Men’s fashion dictates that a necktie should end above the waist, but President Donald Trump continually wears his red, taped-together tie three to four inches below that border. Sartorially minded conspirators cannot help but wonder: Why so long? The answer, one psychological theory argues, is right in front of us. He’s pointing at it.
“The purpose of neckties on men in the 20th century is to announce to all those who can see that the person is male,” psychologist Chuck Stewart, Ph.D., who has studied the history and symbolic weight of the necktie, told Inverse in an e-mail. “Particularly since current pant design does not bring attention to male genitalia (as codpieces once did), some other mechanism serves that function.”
In other words, Trump’s long, red necktie is a long, red arrow pointing to his dick.
In his paper “Neck Ties as Phallic Symbols,” Stewart points out that men in all cultures have always used clothing to draw attention to the penis; Trump, it seems, is just reminding us that he is, in fact, a man. While clothing’s original purpose was to protect us from the elements, it transformed into a symbol of affluence, status, and sexuality as humans accumulated wealth. The necktie is the perfect example of a purely symbolic item of clothing: as Mark Strage writes in The Durable Fig Leaf, “It serves no purpose other than to call attention to itself.” By Trump’s logic, then, having a bigger necktie than other dudes is a surefire way to call more attention away from them and toward his maleness.
What’s even more revealing than necktie length, Stewart says, is its color. Red is the color of Republicans and of rage — but it’s also the color of an erect penis. “Its color mimics an engorged penis,” he says, pointing out that every man in the Republican debates wore a red tie. “Men in power, or whoever is the dominant male in the room, will wear a red tie,” he continues. A superlative length, coupled with a dominant color, ensures that Trump is seen as the most male among all the males.
Figuring out why Trump is obsessed with announcing his alpha male status would require more serious analysis, but as far as Stewart can tell, the President displays major signs of insecurity. “Anything that suggests that he is not the largest cock in the room is challenged,” he says. “Trump’s first line of attack is to wear long red ties with which to beat other men with his engorged penis.”
Nobody has come up with a good explanation for why President Donald Trump wears his red, taped-together necktie several inches below his waist, but you know what they say about guys with tiny hands: They wear long neckties.