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?
Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika
6 hours ago