The life of a necktie has but two conclusions. Most are thrown away when their width no longer pleases the eye due to changing fashion, for, unlike other clothing, I am not aware of a charity on the face of the earth that knows how to put out of style neckties to any worthwhile use. And, there being no effective way to remove stains, the rest come to a premature end during a meal.
That said, I am coming to believe that certain ties are more likely to die prematurely than others. I usually go years without destroying a tie but in 2013 I have already ruined two light blue garza fina grenadines in consecutive months. And I would put that down to coincidence had the same thing not occurred to two of my irreplaceable-in-the-short-term solid wine twills. Worse, the latter catastrophes occured in each case on the first wearing. It may be that I am simply becoming sloppier as I age, but I guarantee that I will not be tempting fate with a replacement of either design again.
Unfortunately, there does not appear to be a way to judge the propensity of a particular necktie to attract spills and so we are left with preventative measures. The best way to protect a tie from stains is of course to remove it before the meal, but neither that nor throwing the thing over the shoulder strike me as very well mannered. I am instead resolved to take my future meals wearing double breasted jackets exclusively, and to keep them buttoned while I eat. As the photograph makes clear, that leaves little of the tie exposed to harm, and furthermore what is in sight is somewhat shielded by the chin.
In the photograph, a red dots on white necktie that has stayed clean so far.