Been saying this for years, since childhood. Or at least since my neck outgrew normal human dimensions.
OK, since childhood.
A recent study in Neuroradiology -- grab your copy off the E-Z chair -- shows that wearing neckties -- or ties, as we call them -- reduces cerebral blood flow.
The abstract, by six people with interesting names, so you know it's legit, reads: "Negative cerebrovascular effects can be expected by compressing jugular veins and carotids by a necktie. It was already demonstrated that a necktie increases intraocular pressure (Editor's note: Makes your eyes bug out). In many professions, a special dress code including a necktie and a collared shirt is mandatory although little is known about the effect of this 'socially desirable strangulation.' "
A group of 30 volunteers, one knotted down with socially desirable strangulation devices, one as spread-collar freed as Elvis in his holy jumpsuits intended it, underwent MRIs.
Der: Ties choke you. They make you stupid.
In some cases, add -er.
Huzzah for science, again! I would tattoo the study author's names -- Robin Lüddecke, Thomas Lindner, Julia Forstenpointner, Ralf Baron, Olav Jansen and Janne Gierthmühlen -- across my unencumbered neck, but even this stout trunk might have to sprawl onto the clavicle for that roundup.
Brains desire blood. This should be obvious, unless you're a regular tie-wearer. Heck, I wouldn't be writing here if it weren't for the fact that ties rarely bind down newspaper folk.
Another study, a collaboration between Australian and South African researchers -- Hmm. Why is so little productive science being conducted in 2018 U.S. of A? Blame the ties! -- tracks human evolution not just to the size of our brains, but to increases in blood-thirstiness.
The journal Royal Society Open Science -- another light periodical, probably right under your Reader's Digest -- quoted project leader Roger Seymour from the University of Adelaide: "Brain size has increased about 350 percent over human evolution, but we found that blood flow to the brain increased an amazing 600 percent. We believe this is possibly related to the brain's need to satisfy increasingly energetic connections between nerve cells that allowed the evolution of complex thinking and learning.
"To allow our brain to be so intelligent, it must be constantly fed oxygen and nutrients from the blood."
Neckties, those abominable flaps of cloth that leave us open to attack -- Yes, about 85 percent of growing up male in the modern world concerns preparing to defend yourself from violence that, 99.87 percent of the time, never actually happens -- rose to fashion in the 17th century, via the sartorial influence of King Louis VIII, no relation to King Louie the Ape from "The Jungle Book," who, being a swinging orangutan, would no sooner sling a fabric rope around his neck than he would slap a Baloo the Bear trap on his feet.
Blame the Croatian mercenaries hired by King Louis the Not-Ape-Far-As-We-Know-Though-Clearly-His-Brain-Needed-Blood. Their fabric served function beyond the decorative, though, closing the tops of their jackets. Modern ties just lay there, slowly cutting off blood and oxygen.
Just in case you don't have your history brain on, the Renaissance ended in the 17th century.
Some folks believe ties make men look natty, or fancy, or dressed up. Bow ties are often cited as the height of nerdy cool. Maybe, but look again: Those sporting bow ties do not bear have necks of ordinary proportions. That one Dr. Who you're picturing? Pencil neck. And that's with the 20 pounds TV adds. Actually, 40 pounds, for BBC TV. We need to send the Brits barbecue.
I never meant to expand this stump. Never done neck bridges -- faked 'em when the coaches tried to force us into that awkward, spine-tingling position, back in football days -- or any other sort of exercise intended to bulk up. I just do. A fitness expert told me I'm a mesomorph, meaning prone to muscularity (though that does not, sadly, guarantee a fat-free, lean body). Even when I started swimming, an hour to an hour and a half a day, I gained inches in my neck, merely through side-to-side breathing of the Australian crawl.
And now you can hear the mansplainers warming up to say "Actually, if you'd do high reps with low weights...." Been there, done that, changed shirt sizes: 250 reps on the bench, at varying angles, 30 each of three different kinds of chin-up. Pretty sure that's high.
My calves are equally fearsome, yet again with no good reason why, as I've always skipped "leg day." Did you even know there was such a thing as leg day? I didn't, until recently. For those who work out regularly, "Don't skip leg day" is one of the mantras, intended to balance out those steroid cases who look like kids' flip books where you blend the head of a hayseed farmer with the body of a ballerina with the legs of a truck driver, except in reverse. I see you, steroid guys, envying these calves and thighs. Beware what you wish for: Much like all my bulky parts, they stem from about 98 percent DNA, and 2 percent working out without regard to mesomorphic concerns.
Anyway. Point is, most of life isn't suited -- puns always intended -- for the extra large. When we sit side-by-side on an airplane, and you feel my shoulders encroaching yours? Believe me, I know it, and I feel it, too. I'm sorry. Heck, I wanted to be 6'4" and Michael Jordan lean, but dangit: swam out of the wrong genetic pool.
So mesos adapt. Pay extra for an aisle seat, or one near the bulkhead. Hit the movies early to leave a space between, where needed. Turn sideways, a lot, when approaching others.
And buy lots of Hawaiian shirts, which can in no way support a tie. Your bloody brain thanks you.
Reach Tusk Editor Mark Hughes Cobb at email@example.com or 205-722-0201.