During my time at the Lynn News, I have been part of a gradually diminishing group of people – the tie wearers.
At the papers I worked for before coming here, the tie was a universal part of the attire for the men of the office.
Yet, even when I arrived here, there was roughly a 50-50 split between the tie wearers, including me, and those, including the then editor, who didn’t most of the time.
Over the years that balance has shifted away from me to a point where, after our esteemed editor and fellow Purfleet columnist Mark Leslie ditched his own tie last week, I was left as the last tie wearer in the office. None of our senior bosses wear them either.
So, should I follow the crowd and drop the tie too? Or should I carry on regardless and keep wearing them?
The thing is, I’ve got two main problems with not having a tie on at work. One is force of habit. I’ve worn a tie almost every day at school or work since the age of 11 and always feel like I’m not properly dressed if I haven’t got one on.
In the days when I covered boxing, I remember mates ribbing me for always turning up in a suit and tie. But I always thought it was a matter of standards.
In one of my previous jobs, I remember hearing a local businessman who said he wouldn’t do business with our managing director, who didn’t wear a tie, because he was, in his view, “too scruffy.” I’m also confident that my mother would consider me a disgrace if I didn’t wear one.
The other problem is the extent of my self-confessed tie addiction. I’m better at not buying them than I used to be, but I probably still have enough ties to wear a different one every day of the year if I wanted to.
I have ties for my football team, for cricket tours and other sporting occasions. I have regular ties that I wear at least every other week and ones that only come out of the wardrobe on special occasions. If I’m not going to wear them, why have them?
But I’m sure there isn’t a man alive who hasn’t felt like they’re being strangled by their tie at least once.
And what’s the first thing I do when I get home at the end of the day? Take my tie off.
Is that because they’re uncomfortable or is it some sort of subconscious admission I’m only wearing them at work because it’s what I’ve always done?
Ultimately, it’s a simple question – tie or no tie. But I haven’t got an answer for it, so I’m opening it to the court of public opinion.
I want to know if you think I should leave the tie off permanently or keep up standards by wearing them regardless of what the rest of my colleagues do.
Email me (email@example.com), Tweet me (@arwebbln), stop me in the street if you really want to. Do ties matter any more? Or should I keep my mum happy and keep wearing them? I’ll leave it up to you.