Scenario – A man is paying for his purchase. He pulls out a stash of cash, several fifties, hugging twenties and tens. He holds the money out in front of him and then lifts it up to his eye level, as if unsure of the reliability of his eyes, or the notes he is clutching. He needs, it seems, the reliability of a greater light. He counted several fifties, twenties, generally flicks through his stack of cash, before deciding against using any of his prized notes to pay for his transaction.
He thrusts the note into his inner coat and digs into his left pocket, producing a cocktail of miscellaneous quirks: keys, cards, folded post it notes, crumpled tens or fivers and a number of coins, and stuff… In the end his purchase required a fiver and and some change and he had to thrust back his bundle of oddities into his strained pockets.
A friend, reacted to this story with as much vexation as I have ever seen her vent over men who disrespect women, or over black people who fulfil certain stereotypes and are too clueless or too lazy to want to prove themselves more than a statistic. It was more than a pet peeve. She stated categorically that a man without a wallet is still very much a boy. A wallet tells a lot about a man she said. A man without a wallet is not a man
But is she right? Is it that black and white?
I was less enthusiastic, either way, not because the virtues of a man carrying a wallet, or the eye-sore of not carrying a wallet e.g. the above described man did not bother me. Not that at all.
I remember quizzing my son on why he was so joyous when he got his first wallet. He wanted to be like daddy he said, like all the grown up men he sees at shops, on TV, whipping out wallets from their back pockets. He practised the motion, several times, getting better and bolder.
My husband, for example, has always owned a wallet, even back then when he had nothing to put in it. Back then, if he had, for example rummaged through pockets (as the man described), I would have thought it odd, perhaps.
I do not think, however, that I would have, at that time in my life, quit the relationship because of that. I cannot say for certain now what I might have done. And as dispassionate as I may be towards other men carrying a wallet or not, I wouldn’t, having now gained age and experience, be with someone who doesn’t have a wallet. It is quite simply unattractive.
Armed with my friend’s vehemence, I set out to ask 20 men what a wallet means to them and why they carried or didn’t carry one.
75% out of the men I asked owned a wallet. 40% of the 75% who own a wallet started carrying it from the age of twenty or above. A good percentage of them only started carrying a wallet after they started earning an income. 70% had been introduced to wallets by another male figure, a sort of father figure, and like my son, they attributed maturity and manliness a owning a wallet. A good number of the men who owned a wallet, had present fathers or male role models.
Of the 25% who didn’t carry a wallet, 10% didn’t see the point of it. The rest said they didn’t carry a wallet because they didn’t have enough to put in the wallet, or that they don’t have as much to keep track of, or that they hate sitting on them, especially with the tri-fold wallet.
We can argue that this is an ad hoc representation of this issue, and perhaps it is, but there is no denying that there is a trend on wallet carrying. Many articles have been written, and many conversations held on what a wallet says or doesn’t say about a man, referring to the material of the wallet. One thing I can say for sure, as a woman who owns a wallet: a wallet helps to organise your life.
Psychologist agree that a man who carries a wallet is generally more organised. And yes, better with finances. I knew it had to do with the money!