Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Ask Dr. Helen: How the Heck do You Carry a Wallet?

My PJM column is up:

Ditching a pocketbook for a wallet sounds like a great idea. But where do you put your chapstick and loose change?

The column describes how I hate carrying a purse, so I am turning to those of you who only carry wallets and asking for help. How do you do it?



Blogger Mercurior said...

I always have a coat with pockets, always, internal external, for my mp3 player, my phone, for some cough sweets, but i think men pair their lives down to the minimum. we need wallet, keys, and change. and a comb. i say to myself do i really need to take this with me.

6:22 AM, April 01, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Slacks with pockets are very helpful.
I carry a wallet in my left front pocket. Harder to get at without me noticing it in crowds, defeating pick pockets. Keys in my right front, cell phone on my belt. I can't imagine carrying around a purse. Too restrictive. How do you know you've forgotten something, or lost something without taking inventory? How do women carry purses?

I guess women just need more things than men when on the move.

6:35 AM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

I don't even have a wallet. What I have is a plastic ziploc bag with a few dollars, one credit card and my driver's license. I can see what is in there because it is clear and it's waterproof. The ziploc can fit in to a side pocket or be easily transferred to a backpack. Since I walk more than drive now I can put my ziploc, all my electronics, water bottle, sweater and umbrella in the backpack. I only use the purse for evening events.

The only problem with this setup is a store or museum will make you check a backpack, not a purse. Hence, I refuse to go to museums. My backpack will not leave my side.

7:36 AM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger KG2V said...

As others have said - in a casual enviornment, pockets are your friend. I'm one of those guys you see with cargo pants/shorts all the time, and for a reason, I get lonely without the pockets

My wife tends to wear a jacket, coat or vest that has pockets. For work, she'll carry a purse or a backpack (This is NYC, where a woman in a power suit with a nice smallish pack on the subway is 'normal')

In the summer, she'll carry a purse, or wear a hip pack. Joke? I carry either a BIG pack (it's usually left in my truck) or have a small (3x4x6) 'man bag" (let's get real - they are purses for men) mostly to carry my reading glasses and the meds/bandages I have to carry for a medical condition I have). Thing is, I can either put it over my shoulder, or it's small enough (just) to clip on my belt

7:39 AM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger Marbel said...

Women's clothing is (mostly) not set up to go purse-less. Think how much money would be lost by the fashion industry if they couldn't sell that necessary accessory!

I've given up and just carry a shoulder bag or use a backpack.

8:37 AM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger Tam said...

On purse-free wintertime days, it would not surprise me to find that my coat weighs eight pounds or so. I heart pockets, especially pockets big enough for a paperback book.

9:21 AM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger Bonnie said...

I'm a shutterbug who feels lost without her cell phone. Unfortunately, the style of jeans that I favor are not made with pockets that will accommodate even the smallest version of my camera and phone (not to mention the "mommy wallet" I have to hold all of my various discount cards), so I carry a purse. Sometimes (at school, usually) I carry a large one, perfect for stuffing full of snacks and drinks for the day (also useful at movie theaters, when I do go). When I'm out and about, however, I prefer to minimize my purse size as much as possible. I cannot, however, go anywhere without it (zip-top, sized to fit at my elbow with the strap over my shoulder for easy gripping). My sister's done it for years, but only because she wears pants that are much too large for her in order to obtain the larger pockets.

I thought I wouldn't need a purse if I didn't wear makeup. I don't wear makeup, and I still use a purse. How sad.

9:34 AM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

Marga Gomez, the comedian and actress, has a really funny bit about women not having pockets on their coats. It is worth finding as she is really funny. Lots of lesbian bawdy humour too, NTTIAWWT.


9:37 AM, April 01, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, this guy carries a wallet that I try to lighten of cards, etc. periodically in a front pants pocket. As was said above, the front pocket is less tempting for the pickpockets, or so I'm told. If I'm going out at night, a small Surefire flashlight next to the wallet in the same pocket. Keys in other front pocket. Cell phone in my jacket or in a shirt breast pocket. And that is it. No comb. No key chain with too many keys. I've been pretty good at holding the line right there. So far. :O)

9:48 AM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger Peregrine John said...

Interesting article, and right on the money regarding pockets, says I - along with marbel's excellent observation. Seriously, guys don't give a rip about a woman's pocket style, if we notice at all. I have to admit that I've asked myself most of the questions you asked, and discovering that women wonder the same thing is ...well, reassuring, for lack of a better word.

I blinked a couple of times at the "where do I put it?" list, though. When I got to the "various food" item I thought, "Well, there's the problem right there." Mercurior is right, regarding purseless living: you pare down to what you really need, or use other things to carry. For example, if you need gloves, you need a coat, and it's a sad coat that lacks pockets.

10:26 AM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

marbel --

To vaguely repeat what I posted at Helen's column -- sew. Modify or add pockets to your desire. It's very simple to do and do well.

10:50 AM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger Mark said...

