I had received the call the night before to go out to a Catholic secondary school in an industrial town east of Glasgow for a couple of days of work as a temporary teacher, and had sorted out my suit and ironed a shirt while preparing some materials that might come in useful.
However, when I arrived at the school promptly the following morning, the deputy head teacher there to greet me looked aghast.
Through a reddening face, he demanded "where's your tie?"
My hand went instinctively to my exposed neck.
"I didn't bring one," I replied, thinking not only was I about to lose a job before I had even started, but I also had wasted my time and money coming out to darkest Lanarkshire simply for deciding not to tie a patterned strip of cloth around my neck.
Instead he told me to go to the caretaker's office, where there was a spare janitor's tie with its own distinctive stripes and crest. For the rest of that day, confused pupils asked me why the new janitor was teaching them English. I wish I could say I didn't go back to that school after being so thoroughly humiliated, but the reality was I returned the next day wearing the only tie I possessed: the black one I wore to funerals.
As I've continued through my teaching career, I've worn a tie less and less and have been provocatively exposing the top buttom of my shirt for around a decade now. Originally, I had an excuse ready if my 'inappropriate' attire was questioned: I had a rash on my neck or didn't want a student to throttle me by pulling at my tie. Otherwise I would wear a jumper instead, but now I am ready to champion my 10 years in an open-necked shirt.
I've always found neckwear a literal and metaphorical restriction; not only do I not want to work with something tight round my neck, I don't think my clothing choices should be restricted to what my employers think is appropriate.
That I choose to dress in a way that coincides with what is considered to be smart I suppose is lucky, but I draw the line at a tie, symbolic of a noose round my neck or a yoke to be led by.
But what surprises me is that almost a quarter of a century after that school would rather let think the pupils their education was being entrusted to someone better able to fix the boiler than fix their spelling than have a teacher appear tieless, wearing a tie is still an issue.
As recently as 2014, the New South Wales education department issued a dress code for its 70,000 teaching staff, with male teachers expected to wear a shirt with a collar and a suit and tie for interviews with parents or award ceremonies.
The many proponents of wearing ties argue that it shows respect to those we work with and for, but surely respecting our students comes from our actions and not our clothing.
To be frank, is it more respectful to wear a dirty tie or one with a cartoon of Bugs Bunny on it or wearing no tie at all? I'm not that sure I want to show respect to someone anyway who has such a narrow view of society that views what I wear around my neck as more important than how I behave.
The other commonly heard argument in favour of neckwear is that if the pupils have to wear a tie then so should the male staff. I find this point of view equally ridiculous; we don't wear badly-cut trousers we have grown out of, showing off not only our ankles but also our shins, or jackets our mums bought us that we will grow into in a few season's time.
And if it was argued that in the interests of equality, female teachers should start to dress like school girls, supporters of this argument would rightly be accused of being perverts.
Male appearance is entering a 'relaxed phase', in the UK. It is almost as common to see a man unshaven than clean faced, and it seems everyone and their grandfather has at least one tattoo creeping out of a shirt collar or cuff.
Male bare necks are beginning to appear in more formal places, such as Parliament. As usual, education is behind the curve, but expect future dress codes to ban ties as being carriers of nasty bugs - not ideal when dangling in a student's face as a teacher leans over to correct work.
That's when the incorrigible rebels, such as myself, will start relearning how to do a Windsor knot.