Toward the Man-Purse

After nearly a decade of service, my messenger bag is finally giving up the ghost. I’ve been looking for a replacement that’s smaller and lighter: just enough to hold a 13-inch Macbook Air, some pen and paper, and maybe a book. And I’m realizing that the man-purse is an inevitability.

Once upon a time, men used briefcases to carry around their contracts, bundles of cash, and nuclear launch codes. Over the years, these morphed into laptop bags and messenger bags. In the meantime, many have gotten quite used to the convenience, if not essentiality, of having things beyond their keys and wallet on them.

Until the state of the art reaches a point where pockets are pointless, the need for such a bag remains. But the requirements are changing. Convergence means fewer devices to carry around; instead of a PDA, MP3 player, and camera, you have a smartphone. Miniaturization means the devices you do carry around are getting thinner and lighter; 15-inch behemoths make room for subnotebooks and iPads. Digitization means fewer documents printed on paper; paperbacks are replaced with a Kindle.

What’s needed is a smaller bag. And whether you can come to grips with it or not, let’s accept that we’re entering man-purse territory.

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  1. My grandfather carried a “man purse” or however one wants to refer to it. He used his old Army map-bag, slung over his shoulder or carried by the strap in his hand. In it, he had his wallet, keys, ink pen, notebook and possibly sunglasses. He’d also stuff his ball cap into it. I remember there always being peanut crumbles in the corners at the bottom. I’ve always carried a bag of some sort. Today at age 45 I still carry a bag. I think it’s ridiculous to stuff nice pockets full, or to purchase a vest or jacket with huge pockets simply to avoid carrying a bag. My dad even carried a bag most of his life but his was a re-purposed camera bag, the old SLR bags that had multiple storage spaces. My brother carries an ammo bag. I am glad to see so many nicer options available. Being organized is not a strictly feminine trait, 🙂 Great post!

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