Dear Cheryl,

My sartorial instincts tell me to do otherwise, but lately I've been wearing my cell phone clipped to my belt. It's a practical matter: The antenna snaps off if the phone's not treated gingerly, and lately, I've been making and receiving constant mobile calls. Does a phone clipped to the hip make a guy look geeky? Be honest, but not too brutal ...

-- The Smooth Operator

Dear Smooth Operator,

Congratulations! You just brought up one of my biggest fashion pet peeves.

Here's the big rule regarding cell phones: You can hold them, stick them in your girlfriend's/friend's purse or stuff them in your pocket. (Unless you're wearing snug pants, that is. Trust me, you'll get tired of hearing the "Is that a cell phone in your pocket ...?" jokes.)

But clipping one on your belt? No. I hate to say it (and I'm trying to be as nice as I can here), but your instincts are right on this one -- it's geeky.

Boys, the only things that should be hanging from a belt are tools, and that's only when you're getting ready to fix something or do some work on the house. And even then, to pull off the look, you'll have to be buff, shirtless, wearing tight jeans and have just a smidge of sweat dotting your well-tanned pecs ...

But I digress.

If you're getting a lot of calls and worried about your celly's well-being, however, Nokia spokesman Keith Nowak has some suggestions.

"The newest crop of cell phones feature internal antennas -- in short, nothing to break off," he said. "And if you're really tough on that phone, there are even rough- and-tumble mobile phones available now."

"The good news is that the latest phones are far more stylish than the big bricks of the past," he adds. "If your new toy doesn't exactly match your wardrobe, they are also much smaller -- allowing them to be slipped unnoticed into your pocket."

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