In Victorian and Edwardian times, a gentleman had to carry
two clean handkerchiefs every day - a show-er in the breast
pocket which was in fact designed to accommodate it, and
a blower in the trousers pocket.
As its name
implies, a show-er is for show only, but was available to
a lady companion, who would pull it out and use it in an
emergency. She would keep it and return it next day, washed
and ironed. A blower once used, should not be folded but
crumpled and returned to the pocket.
Both handkerchiefs had to be changed each day but, after
the shock of the Great War, the rule was relaxed a little
in that yesterdays show-er, if unused, could become
before the advent of paper and plastic bags, a show-er was
used as a shopping bag by some men, by tying or holding
the corners together, enabling a businessman to take home
fresh fruit for lunch.
new generations find it more convenient just to carry paper
tissues than cloth handkerchiefs.
When a towel is used in a guest toilet, it should be left
in a crumpled state to show that it had been used. At the
dinner table a guest must leave his napkin not folded, otherwise
it may suggest that he wants to come again.
Never give a handkerchief as a present as it may be taken
to mean for wiping off the tears.