Those that lived through the 90s might remember the episode of Seinfeld where Jerry got a man-purse. Before a few weeks ago, whenever I heard about man-purses I thought to myself gay, gay, gay, gay, but I was probably wrong to think that, since I don’t actually know any gay men that have a man-purse.
I bring up the topic of man-purses for two reasons. First, I realized that I had sort of been carrying one around myself. And secondly, I saw a man with one today. When I saw this guy, I wasn’t even thinking he was gay, or even metro-sexual, or anything else for that matter. No, he looked like your standard businessman. I wouldn’t have even noticed his man-purse, except that I had been planning on writing about them. He wore it as naturally as someone might wear shorts on a hot summer day.
To clarify, the term man-purse sounds unusual in nature, but it turns out it’s not really that unnatural. They’re usually called satchels, and it is a pretty standard replacement for the hard-sided briefcases of yesteryear. It turns out that lots of guys are carrying around man-purses, they just call them by a different name, laptop case is another name for them.
I don’t know what women carry around in their purses, and, frankly, it’s none of my business. More and more, however, men are needing to carry around a lot of things as well. And that brings me to the other reason I decided to write about man-purses. I was sort of using one.
Back in my younger years, it was pretty standard for me to go out with only a wallet in my back pocket, and my keys in the front pocket. It was that simple, and I was set, but talk about a pain in the butt, literally. First of all, when you’re wallet is in your back pocket it means that when you sit you’re going to be lopsided, maybe unnoticeable to an observer, but you feel that wallet underneath you. Secondly, keys in the front pocket means that they are poking at your thigh, which is uncomfortable enough in itself, but they are also very likely to tear up the fabric in your pocket, eventually leading to a hole. Yet that’s what I was doing. Eventually I got tired of it, so I started using a backpack.
My backpack essentially became a man-purse. I use it to store my keys, my wallet, and anything else that I might need while I’m out. Generally, it’s pretty empty. Other than my keys and wallet I usually carry a pen as well, but not much else. Even though it’s mostly empty, and takes up more room than I absolutely need, it is a lot more comfortable than using my pockets. In my opinion, it’s better than the more common satchel as well, two straps means less strain on your body, and, quite frankly, it is not that unusual to see someone walking around in a backpack. I admit, I used to feel weird about wearing a backpack into a store, because I was afraid someone would accuse me of steeling, but no one ever has. It’s probably be about as rude for a clerk to accuse someone of putting something in their backpack, as it would for them to accuse a woman of putting something into her purse.
Now, you might be thinking it’s a pretty big jump to call a backpack a man-purse. And you’re right, it is, but let me explain the reason I see my backpack as my man-purse. Just recently I left my backpack behind. I had ridden my bicycle, so I didn’t need my keys in order to go home, and I didn’t even realize it was gone until the next day. Then I started really missing it. I searched all over the place for it. I was worried that I hadn’t just left it behind, but that it had been stolen. I realized that my entire life was in there. My driver’s license, my credit card, and my keys were gone. In a way, I felt naked, the way some women feel when they can’t find their purse. That’s when I started thinking of it as a type of man-purse, and I realized that I would have to keep better track of it. It was right were I had left it, and it was a great relief when I found it.
I say, if you’re a guy, use a man-purse. Whether you want to go for the common notebook computer case, the Indiana Jones style satchel, or, as I do, the backpack, you are going to find that it is a much more comfortable and convenient way to carry your stuff around. A lot better than pockets.