Do you remember the one where Joey gets a Man Bag? I do. I was remembering it all the way to the check-out counter at the department store. If Joey didn’t succeed in making his effeminate bag socially acceptable, what do I think I’m doing…?
Well, I now have my own. A Man Bag with the dimensions of a slightly oversized, super-thick pocketbook novel, with a long, wide carrying strap. Mine’s much smaller than Joey’s. (Hmmm…) Anyway, focus. My bag has just enough room for wallet, keys, cellphone, and a couple of passports if I go traveling. It’s part of Dockers’ “Urban Traffic” line of bags, and they call it U-Turn. My daughters call it a Murse. A Male Purse. Or Man Purse, I’m not sure.
Funny thing is, once I switched everything out of my pockets (wow, does that feel good!), hung the thing diagonally across my shoulders, and strolled boldly out into the mall, I noticed for the first time that a good number of other men carry similar bags. Even some that are dangerously close to being real purses. But never mind. It was as if I had joined a new fraternity of the enlightened. Or at least lightened. The summertime curse of bulging, uncomfortable pockets – or of wearing a jacket when you don’t need one just to store your things – these burdens were suddenly lifted and I immediately saw the obvious benefits of the Murse. I winked and nodded knowingly at the other men: we’re not effeminate, we’re emancipated! I know they got the message; they winked and nodded in return.
A Murse does take some getting used to though. I’m quite sure every person in the mall was aware of my Murse, even if they were polite enough not to stare at it. And I found myself a bit insecure about whether or not my stuff was really with me; I had never realized before how often I consciously “check” my pockets to ensure that everything is still there. What a relief to go to the ATM and have an excuse to dig around endlessly in my Murse, checking that “yes, everything is okay”.
Paying for groceries at the supermarket was a bit unsettling. You know the automatism with which you switch on the bathroom light in the middle of a pitch dark night? How your body knows exactly where the switch is and how far and how high you have to reach? Well, I’m guessing the same thing is true about whipping your wallet out of a pocket. It’s a movement you’ve done thousands of times and it can be done in one fluid motion without effort or thought. But bring in a Murse and it’s a whole new ball game. I was all thumbs – each and every movement needed to be deeply thought through before it could be engaged and accomplished. It didn’t help that two guys in work overalls and steel-toed boots were impatiently looking on behind me in line. Insensitive brutes.
I will persevere with my Murse. I bought it with some birthday money someone sent me a month ago. What a thoughtful present. It goes so well with my summer-time clothes. Thank you!