This post includes photographs that break down into two basic groups: those that feature my backside / crotch and look like they were taken by a professional (namely, the immensely talented Lauren Atkins), and those that do not feature my backside / crotch and look like they were taken by a child (that would be me).
I’m great at losing things: wallets, phones, any remaining vestige of dignity, you name it—but especially keys. So when I spotted a carabiner key-ring some 10 years ago, the device immediately made sense to me: I could clip the carabiner to a belt loop above my hindquarters, tuck the keys into my back-left pocket, and be on my merry way, without worrying about the whereabouts of those easily misplaced apartment-door openers.
The carabiner key-ring pictured above worked for a long time—long enough for the “Ohio University” logo to get worn off the green canvas and for Powers the cat to leave countless puncture marks in the black-and-gray security credential (that actually didn’t take long at all; Powers is quite a little chewer). It isn’t that the carabiner stopped working from a functional approach. I just got a new phone, and unlike my previous cell phones, I wanted to use the new one without a case. You know, for heightened aesthetic pleasure.
Now, remember that I keep my keys in my back-left pocket, which happens to be the same pocket in which I carry my phone. Not such a big deal when I had phones with protective cases, but putting keys and unprotected phones in the same pocket? Bloodbath.
Quickly: No, it wasn’t an option for me to switch my phone to another pocket. Which is to say, I didn’t want to. Neither was it an option to leave the keys hanging outside my pocket, lest I sound like a jingling, jangling, janitorial one-man band each time I walk across the room. That is, unless I could find a way to keep the keys bunched together while outside my pocket, thereby allowing them to swing as freely as Errol Flynn while staying as quiet as a Milford man.
The solution presented itself one day on Massdrop, where for the first time I saw the Lexington key case from Ashland Leather, the same fine company that made my Fat Herbie wallet with Momotaro stitching. Massdrop had sold out of my favorite color but I was able to order exactly what I wanted directly from the Ashland site. Within a matter of days, my key situation experienced a considerable upgrade.
But that carabiner, though. And I don’t mean “That carabiner, though” in the sense of “That ass, though.” I mean it in the sense of “That carabiner, though. It looks like a piece of poop.” I was already getting tired of the way the thing looked, and seeing it alongside the beautiful Lexington case only made things worse. So I started looking around for carabiner alternatives. A friend of mine introduced me to the Makr site and I saw the cordovan key fob. I was intrigued, but I wasn’t sure if the clasp was large enough to fit around a belt loop. Then last week I visited Independence on Oak Street, where they just so happened to have the fob in stock. It turned out that the clasp was indeed large enough to fit around a belt loop. So that took care of that.
Also, if Ashland offered a similar key fob, I would have given them my business instead of Makr. No offense to Makr, but I’ve actually met Ashland’s Phil Kalas (stand-up dude) and he works at the Horween factory, which is four blocks from my house (“shop local” and so forth). Sadly, however, Ashland does not offer a similar fob, so here we are. Having said all that, the Makr fob is fantastic.
I didn’t have Lauren take enough photos of the fob / Lexington combo, so here’s the photo from the beginning to look at again.
Although Ashland Leather refers to the Lexington as a “key case,” I like to think of it as a key sheath, a key quiver, and, my favorite, a key holster. Incidentally, this is how I would position my hands near my holsters if I were an Old West gunslinger preparing to draw his weapons.
The Makr fob is longer than the carabiner, which means that the Lexington case now falls farther down my leg than it did previously. According to Ashland, I could tuck it back into my pocket along with the unprotected phone. The product description for the case says, “It’ll fit in your pocket without the bulk and sharp edges of a typical keychain, keeping phone screens safe.” The thing is, the case does have some hardware on it, so I prefer leaving it out. Safety first, gang.
Plus, I kinda dig the lengthy look. Except of course, when I’m wearing a blazer or sport coat. Luckily, jackets have convenient side pockets for phone storage, leaving my back-left pants pocket free to hold the case.