My Wife’s (Our) Handbag

Over the past years men, well some men, have started carrying what is being called a “man-purse” or a “man bag,” a purse-like thing that they either carry in hand or over their shoulder.  It seems to function as a mini briefcase, but in all actuality it is a purse, a pocketbook or handbag in which a variety of personal items are carried.  A man’s pocketbook…for the metro-sexual man I guess, whatever the heck that term means.  Some real “guy-type” guys have been seen with them (Tom Brady, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Brad Pitt, Stephon Marbury), as well as “less than guy-type” guys.

Well, that’s not for me.  I tried a part of that scene at my wife’s suggestion a number of years ago while on vacation to Santa Barbara and bought a pair of clogs, leather manly clogs mind you, similar to those worn by men in travel pictures throughout Europe…or so I told myself.  She told me they were very “metro-sexual” (???????) and was supposedly very cool.  I wore them for the weekend feeling very “Metro” and European while I walked around town with the growing pain of blisters on my feet from the unfamiliar footwear.  Over the next few months the clogs were worn a few times as the feet toughened up, only with the end result being sweaty, smelly feet from leather footwear that did not breath.  Not cool, not comfortable.  Just “Metro.”  It wasn’t me.

I like my standard “guy-wear,” particularly when it comes to my feet.  The footwear of choice are my Reef sandals, standard beach style sandals with the split between the big toe
and second toe, not those heavy leather sandals with the Goodyear tire attached to the bottom, the kind Jesus wore in the desert.  Good basic sandals.  Shoes are usually loafers (Sperry Topsiders, Dockers or Cole Haan), sometimes lace shoes if it’s a special evening or event.  My in-betweener footwear is a pair of old running shoes.  Good basic stuff. On a rare occasion I’ll but on my scuffed up El Dorado cowboy boots (they make me feel rugged). Nothing Metro.

I pack a wallet in my ride-side back pocket which holds my personal stuff…cash, license, credit cards, personal pictures, insurance cards…and which has created a pretty health dent in my right butt cheek.  I don’t need a man-purse.  And anyway, my wife has a handbag I’ve been using pretty regularly….while still attached to her shoulder.

Recently things I own and carry have gotten bigger, wider, newer and necessary.  My car keys now have fat wide tops with all the automatic car door controls and alarms built
in.  When on the key ring with my other house keys they are bulky and unflattering when stuck in the pocket of my pants.  And they poke the hell out of my leg.  My cellphone is now a wider, bigger I-Phone…thin but bigger than my old flip-top phone…and I carry that in my left-side back pocket where the keys used to go awkwardly.  My sunglasses, which used to be basic aviation-style glasses bought off the rack at the drugstore for $10.00 each
summer and scratched beyond repair within the year…if not lost and replaced sooner…have been replaced by Maui Jim sunglasses with prescription transitional lenses so I
can see what the hell I’m doing.  They are very nice looking black framed sunglasses (so my wife tells me…she didn’t like the aviation glasses on me, not even when I did my Clint Eastwood look…I should have worn my cowboy boots) that set me back a few to many dollars.  They wrap around the eye to keep the glare out and are great for the beach and outdoor sports, but are bulky when folded, not sleek like my old aviation glasses which used to fit nicely in my top pocket, just like Clint’s did.  As such they are kept in their own eye glass holder (although they were scratched within a week of owning them…same as my regular glasses).  I can’t afford to lose them because I can’t afford to replace them these days.  Bulky as they are they do not fit in my shirt pocket. In fact they don’t fit in any pocket.  What I have found is that they fit nicely in my wife’s handbag.

My wife has, as most women do, a nice handbag comparable in size to a small briefcase.  The primary handbag varies every few years due to wear and tear but is always stylish and of good size. She carries everything in it, as do most other women I surmise.  We have a friend who even carries her PJ’s in her handbag when she occasionally visits with us, just in case it’s too late to drive home or the drinks are exceptionally tasty that evening.  At times, when on long outings or out shopping with my wife, I have offered to carry the handbag for a spell, imagining its weight and awkwardness must get annoying sometimes.  She never hesitates to take me up on the offer and I stride next to her for a period of times as a true metro-sexual male.  Through these occasional offers, sporadic as they are, I have unconsciously claimed partial ownership to the handbag in that I have found myself asking my wife if she could hold my keys, my phone, my sunglasses and or wallet at varying times, often as single items, occasionally all together.  She always accept my request and in the handbag they go to mingle with all else that is being carried.  It’s not a light handbag.

However recently we went on a vacation…actually a family visit which we finally determined cannot be defined as a vacation…and I had a severe panic attack brought on by my wife showing me this very small handheld purse, about the size of a paperback book and about as wide as my I-Phone.  Very slim.  She was so pleased with it and the convenience of just taking her license, credit card, a few dollar bills and necessities for an evening out rather than the large over-the-shoulder handbag.  “How do you like it?” she asked.  While my mind raced through all the items of mine she would have to fit in there…and then find place for her items too…I shakily respond “it’s nice dear, nice.”  Carefully and strategically I inquired how my glasses and keys would fit in, never mind my wallet and phone.  My wife, in the goodness of her heart, showed that the keys could fit in securely, and my sunglasses could sit on the top, just allowing the zipper to close.  I assumed she didn’t notice the bulge my sunglasses made in her previously slim lined purse, but she graciously accepted my two items in stride.  In reality the weather on the trip was mostly cloudy and rainy so we she only used the new purse a few times.  The sunglasses stayed in the hotel room.

The panic attack gave me pause to realize the next time my wife asks me if I’d like to go shopping with her to get a new handbag, I better not bail out as I usually do.  I need to be certain we find the right size and style of handbag for us her.

Of course all those times I am out by myself, my pockets bulging with bulky car keys poking at me, broad black sunglasses draped through my shirt buttons like an organic growth protruding from my chest, I-Phone in my back pocket sending out “butt calls” to the world at large and wallet irritating the forever present dent it has put in my right butt cheek…well, I am still a proud traditional man handling the challenges of daily life as a man was meant to, purse free…although I am finding that I miss my wife being along with
me more and more.

G’Day friends, see you next Friday morning.

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