They call it the Big Skinny, and it sounds catchy for a beat—but, really, it's just a clichéd name for a lesser-than wallet, which is too bad, because if you came of age in the late '70s, you really want to like a nylon wallet.
The late '70s were the first—and one of the last—periods in our nation's history when a guy could unironically wear a puka shell necklace, a Lightning Bolt polo and tight-ass corduroy shorts with a nylon, Velcro-closed wallet in the pocket. And? A huge, banana-handled plastic comb in the same pocket—fitted inside the wallet, so no one would swipe it. Those were the days, so now any wallet made of nylon instantly returns us to them, even if it doesn't have Velcro keeping it closed or the Edlebrock logo screened on the side.
Nylon-y. Photo by Tenaya Hills
Anyway, the Big Skinny. It's a wallet, made of nylon, with a tiny plastic oval glued to the front with the name on it. Comes in colors: a dark navy blue, a tan and probably some others. And it's supposed to serve as some kind of relief from that leather-bound brick of baby pictures and receipts that so many of us have in our hip pockets: as a weekend wallet, a sports wallet, a travel wallet, a nightclubbing wallet. As something you'd carry when you don't want to carry all your stuff.
Except we need all that stuff. And the Big Skinny has just two main pockets, two crevices and one money pocket inside, rendering it impossible as a travel wallet. And as for its other potential uses, there's just one other huge problem: guys.
Guys carry wallets, and they're the Big Skinny demographic (not women). But guys—and I speak from experience—never buy wallets (see also: underwear, socks), and we rarely change our wallets, unless they're on fire or disintegrating. Our wallets are part purses and part time capsules, and we never think about them so long as they work. If they don't match our outfits, that doesn't matter. (In that respect, they're definitely unlike purses.) We might drop our wallets in the toilet (it's happened) and we'll stick them right back in our pockets after they dry out.
All of which makes the notion of a new wallet that doesn't hold anything just that: a notion.