Category Archives: Bow Ties

An Arab Bow Tie

If you haven’t read about my bow tie saga yet, this would be a good time. The short story: I randomly wore a bow tie one day and people liked it so much that I decided it would become my thing at this school. Since then, I have tried my hardest to introduce bow ties to the Arab culture – I got the school to manufacture school bow ties and started “Bow Tie Thursday,” where (so far) just barely more than a handful of kids sport a bow tie. It has been slowly catching on – I randomly see kids I have never talked to strolling around in bow ties on Thursdays. One of those moments happened last Thursday, so I tweeted this out of excitement:And I got this response, which I actually agreed wholeheartedly with:

But, but, but, hold the presses. I think I might have actually outdone myself. BEHOLD! The keffiyeh bow tie!
For those of you that don’t know what a keffiyeh is, it’s a beautiful traditional Arab headdress found throughout the Middle East. They protect from the harsh desert sun and also do well in the bitter desert cold. They come in many colors, which often signify various groups and countries – the red ones are associated with Jordan. Most have a very distinct, stately checked pattern. They have come to really represent the region and are a symbol that is still a huge part of Arab life and a point of genuine, unassuming pride. Students at school wear them as scarves when it’s cold out, many older men wear them daily. Lately, they have become somewhat trendy in the American hipster circles too. Here’s a run down of how to tie one on your head.

And in a wonderful blend of American and Jordanian culture, I now have a keffiyeh bow tie!

Here’s how this wonderful creation came about:

  • I went into Madaba with one of my bow ties and showed it to a tailor to see if she could sew something similar with any cloth. Of course she could.
  • I bought a keffiyeh from a nearby store for 2.50 JD (around $3.50) and brought it back to the tailor.
  • In less than a half hour, she cut it up, and sewed it while I drank tea with my barber whose shop is about 3 shops down. All for 2 JD (about $2.80).

So for less than $7 and less than 45 minutes, I got myself a beautiful, custom made bow tie. I wonder how expensive this would have been in the US. Needless to say, I’m freakin’ pumped to wear it to school tomorrow (even if it’s not bow tie Thursday).

I Made the Front Page of the School Newspaper


In more bow tie news, I made the front page of the school newspaper for the new trend that I have started on campus (full article below). I feel a little guilty because I happen to be the advisor to the school newspaper, but I swear they did it all on their own doing. I also happened to make the inside of the newspaper once too. We had a section called “separated at birth” where they put pictures of people at the school next to celebrities whom they resemble. I got placed next to Woody from Toy Story. I don’t think I get it but it provided a nice inspiration for a great Halloween costume for tonight…

Happy Bow Tie Thursday!!

I can’t believe it’s been 15 days since I have blogged (what a dumb word that is as a verb). It’s a bit ironic that my last post was about how many different roles I would be playing this year and how exhausted I was just thinking about it – well it turns out that trying to fulfill these roles was even more exhausting. Today, during my very last period of the week, my nose started bleeding profusely during a quiz. I didn’t want to leave because there was a quiz going on, but I didn’t want to touch anything or let go of my nose… Awkwardness ensued, which involved me juggling quizzes and tissues in my hand while a student cleaned drops of blood up off the floor. That’s when I took a 5 minute break. I guess you are only allowed to make it through 19 classes in a week while dehydrated and exhausted without breaking down… can’t wait to see what happens next Thursday.

But today was actually incredibly exciting and invigorating – it was the first Bow Tie Thursday where students participated! My dream has finally been realized (read about the saga here and here), but it sure took a while – I began this project last October. I was sitting at dinner one night, and someone mentioned that they had seen school bow ties in the school store. All I could do was gasp in shock and a bit of annoyance (after almost a year, how could the bow ties arrive without anyone telling me???). Sure enough, I went to the school store and there they were, radiating sexy in a bag behind the counter, with a nice school-color-themed variety – marvelous red and black stripe, striking navy blue with our flower shaped logo, and kind-of-ugly-tan. I happily purchased two for 15 JD (about $21) each, with my handy 20% faculty discount.

