by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
September 10, 2004
WHAT ABOUT 'EUROPEAN CARRYALL?'
SYRACUSE, Ind. -- If you fail to learn from history, you're doomed to repeat it.
While this semi-clever joke is told by history teachers every semester, it's also a warning all of us should heed. It means if you don't learn from your past mistakes, you'll make the same horrible mistakes again and again.
Like the Styx Reunion Tour.
I only wish the fashionistas in New York and Los Angeles had heeded this particular warning. We might have avoided the whole retro-revolution of the fashion disaster known as the '70s. Instead, hip young 20-somethings have embraced the Ugly '70s with all its hideous fashions, not realizing that they mock a sad time in our society.
Having grown up in the Disco Decade, this is an era I do not wish to repeat. Those were the days of loud plaids, big collars, and too-wide ties. Polyester pant suits and giant plastic jewelry for women, and baby poop brown slacks for men.
But the worst were the men who carried purses.
These were sensitive men. Men who were not afraid to cry. Men who thought football was too rough, and that we should "dialog" about our feelings. Men who read "My Mother, My Self." Men who were deeply distraught because they couldn't have babies.
These purse-carrying pansies thought that, in some weird feminine way, they were supporting Women's Rights by carrying women's accessories.
"Maybe if I carry a shoulder bag, I can show my sisters-in-the-cause that I'm helping them 'shoulder' their burdens," they would think to themselves.
Thank God that's over. At least in the new macho, manly 21st century, we don't have to worry about that, right?
Apparently not. As I started to write this column, I did a quick online search, hoping I would find a couple nostalgic websites poking fun at man purses.
Wrong. A quick search for "man purse" on Google revealed 849,000 different websites devoted to the modern day male handbag, including eight sponsored links. That means there are eight companies who willingly paid money to have their website pop up anytime a man needs a cute little clutch bag to hold their lipstick and panty shields.
"These aren't just ladies' purses that have been machoed up," the websites tried to assure me. "These are man purses."
Oh well, as long as they're MAN purses ...
Wrong! It doesn't matter if you call them man purses, man bags, or men's mini-carryalls. They're purses!
They're a woman's accessory that has only been partially de-feminized and are now being sold as an option to metrosexual men. I don't care if you make the word "MAN" out of hammers and monster trucks. They're still purses!
One company, Man Bag, touts their Man-n Bag, and swears up and down that these are not purses at all. "Man purse is an oxymoron," they say. "Ours is a bag."
Oh well, as long as they're Man-n Bags, and you've got that extra N in there ...
NO! It's still a purse!
"But it's the alternative to the bulky wallet," other websites try to tell me.
No, an organized and minimalistic lifestyle is the alternative to the bulky wallet. If your wallet is too bulky, throw away that three-year-old dry cleaning ticket and the Frequent Drinker Coffee Card you got driving through Albuquerque last December.
If you carry more things than a wallet will hold, you have too much. If you need something bigger, then get a gym bag, a bike messenger bag, or even a backpack. As a last resort, get a fanny pack. But you're a man, for God's sake. Don't carry anything that even remotely looks like a PURSE. Even getting one called "Man Bag" still draws attention to the fact that it's a HANDBAG.
Calling it a man bag doesn't make it not-a-purse. If I call a bicycle a "car," it's still a bicycle. It doesn't matter if I call it a Miniature, Open-Air, Non-Motorized Car. It's still a freakin' bicycle.
Man Bag doesn't help matters with their "Axible" bag either. This kicky little number is just 8.5 inches by 9.5 inches, which by an odd coincidence is just the same size as several of my wife's purses -- excuse me, I mean Woman-n Bag.
"But you can carry your gadgets in a Man-n Bag," the website tells me.
I have a bag like that. It's called a briefcase. I have another one that lets me stick in a computer. It's called a laptop case. I even have one I can stick my gym clothes in. It's called a gym bag.
Or as I now call them, my Brief-f Case, Laptop-p Case, and Gym-m Bag.
Bottom line: If you're a man, never carry a bag that your wife might mistake as her own.
Next thing you know, she'll be borrowing your favorite nail polish and wearing your sweaters.