Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Dead Man's Necktie - Funeral Etiquette


"Trending in the afterlife - funeral neckties, a skeleton wearing a tie"

A dead man wearing a necktie
A dead man wearing a necktie to meet the creator!
What necktie will you wear to your funeral?

Funeral Etiquette, what to wear to show respect for the departed.  You may hate ties but showing up at a funeral in casual attire is tacky.  And what about the departed presuming the "no longer among the living" is not a female what kind of attire would he adorn.  You may have said you wouldn't be caught dead wearing a tie.  However, there is one time in your life, well actually in this case after your life that you may wear a necktie. Regarding your own funeral attire you will not have much of a choice in the matter because you will not be among the living. Despite your desires you may not even get to decide what kind of tie to adorn yourself with, unless you make arrangements before you kick the bucket. That is usually not something that a man tends to think about - a funeral necktie for the departed or not, what to wear after you are dead?  And what should you wear while you are among the living attending a funeral?
Pallbearers in uniform dress 

Funerals are prominent occasion for men wearing suits and neckties.  Not only for the men showing up to pay their respect for the laid to rest, but for the gentleman headed 6 feet under; wearing a necktie is considered the way to leave this life.  Not all men will be dressed in a suit and tie at their funeral and as well not all men will wear a suit and tie while attending a funeral but the men with style and character will.  For the living in western culture funeral etiquette usually prescribes men to wear black, navy or dark grey suit, white shirt and a black necktie; or a dark conservative small pattern tie that is not colorful or loud, certainly not a conversation or novelty necktie and a handkerchief just in case a lady at your side becomes in need of one to wipe away tears.

Pallbearers should wear a suit and necktie and the ties should match if possible.  This uniform style would usually be at the request of the family.  Normally a black tie is called for however there have been unique occasions where a novelty theme necktie would be appropriate.  In the case of a Spiderman fan being laid to rest the family may acquire Marvel Comics Spiderman neckties; or possibly the surviving loved ones want to send a special message by having the pall bearers wear something fun like an art necktie.  Every man should own at least one suit for showing respect on the occasion of a funeral. As for the deceased the apparel does not have to be so respectful, a Looney Tunes Marvin the Martian tie or a Hawaiian tie without a suit could be the ticket. One thing is certain most men are not buried in T shirts.

The man in the coffin makes no argument or contest, he does not laugh or cry he is just the remnants of a life passed. Since most men don't make their funeral attire style known to others ( as it is just too morbid a subject ) their surviving loved ones make the fashion decisions for them.  If the deceased has no loved ones then the funeral director - mortician makes the choices. This may not seem so troubling however some men would not want to leave this life to meet the creator dressed in something that is not of their liking. The mortician takes great care to orchestrate a hue of color and style taking great care to dress and groom the departed making the lifeless appear convincingly life-like.  Those little details like fashion accessories, or a special themed tie pin distinguish a persons character and personality.

Some men, especially surfers would prefer to end their mortal journey in a Hawaiian shirt while others want to leave their mortal life in more formal attire - a suit and tie, maybe the surfer would be comfortable wearing a Hawaiian print necktie.  I would prefer a black tuxedo and jacquard pattern black silk tie.  It there is any truth to the rumors of demons and devilish souls that are waiting to derail the otherwise un-worldly venture it would be decisive to be dressed to "kill" ( well in this case that cliche doesn't fit well ).    

Something related and fairly unusual to think about is the safety coffin.  This is a coffin fitted with a latch inside so that if you are accidentally buried alive you will be able to open the casket and escape "death" literally.  In the 18th and 19th century during the cholera epidemic there were great fears of being buried alive.  In the 13th century philosopher John Duns Scotus escaped from his casket after being prematurely sent to the afterlife and about 150 years ago Edgar Allen Poe wrote "The Premature Burial," "The Fall of the House of Usher," and "The Cask of Amonitillado" dealing with the subject of un-timely funerals.   Sometimes life or in this case death is stranger than fiction. 
   
The JFK Funeral - the end of Camelot
Therefore the illustration above makes perfect sense considering the fact that timely or not, not everyone wants to leave this life for one reason or another.   Unfinished business, an ax to grind, or maybe this "gent" hated that red tie that the grave digger tied around his neck and he wanted to trade for something a little less provocative.

Funeral Etiquette: What to wear and how to behave at Gentleman's Gazette.  The complete resource for flowers, traditions, letters of condolence 

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