Tuesday, January 2, 2007

May I ask your opinion?

For several months I've caught myself wondering what it would be like, how it must feel, why women can experience it and most of us males never will.

Before I get carried away with smut and crude innuendo I'll just get to the point and tell you that I have found myself looking at man's handbags lately. Here in London "manbags" are a enigmatic phenomenon. Our continental cousins happily bound through the boulevards of Paris and the avenues of Amsterdam with manbags stuffed to the brim with Euros, deodorant and packets of Gitanes. They don't worry about looking camp or their friends mickey taking down the pub. Of course they don't have pubs and their friends are all permanently stoned but they've all got manbags.

If you care to venture into almost any menswear shop in London you'll see these bags everywhere. The issue of whether one would be practical for a bloke like me is beyond reasonable doubt. On an average night out I would normally carry car keys, wallet, phone, reading glasses and lots of downy fluff. It doesn't sound like much but it weighs down the old pockets and ruins the lines of suits, shirts and trousers. Up until a couple of years ago I also would have had my fags and lighter on me and that would always be two packets and a Zippo for one night. These days I am nicotine free, but the rest of the bulk goes with me.

Women never question why a man won't have a pen on him in the evening. Well it's because we don't have these bags. A pen in a pocket would just be a rarely used bit of bulk that would start to leak halfway through the night, only on the nights when a light coloured shirt was being worn. It's only Professors and life insurance salesman who carry pens all the time. And others who write a lot.

When I'm in Sri Lanka there's a whole host of further mens' essential items that I have to try to cram into my pockets. There's ID, iPod, sunglasses case, camera accessories, room keys and all kinds of stuff that wouldn't be needed back home. I usually end up carrying a rucksack around with me. It's an imperfect solution. The rucksack is invariably half empty and I have to hand it in to the security counter in most Colombo shops. That's not something I feel happy about when my camera and a decent lens or two are in it.

I know that it's inevitable. Once I start to look at things it's just a matter of time, a clock ticking away slowly, until I give in a buy one. The big question is whether I'll use it or chuck it in the back of a cupboard. It was like that with my first combine harvester. I spent months eyeing them up, questioning whether I'll really need one and if I was just following fashion without thinking of my true needs. Of course I was wrong and I now have one shoved in the back of a cupboard and hardly ever used.

So what should I do? Any "new" men out there who can advise me? Any women who can tell me your thoughts?

Please, I need the opinion of the blogosphere.

Should 2007 begin with a manbag?


Anonymous said...


Bag Lady said...

Please... forget that bag. Keep the rucksack.

Spooky said...

The answer will alwaays be NO! Ditto with brollies.

And btw,, they aren't all carrying manbags on the continent. No brollies either.

N said...

Happy New Year!!

Dude...no on the bag...definitely. The solution I would recommend for the camera issue if you don't want to carry a rucksack are these small bags done by Tamrack. They're pretty handy and a decent compromise between a chick bag and a huge backpack...they also have handy side pockets to put your ipod, spares for the harvester, etc.

SpectralCentroid said...

Yes, that way you can carry that gun without being noticed before you shoot yourself. :)

Honestly can't give much of an opinion without seeing one (although my gut feeling is someting on the line of 'nooooooooooooo'). So post a picture or two. Hope this trend doesn't cross over the atlantic.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

anon - Fair point, well presented.

Bag Lady - Your opinion is noted.

Spooky - I have heard that Johhny Foreigner always carries a manbag. When the Euro was introduced manbags were made compulsory too.

n and spectral - thanks, bear in mind that I'm thinking it would be a sign of my bravery and masculinity. It would be a clear signal to the masses that I am not afraid of my feminine side. Or they might just think I'm gay, or worse, from France!

janus said...

I dont get what's wrong with a man bag. Its so bloody useful. I was made mild fun of cos i constantly carry a semi man-bag, but without it, my trouser pockets look like bags themselves.
I dont see anything wrong with you carrying one of those. Its functionality!
Get a skull sticker or something, if you want it to remain masculine.

SweetIdiot said...

What doth a 'man-bag' look like?

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

sweetidiot - They just look like handbags , but for men. They don't tend to have flowers and pink things on them, more leather, canvas and straight lines.

Anonymous said...

i just thought this was hilarious given my story of the lost handbag at the dawn of 07 - which i now feel the need to call a woman bag in order to make the logical differentiation - although, any man woulda been totally comfortable carrying mine coz it was brown, plain and tattered!

the downside of carrying any bag as i learned within minutes of the dawn of 07, is the same concept as all eggs in one basket - if n when u lose it, u lose it all!

for chicks, the bulging pockets with the fag (cigi) packs (u can never manage two even though u consume two n have to pay insane amounts to purchase the second at some bar club thing), house keys, ids n phone, is just painful given the hip hugging (we love our curvy gotta-get-some hips) jeans! (that is if ur one of the few who actually cares about sitting comfortably or dancing wild!) or better still, our hip hugging curve accentuating no-pocket pants!

gender issues are so funny! to most, gender = female. body hair = male. getting the door = male. handbag = female. for me, gender = gender. body hair = we all bloody have it, getting the door = nice thing to do which everyone should bother about whenever possible though they dont, and handbag = a mobile location u would put just about everything u may find useful at any given point, including antihistamines (often used by friends), a pen drive for "all ur data transfer needs" and a toothbrush which is always nice to have when crashing at friends'.

