Monday, August 13, 2012

Rockin' the string tie

By Star Lawrence

As a columnist for the Arizona Republic newspaper, I once dared to suggest that Arizonans were a little lacking in the sartorial department, sporting profanities on t-shirts and to me, an even greater profanity around the neck.

I refer to the ever-popular bola tie.

I believe I cheekily asked where the string-with-the- rock came from--“The Flintstones”?

First, in the cause of accuracy, I must note that Fred usually wore a nice Windsor-knotted number with his leopard-skin ensembles. He had other uses for rocks, as tires, for example.

Second, I had no idea that the bola tie was so beloved.

I have been rather starchily informed by several computer-lovin’ cowboys that the thing is even legislatively approved. Sure enough, in 1971, Barry Goldwater, with some assists from the Bola Tie Society of Arizona, convinced the Arizona Legislature to declare the bola tie Arizona’s “official neckwear.”

An online search reveals several variations in spelling and origins for this accessory. A bolo is a knife used in the Philippines and a bola is an animal leg tangler called a “boleadoros,” made of leather thongs, which is used in South America to bring down game.

I am going with the one with the strings, the bola, as the “official” spelling. (I can just see certain people who have written me this month starting to jump off their chairs, easy, easy.)

One website I dredged up was written by a man who declared all ties stupid, but the stupidest of all, he said, is the bolo (“o-speller”). He says a cowboy from Wickenburg (Vic Cedarstaff, if you must know) was riding the range in the 1940s, when his hat blew off. Before he could grab it, his horse either stomped it or defecated on it (the “truth” has been lost to history, blessedly) and all he had left was the band and a concho. He placed this around his neck for safekeeping, this gentleman says. One of his men, the story goes, then said “Nice necktie,” and a fashion statement was born.

Another version has Vic’s wife seeing this breath-taking piece of bling and being swept away.

Later, the story goes, “the hatband that crawled out from under some horse poop” was patented, then made official.

What I don’t get is why men who hate ties prefer an actual ligature. And I also don’t get why we have to have official neckwear. Do other states have official clothing items?

Well, maybe Texas. I believe the Stetson may be sanctioned headwear there, although some of my correspondents also took issue with my objections to cowboy hats worn indoors and tried to tell me that the “official” way to wear this “official” hat was to leave it on the “officious” head, even indoors. One reason given was that it is too big to set down someplace. Not buyin’ it.

Which brings me to the baseball cap. Recently, I read a rant by a guy (I assume) who said, “Guess what? You’re in Arizona, you’re in the west, we are allowed to carry guns and wear a hat. Have a nice day. Go back to California.”

OK, guys. You go for it. I suppose you have a scary “hat head” going under those caps. That might spoil our appetites, too.

And there is nothing like a gun-totin’, squooshed-haired guy north of 70 (yes, bola wearers seem to be old school) to trip the heart of us blondes.

Rock on!

The only thing I want to know is....

My question involves good ole Sheriff Joe...inquire at for the rest of the story.

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