What His Collection Says About Him
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Baseball Cards2 of 11
By Natasha Burton
Since Americans maintain a connection with their youth well into middle age, "it's becoming acceptable for men to continue to collect (and dress) like boys," Dilworth says. Collecting baseball cards is "definitely a boy's occupation, but above age 25, [a man] starts to resemble the comic book guy in The Simpsons," she says. We say, at least they aren't Magic Cards.
Stamps3 of 11
Don't be so quick to discard those yellowing stamp books. This kind of collection "has a long history and is completely acceptable for boys and men," Dilworth notes. "At the turn of the 21st century, it looks like stamps (as well as books) will soon become relics of the past, which may actually increase their cultural value."
Sports Memorabilia4 of 11
Dilworth says this type of collection is more acceptable for grown men, but asks, "When does fandom become obsession?" We say that if your guy insists on plastering the living room with posters, pennants and framed jerseys of his favorite team, you (and your home decor dreams) may be in trouble. Best to get him a mancave to properly "showcase" this collection (i.e. keep it out of sight.)
Keychains5 of 11
We had a keychain collection of our own — in the 4th grade. “Beyond childhood, [this type of collection] seems to indicate low social status, says Dilworth. "[Keychains] are inexpensive and their cultural value is very small. At some point, men [are] expected to leave childhood collections behind. If they must collect, it's more acceptable to collect items of great value: art, gemstones, coins, books.”
Action Figures6 of 11
“Again, I'm thinking arrested development," says Dilworth. She also notes that action figures are essentially toys, and could even be considered dolls. However, a man holding on to his boyhood GI Joes is in no way comparable to one who has a shelf dedicated to his Madame Alexander collection.
Tools7 of 11
A guy with this kind of collection has patience and pays attention to detail, which we greatly admire. “Hand tools represent an appreciation of craft," says Dilworth — and we appreciate a man who can sweat over a sawhorse and build things with his own two hands.
Bottle Caps8 of 11
"Personally, I'm attracted to people who appreciate the beauty of cast-off things," Dilworth says. There's a big difference between being a pack-rat — or keeping what many consider trash laying around out of sheer laziness — and using these items in a creative way.
Cookie Fortunes9 of 11
Like bottle caps, saving fortunes can indicate a reverence for items that most people usually discard, Dilworth says. Whether a guy displays them on his fridge or keeps them in a box, kept fortunes can be sweet. Guys, if you want to woo your lady, perhaps give her a saved prediction reading something like "You will be lucky in love" — indicating that she made it come true. Major points.
Garden Gnomes10 of 11
A man with a trove of gnomes, Troll dolls, Furbies or the like may seem a little, well, odd. Though, he may just have a quirky sense of humor. "If the man who collects any of these items has been to art school, he collects them ironically, possibly for future use in an art project," says Dilworth.
Women's Panties11 of 11
This collection "gets into Silence of the Lambs territory." Dilworth says. "At some point, collecting can turn into obsession." We're not saying a guy who stockpiles panties belongs behind bars, but we will say this: Run.
SHOP NOW: Acts of Possession: Collecting in America edited by Leah Dilworth, $29