#11 To tie or not to tie, that is the question

Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous neck tightness or to take a casual open-necked approach and by opposing end the suffocating usage of a fastened top button.
Or something like that…

As if it wasn’t insane enough already for this Luddite to start blogging in the first place, I’ve now decided to write a post on fashion. Dear Lord, help us all.

As a teacher at a boys’ high school, I’m frequently telling young males to tuck their shirts in and put their ties on properly, or at all. If they want to remove them to play basketball at lunch time so be it, but it should be back on by the time they’re in class again (yes it should).

I’ve definitely heard students complain and ask why they have to wear a tie in the first place and I’ve heard male members of staff give the following rationale: we’re training you.

“When you go into the workforce,” they’ll continue, “you’ll most likely be wearing a tie in the workplace every day and you’ll thank us later for having made it a natural habit for you.”

At this point some boy will pipe up and say that he’s planning to become a tradie so he shouldn’t have to wear one. He’s usually told that it’s a form of self-discipline and school pride and therefore he will benefit from wearing one also.

Being that I spend Monday to Friday surrounded by about 1100 young males wearing ties, I notice pretty regularly that clergy don’t do the same.

If you go to an early morning service, you’re bound to see a dog-collar. After that, it’s typically open neck.

And to an extent, I get that. There’s plenty of Sundays where I haven’t rocked up in my Sunday best and you should just be thankful that you’ve got me there at all. And yet…

I’ve got to be honest and say that I don’t like it. And I know exactly what HNAC Alison would think: Sloppy. Just plain sloppy.

And if this sort of no-tie-on behaviour was exhibited by a member of the clergy (perhaps even a high ranking one) on a special occasion such as a Christmas, Easter or a confirmation service, well…

You’d have just given HNAC Alison another reason why she wouldn’t be coming back again.

I know of times when people who don’t normally visit Church have had that very reaction due to a member of staff not wearing a tie. “They had no sense of occasion” was the assessment.

I sadly know what they mean. I’ve been at Christian weddings where I felt the clergy thought the day’s menu was to serve up comedy hour. As a Christian I cringed in my seat. As HNAC Alison I would be disgusted: ‘These Christians are just plain uncouth.’

She’d probably wonder how on earth you’d got her there in the first place.

You know I think I’m actually starting to like this HNAC Alison person. Probably because she indicates what runs through my brain. 🙂

But then I start thinking from a biblical perspective and that shifts my thoughts on the whole ‘to tie or not to tie’ discussion – but only to an extent.

A sentence from The Bible that frequently hangs around in my mind says this:
So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.

What that looks like in practice is going to be different for everyone who claims to be a Christian and applies regardless of whether they work for the Church or not.

I have to (and try to) do just that in my own workplace where I’m surrounded by people who don’t share my beliefs and are therefore, more inclined to be tougher critics.

It actually hurts when you feel like the clergy are given the opportunity to be a little lax on that front because their usual audience are trying their best to be gracious and accepting (and whatever other Christian values believers possess that lead us to turning a blind eye).

Sure, I understand if you’re a Rev who doesn’t want to wear a tie on a Friday night (unless the hipster look is in at your youth group) but when you’re in a job where you’re representing God, clearly self-discipline and “school pride” are part of the deal.

Does that mean wearing a tie or not though?
That is the question.

Yours in fashion,

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

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