“What’s in your wallet?”

While this has become an advertising slogan for a credit card company, I hope you don’t say it to a man you’re dating. Just as most women protectively guard the contents of their purses from inquisitive eyes, men protect the contents of their wallets.

walletSo imagine my surprise when a CEO I was coaching asked me to help him go through his wallet and pare down the contents. He was embarrassed by its bulk protruding from his back pocket and he refused to carry a man bag. While I thought this was more a job for his wife, since he was paying me handsomely, I agreed. It was interesting to get up close and personal with the contents of a wallet belonging to someone other than my husband.

On several occasions, whichever man I was dating invited me to go through his wallet. I figured he must have nothing to hide, so dug in. In some cases, I’ve discovered items secreted away in crannies that he’d forgotten were there.

The discoveries always gave me a broader picture of the man I was with.

One man’s wallet held not only the requisite drivers license, credit cards, cash and picture of his daughter, but membership cards to some clubs I didn’t know about. But most telling were the two — count them two — condoms he had stashed. Some single men commonly carry one, but I thought two was interesting. Did he want an extra in case one broke? In case his spontaneous fling begged a reprise? He didn’t say.

Another guy’s wallet didn’t house a single picture of his son. Most men carry at least one picture of their kids, even if the photos are ancient, but this one did not. Weeks later, in his home I noticed that there were no pictures of family, either. Not his son, sister, brother, parents, etc. Not even in his bedroom. It turned out he was not much into family — or people, actually — and wasn’t close to any of them.

And one man’s wallet was particularly interesting to me. I playfully quizzed him about various components, including his Screen Actors Guild card, even though I knew he wasn’t an actor. We talked for 30 minutes on sundry items and I got to know him better in the process.

So if a man invites you to explore his wallet, and you’re comfortable doing so and want to know him better, take him up on it. The experience is like a treasure hunt — you’ll discover gems that will help you get to know other parts of his life.

Just know he may want to root through your purse or wallet in return!

Warning: Don’t ever go through his wallet without his permission, as it’s an invasion of privacy. You wouldn’t want him doing that to your purse or wallet.

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