Lisa’s grandfather died in 1992. We weren’t married yet, but we were headed in that direction.
When Lisa’s mother cleaned out his belongings, she came across several bow ties. She asked me if I wanted them. I worked at the Y, so I figured at some point I could use them, for a day camp skit if nothing else.
At the time, I only knew one full-time bow tie wearer. It was Willis Brown, an attorney in my hometown of Fayetteville, NC. Every Sunday he’d stroll into church with a crisp white shirt, a three-piece suit and one of his seemingly infinite ties. I admired his style. I admired his gutsiness. Not too many dudes from Fayetteville had enough panache to pull that off.
I too took my virgin bow tie ride at church. I figured it was a safe group – I mean they were coming together under the auspices of love and acceptance – even for weirdos who wore odd clothing.
The reaction was more than what I had expected, an outpouring of interest and support. Person after person complimented my boldness. It was my first step toward Willisness.
Now the bow tie is as common as a pair of flip-flops. You look around the sanctuary at 11 AM on the day of rest, and you’ll find a sea of them.
I hate looking like every other Tom, Dick or Harry. I like to stand out, to be a little different. I’ve pondered the ascot, but that just seems like I’m trying too hard. But in late December, I was given a gift – the gift of uniqueness.
Part of my intrigue with performing in the play, A Christmas Carol, each December is that I get to dress up in 19th century costume. My favorite parts of the attire are the top hat and… the cape. I love to strut around backstage pretending to be Dracula enveloping my children beneath the flowing fabric. In a cape, you feel bigger than life. As you walk down a hall, your presence seems to linger behind you. Your body can be several feet in front of the rest of you. It’s commanding! It’s bold! It’s powerful.
I can assure you Batman’s cape was not chosen because of its ability to help him fly. No – his cape was a statement. You don’t want to mess with me – I’m a badass. I’m wearing a cape.
My fellow cast members understand my obsession with the cloak. And that is why this year’s stage wife worked with the costumers to make me my own. One that I could take home – that I could wear anytime I wanted! It was presented to me on the last night of the show.
I’ve pulled it out a couple of times but in comfortable safe settings. However, in the future, if you see a guy walking through downtown Raleigh sporting a top of the line, navy ulster, it’s likely me. In 20 years, it might be you too!