6 Reasons to Carry a Handkerchief: A Visual Guide

by Brett & Kate McKay on February 16, 2012 · 126 Comments

in Accessories, Dress & Grooming, Visual Guides

{ 126 comments… read them below or add one }

101 Paul February 22, 2012 at 10:02 am

I’ve been looking through this blog for a few weeks, and I’m very pleased with the content promoting the lost aspects of manliness in our culture.

In my area I didn’t see many men carry a white hankie, and it was the one gentlemanly behavior I was never taught, so I didn’t think much of the reasons/benefits for carrying a white cloth in my pocket (other than examining evidence at a crime scene). This is one I will add to my daily habits.

I began using a bandana two years ago in my martial arts training once I saw the practical uses beyond the gang-banger stereotypes I grew up with. The little kids in class are always asking me why I have it tied around my head LOL. Forget the precut do-rags…be a man and learn how to tie a real bandana!…http://www.bandannaclub.com/Tie-Bandanna.shtml

102 James Hosler February 22, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Love the pictures. I did a quick search for “blood” on the full comments page and it came up a few times. In the part of my mind where much time is wasted, I have often imagined using a handkerchief to tend a serious wound until paramedics can arrive. Maybe one handkerchief isn’t enough, gentlemen.

103 Maxwell Church February 24, 2012 at 1:17 pm

My grandfather always told me; “a gentleman keeps the following things with him at all times; a handkerchief, a pocket knife and a safety pin.”

I don’t know how many times those items have come in handy, around the house, in the shop and in the office. I have been the hero of the day simply by being able to help one of the ladies in the office when she loses a button on her blouse. Or to help out when there is an open cut while searching for a band aide.

Great tips all over this site, i have forwarded several posts to my nephews and co-workers.

104 Eric February 24, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Oh man…it should be 7….. “to wipe your manly beard/moustache while eating or drinking”.

105 Matt February 27, 2012 at 12:21 pm

The man in the illustration for , “mopping your brow,” “blowing your nose,” and “offering to a crying lady” all look a little like Dean Martin.

106 Christopher Battles March 3, 2012 at 11:59 pm

-Putting down on ground to knee on and keep your pant knee clean
-Joining a gang
-Wrapping a wound
-Wrapping around hand if you need to brake glass/grab onto something

Thank for this.

K, bye

107 Ron Pawley March 5, 2012 at 2:15 pm

My father and grandfather always carried a handkerchief, now I know why. Guess I’d better start. I’m 61 so it will look natural.

108 Paul March 5, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Well, Matt. It could be that the artist based it off Dean Martin. These all seem like excellent reasons, especially the picture in the 4-5 o’clock position, hint hint. A handkerchief and pocket knife are something that EVERY man SHOULD be carrying. It’s amazing becuase after reading this website, I want to and already do more things on this website than any other males I know.

109 Miss C March 8, 2012 at 4:23 am

How wonderful! Having looked up some direction for an introduction, I found your site, and it was so fun and well written, I explored further. It still surprises me when a man doesn’t have at least a pocket knife; a handkerchief isn’t so common. The few times one has been offered (yes, I was crying), the gallant kindness did as much to dry my tears as the cloth.

As for the “feminist” issue, I believe women should be treated fairly in work and under the law, but I don’t see what this has to do with manners. I respect the differences between men and women, and frankly enjoy them very much! Most women, in my experience, appreciate a man with good manners tremendously. My young nieces (18-22), who are beautiful and talented, have never presented a date to our family who wasn’t polite. My nieces are young ladies, and behave as such. Manners are about respect, and apply to both men and women.

110 David March 8, 2012 at 11:45 pm

My dad said always wear a watch carry a pocket knife,pen(fisherspace pen) and a have a handkerchief and comb.

111 Daniel Kim March 9, 2012 at 12:29 pm

One thing that is not generally mentioned is that a handkerchief can be used as emergency toilet paper when you’re in a bathroom with no TP left. It’s happened to me a couple of times while traveling, and the alternative is definitely unpleasant.

112 Hide IP March 15, 2012 at 11:46 am

Now how about a guide on a proper place to put them. I mean, any sort of sweat wiping or nose blowing seems kind of unsanitary. Do you just stick it back in your pocket and wash it when you get home? Ewww

113 Sven Raphael Schneider March 16, 2012 at 9:02 pm

It can also come in handy when you need to touch something hot, like a pot…

114 Tommy October 5, 2012 at 9:59 am

It appears to be handy, though I will never get one. Why? Hygiene. Wiping your nose or blowing your nose and then using that same handkerchief to clean yourself or offer it to someone who is crying does not seem very clean.

