When was the last time your bow tie dragged its way through your bowl of soup?
That's right, never.
For nearly a quarter century, Kent Barnds has been free of tie-in-the-soup worries. It's been over 14 years for Eric Trimble and nearly 13 for Dr. Joseph Urbaitis.
All dry after soup.
All excited today is National Bow Tie Day.
Twenty-five years ago, Barnds was working the admissions side of the college game, doing his best to stand out among hundreds of other people.
One day the energetic Barnds ditched his long (four-in-hand) necktie, and he immediately stood out from the crowd. Thus he became a bow tie guy.
That was over 300 bow ties and countless successful soup-eating missions ago.
Fourteen years ago, Eric Trimble, the longtime leader of the Moline-based Trimble Funeral Home and Crematory, posed two questions to his wife, Barb.
"Bow tie or carnation in the lapel?'' asked Eric, who on Sept. 1 will celebrate 50 years of guiding families in their time of need. "The carnation idea got tossed in a hurry — almost laughed at by Barb — so for the better part of 14 years, it's been nothing but bow ties. In fact, I no longer own a long tie.''
Urbaitis, a Quad-Cities ophthalmologist and Trimble's son-in-law, decided wearing a bow tie would allow him to stay tight with his father-in-law.
All sons-in-law should be that smart.
"And like Kent says, there is no way a bow tie will drag in your soup,'' said Urbaitis, a laugh-a-minute type. "My patients like it because there is no tie to get in the way, nothing in their face. It's not just for older men. I can remember my son, who is a sophomore at Iowa State University, having many friends who wore bow ties to high school functions.''
Today, around 5:15 p.m., this bow-tie-wearing trio, along with other local bow tie enthusiasts, will gather at Moline's Bass Street Chop House. There they will enjoy an adult beverage in honor of today being National Bow Tie Day.
"Great day to share,'' Barnds said. "Should be a lot of fun.''
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In the past two years, sales of bow ties in the United States have surpassed sales of four-in-hand neckties, according to https://www.bows-n-ties.com/
The site also notes the No. 1 bow tie state in America is Mississippi.
Barnds has been a bow tie guy since the day he took the plunge and changed his meet-the-world approach.
"I have spent my entire working life in admissions, and in college admissions, it is customary to go to college nights where there are 300 to 400 colleges on hand, and every male is dressed the same,'' said Barnds, the executive vice president for external relations at Augustana College in Rock Island.
"It's blue blazer, (long) college (colors) tie, and white shirt,'' added Barnds, whose daughter Martha, a gifted artist, has designed a logo in case a Quad-Cities Bow Tie Club is organized. "I didn't care if (potential students) cared about what I said 25 years ago, but I wanted them to remember the bow tie guy.''
To garner attention recently, Barnds, who dons a bow tie daily, jumped out of character.
"The last time I wore a four-in-hand tie, I was presenting to the (Augustana) board of trustees, and I wanted to stand out,'' Barnds said, noting his plan worked.
Clip-on bow ties are a no-no, these bow tie guys declare.
"It must be tied, and you must be the one to tie it,'' said Trimble. ''I can remember when I began wearing them, I would sit and watch television and practice by putting the tie over my right thigh and tie it. If you can tie a shoe, you can tie a bow tie. Remember, the bow tie always looks terrible until the last pull.''
To a man, Trimble, Barnds and Urbaitis knows styles change. The bow tie could lose some of its luster, but this trio will remain fans.
"I'm in for the long haul,'' said Trimble. "I like wearing them, and I like the look. I'm not a casual guy. I have old Moline Rotary photos of my father, who was wearing a bow tie years ago, so it's kind of always been there with me. I don't want to be the guy who wakes up each day and wonders what kind of a tie day it's going to be.''
Urbaitis, being the good son-in-law, is in as long as Trimble is in.
"Whatever Eric says,'' Urbaitis said with a laugh. "Seriously, they are easy to pack; you can't grab it and pull on it; and they are much easier to care for.''
Barnds believes the bow tie look is here to stay.
"It's all about choice,'' he said. "And this is a fun choice.''