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If you were ever a sailor, a boy scout or a girl guide you probably know what a Lanyard is. For the rest of us it’s that thing we hang around our neck to hold onto our security cards, keys and mobile phones.

It seems that almost overnight this daggy item of office apparel has suddenly become the hottest fashion accessory dangling out of the back pocket of every hip hop and happening skanky dude and dudette around town.

Once the enforced fashion faux pas of the IT Industry, its now no longer the likes of IBM or Apple we see blazoned on these nylon strings but Nike, Adidas and maybe even Prada.

It wasn’t so long ago that gay men embraced the concept of hankies hanging out their back pockets with a wide variety of colours and designs to signify a code for one’s *** proclivities. One had to be careful to choose not only the right colour out of over fifty plus different coded designs, but also which back pocket - left or right - dominant or submissive - to hang it out of.

So is this the case with lanyards? Does one need to be careful to choose the right logo emblazed on their tag? The right colour? And of course, the right pocket to hang it out of?

And what about the right shiny metal attachment at the end? For with any fashion craze there is likely to be a whole industry accessorizing these babies to the hilt.

So why have we chosen to re-embrace these nylon strands and tszuj them up?

Is it because the metal key chains we strategically dangled from our cut-offs for the last few seasons (another takeaway from the gay community by the way) contributed so dramatically, due to their increasing weight, to dragging our pants down that now they don’t fit anymore? And all you underwear emporiums just thought we were just being trendy and showing off your label bands.

Have we been forced to seek out a new fashion accessory for hanging our keys which doesn’t ruin our clothes?

Or is it just another fad, like the yoyo, whose time will come and go. As security swipe cards fade into memory and fingerprints, eye scans and DNA tests welcome the next phase of our security conscious evolution will lanyards too just become another fashion craze that slips into folklore only to get recycled in twenty years time.

Only time will tell. But in the meantime don’t leave the house without one dangling from a pocket lest you wish to become a noughties fashion victim.

Peter Shuttlewood is the author of webzine freshread which contains articles on Popular Culture with an Australian slant. Freshread - the everyday in a fresh way.

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