Paul Kidwell


PR Consultant, Writer


Boston, MA

“When I was 15, my father taught me how to tie a bow tie and at the same time, a little bit about girls. I was preparing for my first official date at a local school dance and as Dad showed me the intricate geometry of tying one of his bow ties, he imparted some sage advice on how young girls might perceive me in my bow tie. ‘When you are wearing a bow tie, Paul, and a girl shows interest in you,” Dad said, “you know that she likes you for who you are, and not because you look good.” This was Dad’s lighthearted homage to the bow tie’s quirkiness and unique appearance. It was the mid-70’s and the notion of being a ‘nerd’ or ‘geek’ had yet to be introduced into the popular culture lexicon, but as I reflect back on those times, that is clearly what he was painting me out to be. Other than my father, the only other man who wore a bow tie was our high school chemistry teacher. Bow tie; chemistry teacher? Clearly a logical match and a validation of Dad’s premise.


I am now 55 and the proud owner of over 100 Brooks Brothers bow ties, which have accompanied me during all of my life’s seminal moments and served as a backdrop for those memories. First dates, last dates, once-only dates; graduations, child births, weddings—mine and others—business meetings, everyday business activities, conferences, dinners, lunches, cocktail parties, holiday gatherings, and nights at the opera. To all who know me it is my personal sartorial signature. To those who are about to meet me and in need of a physical description to identify me at a crowded restaurant or in the throng at a medical conference, they need only look for a 6’5″ man wearing glasses and a bow tie. I am easy to spot and hopefully hard to forget. I am told that I look smart, educated, or like a college professor, and I accept the association despite questioning its validity. I think one of the smartest choices I ever made was to follow my Dad’s lead and embrace the bow tie. He was also right about girls. My wife decided to love me in spite of my bow tie and when I wear it she first looks at my tie, and then peers into my soul.”