I think you have to be minimalistic, which few women are prepared to do. Women tend to be more "prepared for anything" than not and so need a bag to carry the stuff around in, plus they need more primping accessories.

I carry a cell-phone, wallet, which is quite thin (money, pictures and 8 cards of various types) some change if I feel like it and keys (and they are a small set of keys: 3-car, 1-front door, 1-office door) and thats it

Anything else I need I either bring as needed or do without, its not like the average shopping trip is in bush country and you can't get a Kleenex from a nearby counter.

11:05 AM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger mean aunt said...

Very small card holder (came with the wallet) has license, debit card and one credit card. In a pinch I can shove my library card or insurance card in. Fits easily in front or back pocket of pants. Cell phone is bigger than wallet but fits in back pocket of jeans.

Any of those obnoxious loyalty cards I leave in the car--out of sight of course but it wouldn't be a problem if they were stolen.

The only time I carry a purse/shoulder bag is traveling so I can hide my giant camera so I don't look like a complete tourist target on the tube.

11:28 AM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger El Duderino said...

First off, learn to go without. The great thing about being a guy is that leave the toiletries in bathroom.
Secondly, one credit card, drivers license, pistol permit and five $20 bills ought to do for most outings, these fit easily into a slim wallet.
Thirdly, key rings should be a little steel spring ring, house, car and office keys and that’s it. No Garfields or plastic nativity scene key holders, no need to have every key you own either.
Wear a jacket, put your wallet in your pants' pocket - back pocket for everyday, front pocket if you are concerned about pick pockets, put your keys in your jacket pocket. Wearing a jacket also helps conceal a pistol, if you happen to be carrying one. You can also carry a small camera, cell phone, MP3 player, knife, pen, lip balm, extra magazines in your jacket as needed.
The problem with a purse is that once you start using it, you might as well fill it – often times with stuff you don’t really need.

12:47 PM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger Maxine Weiss said...

If you aren't carrying a purse, what do you do with your hands?

Hands dangling aimlessly. Don't you want to look more purposeful and intent?

1:24 PM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger Bruce Hayden said...

One solution that works fine for half of those involved when going out is to give the necessities to a guy to carry. This typically involves driver's license, a credit card, a couple of bills, and lip stick (if going out for the evening). I thought that it was sexist when I was first drafted into this, but then found that my mother had been using my father's pockets for years this way.

It has been interesting watching a teen age girl go through learning purse radar. Despite appearances, it doesn't always come naturally. And, then I watched the woman who had used me as her pack mule relearn carrying a purse due to a having to carry medical necessities (which also means that she can't carry a small one). Interesting from a male point of viw.

1:34 PM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

maxine -- Poise.

2:04 PM, April 01, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I carry a backpack style purse.

It's smaller than a real backpack, only 6-8 inches tall. It keeps my hands free. It has a drawstring opening under a flap, just like an old knapsack. I knot that drawstring. It has a zipper on the inside "back" part--the part that touches your back. I use the zipper to pull out my wallet or whatever. No one can easily steal from it because it would take effort to unhook the flap and unknot the draw string, and the zipper part is not accessible while being worn.

My husband makes me carry his chapstick and loose change. My guess is most men do this.

2:05 PM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger Alex said...

My keychain(mail key, home key, car key), and credit/debit/Costco card when I need it. 2 side pockets suffice.

2:27 PM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger Mercurior said...

i do carry a multipurpose tool (credit card sized) in my wallet, its got a small light, its got a bottle opener, 2 small screwdrives, i fasten my wallet to the loop in my pants, so even if someone tries to get it. they will have to rip my pants off, and that puts off everyone ;-)

3:09 PM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger Jack Steiner said...

The secret is to carry less junk. It is far more convenient and comfortable.

4:25 PM, April 01, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, my crackpot theory is that by default, men are hunters and women are nesters. Purses are just portable nests.

Discuss amongst yourselves...

4:32 PM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger Serket said...

I don't use a wallet, I just use my pockets. Perhaps it is safer or easier to use a wallet.

I didn’t have all of the things I needed such as various keys, my chapstick, stamps, my address book, my pepper spray, various food, gloves — and carrying spare change in my pocket drives me crazy.

I carry my keys in my pocket, I don't carry around chapstick, stamps, an address book or pepper spray. I guess you get use a concealed weapon instead. I don't mind carrying spare change, but I empty it out when I get home.

6:15 PM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

Keys (with a splitable chain so I can detach the house keys from the car keys) in the left pocket front pocket. For a wallet (in the right front pocket) I use a Body Glove pouch style cell phone case with a draw string.

I never liked the way it worked for the phone, so I carefully removed the Velcro strip on the back (for the belt) to reduce bulk -- it's a little taller than a credit card is wide and a little wider than a credit card is high.

The phone fits in that coin pocket in the right jeans pocket and usually any small amount of cash is in the right pocket, but not in the "wallet."

The glove compartment in the car holds any of that other extraneous stuff, or would if I had need for it.

6:28 PM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger Donna said...

