Bow Ties

Drs. Peter & Michael Tufton
Cheryl Gerber
Dr. Michael Tufton adjusts the bow tie his dad Dr. Peter Tufton is wearing in their Gretna dental office.

Dr. Michael Tufton is a handsome young man just out of dental school who is now practicing with his father, Dr. Peter Tufton, and constantly learning new things about dentistry. It isn’t all about a father teaching a son when it comes to their close relationship. Just inquire why they both always wear bow ties and be ready to smile when Michael speaks up and says, “I’m the one who introduced dad to bow ties.”

“Dad you should start wearing bow ties,” Michael says he remembers telling his dad while he was still in high school. “Let’s go to Perlis and get you a bow tie.” Perlis, a stalwart men’s fashion shop on Magazine Street since 1939, has seen many generations go through the rights of passage in the past, but it was a bit of a switch when Michael instigated a visit with the distinct purpose of picking out a bow tie for his dad.

Pat McCausland, a 45-year Perlis employee was up to the challenge. Sixteen-year-old Michael responded with zest to the idea of having a father-son bow tie team. “It only took me a few tries to learn the secret of tying a bow tie,” Michael adds. “It was more of a challenge for dad.” Peter admits that he finally mastered the task by repeatedly practicing while watching a YouTube tutorial.

Actually, Michael’s first bow tie came about as part of the outfit he put together for his junior prom. “When I was at Jesuit High School some of my friends decided we should go to the thrift store near the school at Carrollton and Tulane Avenues and buy something neat for the prom. Plaid was the big thing so I bought red plaid pants, a woman’s jacket and topped it off with a neat red plaid bow tie and cummerbund set. Sure it was tacky but a lot of fun to wear.”

Nobody would call anything Michael wears today tacky, he is quite the fashion plate and he still feels that bow ties can be fun and bring a little spice in your life. “I have an interesting bow tie that was given to me as a groomsman gift from my best friend in college,” Michael recalls. “He’s a big fisherman and he knew I loved bow ties, so he gave me one with bright green vineyard vines and little swordfish. I liked it immediately and still find it fun to wear.”

“I must admit that I am happy Michael encouraged me to start wearing bow ties,” Peter says as he works alongside Michael in their busy Gretna office. “Linda, my wife, finally took about 150 of my old regular ties to the Junior League Thrift Shop when she realized I was hooked on bow ties.”

Who has the most bow ties? “Michael by far,” Peter quickly answers. “We actually have some of the same ties, and when Linda and I travel, I always share some of my new purchases with him. We recently went to New York to watch the U.S. Open Tennis Championship games and took time out to shop for new bow ties for both of us. The only problem is that sometimes Michael picks out the very tie I like the best. You can imagine who wins that battle.”

Both Peter and Michael are aware that their patients enjoy the fact they wear bow ties. “They often comment on our ties,” Peter says. “Our ties definitely attract a positive response.”

“It’s not only the patients who like our bow ties,” Michael offers. “Woman often comment on my ties, and my girlfriend Elizabeth Kramer loves to buy them for me. A day doesn’t go by without getting at least one compliment on the bow tie I am wearing. Little did I know when I purchased that first red plaid bow tie from a thrift shop that I had signed on to a fashion statement for life.”

 

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