The Rain In Spain: III

A Recurring Study on the Etiquette of a Gentleman Through Examples in Modern Cinema
 Lesson #4: A Gentleman Packs a Handkerchief
It's as close to an all-out drug binge as I suppose I'll ever get. And yet no matter how many Claritan D's or Allegra 24-Months I kick back for a ride down the mucus express careening down the back of my throat, at speeds to revival the London Underground, they never cease to amaze me at the magnitude of their ineffectiveness at stopping their target. I speak of course, my friends, of the debilitating, bi-seasonal attack of the notoriously sinister terrorists known as allergies, from which I, like my father before me and I'm sure perhaps many of you, are unfortunate enough to suffer. And if you're like me, you've tried absolutely everything. From knocking back a regimen of prescription allergy pills to my personal favorite, the nasal douche--also known as water-boarding yourself. Nothing ever works, and so inevitably you find yourself sitting across the table from a group of individuals staring disgustedly at your pathetic and repulsive display of helplessness as you attempt to stop the ever-flowing mucus tempest from colliding with your delectable entree with a small, saturated tissue (I unfortunately speak from experience). Not your most gentlemanly moment.

So while there may never be an actual solution to this all-too-frequent besieging of our nasal cavities by such ravenous microscopic cretins, there is a way to maintain you gentlemanly dignity--and that is, the handkerchief.

For as long as I can remember, my father has carried a handkerchief wherever he goes. The product of a rural, Midwestern upbringing that simultaneously infused him with the manly know-how to be an expert at anything from carpentry to mechanics, my father is one of the few left of his generation that comes prepared to either hold a press conference or wrestle a grizzly bear on any given day of the week in his best business suit.  But it wasn't until recently that I began to heed his advice about always caring a handkerchief.  With a suit, in your work jeans--doesn't matter, the uses ALWAYS outweigh the drawbacks.  And if I could channel my former Marine dad for a moment, I'm pretty sure his top three reasons for always caring a handkerchief as a gentleman would go something like this:
  1. Have you ever seen Rambo?  You never know when you're gonna need a make-shift tourniquet once you've stitched up your latest gunshot wound. 
  2. It's always better to have a clean handkerchief to blow your nose into rather than having to excuse yourself from dinner every 30 seconds to fill up on wads of toilet paper from the restaurant bathroom.
  3. Take a note from Roger here, (Ok, he'd probably never use this example, but he'd like the concept) you never know when you might run into a tearful lady in need.
Now an argument could be easily made that the main reason I used this clip is because we recently added a Jack Russell Terrier puppy to our family and I cannot even begin to count the times a student has told me I look like Roger.  Large nose, lanky frame, pointed-toe shoes, fitted overcoat, and slim trousers.....I've been called much worse.  Unfortunately I can't say I met my wife through a canine intervention.  But if you're as suave with a hanky as Pongo's pet here, who knows?  Maybe your perfect lady is out there waiting to be pushed in a lake.


      1. I say old bean, I must disagree.

      2. Of course it goes without saying that impeccable hygiene is of utmost importance for the gentleman. Handkerchiefs should definitely be washed and disinfected frequently as the above article suggests. But I wouldn't worry about it being some horrible carrier of infectious disease as oppose to wadded-up pocket tissues unless you've picked up a case of something particularly nasty like malaria. In which case you have bigger problems.

      3. Easily forgotten lesson in modern times. You should do a post on your dad, a former marine who wears his best suit to wrestle a grizzly bear and carries a handkerchief to boot. Indeed!