually demonstrating it for you, live! (His name wasn’t Ashley Snobb, of course, but childishly giving him a stupid name is the only way I can get back at him for not being able to follow his probably simple instructions)
I sat in front of the computer, tie round my neck, and watched as the animations whipped by. I saw a shirt. I saw a tie. I saw arrows pointing everywhere. I heard things about loops and pushing. This was more like instructions for how to shit after a colonoscopy.
Then Mr Snobb appeared. By the way, did you know that the Windsor knot is the most elegant knot in the history of the universe, which can even make a cheap piece of shit outfit from Kmart look like something from Savile Row? Just thought I’d mention that turd-polishing bit of hyperbole, because it’s a bit like saying that Instagram makes you into a professional photographer.
Snobb hurried through the steps (I’m not calling him mister anymore, bugger him), and before you know it, he had a perfectly tied tie. I tried to follow, but it felt like playing a game of Twister after being struck colourblind. And born without limbs.
The steps appeared so simple on paper, oh yes, but for stupid people who have reached the near midpoint of their lives without knowing how to do up a tie, it’s the in-between bits that are crucial. Yes, I’ve made a loop, but what happens between that and the pulling the short bit up through the middle and round and through and somehow miraculously creating a knot bit?
I’m sure Jesus would have provided better instructions for feeding 5,000 people out of a handful of loaves and minging fish if someone put it on Youtube and you went through it frame by frame. Mr Snobb was far too busy looking fashionable and making me feel like a child.
I eventually managed to find a page of instructions that were babyish and hand-holding enough to get me to the stage of passable. I have no idea if it’s a Windsor knot. In the process of my searching, I discovered there were even such things as a half-Windsor and double-Windsor.
I’m going to call mine High School Windsor. All I need is an ill-fitting jacket, shorts and knee-high socks to complete the ensemble.
Olivia’s still tied up, and she doesn’t want to let me down. I’ll remember that when people stare at my tie tonight and immediately lose all respect for me as a human being.