Time to Swing Those Tassels! May 04, 2015 16:12

Of course, we're talking about the mortarboard cap tassel. Get your mind out of the gutter.

Apparently, there is an entire body of work related to the academic tassel. In 1895, a commission of professors (who had enough tenure that they could actually spend time worrying about truly earth-shattering things like which side of the hat the tassel goes on) created a standardized code. Since then, graduates have been subjected to cheap graduation gowns and tassels that are primarily suited for hanging from a rear-view mirror.

Tassel etiquette gets very picky about the side of the cap that the tassel is worn. Undergraduates begin the ceremony with the tassel on the right and move it to the left. However, when ceremonies are conducted outside on windy days, tassel traditions take a back seat to trying to keep ones mortarboard hat - which has strikingly good aerodynamic properties - from flying into the next county.

Here at Neurons Not Included, we celebrate graduation season with gifts for new grads and old teachers that actually have some practical use (the gifts, not the teachers). If you'd like something that your academic won't throw in the back of a closet, look around.