115 Steve G. October 18, 2012 at 11:19 am

I carry two handkercheifs. One in my rear pocket to clean my glasses, and one in my left-front pocket for blowing my nose and rubbing the oil from my face. Also, I will toss out the front handkercheif by pickup on dog-poo if my best friend goes in front of witnesses. Ha!

116 Dave J November 15, 2012 at 8:22 pm

I never leave home without a cotton handkerchief in my back pocket. For nose blowing I tend to find a tissue, but the handkerchief comes in useful for those out-of-the-blue sneezes! The art of handkerchief carrying is regularly refolding and rotation of the exposed portions so that you don’t offer the crying lady a sweat- and snot-encrusted rag to wipe away her tears with. I change mine every two days. It’s mainly used for mopping the sweaty brow, but I’ve found countless other uses in the five years that I’ve been carrying one.

(love this site!)

117 Jack Henry December 29, 2012 at 10:09 am

I always carry a handkerchief and here is why. It was and is a Southern US tradition. I asked my dad and he explained: I man needs a white handerchief and a pocket square. If he sees a lady crying (and apparently southern ladies cry more than ladies in other parts of the US) he will offer her his clean white handkerchief. If , however, he has used his cotten handkerchief do not give her that by all means. He man then offers his pocket square which is surley clean and which he has at the ready. In either case, they are to be given for immediate use and returned by the lady the next time she sees him, cleaned and pressed. That is the story as I heard it.

118 Tim McCormick January 25, 2013 at 9:03 pm

My grandmother would always have a pile of clean, ironed, white cotton handkershiefs in her dining room sideboard. Her husband and all 6 of her boys wuold grab one each morning, and refresh throughout the day if necessary. My father carried one every day of his life, going back to being 6 or 7 years old. He always told us that a man should have two handkerchiefs at all times ; one for show and one for blow.

119 Mark Wiz February 2, 2013 at 6:43 pm

They do come in handy. Once a buddy of mine slipped, hit a table on the way down, and put a nasty bleeding gash above his ear. I grabbed my clean hanky, soaked it in cold water, and compressed it against the wound until help arrived.
And then there’s the Niles Crane–dust your chair maneuver!

120 Dan Srp February 18, 2013 at 8:49 am

I think “Drying your hands” should be replaced with “Making a Tourniquet”

121 Culper Junior February 18, 2013 at 9:03 am

Don’t forget waving goodbye to departing ships!

122 jerry February 18, 2013 at 9:37 am

Agree or disagree this article brought men together today…thanks for that. The bandana thing to me is an anti hero thing and I believe that the anti hero movement in the 60′s and 70′s along with “just do your thing” has helped destroy manhood in general. Only pirates and thieves wear a bandana.
The media is being used by those that want manhood set aside for their own selfish reason.
I am 65, a husband, father,combat veteran,realist and a worldly man. I have seen the demise of manhood since those in Hollywood decided to attack our version of manhood by portraying us as warlike and mean spirited. They are the bullies all the while calling true men the bullies…and it is working.

I enjoy this site immensely Thank you for starting it..This is an asset to the community of man.

123 Eric February 18, 2013 at 12:05 pm

The true & discerning gentleman knows not to offer said handkerchief for another use after blowing his nose or mopping his brow with it, or after employing it in any other sort of personal hygiene use.

124 FeatherBlade March 11, 2013 at 9:31 pm

I find that well-worn flannel makes an excellent handkerchief. It is soft enough to never irritate the nose (as paper tissues do) and it works better than other cloth weaves to clean smudges off glasses.

Mine came from a worn-out bed sheet that I’m making over.

125 SilverCrescent March 23, 2013 at 8:28 pm

Bottom Line; it is for a woman in need or to wipe of her seat etc….it is called being a Gentleman. I am 27 yr old from SC, and if our elders were not reminding us of the way a Gentleman behaves, then people like my 10th grade English teacher would HAMMER guys for not at least owning a handkerchief. The Youth today thinks respecting a women is clicking like on her facebook pic and the young ladies are not taught that they deserve respect.

126 Arlmedarl Cape Town June 27, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Oh my! how lovely, how special. I was looking for all the reasons why … and here are so many of them. My grandfathers, father, brothers, grandmother, sister have always used them. A gorgeous boyfriend I had many years ago always carried ‘two’, one for himself and one for a lady. Please keep the etiquette going guys ….

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