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The Globe and Mail

Is it old-fashioned to carry a handkerchief?

A friend maintains that carrying a handkerchief is old-fashioned and that men under the age of 30 don't and shouldn't. Are tissues really where it's at?

Why would men under the age of 30 not need handkerchiefs? Do they not blow their noses?

And if they insist on using disposable tissues for every cloth-demanding task - a perspiring face, a drop of wine, a slippery champagne cork, a crying lady - where do they keep this wad of paper and what do they do with the soiled pieces? Do they throw out every touched sheet or do they ball them up and keep them, mushy and disintegrating, in their pockets? Don't be ridiculous. To be constantly shedding or storing cheap paper is inelegant, not to mention expensive and environmentally unsound. Every man or boy needs a fresh pressed cotton handkerchief at all times in his trouser pocket (not, as some archaic customs have it, stuffed up the jacket sleeve).

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Russell Smith's latest novel, Girl Crazy, was recently published. Have a fashion question? E-mail style@globeandmail.com.

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