Sunday, July 1, 2012
If you are watching the Euro 2012 final, you will notice that Italy's coach, Cesare Prandelli, has tied his necktie so that the rear (skinnier) blade is longer than the front one. I suppose this is what Baldassare Castiglione, in his Book of the Courtier, called "sprezzatura", or "a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it." The Italians are famous for it. The most common version is wearing surgeon's cuffs and leaving some of the buttons undone. Necktie blade shenanigans are also frequent. Sprezzatura is a fine line, and as usual, the most important thing is being confidently blase about it, but when you're on international television, it starts to seem suspiciously contrived.