Phone, Wallet, Keys

by Bob Schwartz

It would take a million pages just to start talking about the differences between men and women. Here’s just one.

Many of us run through a checklist before leaving home for the day. Whether you are forgetful or just overloaded with thoughts, this is a good way to avoid inconveniences and annoyances.

The simplest checklist in these times is “phone, wallet, keys.” This is elegant and practical. Missing any one of these can be a problem, but the other two can help solve it. Missing all of them is a big problem, with a lot of downside, and nothing up.

In most cases, men have pockets, and they often use these pockets to carry things. And, not coincidentally, three primary things are phone, wallet, keys. The checklist doesn’t have to be mental. A quick self-pat-down does the trick. This can take literally a few seconds, and is minimally invasive.

Women may have pockets, but frequently they do not carry much in them. Many women carry some sort of handbag or shoulder bag for items such as…phone, wallet, keys, and more. They may use the same bag each day or day part, but they also may change bags for style or size.

This makes the morning checklist for women complicated. Even when care is taken to make sure that a bag includes the essential items, there is no true certainty until the contents of the bag is inspected. No pat down is available. And then, there are multiple bags, so at any moment, the phone may be one place, the wallet another, the keys another.

As with all the differences, we can’t over generalize. And we can’t fix—because there’s nothing to fix. We celebrate the way things are, even when—or especially when—that includes the occasional missing essential. As much fun as it might be to pat down your favorite woman, completely aware that her pockets are empty, you make do with a very short and sweet, “Got everything?” Which whether it works or not, does say it all.