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Can't Tie His Tie
Roger: I've already destroyed this telethon [undoes Stan's bowtie] and untied your bowtie!
Stan: No! You've given me a relaxed demeanor!

It's standard protocol for men to wear either a necktie or bow tie when dressed up formally. But in many cases, the guy just can't do it. Often, if there's a female companion, she will end up doing it for him, although he will not always be happy about it. This is also sometimes used as a form of Ship Tease due to the necessary proximity required, and may or may not result in a Necktie Leash. Often Truth in Television, since guys these days have the option of clip-on ties or just don't dress up often enough to get used to it, or both.

There are probably just as many aversions of this as examples, so it might get a bit long if we list all the aversions.

Examples:

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     Anime and Manga  

     Comic Books  

  • In Superman: The Wedding Album, Clark is struggling with his bowtie, and Jimmy Olsen says, "Let an expert help with that," before turning out to be Mr Mxyzptlk. (It doubles as a Mythology Gag since Silver Age Jimmy and Mxy both wore bowties all the time.)
  • After getting his memory rebooted, Tony Stark discovers he can't remember how to tie a tie. His friend Jim Rhodes has to help him.

     Literature  

  • Near the beginning of Peter Pan, Mr and Mrs Darling are dressing to go out for dinner; Mr Darling can't get his tie to work ("Not round my neck! Round the bed-post! Oh yes, twenty times have I made it up round the bed-post, but round my neck, no!") and has to get his wife to tie it for him.
    "It is an astounding thing to have to tell, but this man, though he knew about stocks and shares, had no real mastery of his tie. Sometimes the thing yielded to him without a contest, but there were occasions when it would have been better for the house if he had swallowed his pride and used a made-up tie."
  • A "Lighter Side of..." strip in MAD magazine had a husband complaining about how hard tying a bowtie was and his wife responding that it was no harder than tying an apron (NOTE: regardless of which is more difficult, tying an apron and tying a tie are very dissimilar techniques). He says if it's so easy then she should do it for him. She does, by turning her back and tying it with him sitting behind her.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's Glory Road. Oscar can't tie his tie before his dinner with Star, so his valet Rufo does it for him.

     Live Action TV  

  • In CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, episode "Formalities", Grissom can't get his bow tie done. Catherine ends up tying it for him.
  • Adam on CSI: NY has trouble when getting ready to go to the 10th annivesary memorial of Sept. 11, and Lindsay ends up tying his.
    Lindsay: By the time you're done, it'll be the 20th anniversary.
  • Stan on The Golden Girls — Dorothy winds up tying it for him.
  • For one MythBusters test, Jamie and Adam both had to don full tuxedos. Jamie had to get their guest expert to tie his bow tie for him.
  • In the BBC's 2002 production of The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sir Henry struggles with his white tie when dressing for dinner, and Watson finally does it for him.
  • Ryan Atwood of The O.C. cannot tie his borrowed tie on his borrowed suit. He attempts to hide this by claiming he prefers the untied look and Sandy calls him on it, then helps him. A few seasons later this replays with Ryan's brother, Trey.
  • Earl from My Name Is Earl. One time he was going on a job interview and Randy had untied his tie that their grandfather had tied for him who-knows-how-many years ago. Earl complained, but Randy said he wanted to show Earl what he'd look like as a yuppie at a concert (tie tied in a simple square knot around his forehead).
  • Joey from Friends gets others to tie ties for him.
  • In the Dexter TV show, his sister has to tie Dexter's tie on the day of his wedding. Bit of subtext there, since their actors were married to each other at the time.
  • On The Jeffersons, there was a flashback to George getting ready for a meeting with a banker for a loan to start his own cleaners. He put on his suit and was having difficulty with his tie when the banker arrived. George told him he was just taking it off.
  • On Roseanne, David is lamenting the fact that his dysfunctional parents aren't showing up for his wedding, while his older brother, Mark, argues he shouldn't even care. David, meanwhile, is trying to put on his tie, which Mark eventually does for him. Mark mentions that their father taught him how to do it, but that it's really the only thing he can remember him ever doing for him.
  • Variation on Parks and Recreation. Andy is never shown having trouble tying a tie, but in every scene in which he's shown wearing one, it's always tied too high, leaving a good one-to-two-inch gap. (For reference, a properly tied tie should always touch the belt buckle.)

     Video Games  

  • Heavy Rain: the police chief is shown struggling with a tie, as he usually wears a clip-on to avoid it being used against him by a suspect.

     Western Animation  

  • The Simpsons: Homer Simpson teaches Bart how to put on a necktie by presenting his clip-on: "The hook goes over the top, and these things go in there!"
  • During the opening montage in Up, Ellie is seen straightening Carl's tie. She's seen doing it many times as they grow older.
  • Clumsy has a few fumbles tying his tie in The Smurfs episode "The Golden Smurf Award".
  • In the American Dad! episode "Phantom of the Telethon", Roger sabotages Stan's CIA telethon and then undoes Stan's bowtie which he can't redo.
    Stan: No! You've given me a relaxed demeanor!

     Web Original  

     Real Life  

  • One Nostalgia Critic behind-the-scenes video shows Doug Walker, being unable to tie his trademark red tie, right before shooting his crossover with James Rolfe, The Angry Video Game Nerd. He asks all the men present in the house for help, including the camera man (his brother Rob), Mike Matei and even James Rolfe himself, who tries and fails multiple times to tie the tie. In the end, James Rolfe's wife is the only one who is able to do it.
  • Real Life... even with manuals on how to do it, there are men who have to take a hilarious number of attempts to get the thing right. That is the reason of the hook tie option. It happens with the other option that looks like a wrapping gift lace.
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt cannot tie a bowtie. This proved a problem at the 2013 Oscars. Fortunately for him, his date — Sally Field, who played his mother in Lincolndid know how to tie one. The result was adorable.


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