Why Carry a Handkerchief?
Handkerchiefs are pretty handy (pun intended). When you carry a hankie, you don’t have to hunt across the oceans of mankind just to find a tissue. You can mop your brow with it when you’re sitting on the front porch drinking mint juleps. You can even use it to wipe away the dust and rain from your spectacles.
This habit and concept first became apparently applicable when I started living in Mexico. Here, on the daily, I am always walking the hot, dusty streets of Cuijimalpa, and it’s often nice to have something to wipe off the sweat and dirt off my face.
However, the best reason to carry a handkerchief has nothing to do with you. As my good friend the muse made very clear, it’s the chance to lend it to others that’s commends this practice the most. Be sure to have one in your pocket when you go to see a tear-jerker movie with your girlfriend. Sadly, I have not yet been able to implement this, but I imagine that when women are feeling vulnerable, they’ll really appreciate your offer of a soft hankie. It’s a gallant and chivalrous gesture. In addition to having a hankie, they prove to be less wasteful.
Getting Over the Germs
- A man should take a clean handkerchief each day, and launder as often as possible. It should go without saying that when offering a lady your handkerchief, it should always be an unused, clean one. You should probably tell her that when you hand it over, as to allay any fears she might have about what’s lurking in its folds.
- Grow up. You’re a man, do not fear your own germs.
How to Carry a Handkerchief
First of all, you can use a hankie as a pocket square, but do not use a pocket square as a hankie. Pocket squares are pieces of cloth that should be visibly sticking out of the breast pocket of your suit. They’re not appropriate for hankie use because they’re expensive; you don’t want to be soaking a nice piece of silk with your sweat.
So, typically a hankie is carried in your pants pocket, out of sight.
Handkerchiefs don’t have to be fancy. Just a plain white one will do. But there’s nothing wrong with going for ones with a little style. They generally come pretty cheap, so you won’t have to worry about giving them out to other people.