Friday, 18 November 2011

In Praise of Handkerchiefs

I felt well enough to go to work Tuesday, so I did, well stocked with handkerchiefs. And as I was fishing one out between calls, my neighbor remarked that they were something you don't see often anymore.

That's true. I only got into them a few years ago, but I'm hooked. It was my brother who started it actually. He started bringing them when he needed them while haying for a neighbor one summer. Easier to carry on the field than a box of kleenex, and doesn't shred getting stuffed in pockets. But he said he noticed that his nose hurt less also, after a day of blowing it. Mom and I took up handkerchiefs shortly afterwards, and haven't left off.

I know some people will think it's kind of gross, and why not use kleenex you can use and toss? As far as I'm concerned, just about every aspect of the handkerchief function outweighs kleenex.

Less mess: Handkerchiefs don't have a risk of giving way when damp and leaking all over your hand.

Less waste: I remember a cold used to mean the bedroom garbage filled with soggy kleenex. And worrying about whether the box would last the day, and the possibility of having to hunt up toilet paper as a substitute. Or hunting frantically in your bag only to find the only kleenex left are half shredded and useless. Now a cold means a few more squares of cotton or linen in the wash. I have 4 or 5 and they will last me for years, and can be stuffed in my bag with impunity. And they won't be ending up in a landfill anytime soon.

Less pain: What my brother noticed, that the handkerchiefs are easier on the nose than kleenex, seems to be true for me as well. Used to be the routine during a cold, to paint my sore red nose with Ihle's paste at night, which was sticky but helps a lot. I haven't needed to do that lately.

And I can make and even decorate my own handkerchiefs if I want. Think of all the old patterns for lace trim and embroidery, and stories where monogrammed handkerchiefs play a part. No one would ever wax romantic over a dainty kleenex!


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