If you’ve ever stepped foot on the GDS campus, you’ve surely noticed Greg Dallinger in an impeccably color-coordinated outfit complete with a brilliant bow tie. You’ve probably also asked yourself: Self, what is the story behind this man and these awe-inspiring bow ties? I decided to investigate in this exclusive interview with the man, the myth, the gentleman and scholar himself! The interview has been condensed for clarity.
What’s the story behind your bow ties? How did you get here?
Well, when I was a kid, I was always the youngest person at all of the family gatherings. So as soon as my parents got me my first real tie, I would always wear ties. But I first started wearing bow ties when I was in grad school. I had been wearing normal ties for long enough that I was like, “Now it’s normal for somebody my age to wear ties to stuff. What’s the next step up?” I said, “Well, I’ve never tried wearing a bow tie before.” And now it’s kinda my thing, so I’m stuck with it.
How do you store them? Are they organized?
Actually, this summer, I got a vintage tie rack at a thrift store. Of course, I teach chemistry, and so my ties are arranged in the electromagnetic spectrum order. So I have ROY-G-BIV and then black and gray and white at the end.
How do you pick what you wear each day? How long do you think it takes you to get ready and pick your outfit?
Five to ten minutes. I don’t want to overthink it. There’s no hard and fast rules. It’s kind of like jazz; you just sort of pick the pieces that work together
Have you always been so color-coordinated?
And do you have a prized favorite bow tie?
Oh, absolutely. My periodic table bow tie is my number one. It was my first really expensive bow tie that I got—I think it was $50. Then, the other ones that I get the most compliments on are my two wooden bow ties. It’s just a carved wooden piece with an elastic neckband. If I don’t want to tie a tie in the morning, I’ll just put those on. But my favorite number one is the periodic table bow tie all the way. I’m pretty sure I wore it to my interview here when I interviewed for this job.
Do you have a fashion inspiration?
I mean, probably my two biggest fashion inspirations would be Bill Nye and [former health and science teacher Meg] “Blitz” [Blitzshaw]. I started wearing bow ties because, as a science teacher, that’s sort of a cliche. I don’t know if you remember Bill Nye the Science Guy, but when I was a kid, I watched it all the time—loved it. And Blitz, because Blitz is the one who brought the idea of Fun Pants Friday. I’m keeping Fun Pants Friday alive—even though Blitz isn’t here, it’s now my mission.
Is this how you dress outside of school?
No! Oh my, no. I only dress like this when I’m teaching. It’s always funny if I’m on campus in the summer or on the weekends when I see kids who are students of mine just pass me in the halls and they’re like, “What?!” I wear jeans and tennis shoes and sweatshirts—nothing noticeable. I get it all out at school, so.
Kind of an alter ego?
In a sense. Sort of go incognito. If I walked around like this all the time I’d kind of stand out, and you don’t necessarily want to put on a tie to go to the grocery store on Sunday.
If you’re going to the grocery store after work, do you get looks?
People notice. People notice.
Is there anything else you’d like to say to your bow tie admirers?
I would say, if you ever want to know how to tie a bow tie, all you gotta do is ask. The last school I taught at was an all-male school and, before formal season, guys would come to my office and be like, “Greg, I need to wear a bow tie to this thing but I don’t know how to tie it; will you help me?” And I’m like, “Yes I will.” So, if anybody ever wants to learn how to tie a bow tie or wear a bow tie, the more the merrier.