Mav (chrismaverick) wrote,

on masculinity vs. femininity through functional portable storage accessories...

Steph Glamour Shoot 4
Originally uploaded by chrismaverick.
I was in Phantom of the Attic, the other day talking to my friend, Wayne, and we happened upon one of those conversations that only occur in comic book shops or Kevin Smith movies. You know the ones, deep philosphical conversations that only occur when a couple of self-important assholes get together and start making meaningless observations about the world around them or when everyone is really really stoned.

Anyway, we were discussing the evolution of the handbag. Back when I was a kid, Real Men™, didn't carry hand bags. The only things a real man ever needed to have on his person was a dirty wad of cash, a swiss army pocket knife and maybe a hip flask of bourbon. If you couldn't fit all of that in your pockets, then your pants were too tight, sissy boy. Bags, or as we liked to call them, purses, were for women.

The notable exception would be if you had a briefcase. See, a briefcase was solid, angular, manly. But the briefcase wasn't really serving the same purpose. A briefcase was only to carry vitaly important business documents. You needed your briefcase, because if the Jenkins account was out of arms reach for more than 5 minutes, then the world just might end. You sure as hell didn't carry personal items in the case. You wouldn't be caught dead with a brush or comb in your briefcase, what are you a woman?

Women on the other hand were supposed to use bags. Moreover, they were supposed to have several bags. Differeng to match their outfit or the occasion. Huge pocketbooks that could hold 18 different types of sun tan lotion (there was no sunscreen back in the day, looking good was so much more important than skin cancer), 47 different makeup items, 2 changes of clothes, $43.67 in change and a pack of gum all for a 3 hour day at the beach down to a tiny elegant little beaded handbag that can fit either a tube of lipstick or a compact, but not both, for a night out on the town (it doesn't need to hold money, that's what men are for).

Somewhere along the way, it became fashionable for men to actually carry stuff. Mostly I think this is caused by school. You have books, an you certainly can't be bothered to go back to your locker between every class, so it becomes necessary to cart things around in an efficient manner. And so we arrived at the backpack. The backpack allowed a man to carry all of his random crap around without a feminine looking purse, and it was much easier to deal with and had a larger storage capacity than a briefcase. BONUS. And most importantly, it was manly. Backpacks. You know, like you use when you're camping. Two shoulders! MANLY! Grrrr!

But then somewhere along the line, women started carrying backpacks too. It's hard for me to get beststephi to go anywhere without hers (see, I had a reason to put that picture of her there for reasons other than her just being cute). In fact, I think in the nearly 7 years we've been together, she's only even had a purse (a singular, one!) for like the last year or so. How distinctly unfeminine!

Well, except...

Somewhere along the way things got kinda funny. As more and more women carried backpacks, men started differentiating themselves from women by not using both straps. Afterall, its a lot quicker to get the pack on and off if you sling it over one shoulder. And really, if a woman needs both shoulders, and you're a beefy strong man you should be able to carry the bag with one right?

Time went on, and backpacks became more and more curvy and feminine. They started becoming smaller and more purselike. The backpack was an item for women. And for men? well, since they only used one strap anyway, the second one begane to disappear. The messenger bag was born. Then the laptop bag. Then the satchel.

Now we're in a weird place. I have a laptop bag, which houses my computer, my car stereo, a book or two, some CDs, my comb, some aspirin, and just assorted other personal items. Its manly. When that's inconvenient men are known to carry smaller bags with just enough room for maybe a cellphone, a wallet and a checkbook. One strap, fits nicely around the hand. When I'm going to work out, I have huge gym bag that I carry that has gear, pads, tape, whatever.... I coordinate my bag with the occasion.

What I don't do, ever, is wear a bag with two starps. Because, you know... that would be womanly, right?

So here's the question. Men and women both. Do you carry a bag? How big? One or two straps? What do you carry in it? Do you change the bag per occasion. Do you consider it masculine or feminine to do so? Do you take it with you everywhere? Do you consider it part of accessorizing? Any other thoughts?

Note: Mav's history lesson ignores the fanny pack. We all had them, we all acknowledge it was a mistake. Let us never speak of them again. You know, unless you're gay. And even then, all the cool gay people are still going to beat you up.

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