JJ Vincent can’t figure out why—in this day and age of relaxed masculine norms — why holding a woman’s purse would be a threat to his masculinity.
This scenario is the stuff of nightmares and jokes, a standard of funny videos with commentaries about being whipped, pantsless, and pussified, a defining moment in many relationships, romantic or otherwise, the point at which she’s got him and they both know it.
It’s the moment when he stands, like a deer frozen in the headlights, wide-eyed, holding her purse.
It’s the next moment when he realizes he is holding her purse, and suddenly this bag with a strap becomes a foreign, slightly itchy object.
It’s the thoughts that flash through his head as he tries to decide, “How do I hold this thing? Over my shoulder? Do I put it under my arm or hold it in my hands? What does this look like? Oh my god, there’s my boss. Can I just die now?”
It’s a situation any man who spends time with a woman has been faced with, or will be faced with…holding the purse. There is no way to look macho while holding a purse.
Now, perhaps you are reading this and going, “So? What’s the big deal? I hold her purse all the time.” Would you feel that way if a male colleague saw you? What about a superior? What about someone you work out with? A client? Someone from your church? The guy at work who just hates you? Your fantasy football buddies, who you watch the game with almost every Sunday and who you’d be with this weekend if she hadn’t made plans for you two?
I know several men who carry messenger bags or sling bags or man bags that still have trouble holding a woman’s purse, especially if it is open. Hand them a clutch and they are doomed.
Yes, I know this is a cliched stereotype. It’s also true for an awful lot of guys. I’ll admit it. I dislike holding a woman’s purse. I don’t want to be judged as “whipped” or “controlled” or “weak” when all I’m doing is being something between nice and convenient, or get those looks of sympathy, with a dose of underlying, “Glad it isn’t me.” I get plenty of strange looks from people, but I prefer when it’s because I know I am doing something ridiculous (and usually having fun), rather than when I am doing something uncomfortable. Sad thing is, unless it is one of those rare occasions when my our girlpartner is carrying a purse, the bag-in-question usually belongs to a mom or a friend. Sometimes being a nice guy stinks.
You’d think in this metrosexual/post-metrosexual era, when men are allowed to wear bright colors on scarves and hats and ties, and there are shelves full of hair products and soaps and body sprays just for us, that we’d no longer hold purses like they are about to bite us. But when’s the last time you saw a man strolling casually about, holding a patterned, buckled bag, or a granny-sack, or satin-and-chain mini-bag? My guess this that when you saw a man with one, he was either close behind its owner, or rooted to the spot where he was asked, “Can you hold this for a minute, please, thanks.”
If you are thinking right this minute of the last time you got stuck holding a purse and nodding feverishly, you’re not alone. If you’ve not had this experience, you will. If you are among the men who can casually hold something with shine, straps, and snaps, congratulations.
You can hold my rainbow-glitter man-bag anytime.
Photo: snickclunk / flickr