Most guys would not be willing to walk around with an orange in their pocket. But ask the average guy on the street to show you his wallet.
In most cases, it will be about the size of an orange or at least some other bulky citrus fruit, stuffed with all sorts of paper and paraphernalia that range from necessary to “what the heck is that doing in here?” We tolerate this bulging, unsightly object because we have allowed ourselves to believe we can’t get along without it or the important stuff inside it.
Since men generally are unwilling to endure the convenience\agony of carrying a purse, the wallet becomes the next-best repository for things that might come in handy. Women don’t have to be very careful about what they put in their purses unless, of course, it’s a gun or negligee or something along those lines.
Unlike purses, most wallets are not equipped to carry lip balm, makeup, hair brushes, a cell phone, another wallet, breath mints and old tissues. Men must exercise some discretion about what goes into their wallets.
But not much. As noted, most men’s wallets are like Swiss Army knives, chocked full and ready for any emergency.
Wallets can get so thick that they actually cause severe back and hip pain for men who carry them in a back pocket. Men will go to the doctor complaining of those symptoms, and the doctor will ask where they carry their wallets.
Diagnosis: fat wallet. Prescription: Put it in your front pocket.
I have been carrying my wallet in my front pocket for years. But I recently decided to see if I could make it slimmer.
Logically, the way to do that would be to take stuff out of it. But what if I removed something I might need in a hurry, like my library card?
Realizing that I hadn’t used my library card in about a decade, I resolved to do an inventory. The wallet, predictably, contained my driver’s license, a couple of credit cards, insurance cards, some business cards and a few (too few) U.S. dollars.
But in addition to the library card, the wallet also was a warren for various coupons, my AARP card, my voter registration card, a book of stamps, a few blank checks for places that won’t take credit cards, directions to a store, several of those little rewards cards from pharmacies and grocery stores, some receipts, another highway assistance card, a card that will entitle me to a free sandwich once it’s filled in with smiley faces, and my list of good but cheap wines.
Time to cull. The only items in my wallet now are my driver’s license, credit cards, insurance cards, three rewards cards and cash. The rest will go somewhere else.
But I also decided to go a step further. I would get a skinnier wallet.
You’d be amazed at the selection of wallets that claim to be the thinnest wallet in the universe. Some purveyors feature videos showing how their wallets, even when filled with numerous credit cards and cash, still are thinner than an old-fashioned wallet when it’s empty.
You have a choice of a minimilist wallet, one with slots for only a driver’s license and two credit cards, and a money clip on the outside. It’s about the size of a communion wafer.
But other wallets still are very thin when full but are more forgiving about what you can put in them. I opted for one called the “Big Skinny” with leather on the outside and space-age materials on the inside.
And it’s big but skinny – only about a quarter inch thick when full – and rounded on one end to fit in a front pocket. So far I love it.
Unfortunately, I haven’t slept well since I got it. I have this recurring nightmare.
I’m in the library ...
James Werrell, Herald opinion page editor, can be reached at 329-4081 or, by email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.