|Ye without snot, sweat or grime|
may cast the first stone.
It's rare that I have to defend a classic accessory against the modern world. Most people, even those without sartorial flair, can recognize that the garments and embellishments from yesteryear are vastly superior to the stylings of today. However, on numerous occasion my cognizance of hygiene has been called into question over the simplest of linens to be found on my person: the handkerchief.
In its purest form, the handkerchief is no more than a square of fabric, rolled at its edges to prevent fraying and to give the look of a finished trimming. Nestled into the back pocket of a pair of trousers or peeking from the breast pocket of a jacket, it is possibly the single greatest display of form and function found on any gentleman. Unfortunately, society has scoffed at its use and stigmatized its patrons as nothing more than snot smugglers.
The handkerchief's main purpose is no longer as a "snot rag", as my unapologetically blunt grandfather would have stated, but as a utility piece in the gentleman's arsenal. In this day and age, kleenex, toilet tissue, paper towels and other disposable paper products are readily at hand for the discharge of whatever is stowed away in the caverns of our schnozes. I however, still like to carry a clean, pressed hanky on me at all times (as well as a pocket square, which should go without saying) as a measure of preparedness as well as a sign of class.
When one looks past its mucus stained reputation, a handkerchief becomes a multi-tool of personal polish. It is a safe guard against an occasional runny nose brought on by the elements of winter. Its cool cotton swipes away the beads of sweat on a muggy summer day. Its cleansing quality creates clarity on a pair of smudged sunglasses or rids hands of unwanted grime. And, perhaps most importantly, its soothing touch can comfort a sniffling lady or rid her of that trickling tear.
As a rule of thumb, just remember this: The one in your pant's pocket is for you, the one in your breast pocket is for her. Washed often and replaced yearly, the handkerchief can and should serve a purpose in modern life. With proper use, it can keep you clean and your footprint green, all while staying pearly white.
Put down your slings and arrows and judge me no more. Viva la hanky!