Anyone that knows me, knows I'm most comfortable in jeans and a casual shirt.
And I like to be comfortable. I wore a tie all through grade school and then
high school, and really have only worn one a handful of times since, like sisters'
weddings. In fact, I think I went 10 years only wearing a tie once, to a friend's
wedding in Germany, I had to buy one (and a shirt with real buttons and a collar)
for the big event. My basic feeling is that the tie is the one piece of evidence that
perhaps women truly rule the world. (In contrast, heels and hose suggest that
it is a male dominated world, although women have told me that heels
and hose are there merely to make men think they dominate the world, but I
My current suit was purchased in the summer of 1999, by my mother, with the
advise and consent of my wife and my mere presence. One shirt and two ties.
The occasion was my grandmother's funeral and the honor was clearly
appropriate. I can name every other time I have worn the suit; a high school
reunion, a father-daughter dance, and a friend's wedding (where photographic
evidence was obtained by paparazzi).
I can now add tonight to the list.
My wife and I were among those invited to the Ambassador's residence for
"a musical evening with the Symphony of the Americas".
I am uncomfortable enough in a suit, add the social niceties required in
situations like this, and you have me miles away from my comfort zone.
Anyway, the evening began with about a half hour of "socializing". You
talk with someone, but only for a minute or three and then move on...more
like musical chair socializing with 60 or so people. They must teach it in
Foreign Service School, and I never went there. All the men were in
conservative dark suits, a few of us (myself included) added a splash of color by
wearing a darker blue shirt. (I bought a few more shirts with buttons and collars
about a month ago in anticipation of my new job...but still two ties...I may be
needing more ties soon though). The women's dress was much more varied.
At the appointed time...like when the Ambassador said so, we all went into a
side room and took our seats. A group of about 18 Czech and Slovak musicians,
about half of which were violinists, some cello, some bassists and a harpsichord
filed in and did a quick tune check of their instruments. I'm hot, (but my wife was
clever enough to sit us near a window), worried I might yawn and nod off, and
thinking "as much as I like live musical performances and classical music, can
this possibly be worth...wearing a suit?"
Fifteen seconds into the first piece, Arcangelo Corelli's Concerto Grosso
In D Major, Op 6, No.4, I had my answer...most definitely yes.
It was one of the finest classical musical performances I've heard, and I sat
enthralled for the next hour. It was nice to be so close. I could watch the
individual musicians fingers, expressions and hear the slight difference
in the various violins (the guy with the thinning hair, his violin was a little
warmer sounding to me than the first violinist's, whose violin was a bit
bright). I thought at the time that it is not many people who get to sit
15 feet in front of the music like this, I also wondered if they could just
set up and play at my house for an hour or so every evening....
Then it was back to socializing chairs for another hour or so. We did
get to talk to some of the musicans. They seem to be having a good time,
but they have a gruelling schedule as they perform through Central
and South America. I believe tomorrow it is San Jose, Costa Rica.
The bottom line though...I'd wear a suit for them again, and that is a
pretty decent compliment in my own way.