When I was a teenager, my nose was a constantly streaming article. Allergic rhinitis was not a lovely condition for a girl with fresh hormones; the accessorizing of every outfit with a lump of tissue stuffed up the left sleeve was not guaranteed to get the boys interested.
I remember going to girlfriends' houses and gawking disbelievingly at their small cube boxes of peach coloured paper hankies, decorated with swirls and flowers that matched the décor of their rooms. First, I thought anything that girly was truly yuck in the taste stakes (snobbery was always at the fore, although I have no idea why as I'm sure I had nothing to be superior about), and secondly, what were you actually going to do with anything as physically challenged as those tiny squares of stuff? Mansize was the only thing that did it for me.
As a child we had cotton hankies. My mother would get out the Burco Boiler and boil those babies for an age, swirling them through the snot infested water with a wooden paddle. The dry hankies would be folded and put in the airing cupboard from where you could help yourself. In Goldilocks fashion I avoided the huge ones that were my father's domain, and the lacey jobs that my mother favoured, and the recollection of peeling the freshly laundered hankies apart where some lump of mucous had maintained its grip is horribly real even now.
Life eventually became too short for the Burco boiler, and at the same time as I was sent off to the launderette, pulling the overstuffed shopping trolley of dirty clothes behind me and desperate not to bump into anyone I knew, my mother started to buy paper tissues. Being a family of snufflers with a serious bronchitis sufferer in the mix, there was a box in practically every room in the house.
These days there is always a tissue in reach, if not jammed up my sleeve. I have wads in my handbag, a box in the car, my suitcase is kept well supplied and so on.
In my house there is a theory that if there was a nuclear explosion, I would reach for a tissue to wipe up the spillage. That might be a step too far (or perhaps not), but I regularly dust with one. No, reword that. On the very few occasions that I dust, I'm more likely to be found waving a tissue, possibly unused, possibly not, over the item being tackled.
I scoop up cobwebs with them, even though a new crop appears overnight. I swab my desk with them as they are at hand and I have no idea where a duster might be, or even if there is one. I wipe the eye bogies from the dogs and their earwax with said tissue. I'll remove a tapeworm from the cat's tail, mop up spilled liquid (cold) and pick up anything a bit yuckety with one. If I can't find a scrap of paper I'll use a tissue as a bookmark. A tissue gets swiped over the tv and pc screens to remove the woodfire film of dust that collects on every surface, and I have been seen using one to dab at the milk slurp marks on the kitchen window (the cat sits on the windowsill to munch and drink out of dogs reach).
So, although I declined to do the full Lady Thinker tag, I have at least written about my slatternly household ways. My tip? Never be without a 3-ply mansize tissue.