Men don't have commitment issues. Not when it comes to wallets, anyway.
We will carry around the same genuine imitation leather carryall until there is more air than wallet enfolding our worldly goods.
That's when it's just getting broken in. Considering where we carry wallets, we need that well-worn tenderizing.
Most women I know carry purses - but hardly ever the same one for very long. They possess a whole fleet of purses in various sizes, colors and styles to swap out by outfit, occasion or for no better reason than they feel like it.
For a woman, a purse is a fashion accessory with function. For a man, a wallet is a security blanket.
Novelist Jonathan Carroll once remarked, ''Most men, no matter how well or badly dressed, carry overstuffed, beat up wallets that should have been replaced years ago. Why is that? Every time I see a guy take out a wallet anywhere, it looks like a piece of old melted chocolate cake-with strings.''
Why? Because we detest change. Worse is the very thought of unpacking one wallet and reloading everything into a stiff, fresh one. Since it won't have the same configuration of slots, nooks and crannies, to replace a wallet would mean having to actually sort through all those scraps of paper lodged in the crevices of the old one.
We guys make a hobby of joking about the amount of stuff our wives cram into their purses. We're worse. We use our engineering abilities to cram just as much junk into a much smaller space. Then we sit on it. Wallets are teeny, tiny suitcases.
I understand all this despite a rather embarrassing irony - I no longer carry a wallet.
I quit six or seven years ago on the advice of my chiropractor. My wallet was so side-heavy that it tilted my axis out of orbit. It was either jettison the pocket-sized backpack or enlist a second wallet as balance for the other pocket. I considered it. I needed the annex for the rest of my stuff.
I still have the wallet, of course. I may not carry it, but I'm still committed to it. The wallet dates back to the Truman administration, which is pretty impressive, considering I wasn't born until Eisenhower and had no real need of a wallet - I called it a billfold, then - until Nixon.
The wallet remains loaded with pretty much everything except cash, which means nothing has changed. Peeking inside was like searching for treasure in a compact scrapbook.
Foggy photos of high school classmates whose names also are a bit foggy. Pizza coupons that expired in 1981. Credit cards for defunct stores. Scraps of my college ID. Enough receipts to start a campfire, including one for a Slurpee purchased in 1972. Ticket stubs for ball games I don't remember. A mystery phone number that must be important but that I'm afraid to call because I never wrote a name beside it.
There are shirt buttons, paperclips, keys that probably unlock something, business cards, a piece of yarn (why?), a Monopoly playing piece (the shoe), and a list of things I was supposed to pick up at the grocery 13 years ago.
The heft of the old wallet felt good in my hand, like a well-oiled, well-used baseball mitt. I slipped it into my back pocket. Sweet.
With some rubber bands to hold it together, it would be good for another 10 or 15 years. Maybe 20.
It's how a guy defines commitment.
----- If that's your number in his wallet, let him know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or check the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.