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Paul Galvin: A pocket-sized problem

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A wallet can ruin a perfectly good pair of trousers, says Paul Galvin, who prefers to keep his money around his neck

A pocket-sized problem

A wallet can ruin a perfectly good pair of trousers, says Paul Galvin, who prefers to keep his money around his neck

I haven't been out and about socialising for quite a while. It had become hazardous. Never know what class of confused creep you'll encounter at the bar counter.

I can't say I miss it. Flipping beer mats and pegging ice cubes was fun back in the day.

The one thing I miss a little, though, is the debate and discussion with the lads over a bottle of suds.

Not to worry, I have been discussing with myself the pros and cons of owning a wallet and its implications for men of style.

I could have done with the lads for this one: Eddie, Murph, Scruff, Keith, Red, Gus, Fitzy, Regi; we'd have had us a proper debate.

After much ado, I proclaimed to myself that the greatest pros to not owning or carrying a wallet on your person have to be never losing it, forgetting it or having it stolen.

There was very little ado about the assertion that wallets are utterly unfashionable for men. The lads would have to agree with me on that one.

It's true. Saying the word is hard enough for me, never mind producing one in public. I never carry one. Not for any fear of theft or forget -- my reasoning is purely aesthetic.

I care more for my silhouette than my documents. It upsets me to see a bulky wallet bulging out of a guy's pocket. Ruins perfectly good trousers, I say.

Form is not always temporary. I believe in sartorial form. Or, rather, sartorial uniformity.

A man needs a signature style. A pocket wallet is not ideal in this regard.

Unless it's a really slim one that you can slide into a back pocket or inside a jacket pocket.

At the moment, I keep my bank cards in what I could only describe as a plastic pouch. The one I keep my driving licence in.

Wallet lovers will point to their usefulness.

They say you can keep your bank cards, student cards, bank notes, ID and, if you're an optimistic sort, maybe even prophylactics all under one roof.

I say you're over-packing. I go out with just my bank card in tow. It's a practice not without hazards. I've broken a few. That's a con.

With that in mind, I've always looked out for alternatives to wallets. A few of my friends, none of the above, employ money clips. Quaint.

I haven't the discipline for them. Not on a night out, anyway. I can't see myself carefully folding money into my clip as I leave the counter.

It was in H&M Dubai that I found the answer to my wallet conundrum: leather wallets you can wear around your neck. Now that's useful.

This may be old news to some, but these wallets were just what I was after.

Being an Irishman, accessorising is something that's done solely in the gym on a bike, or on a rowing machine.

Wearing a leather wallet around my neck like a chain is different. It's useful. Sensible even. Functional? Definitely.

Stylish? That appears to be a matter of opinion. Some tell me they're the opposite of cool.

I think they're quite cool. Under a round-neck T-shirt or over a T-shirt with an open shirt, these will take you through many a day and night.

Or, if you're an Arab, over your dishdasha.

If you're a Paddy, you can take them on holidays, shopping trips, music festivals, nights out, weekends away... take your pick.

Women's wallets are a more convoluted affair. When I say wallet, I mean purse. A woman's purse is worthy of its very own article.

For now, I shall synopsise the otherworldly dimensions of a purse.

Compared with a man's definition of what a wallet is, a woman's wallet is a pharmacy and a fashion statement.

Cards, cash, compacts, keys, pills, lip gloss, nail file, receipts, used Luas tickets, hair grips, hair-dryers, spare knickers... God knows what else.

It's an endless cavern of cosmetic carelessness on the inside and Michael Kors on the outside.

While it's difficult for me to accept a wallet as being a fashion item for men, it appears they are. They're a necessary accessory.

From high street to design house, Urban Outfitters to Ted Baker to YSL, a wallet, it seems, is important to man and essential to woman.

You simply can't leave home without a wallet. Unless you don't own one.

Weekend Magazine