A discussion on Wordcraft pointed me to, "What ten things would a stylish man have in his wallet?" According to Elaine Szewczyk, he'd have matches, a toothpick, a safety pin, a business card from a local florist, a library card, a $100 bill, restaurant recommendations, a mint, a driver's license, and a picture of parents.

I tried to read Elaine's reasons as though they were intended to be humorous, but there are enough sensible lines in there to suggest that she's really trying to give good advice to guys. Once you've read her notes on the library card and $100 bill, you'll understand why her list demanded my parody.

Here are the same 10 items, but with a more realistic assessment of why they're necessary.

Guys, keep these ten items in your wallet. You never know when you'll need them:

  • Matches. Channel your inner Guy Fawks. Even if you don't plan to wreak havoc with national monuments, matches are a great item to keep on your person. You'll be grateful at the next party when someone calls for the big blue flame.
  • Toothpick. Of course no one's asking that you pick your teeth in public, but you have enough je ne sais quoi to do so without being asked. The toothpick is an emergency item, the kind of thing that will prove useful when performing emergency eye-surgery.
  • Safety pin. Like the toothpick, this is for emergency use only. If a friend has set you up with an "interesting lady" and neglected to tell you she's into body piercing, a stylish man will be ready to adjust his appearance at a moment's notice.
  • Business card from a local florist. Let's face it. With as much style and as little substance as you have, you're going to need to apologize pretty often.
  • Library card. Why bother reading a lot of books and being an entertaining conversationalist when you can flash a free card and pretend you're the "still waters" type.
  • $100 bill. A $100 bill is a reminder that you're always going to be offering what you can't deliver. Your attitude is bigger than a street kid with a new handgun. Pulling out the occasional hundred is an image-maker's secret weapon. It shrugs and says, "I haven't got any small change. Can you pick this one up?"
  • Restaurant recommendations. A stylish man knows his way around town. He's been there and done that. A date may twig to your lack of restaurant knowledge on the third visit to the same Hooters, but it's rare you'll ever get to a third date with anyone that smart.
  • Mint. Well, actually the key to your own private mint. That's how much money you'll need to keep them coming back for more. If you don't have it, you have nothing.
  • Driver's license. No matter how you look at it, the ability to consume your planet's non-renewable resources is what distinguishes you from dumb animals. Driving your SUV when walking would have sufficed is all a matter of style. Show your confident disregard.
  • A picture of parents. Most girls realize that one day you're going to end up looking like your father. Of course you're stylish. You can't choose your relatives but you can fake their identities. (Faking identities only works if you never have to reveal your actual family. If you're looking for a long term relationship, you've already read far too much of this style guide.)


Hahahaha! That's great, Virge :)

$100 bill story: in the United States, where all the damn money looks the same, I once went into a McDonald's for a coffee and sarnie. "Two dollars," says the girl behind the counter. "Okay--one, two," I count, except it's really "One, a hundred and one," because I am too tired to spot the difference. So I hand this to the girl and start stumbling out, coffee already raised to my lips. I'm JUST going out the door, when I hear frantic footsteps behind me: "Ma'am! Ma'am! This is a hundred dollar bill!"

I must say, I was impressed. A lot of folks would've kept that.

/irrelevant story.

Those had me in stitches, though. Very amusing.

Beyond the humour of the parody, the sad part is that style (read: superficiality) is probably a clear winner when it comes to human sexual selection criteria. That saddens me because I'm still foolishly clinging to ideas about human evolution having been influenced by selection based on intelligence. It's too easy to look at the explosion of knowledge over the last few hundred years and conflate that with old dreams of enlightened utopian destiny. On an evolutionary scale, human intelligence has only increased because of its value in social manipulation and deceit: how to get more with less effort.

It's stories like your $100 bill one that remind me not to let my cynicism take over. If we can live and work in a sociopolitical environment that doesn't foster fear and mistrust, then the cooperative and caring parts of human nature will show more often.

If it makes you feel any better, I lost all interest in a most stylish fellow last year when he couldn't hold up his end of an argument. I think I was chatting to you on ICQ, at the time, in fact--or maybe that was someone else. Anyhow, it was driving me nuts, the amazing leaps of illogic this fellow was making. There were no more dates after that.

Some of us still do prefer a bit of substance. (We end up old maids, though, living with giant rats. Ha, ha.)