Equipped with this newfound treasure, I began preaching the gospel of bow ties in an attempt to get others on board. Other Thursdays, I had to carry around bow ties to lend to other faculty members, but now people could wear their very own. Actually fairly surprisingly to me, the excitement was palpable. Students popped up throughout the day to tell me that they had purchased one and had no clue how to tie it, and were going to wear it on Thursday. On Monday, one kid showed up at my classroom and asked me to tie his. Okay, three days early my friend, but I will indulge… and then on Tuesday a few more were seen wearing them around campus, one of whom told me he learned how to tie it from YouTube (just like me!). The funny part about this is that we have relaxed dress code this week – they didn’t even need to be wearing a tie at all!

And then today, the very first bow tie Thursday with students, was absolutely glorious. Only about a dozen students ended up wearing them because no one could tie them and didn’t want to show up early to breakfast to have me teach them, but it was a glorious start, and just what I needed for a grueling end-of-the-week, nosebleed-inducing day. I am estimating that at least 50-60 people bought bow ties at the school store, so I have high expectations for future Thursdays, especially when we will be back in dress code, required to wear a tie. I hope I have started something that can’t be stopped…

I’m pretty sure that life is hilarious.

Bow-tie Thursdays

Instead of TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday) we have TAIT here in Jordan (Thank Allah It’s Thursday) with our strange (for me) work week ending on Thursday. I often have difficult Thursdays class-wise, with two classes after lunch, one in the last period from 3-3:45 pm, which luckily enough happens to be the section where all my rambunctious knuckleheads decided to conglomerate (they are incapable of virtually anything during this period). I’m always looking for things to try to get me through the day before I can crash for the weekend, and one of the things that has worked is Bow-tie Thursdays!

For those that haven’t been following the blog since the beginning, I decided early in the yearthat since bow-ties are such a novelty here, that I would become the bow-tie man. Soon after I started wearing them, I decided that it would be a nice treat at the end of the week – a bow-tie to get me through Thursday, perfect. And then some students began pestering me about the bow-tie, so we decided that we would start a bow-tie club and all wear bow-ties on Thursday.

I immediately tried to get the ball rolling (this was October) with the help of others at the school to try to get bow-ties with the school colors so they would count as dress code and be official. I sent off like 12 emails, people had the school had many meetings on my behalf, we looked at proposed designs and a few months later (ha) a sample came in. Unfortunately though, the sample was for a pre-tied, velcro stick bow-tie – the clip-on tie equivalent in the bow-tie world – bummer. When the suppliers came to school for a meeting, I offered up a few of my bow-ties as samples so they could see exactly what we wanted to order. But, apparently when they were unveiled at the meeting, the suppliers said something to the effect of “We have never seen something like before, we need to send it Indonesia.”

Now, I’m sure that’s not what they said, but that’s exactly what they did. They sent one of my bow-ties to Indonesia to figure out how to make them. The bow-tie I wore today for Bow-tie Thursday has been in Indonesia. I feel awful that this has been such a hassle for the great people in our school who have to deal with issues like this, but the bow-tie ball is rolling and aint nothing going to stop it now. We will get King’s Academy bow-ties, I will have a following that will wear them on Thursdays, and we will all find ways to help us get through those tough Thursdays…

Drop It Like It’s Hot – Physics in Action

I originally applied to this school to be a Math teacher, but I am incredibly glad that they had filled all of their Math positions so that I could be a Physics teacher. This past week, our “lab” was dropping things off of our clock tower. We have been modeling 1-dimensional accelerated motion with equations, so basically they had to time how long their object (boxes filled with rocks – how have I not gotten fired already?) took to fall to the ground below, and use the aforementioned equations to calculate the height of the clock tower (it was a little more complicated than that, but I don’t want to bore you). The probability that this would end in broken bones was pretty high, but luckily the only thing that got hurt was the cement below the tower (oops!).


I don’t know if you can see in the picture above my sweet outfit, but on lab days I wear a nice white lab coat to look important, and this time I whipped out my UVa bow tie for the occasion, to really capture the look of mad scientist. I realized while wearing my bow tie around that day that they are quite a novelty here (one girl shouted as I walked by “Sir, I like your style!!” – I felt like a celebrity). Thus, I’ve decided to become the bow tie guy. I have already ordered a few off of eBay. Bow-man the Bow-tie-man.