Monday, December 11, 2006

Real Men Carry Their Wallets However They Damn Well Please

Normally I enjoy reading Tom Purcell's columns in the Tribune-Review. He's a funny guy who presents an interesting take on whatever subject he happens to write about. Yesterday he had a few things to say on the subject of manliness. One or two of those things struck a nerve -- almost literally -- with me.

Tom tells us that the practice of carrying one's wallet in the back pocket -- specifically, the right back pocket -- is "hard-wired into male DNA". This is in reaction to a sales campaign for some kind of purse called the "Man-n-Bag". It's for men, you see. The advertising includes a testimonial from a customer whose back pocket wallet had been giving him a misaligned spine.

I know where he's coming from.

Roughly fourteen years ago, a couple of co-workers -- the sort of guys who never mind their own business, and are always eager to point out what they perceive as another person's shortcomings to his face -- started giving me a hard time because of my habit of carrying my wallet in the front right pocket. I had been doing that since I was a child. Not only was it a personal habit, but it is more secure than sticking it behind your ass. Is a pickpocket more likely to get away with slipping something from your back pocket, or sticking his hand down the front of your pants? I didn't feel like going into the details of why I carried my wallet the way I did, and decided to give their way a try just to shut them up.

Peer pressure can be fatal, or at least crippling. Within a few days, I was having trouble walking. I could barely climb in or out of my car. I was sure I was becoming stricken with some physically debilitating ailment that strikes without warning. Another co-worker, someone with experience as a masseur and physical therapist, advised me that the onset of paralysis may be a temporary condition brought about by the new placement of my wallet.

I could have killed those other guys. The wallet immediately went back to where I had been carrying it, and when one of the two jerks asked why I was doing that again, I informed him that taking his advice was robbing me of the use of my legs. No one ever bothered me about it again.

Now, does it make me any less manly because I choose not to subject myself to sciatica? I think not. Tom Purcell ought to try moving his wallet forward. It's good for your health.

At least he's right about one thing in this column: Purses for men are a bad idea. Even the fanny pack looks good by comparison.

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