My grandfather, as I am sure many grandfathers do, always seemed to carry a handkerchief. Typically, I would see him pull it out to wipe his nose, or actually blow it (shudder). Always seemed weird to me, and I never understood it.
And then I happened to put one in my briefcase and it came in handy — a fair amount. And my youngest daughter will tell me “this is handy, you should always keep these for me.” So for the past ten months I’ve been carrying a handkerchief with me whenever I leave the house, wondering what good it could be. And these are also very popular in the everyday carry (EDC) community, so I wanted to figure out what the draw was. Here goes…
First and foremost, it’s kind of gross. I don’t think there’s any way around this. With tissues they are disposable so you can get rid of the gross ASAP. But with a handkerchief you are carrying it with you until you get home and wash it. So yeah, gross. I don’t blow my nose in mine, but I have more than once wiped my nose with it — and there’s very little distinction there beyond the psychological aspects of there feeling like one is slightly less bothersome. My wife thinks it is gross, but then again, if it is clean it bothers no one and they see it as super handy. So good times.
But Yet Cleaner
When I first came to a point where I could either wipe my nose with the handkerchief or not, I realized something which made the whole event less gross. That is there is no avoiding needing to wipe your nose. You can let the snot run out, you can wipe it with your hand, a sleeve, or run around trying to find something else to use.
What I’m saying is that your options are limited, and I think the entirety of the people around you would much prefer you wipe your nose with not your hand, so a in many ways I think a handkerchief is a solid move. So gross, but you know, kind of better.
It’s also way better than watching your kid wipe their nose or hands all over their clothes. Much better. Like, a lot better than that.
My biggest concern was over how easy it would be to carry yet another thing in my pockets. And as it turns out, if you buy a small enough handkerchief it’s fairly easy to carry one around. It can also act as a nice bit of padding in your pocket, instead of feeling that slab of glass in there.
While some of the larger ones are simply too bulky. I’m a front pocket guy with everything, but that is complicated with something like this, it really should be in a back pocket all by itself.
The first few weeks I thought this was a pointless excercise. Then I started to kind of like it, but still questioned my own sanity. Now I really like carrying one.
Not everyone will need or want this. Many might want a handkerchief solely to wipe sweat from their brow, or wipe their hands clean. But I have allergies, and generally nasal related issues, and I always have. Carrying tissues is nothing new for me, and this compliments all of that well. But even then, I still don’t find myself needing it daily.
But when I do need it, or more likely when my kids need it, I’ve become a very big fan of carrying a handkerchief, and you should give it a try too. If even only in your backpack.
Hard to Find
These are actually fairly hard to find. Because what you don’t want is a bandanna, those are too large. You want something ideally about 11” square. I’ve had the best luck finding these from Urban EDC Supply, and Fox Hanx. Be sure you are not buying pocket square, as they are similar but typically not as soft of a material.