May 25, 2004

Killer ties

As a collector of neckties (although apparently not as motivated a collector as the fucker who outbid me for those two Rooster ties on eBay -- damn that lack of personal wealth!), it disturbs me to know that they can be little gardens of death, the Guardian reports.

Researchers found that nearly half of the ties worn by medical workers harboured bacteria which could cause disease.

Clinicians were eight times more likely to wear a tie carrying bacteria than by hospital security staff.

The Toronto Star gives more details, noting that the problem is twofold: doctors don't always wash their hands before adjusting their ties (and then they may touch their tie after washing their hands, potentially recontaminating them), and people rarely send out their ties to be dry cleaned.

In an interview, Nurkin said he began wondering about the possibility of contamination when he noticed swinging ties coming in contact with patient bedding, even patients themselves.

After all, earlier research had shown items doctors routinely carry ? pens, pagers, cell phones and stethoscopes ? are often teeming with all sorts of bugs. And cloth is known to harbour pathogens, which is why surgical staff change gowns between patients.

But whereas doctors now know to clean their phones and pagers, "the necktie, you don't," Nurkin said.


No one is suggesting ties are modern-day Typhoid Marys in hospital settings. But they may be contributing, in a small way, to the spread of hospital-acquired infections, said McGeer, head of infectious diseases at Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital.

"It's an indication of absence of handwashing and it probably is associated with some risk," she said, noting the last thing a tie-wearing doctor probably does before bending over to examine a patient is to tuck his tie into his shirt.

Sounds like good news for the tie clip industry, at least. Seriously, why does anyone think it's a good idea to wear a tie without a clip? I remember when I used to temp on Wall Street, and I'd see businessmen walking to lunch on windy days with their ties blowing over their shoulders. Here's the message that sends: "I like to pretend to be a grown-up, but I don't actually know how to dress myself."

(Via Boing Boing and Collision Detection.)

Posted by Francis at 03:07 PM in Ties

Your Wall Street memories of clipless ties blowing in the wind are tainted by class envy. These guys would NEVER wear a tie clip. Nerds did.

Posted by: Carlie at June 18, 2004 05:33 PM

So...not having one's tie blowing in one's face makes one a nerd. I see. Is this the one time when the nerds have more sartorial sense than the rest of the world? Oh, wait...nerds also don't wear sleeveless "wife-beater" t-shirts. Score two for the nerds, then.

Posted by: Francis at June 18, 2004 05:37 PM

This whole story is tainted by class envy - it's time to bring those well-dressed hotshots down! All of a sudden neckties are discovered to be loaded with germs? What about shoes? Those fancy Italian loafers and Brooks Brothers cap-toes that doctors wear are loaded with germs: "Step outa those fancy shoes, doc, and drop your dress socks in the hamper! And lose the Hermes tie, too!"

Now barefoot and tieless, the humbled physician goes about his rounds. Ah, but the political correctness police are not through yet! "Are those cufflinks! FILLED WITH BACTERIA! And that two thousand dollar pinstriped suit! Who KNOWS where it's been!!" Soon the doc is wearing a hospital gown -and the slobs of thw orld have chalked up another victory.

Posted by: JJ at July 9, 2004 09:18 PM