Being a professional student, I have a back pack for all of my stuff. With that being said, I rented a locker at the library to store my stuff when I am not using it (lunch, for example). I bought a wallet that had a small card holder which keeps my debit card, university ID, and drivers license. Cash... I keep money on my university card (usable anywhere on campus including the vending machine along with several businesses in town-Arbys for example takes it) which goes in my front pocket. Cell phone fits in the back pocket and iPod is attached at the belt. My wallet has all of my other cards (like the credit card, and barnes and noble card, and the starbucks gift cards that my mom sends every month), check book and a spare $100 in cash in case of emergency. It permanently resides in my backpack and I only remove it unless needed. I also agree with the idea of the detachable key chain. House keys, separate from car keys, separate from the grad office keys, etc. It just makes life easier to have instant access to what I need rather than trying to prepare for the fall of civilization

9:12 PM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger Maxine Weiss said...

But at least carry something, so as to occupy both hands.

It's the best way to avoid having to engage in a handshake with someone whose germs you don't wish to pick up.

Is the traditional handshake still a standard form of greeting?

A good way to come down with all sorts of viruses, illnesses etc...

10:58 PM, April 01, 2008  
Blogger Peregrine John said...

Bugs. Dude. It's like a light going on: a portable nest vs. minimalist hunting equipment! How the heck did I not realize that ages ago? I mean, it may not actually be, but the whole discussion here fits the profile. Gonna remember this one.

10:23 AM, April 02, 2008  
Blogger Jack Steiner said...

Is the traditional handshake still a standard form of greeting?

Yes. If you don't shake hands, you risk offending people.

12:47 AM, April 03, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you carry nothing but a gun, you can usually get anything else you need just by asking for it. The same cannot be said of wallets or purses.

11:40 AM, April 03, 2008  
Blogger B. Durbin said...

I also have a backpack-style purse. I got it when I was having to take my lunch on location to various places and I wanted to have someplace I could stick lots of food in. Since I got pregnant it has been performing similar duty.

My essentials are always in the purse and consist of my wallet, my tiny little digital camera, and my glasses (fir driving and movies) in the main pocket, a lip balm, my keys, and a memory chip in small pockets, and whatever junk and paperwork in the other two pockets. Oh, and a small set of headphones and a converter jack. Yes, the headphones are used pretty often, as is the memory chip. My cell phone is in an exterior carrier that clips to the strap for convenience and for the fact that a ringing cell phone can erase photos on a memory chip.

One I have my kid, I've laid down the law: My purse will not be the Mommy Purse. There will be a separate bag for kid stuff or nothing at all. This is a direct reaction to my mother getting bursitis as a result of an over-heavy purse. In fact, someday I'd like to switch to a sporran (that bag that goes with kilts) because it's like a fanny pack with style.

My prior purse was little more than an elaborate wallet on a string. And yes, it had room for my glasses and cell phone, which were the bulkiest items there.

"Be Prepared" is all well and good, but prepare as though you're going on a backpacking trip, where weight counts, instead of a survival expedition with mechanical mules.

9:43 PM, April 03, 2008  
Blogger quadrupole said...

I have become a pocket minimalist over the years.

I now carry my cell phone, and a All-Ett European (an ultra slim wallet).

In my wallet I keep my id, a few credit cards, some cash, and *two* keys: one house key, one car key (both are quite thin).

I keep the credit card I use for day to day purchase on top on the left (the side I keep my car key on) and my id on the top on the right.

This arrangement carries a number of benefits:
1) I cannot leave the house without my wallet because:
a) I can't lock my house door without it
b) I can't drive without it.
2) I never leave my wallet anywhere because I can't drive without it.
3) I never leave my credit card behind in restaurants because if I do it's absence sticks out when I got to get out my car key.
4) I no longer have issues with keys poking holes in my pockets.

On the issue of change: I don't carry any. On the rare occasions I make purchases with cash and receive coins, I simply put them in my cars coin tray. On the rare occasions I need coins, I simply retrieve them from my cars coin tray.

It makes things very very simple and light.

12:53 AM, April 04, 2008  
Blogger Joanna said...

I haven't ever carried a purse on a regular basis. I wear jeans pretty much all the time, though. I have a small zippered cloth pouch I bought at Eddie Bauer years ago that's just big enough for my driver's license, my work ID, a couple of credit cards, my insurance ID card, and $20-40 in cash. That, along with the smallest and slimmest phone I could find (Motorola L6) go in my left front pocket. My office keys (3 keys) and a small Leatherman Micra (knife, scissors, multi-tool) go in my right front pocket. My car key also goes in my right front or rear pocket if I'm shopping or dining out...otherwise, it goes on my kitchen counter as soon as I get home or in my desk drawer as soon as I get to work. I keep a spare brush and toiletries at work and in my car. My house key (which I never use because I have a garage door opener) stays in the car in case there's a power failure. I have a small purse I can use when I have to wear slacks that don't have decent pockets and a backpack for when I'm out taking photos and need my photography gear.

4:57 PM, April 04, 2008  
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