but when u lose your handbag, u lose ur phone with all 257 numbers and sim card with saved text messages u cant get back, ur new fangled slim got as a gift n never would afford to buy again camera, a considerable amount of cash u just happened to acquire on the night, debit card, ids inclduing stuff like media id which means getting it from the gvt, which means months n months n months if ever (freelance journos have a tougher time getting it), house keys which mean lock changing and a pen drive to boot! this of course is in addition to all those little things that mean tosh to all else but mean (quite literally - too long to explain) "the world" to u!

looks have never really mattered to me.. so mr. rhythmic, all i can say is, when considering the option of a handbag (please lets just call it that shall we? after all, hand.. bag.. right? btw, u r the bigger boy for being able to admit ur in touch with not just ur "feminine" side, but ur practical and sensible side) all u really need to consider is the "all eggs in one basket that is not attached at all times to ur hip n can hence be stolen" factor.

somehow, the bulges are beginning to seem doable to me.. i'm at the moment trying to figure out how best to work that pen n pen drive into my hip huggers! :)


Anonymous said...

Dear Rhythmic
There's nothing camp about the manbag, don't listen to the doubters. However, the manbag is an imperfect solution to the problems you pose: anything without a strap just becomes cumbersome and awkward to carry after a while, anything with a strap is basically the same as the rucksack.
Some alternative solutions you might try: you could go out with the wife more, they are great substitutes for manbags as they can carry stuff for you in their handbags. And if you are genuinely worried about the 'camp' issue, a wife is one of the least camp accessories around - unless she's a beard.
On a night out, ditch the wallet and just take your bank card and some folding stuff - its all you need. Likewise with the keys, just take your housekey and maybe a piece of paper with your address on it - this reduces bulk.
When shopping in Colombo, take your stuff in a plain carrier bag (or patterned, up to you), then buy something immediately and transfer contents into new carrier bag.
Hope these tips offer some possible solutions....

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

So Mala thinks I should carry a basket with eggs in it and anon says I should go out with the wife more. Has anyone got any sensible ideas?

the1truecoolguy said...

I realize I could just Google it, but let's face it, I'm lazy. How about some pics of the various manbags you're considering?

It IS annoying to carry stuff around in your pockets, but I'd be hesitant about a manbag as well... :)

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Mr the1truecoolguy - I'll see what I can find. But, the burning issue is not one of whether I should buy a manbag that looks like this one or that one, it's more a fundamental issue of whether I should embrace the manbag concept or reject it. Readership opinion at the moment seems to indicate that I should go for it, if I was a girl, but not if I am a man. This seems to be a fatally flawed plan so I'll await further opinion.

Darwin said...

I personally think the only man who can pull off the manbag look is Jack Bauer off 24. But he's always saving the world and all that you know...can hardly question his masculinity!

Anonymous said...

One word bitches.


'Nuff sed.

Tz. said...

Mala makes a supremely reasonable argument, but I feel compelled to point out -you do not want to take a woman's word on this. They've been using handbags for so long they actually think the vile things are okay. This is a DUDE ISSUE. What do your nuts tell you?

PS: I second that suggestion of using your wife as a sentient manbag-replacement.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

tz - thanks for that, I agree with you. It is a man's issue, but I do value these womens' viewpoints too. If, for example, they all said "No, don't get one because we hate chaps with manbags", then I wouldn't get one. The "using my wife" plan would work if she was a normal woman but, if I tried this, I would get to the end of an evening and find car keys lost and all sorts of calamities occuring. Plus I'd have to go out with her too.

So, I'm still undecided on this serious question.

drac said...

Not to sway you in any way, but at least one of your objectives in procuring said manbag isn't going to work.

You think security at Colombo shops are going to let you in because it's a manbag? Perhaps I'm mistaken but I can't see it happening. They're not going to care if it's your manbag or an oddly shaped rucksack with gender identity issues.

As worthier souls have indicated already, use the wife as a manbag replacement. Looks better and you're probably saving yourself the bother of carrying it around.

Failing which in order of preference;
a) carry less stuff.
b) spread valuables around when travelling in a group (or lock it in the dash of your car)
c) cave in and buy the manbag anyway.

You could also do what I did recently (not through choice, entirely), cunningly disguise your manbag as a laptop bag or somesuch. Plenty of people lug around one of those...

Anonymous said...

good one drac :)

dont nobody worry. he aint gonna get one anyway! he's too.. whats that word(?) for it! :)

now why do i feel death coming my way?? :)


Niroshan said...

I suggest you post a photograph of this manbag first Mr. Rythmic, if you want an honest opinion from the guys!

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

niroshan - a picture is proving hard to get. I have scoured the net and got nothing and I don't really want to go into a shop and take pics. I'll keep looking and try to put something up for you.

drac - I did think that I'd be allowed to carry it around in shops in CMB, if I can't it negates one of the major positives for going down the whole manbag route.

dsome said...

like a bag is a bag right? mulberry do a really good leather one. so if you got stuff to put on it, get it. doesnt really define your sexual preferences does it? if i had the dosh for something as cool as a mulberry i would. so go for it mate. enjoy!

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Thanks to all for your comments. I am none the wiser but, for the time being, the manbag remains on the shop shelf. I'll keep you abreast of any developments.

Reader said...

Found this while surfing.

It made me think of you. I think you should go for it, but please skip the clutch.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Thanks for that reader. If anyone wants to know what I meant by a manbag then that link should satisfy their curiosity.