In defense of the Man Purse
I just bought a Man Purse. Apparently. Not on purpose, mind you, but clearly I was not guarding carefully enough against it when I went bag shopping. Because the reaction I got from my friends last night was without question the one you receive when you walk into a bar with a Man Purse. Laughter, hooting, and marvelously crafted “skirt” and “panty” jokes were all in abundance. They had that look in their eyes, the dizzying glare men get when they’ve discovered a new weakness they can mock their friend over. Someone even ordered a round of Shirley Temples, which did seem a bit far to go for a “you’re a pansy” joke, but hey, it was Saturday night. We all had a laugh, I defended my purchase, and oh, how the women swooned. (Correction: women did not swoon.) I went to bed not thinking much of it, until…
Today, I was watching playoff basketball – a thoroughly masculine pursuit – and I saw this from the good people at Miller Lite.
Outrageous! I care how beer tastes! I mean, I don’t, because I’m allergic to gluten so if I drank beer I would get horribly sick for days on end which is why I usually stick to white wine, but…(that didn’t help, did it?)…why can’t a guy carry a bag?! If an item is not distinctly backpack or briefcase it is therefor purse and can only be carried by women or little girls? That doesn’t seem right. We have things we have to carry. Masculine things! Switch blades. The keys to our four-wheel-drive trucks. Hardcore pornography…all intensely male accessories that I can’t possibly leave the house without. What am I supposed to carry them in, a saddle bag? How about a hallowed-out skull? Would that be brutish enough for everyone?
The thing is, women know. They know full well how great purses are. They carry them all the time. No one ever says anything to a woman about carrying her purse, do they? They can buy seven, eight, night purses and no one bats an eye. What happened to equality? Isn’t a woman supposed to do the same things that a man can? Well how about carrying a backpack then, for goodness sakes? Equal pay for equal work…how about equal bag for equal purse?! Alright, the slogan needs work. But women have the power to change this. They could stand up for the Man Purse. They could say “everyone should have am arm bag like this…not too big, not too small…they’re great for walking around! Who cares what sex you are?!” But they don’t do that. No, no. They mock. They point and they laugh and they mock. Just like the bartender in the commercial. Heartbreaking.
Well, I am here to say, “No more!” When I go out for the evening I want to carry a book, a bottle of water, some cigarettes, and a couple of tampons in case I get my period – and I will not feel ashamed! I will use a small, discreet bag that I will hang over my shoulder just so, and you will accept me as one of you. Calling it a purse because it’s not in my hand or over my back is arbitrary at best. We are reformed, intelligent beings; we have moved beyond gender roles and identity politics. We must reflect this in our handbags, in our satchels and our knapsacks and our carry-alls. The Man Purse is gone, in its place: the Person Purse. For one and all.
Who knows but that, on the lower frequencies, I speak for you?