He thinks you should use a handkerchief. No, he is not referring to what is rather euphemistically known as "facial tissue," such as Kleenex™, but rather to an old-fashioned cloth handkerchief, the kind your grandparents used. Well, at least Reggie's grandparents used . . .
Reggie carries a handkerchief with him most of the time, and he finds it most useful to have one with him. In fact, he cannot understand why the regular use of handkerchiefs has become something of a rarity in our society today. Even amongst polite people.
|A baker's dozen of white cotton handkerchiefs,|
recently purchased at Brooks Brothers
In order to qualify for Reggie's approval, handkerchiefs needn't be white, they needn't be expensive, nor must they be monogrammed or edged with lace. A plain, inexpensive cotton one with stitched edges will do very nicely, thank you. If one prefers not to carry a white handkerchief (unlike Reggie, who does, at least most of the time), one can find handkerchiefs in any number of appealing colors, including solids, patterns, and prints. A diminutive colorful bandana is perfectly suited (and sometimes preferred) to be used as a handkerchief when one is feeling in a country mood.
Just carry a handkerchief, please.
Reggie has heard many people say they would never use a handkerchief, as they consider carrying one filled with snot to be disgusting. Well, Reggie agrees, a handkerchief filled with snot is disgusting. But he is not suggesting that you do that, Dear Reader. If one has a horrible cold, producing a lava flow of mucous, Reggie believes one has no business being out in public but rather should be at home in bed, attending to such matters privately.
No, he is advocating that his readers carry a handkerchief with them when out and about, because he finds one to be a remarkably convenient and versatile accessory when he is out in public, away from the niceties and hygenic pleasures of his home.
While Reggie uses the handkerchiefs he carries to occasionally blow his nose or sneeze into, tasks for which they are admirably suited, he finds handkerchiefs to be far more versatile than merely being a receptacle for one's nasal effluvia.
When one is out on a hot summer's afternoon, a handkerchief is the perfect choice to mop one's sometimes sweaty brow, and a far preferable choice for doing so than using one's sleeve, a degraded practice he has seen engaged in by certain baser sorts in public during the warmer months.
A handkerchief is a most useful protection, too, when used to grasp something when one is in public that one doesn't particularly care to touch with one's naked hand, such as a grimy subway strap handle, or the knob of a door leading into a heavily used gas station restroom.
And Reggie far prefers to use a handkerchief when he is overcome by the sudden need to sneeze, which he frequently is in public, as opposed to using his bare hands, or the more recently advocated practice of using the crook of one's elbow instead of one's hands. He is not so sure that this development is an improvement on the former. But he is more than confident that neither of these options are an improvement over using a handkerchief.
Now some people might ask, "But Reggie, why use a handkerchief when a Kleenex™ (or similar) will do?" Because, Dear Reader, a handkerchief is sturdier than a Kleenex™, it doesn't rip apart, and it doesn't pill, all of which said Kleenex™ does. Also, if one inadvertently leave's one's handkerchief in the pocket of one's trousers, one is not then confronted with a disintegrated, wadded mess of what once was a piece of Kleenex™ when one reaches one's hand into such trousers after they have been laundered.
Others might also say, "But Reggie, don't you find carrying a used handkerchief to be rather unpleasant?" Well, Dear Reader, it is all a matter of degree. Just as I change my undergarments daily, so do I replace the handkerchiefs I use each day, so I can be assured of having a fresh one at hand. That is, after all, why one does laundry (or if one is very fortunate, that is why one has one's laundry done).
But I do carry a handkerchief, and I do use it, and I think you should too.
Tell me, do you?
Photograph by Boy Fenwick