Student or Learner
But Dad grinned, and suddenly looked much younger and less like a guy who ironed his ties. “Actually, I was going to say it’s something you must’ve gotten from me. Grace always hated sarcastic comments.”
He really irons his ties or she means he's a fussy man or a single man?
It could be that, or it could mean 'brow-beaten and hen-pecked and domesticated' - especially in that context. The man seemed younger and more care-free than he had become. (In the words of the song 'Marry the man today/And change his ways tomorrow'. Me? Bitter? )
Hmm. I'm not so sure about "hen-pecked" - based on what else I've read of the story (I'm following Tinkerbell's posts so closely now because I want to find out what happens!) I think the mother isn't on the scene anymore. Although of course there could be a step-mother perhaps.
I also think that if that was the meaning, it might have been "irons his own ties" to emphasise that he was made to do it himself?
(And it's not that we want to change you, not exactly. Think of it as "polishing" )
One of my colleagues once said "You can take one look at him and know he's a man who irons his underpants." That line has stuck with me ever since.
Overly fastidious is how I read it.
I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.
There is no a step-mother; Tullia.