Obvious point: it's a mnemonic for men to make the sign of the cross.
As a woman you could replace testicles with ovaries but I'm not sure what you'd do about the wallet.
I know it as "...wallet and watch" and like the scansion of this better: I'm assuming that there's no rule that says you have to make that horizontal in either direction? In any case, I wear my watch on my right hand...
I suppose the horizontal can go either way. I don't wear a watch but I do carry my wallet in my right hand trouser pocket.
I think, when originally coined, it referred to pocket watches, rather than wrist.
If it's been round a while that would have to be the case.
When did wrist watches come in? Early 20th century?
Yep. I think they started to become used by the military in the late 19th, and then took off following WWI.
That makes sense. I'd been thinking something similar about the wallet - that I'd been thinking of it as being in the breast pocket.
I, too, have always heard it as "wallet and watch," which definitely has a better rhythm to it than the reverse. I've always presumed it dated back to Edwardian times or earlier, in that it seems to assume that you would be carrying your wallet and watch in opposite interior coat pockets at more-or-less nipple level.
I first ran across it as a Jewish joke- told me by a Jewish friend years ago.
Presumably they weren't using it to make the sign of the cross.
But the joke is that the Jewish guy in question has a Catholic friend who wonders what he is doing!
So do you think this is the origin of the saying?
2016-12-30 05:49 pm (UTC)
I get stuck at the testicles.
Reminds me of a friend's borrowed/adapted remembrance of what to make sure you have leaving your drug-addled NYC apartment: dick, wallet, keys, drugs. Friend was dickless, so she (and I) treated that item as "yer basic physiognomy", and for me "drugs" was whatever particular psychological assistance things I'd need that day.
I can see the use of some such mnemonic. I sometimes go out without my painkillers- and that's not a good idea.
I think a pocket watch is intended, rather than than a wrist watch.
Probably so, but either way you'd expect to find it on the left side of the body.
I don't see why the watch would necessarily be on the left side if both watch and wallet were located in interior coat pockets. Once divorced from the wrist, handedness seems irrelevant to location.
If you're right-handed- as most people are- I suggest it's marginally easier to extract a watch from the left-hand breast pocket.
2017-01-01 09:58 am (UTC)
But a real old fashioned watch on a chain would be easier to get from your right hand waistcoat pocket!
You are probably right. I've been looking at pictures of men with pocket watches- and most of them- including Edward VII- are carrying them in the right hand pocket of their waistcoats.
I knew this. Why? Because it's in Nuns On The Run.