I have been attempting to write a children's book for my grandson, based on my memories of my Grandfather and turning out his pockets. This prompted my curiosity on the subject and so I have been making a fool of myself by asking all the guys I know/meet if they will empty their pockets for me.
What I have discovered is that today's men seem to be more streamlined in what they carry to avoid the nerdy stigma of pocket bulges. . Based on the responses received I have to assume that sentimental items like pet rocks, lucky coins, buckeye nuts have all become passe or at least found new homes to make room for modern electronics. Lots of cell phones. And the high schoolers are carrying MP3 players and tiny remote controlled cars. Lots of memory cards, palm pilots, these days too.
I have been surprised by the number of religious items encounter. Most have medals or small crosses, but lots of rosaries too. And I was surprised at how many men no longer carry a handkerchief. Also surprised, by the number of pill boxes men are carrying these days. Not a good sign, but it could mean that men are getting more proactive about their health. I have not found as many cigarettes and bic's as I expected which is a also a good thing. I found too many condoms in young pockets, which caused mixed feelings.
But, over all if men's pockets reflect the times, then I think it speaks very badly for the state of the world. I think it is very sad that it is no longer safe for old men to carry lemon drops and pennies to share with children, and so many men seem less willing to show feelings, or expressions of family, by carrying sentimental tokens of love.