a handkerchief can come handy on so many occasions?
readers have asked about handkerchief (other words used are
hanky, hankie, etc.)
etiquette. In the west, the use of a handkerchief has
almost disappeared unless as an accessory in the pocket on
special occasions. While I have seen many women (and
some men) carry a pocket of tissues (which are very popular
in Japan and are typically given away for free by companies
outside train stations and on major crossing that advertise
on the packet), it seems that in Asia, using a handkerchief
is far more common.
Why carry a handkerchief?
- If you think you will out in the open for
too long and may not have ready access to a bathroom, a
handkerchief (for formal
situations) or a small hand
(if you are going to hike or workout or be outdoors) are a
must. That way you can use it to wipe yourself if
you sweat or if you end up washing yourself in the open.
- While many people may know this but let
me repeat - no matter in what culture you are, it is
simply not a good idea to blow your nose into a
napkin. What I suggest is that if you need to blow
your nose and rush to the nearest bathroom. You
should always blow your nose in your own handkerchief and
be as discreet about it as possible. You should do
the same after sneezing.
- In many poor countries where public
restrooms do not have paper towels or tissue paper, you
will find that having a handkerchief is very
helpful. Similarly, if you are traveling in an area
where you likely to experience a lot of dust, you can use
a handkerchief to cover your nose so that you do not
breathe a lot of dust particles.
- Use it only once. As soon as you
can, please change it. If possible, carry more than
one, particularly if you will be gone for several hours or
if you have a cold.
- While silk handkerchiefs are great for
style, it is best to have a cotton handkerchief for
actually using it.
- There is no rule that men should carry
only dull, white handkerchiefs but it is generally
expected that men will not be using the types popular
among women (frilly, flower-patterns, feminine colors,
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