27 January 2010

She Taught Me...

... how to tie a bow tie.

When I joined Brooks Brothers I worked for a woman in this picture which ran in the employee newsletter. Don't ask me why I have it. We were close in age and while her looks were far from striking - there was something about her. That word duende or perhaps a better word for a woman, grace. In everything. She also taught me how to tie a bow tie.

I remember her answering the phone. Standing at her counter in a long 80's drop waist dress --she'd raise the receiver to her ear and reach with her other hand to gently pull her ear ring off. That pull was done with an elegance that was slow, deliberate and sexy and no one else saw it but me. At least that's what I like to think.

She taught me how to tie a bow tie around my thigh. Odd, I know but it worked. We didn't sell that many bow ties but whenever it was slow I'd beg for a refresher. She was shy and whenever a group of us went out for drinks she always declined. For some strange reason I felt I could tell her anything. One afternoon I told her about a job interview I had. Half an hour later the store manager fired me.

I wound up getting the job I interviewed for and never saw her again. I think I tie a pretty decent bow thanks to her.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

she sold you down the river? cold. Perhaps she got a little insecure about how well you tied a bow tie and didn't like the idea of competition. The world of retail/sales is ruthless. I guess it was probably all for the best in the end. Although, the idea of getting fired from Brooks Brothers during it's better years (I'm assuming this was quite awhile ago) is kind of depressing.

fantastic post as always tintin.

tintin said...

Anon- She wasn't so much cold as I was stupid. It was 1985.

Old timers then were bemoaning too many stores, managers without apparel experience, computer scans and bar codes not to mention the discounts were being cut back and new vendors were making stuff outta toad shit and wax paper.

It's all relative I guess.

Anonymous said...

So what's the moral of the story... never trust a sexy woman with your secrets, but always trust her with matters of style? Hilarious story. (I also learned to tie a bow tie around my thigh...)

TRAWETS NILTGEOV said...

Betrayal!

Tin, how thin is your thigh?

I learned how to tie a bowtie by tying one around my neck while my grandad coached me up close and personal, his beefeater breath on my nose.

Alice Olive said...

Great post. I wonder if there were a few other enterprising gentlemen watching her take off the earring. (Clip on, I presume?)

Richard said...

Most women can't be trusted.......I have learned this valuable lesson during my 32 years. Which girl is it in the photo?

Brummagem Joe said...

"Old timers then were bemoaning"

That's what oldtimers do.....1985 was before the M & S aquisition and as best I remember BB was much as it had ever been.....at Madison Av they still used have on display for sale derby hats!

tintin said...

Anon- Thigh on, dude. No morals to be learned. Just the aged old lesson from my Dad. "Keep your mouth shut and ears and eyes wide open." Had I obeyed his rules I'd be a brigader general or the manager of 346 Mad by now. I like to think...

Stew- Let me measure it: 17 1/2. Beefeater is better than cologne.

Alice- Or women. Yes, they were clip on. I pay attention to these things.

Richard- You're an asshole and you should stay far away from here.

Joe- When everything starts to change --And I mean everything...the folks who had been there suffered. We were the kids (although I wasn't for long) and never understood what the old timers were bitching about -- until now.

kat said...

I tie our bows around my bent knee.

longwing said...

What a terribly sad story. The good news is that now she's much older and you're not.

tintin said...

LWing- which reminds me...where is you're blog?

Anne Lake said...

Ahhh...the foulard tie on a female. Such were the early 80s...when the BB boxes still had that distinctive smell and the Bros sold a lovely women's black patent tuxedo pump flat with a grosgrain bow...us gal shoppers were heartless...

longwing said...

tt-You're sweet to ask. My blog died of complications.

Brummagem Joe said...

tintin:"When everything starts to change"

.....The real change happened after Marks and Spencer acquired them for around a billion in the late 80's.......boy did they screw it up.....within three years it looked like the Gap and I never went into a BB for a decade....then the Italian eyeglass heir bought it for around 300 million about seven years ago and it has undergone something of a revival.....they have opened too many stores in weak locations and have too many sales but much of the merchandise is now fairly good, the windows look good, etc .....I know a couple of the old timers who have lived through all this and they are much happier than in the MS days when the place was heading for Chapter 11.

K-Dog said...

When are we going to see some new posts on Army Brat? I've deleted a few other blogs from my favorites. You are all that is left man.

Richard said...

Geez, why did you call me an asshole? All I did was ask which girl it is. I hope you were kidding.

Sean said...

This talk about Brooks Brothers' loss of quality is interesting.

Can anyone point me to info about this? Anaffordablewardrobe.blogspot.com has mentioned it, but not specifics.

Thanks

Cathleen said...

You ARE a capital 'P' Pack rat if you kept up with something like this for 25 years. You know this, but, in general, the workplace is NOT where you find your friends. Unless you're in the military maybe . . .

LPC said...

I now believe that Tintin and Richard are in some odd way the same person. My faith is shattered.

Brummagem Joe said...

LPC said...
"I now believe that Tintin and Richard are in some odd way the same person. My faith is shattered."

.....You really can't tell the difference?

W.Essex said...

I'd like to have a drink with both these guys (TinTin & Richard). TinTin: Seems like an interesting guy; we have common interests/background; from his writing, I'm sure conversation would be interesting. Richard - I can't believe someone this delusional really exists; more of a humorous psychoanalytical & fact finding conversation would ensue. Anyhoo, this tension is like a family gathering where my favorite uncle and white-trash nephew (wife’s side of course) have words…and I love it!

Anonymous said...

RIchard -

WASPs don't like to be called WASPs, that's lesson number one. Stop calling your blog WASP 101.

Lesson two

"We also have a rambunctious dachshund that has been known to wear a Brooks Brothers bow tie."

Dogs don't like to wear bow ties. Stop strapping on on yours.

Lesson 3. You. Are. An. Asshole.

Stop being an asshole.

FIN

Anonymous said...

"Richard- You're an asshole and you should stay far away from here."

"Lesson 3. You. Are. An. Asshole."

This all calls to mind JFK's famous put-down to Nixon: "No class."

Brummagem Joe said...

"Anonymous said..."

......I think we understood you the first time!

Turk said...

Richard...or Dick as I sometimes address him...rarely sees fit to post my comments on his blog. I don't know why because I usually close with this cheerful message:

P.S. Tell you wife I said "Hey."

P.P.S. Tell your dog my pit bull says "Hey."

P.P.P.S. Tell Worthington my imaginary friend Dickington says "Hey."

Anonymous said...

Sorry - trusting women after only flirtacious encounters will only lead to trouble. If you haven't learned your lesson now, you never will... irregardless of whether Richard is an asshole...you all come off naive and sheltered...

Brummagem Joe said...

"Anonymous said...you all come off naive and sheltered..."

......Thanks for the benefit of your enormous experience of life....as for Richard it perhaps takes one to know one.

Anonymous said...

Tin Tin,

Yes those were the days!!! I worked with one in the front row in '88'89 &'90. Frank Rielly was the CEO, then Ruberti took over and it seemed to go down hill with M&S calling the shots (Campeau- Federated, Sold BB to M&S for $750 million 2.5times the yearly gross!)

PS. Is "Irregardless" even a word? I don't think so!!

Anonymous said...

Oh Joe...doesn't take an enormous experience of life to figure that one out...

Both Richard & TinTin are amusing in their little cat fight