American Culture

Of courier bags and man-purses: women have been right all along

I don’t care if you stuff your pockets until it looks like you’re smuggling carburetors. If you’re too macho to carry a bag, that’s your issue.

Timbuk2 Courier Bag

I can imagine how the conversation would go. My father is still alive and it’s Thanksgiving. We’re having dinner at his place. I walk in, say hello to everyone, and he draws a bead on my latest purchase.

“Nice purse,” he says.

“It’s not a purse, jackass. It’s a courier bag.”

“It sure looks like a purse to me.”

Back and forth we go. I explain that I live in a real city and I don’t expect his redneck ass to understand how the 21st century works. He smirks and does his limp-wristed gay cliché impression, which is as embarrassingly executed as it is offensive. But he thinks he’s hysterical.

Who am I kidding? I’d have more luck explaining Chaos Theory to a Labradoodle. What I do instead is tell him I paid $150 for it just to piss him off.

That’s the bag in question above. Sweet, huh? As you can see, it’s a Timbuk2, and yes, I paid a little extra for the Colorado flag patch.

More and more guys are carrying bags these days, for a couple reasons. First, it’s stylish – at least it is here in the 5280, where it connotes active and outdoors and biking around town and our general pride in the fact that we live in the coolest damned city in America.

Second, it’s so fucking practical.

Here’s where I think we all need to take a moment to acknowledge that women have had it right all along. We all have things to carry, and if you’re a man the logistics can be a pain. Literally, in some cases. Only so much will fit in a wallet, and packing an overstuffed bifold in your back pocket is not only not a great look, it’s uncomfortable as hell when you sit down. I personally got sick of feeling like I was sitting on the side of a hill every time I parked it.

And where do you put your keys? I don’t know about you, but I have a house key, a truck key, a truck cab key, a bike lock key, a mailbox key, a truck toolbox key, and a couple other keys that I’m sure go to something important, even if I’m not sure what. Plus there’s the electronic entry fob for the truck. Oh, and a bottle opener. Duh. And the carabiner holding it all together. Stuff all that in your front pocket and women will cross the street to avoid you.

Cargos help a little with basic carrying capacity, but if you aren’t careful you wind up looking even more … encumbered.

These are just the compulsories. I also carry a Nikon point & shoot (plus a mini-tripod). I need to keep certain medications at hand, so I have a little Swiss Army zip-case for that. )As long as I have the zip case, why not keep a spare set of nail clippers and a file in there, because you know how bad it sucks when you get a chipped nail and don’t have a way to trim it, right? What else? Oh, right – I have some of those plastic toothpick/floss combo doohickeys in case I get some steak stuck between the molars.) Just imagine if I also had hair to worry about.

I know, at some point in that last graf I segued from critical necessity over into the frivolously cosmetic, but it’s 2016 and I don’t owe you or my father an explanation.

Daddy would have died before carrying a bag, even if it was crafted from the nutsack of a Grizzly that he’d killed with his own hands. But I remember how fashionable he always imagined himself to be. It never occurred to him that he looked like he had a Halliburton in his back pocket.

Women have always had things that needed carrying and the whole purse/pocketbook approach is the most sensible solution in the history of the human race. I’m way past insecurity about my masculinity and if somebody wants to crack wise about my “man purse,” have at it.

Just don’t hate me because I look good. You’re better than that.

13 replies »

  1. About time Sam. I’ve been carrying a Bagmaster Pro Shooter for 30 years. Camera, extra lens, spare glasses, hair brush, chap stick, sunscreen, daily backup tape, sunglasses, checkbook, and other assorted doo dads and knick knacks.

    There’s no shame in carrying a man purse. Just remember to clean it out once in awhile so you don’t damage your rotator cuff.

  2. I’ve actually thought some about this topic. Men used to almost all wear suits, which had several pockets for carrying stuff, and then of course some had briefcases.

    Of course there’s also the laptop bag which can carry a lot more than just a laptop.

    Mountain men had what they called a “possibles bag” which was to carry anything you might possibly need. And they were manly men if there were any.

    I have a bag similar to that one you have, but mine came free from a conference. I use it when biking to and from work sometimes, and I’ve used it at conferences ever since I got it. But I can slip a laptop, or an Ipad, and my notebook, conference schedule, headache meds, pens, wallet (my chiropractor told me to stop carrying my wallet in my back pocket), etc in the bag. It never occurred to me to call it a “man purse.” But mine is plain black with a light grey logo of some company on it, which is much more manly that yours.

  3. FREEDOM to chose, freedom also means allowing anyone to do and think what they want as long as they are not hurting anyone. freedom to chose what you want not have the government do it for you. I am not religious but I do believe everyone has the right to decide for themselves. every time the government states their is a war on what ever, alcohol, drugs, etc., the latest is terrorism, we lose more freedom. I hope the population wakes up and we can take back some of our freedoms. the right to be different, not conform. if you do not like guns you can keep them out of your house, but you can not limit others from carrying them. these things protect the minorities as well as the majorities. a purse can come in handy. being a man has nothing to do with how someone looks. it is what is inside that counts.

    • I would not have believed that you could shoehorn a comment on guns into a lighthearted post on courier bags. Come on, Art. Surely you could have gotten Hillary in there, too.

  4. Don’t discount the offensive value of a loaded man purse Sam. I think I could take a mugger out with one swing of mine. Reminds me of what the prostitute told the john, “Call me a two-bit hooker again and I will beat you to death with my bag of quarters!”

    • Nice. I like these a lot. Are there going to be more colors and customization?

      It looks like you really thought the product design through. The format seems really practical.

  5. Welcome to the bright aide, Sam! Think of it as the 21st centry sporran (which could have been made from the aforementioned nutsack of a Grizzly). But this is roomier, more organized, and probably smells better.

    Just remember the first rule of bags: you must be territorial so that your companions don’t expect you to carry all of their crap.

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