Today, I’m going to talk about that less-than-manly accessory, the Man Purse. Ladies, I don’t think there will be any revelations you are not aware of, I’m talking about the Man Purse due to the reaction of many people I know once I started carrying one. I’ll also give you a peek at the bags (yes, plural) I own.
A little history about why I started carrying a bag.
Two years ago, my wife and I were in Paris, France celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary. The main thing I was concerned with during our visit was the possibility of becoming a victim to pickpockets. Before we left, I purchased a new wallet, one that is thin and easily fits in my front trousers pocket but still allowed me to carry a couple of credit cards, driver’s license, insurance cards, and cash. I figured that would be all I needed. Arriving in Paris, I was vigilant anytime we were in a crowded area. We were having a good time enjoying all the history, architecture, and art Paris offers. We stayed away from most of the touristy areas, experienced wonderful food, great weather and a renewed sense of being a couple.
Of course, it happened. At least, it almost happened.
We had decided to venture over to the Eiffel Tower just so we could say we visited the iconic monument. We entered the metro station to board the train to save us walking; it was already late in the day. As we began to enter the train I felt someone pat me on my butt, both cheeks. In any other situation I would probably have enjoyed a welcomed boost to my aging ego, however, this time, the red flags went off. The doors to the train had no sooner closed than I felt a hand slip inside my front pocket, the pocket with my wallet. I immediately grabbed my wallet and looked down to see a hand, not my own, in my pocket. This strange hand was attached to the arm of a young girl approximately 14 or 15 years of age. As soon as she realized she was busted, she yanked her hand out, sans my wallet, said something to another girl who began yelling and prying the doors open so they could jump off the train before it left the station. Needless to say, I was a little rattled.
I recovered and my wife and I enjoyed a wonderful evening on the Champ de Mars watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night.
The next day, we headed out in search of a bag to securely carry my belongings without fear of pickpockets. What we found was this bag by Longchamp.
A simple black back with two zippered compartments under the magnetic closure flap, a spacious main compartment with a zippered inner compartment, finally a snap closure compartment on the back, all held with an adjustable shoulder strap so you can wear the bag cross body or just on one shoulder. As it turns out, Longchamp is a luxury designer bag. So, yes, it came with a luxury designer price. But, what the hell, I was in Paris, celebrating 30 years of a great marriage, I splurged and bought myself a Parisian designer bag.
It was probably the most sensible purchase I made. I easily fit my wallet inside. I was able to separate cash and cards; I was also able to carry a bottle of water and my Pentax DSLR camera in the bag. I even took a few items out of my wife’s purse to help lighten her load (I’m a nice guy that way). For the duration of our stay, not once did someone try to get in my bag, or my wife’s either.
Back home, I realized I liked not having all that stuff in my pockets. Car keys, wallet, chapstick, pocket knife, spare change, cell phone, etc. I’m sure everyone has seen “that” guy walking around with all of his “stuff” shoved in bulging pockets.
Not wanting to be that guy, I embraced my man bag.
Then, I had my cochlear implant surgery. Wow, talk about an increase in things to carry!
In addition to all the aforementioned “stuff” used to carry in my pockets, I now had a remote to control my processor’s sound. As options for my processors, I opted for the wireless mini-mic and Bluetooth enabled wireless phone clip, that’s three more items to add to my “stuff” I need to carry. And let’s not forget spare batteries just in case they are needed. Seriously, looking at all the “stuff” I carry, without my bag I would be a walking advertisement for cargo pants and photographer’s vests. All of my “stuff” fits in my man bag/purse/murse/whatever, very easily.
Not too long ago, I mentioned to my wife I would like to look into purchasing another bag. My logic being, with the amount of money I spent on the first bag, I wanted it to last. An everyday bag would be practical and I wouldn’t constantly fret over whether it was raining, or going to, bumping against a rough rock wall scratching the leather, or just normal wear causing my bag to wear out too quick. So, for father’s day, she took me out shopping for a bag. You can imagine how that conversation went when a co-worker asked what I was doing for father’s day. “Oh, you know, just going shopping for a new bag.”
Having experienced purse shopping with my wife, I prepared myself for a day long outing, not that it takes my wife all day to shop for a purse. I knew it would take longer to find a bag for me since the whole “man purse” thing isn’t big in the United States. You can find them in Europe, or at least in Paris, easily. Here, not so much.
We started our crusade at Bag and Baggage. We ended our crusade, a mere 30 minutes later. Bag and Baggage has a surprisingly large selection of bags for men. Price ranged from low double digits to several hundred dollars. After describing to the sales clerk what I was looking for, he began pulling several different styles and types. Frankly, I was amazed. Ultimately, I settled on this bag
The bag is by Tumi. It features a ballistic nylon construction with several pockets, zip closures, a magnetic closure on the front flap, and an adjustable nylon shoulder strap that works quite well as a cross body bag. I can slip my cell phone in an external pocket on right behind the front flap, my wallet is secured in the main zippered compartment. My CI remote and wireless accessories fit in the front flap section. And I have room to spare. Yep, I like it.
It’s safe to say, I am sold on the man purse. It is convenient to carry all my accessories and essentials in one place, keeps me from jamming all the “stuff” in my pockets. And my wife gets a little kick out of it. As for those who have, and will, comment on the femininity of carrying a bag I say this, after 32 years of marriage and two grown boys, I am very comfortable with who I am. I carry a bag, you don’t. I would suggest those who will poke fun at a man bag should try one on for size. You’d be surprised how quickly they can integrate in to your life.
For those with “stuff” to carry, what do you use on a daily basis?
Until next time,
Rob … the deaf guy