The thunderstorm just passed and the sky began to clear as we sipped Chardonnay at a quaint cafe tucked away on one of Worth Avenue’s vias. As the steam rose from the drying cobblestone, I grabbed my napkin to dab the bit of moisture accumulating on my brow as I commented (bitched) about how hot it was for 6:30 at night.
When I put the napkin back on my lap, my lady friend said, “that reminds me, look what I bought today.”
She reached under the table to take out a nicely wrapped parcel bearing the name of the fine linen company that has called Palm Beach home for the past 90 years. “I bought a pair of Ferragamo’s too, but I want you to see these.”
Like a six year old on Christmas morning, she ripped open the aforementioned nicely wrapped parcel and showed off two handkerchiefs. One linen, the other silk, both with her first initial embroidered into the delicate fabric.
“I paid $46 for this one,” she said as she felt the fabric pass between her thumb and index finger. “The edges are hand rolled.” I shrugged my shoulders as if I was confused as to what that meant. “You don’t appreciate fine things,” she snipped.
While I do appreciate the finer things in life, like caviar served on a Ritz cracker with a schmear of Cheese Whiz, paying $46 for something to blow my nose in isn’t high on my “fine things” list. I’d much rather spend that money on a few new baseball caps since some of mine are in dire need of replacing. (Hint: send me one with your company’s logo on it, and spare me from wasting money. Email me for my address. Thanks.)
Our server reappeared with wine bottle in hand to refill our glasses. It was then when I realized that a cold glass of Riunite Lambrusco over ice would be more refreshing than this warmer-than-the-weather vino we were swirling around and sniffing like two connoisseurs of the finest Dago Red.
As she reached to unwrap the silk handkerchief, I stopped her. “I don’t need to see it. I think handkerchiefs are vile, disgusting things.”
The look on her face reminded me of the time I suggested she was a Republican.
I have a hard time trying to figure out at what point in time Emily Post was so high on whatever they got high on in those days that it became acceptable to blow your nose in a piece of cloth, fold it up, stick it in your purse or pocket and continue to use it over and over again as you go through the day.
My father always carries around one of these disgusting, germ filled rags. I remember once as a small boy, forcibly pushing him away when he went to wipe my face with the handkerchief he pulled from his pocket. I used to plead with my mother to toss them in gasoline and light them on fire instead of throwing them in the laundry to swirl around with other pieces of clothing.
Let’s face it, the ladies who lunch may find it fashionable to pull out a $46 piece of linen out of their $2100 Jimmy Choo bag while noshing on prawns in order to dab away the mucosa trying to escape their nasal cavity, but I find it repulsive.
Somewhere along the line, others shared my opinion and invented the disposable tissue that has come to be commonly known as the Kleenex. Use it once, toss it in the trash. Need another? A fresh, sanitary, unused one is waiting for you. Unlike the handkerchief, which is used time after time throughout the day to catch nasal drippings, a loose crumb in the corner of your mouth, a dab of stray lipstick, or to remove a bat hanging from the cave, the Kleenex is one and done. The handkerchief, on the other hand, is put back into a purse where it takes on a life of its own transferring germs, that could have been in a trash can, onto other belongings like keys, a wallet, a lipstick tube, etc.
Just the thought of it, sends chills down my spine and a rumble through my lower intestine.
By the end of the day, this fine piece of linen is holding more germs than a cat’s litter box.
As I expressed my opinions of the handkerchief, I wasn’t making any headway into convincing her to use it as a decorative accessory rather than an expensive snot rag. I pleaded with her to opt for a Kleenex if she needed to use a handkerchief when with me.
“Isn’t the monogramming nice?” she asked.
I agreed, asked for our separate checks and suggested we go back to the linen shop.
“I’d really like to see if they have reusable toilet paper.”