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Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

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September 27, 2004

Retro nosegear

John Derbyshire, a columnist in National Review, writes about the demise of the handkerchief. “These were once a mark of gentility and prosperity,” he writes. "When I was a kid I had one all the time, and made great use of it during allergy season.

“Yet nowadays the humble handkerchief is fast becoming extinct,” Derbyshire writes. “I still carry two handkerchiefs with me wherever I go, but it has been some time since I ventured to blow my nose in public, or saw anyone else perform this once-commonplace act. Nor can I remember the last time I got a pack of good linen handkerchiefs as a birthday present…”

A year or so ago I went shopping for women’s handkerchiefs for my aunt, who is so old she can remember Woodrow Wilson, and was told at Bon-Macy’s that they don’t carry handkerchiefs anymore. They don’t appear to carry men’s either. Try “handkerchief” on their website, and you get “handkerchief” halter tops and handkerchief skirts -- things that I had never heard of.

Almost the entire nation has converted to tissue -- which is fine if you’re sitting near a box. But tissue is simply not as handy as the old-fashioned handkerchief.

I thought, “I’d better find some on the Net while they’re available at all.” I did. I laid in my order, and await them in the mail.

Respond to Bruce

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Posted by Bruce Ramsey at September 27, 2004 05:17 PM



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