Breaking down the walls of fashion

I’m looking for a man purse.

Darin J. McCannDarin J. McCannThat’s right. I said it. I’ve been hoping that a real macho guy with a tough-guy exterior and a magnetic way about him (think Russell Crowe or Bob Bertram) would start carrying around a man purse in public, thus clearing the path for the rest of us to carry one without shame. It would be perfect, and I wouldn’t have to be a trailblazer.

But that’s obviously not going to happen.

This is not about me making a fashion statement, I assure you. I’ve just had it with walking around with pockets more stuffed than an obese shoplifter’s at a candy store. It’s uncomfortable, it’s not aesthetically appealing to have my overloaded pockets give me bigger hips than a Dixie Chick after Thanksgiving dinner and it makes me feel like I’m trying to smuggle things past the security guards at my high school. Ooh, there was this one time when ...

But I digress.

Let me fully explain to you my daily plight. After going through my various hygiene procedures at Casa McCann in the morning, and choosing one of the 300 identical pairs of khaki pants I have hanging in the closet, I get myself ready to file out the door. Wallet goes in first, followed by my car keys. My business card holder goes in a pocket, just in case I run into a reader at the gas station who needs to get something in the paper, and I throw my iPod into another pocket so I have music or podcasts to listen to in the car.

A lot of stuff, right? Oh, we’re just getting started.

Since my eyes get goofy if even the slightest hint of light hits them dead-on, my sunglasses get perched on top of my shaved dome and my favorite tobacco product gets another spot on my person.

I need a man purse bad.

Yes, I carry a briefcase with me out the door as well. But that’s filled with my laptop, various press releases, office memos from Monica Fleming asking the staff to stop throwing things in her water bottles when she’s not looking and handfuls of things to throw in Monica Fleming’s water bottles when she’s not looking. It’s a pretty full load.

Look, I don’t want to carry a man purse. Trust me, I’m not confident enough in myself to start that kind of fashion movement in Sussex County all by myself. But since no big macho guy is apparently going to fall on his sword for the rest of us (thanks, Bob), I guess I’m going to have to break the ice.

My first thought was to turn to Google and type in “man purse.” I was pretty sure I’d get a few sites who specialize in this need, and probably 10,000 sites dedicated to emasculating the man who gets a man purse. Imagine my surprise when Google responded with about 120,000 hits for “man purse.”

Yes, I mumbled to myself, there are more of us out there than I thought.

The first site to come up had the heading, “It’s Not a Purse! A Man’s Guide to Man-Bags.” Oh, I like that. Already my little fraternity is pulling together to masculinize the accessory. A quick click brought me to an index of some of their offerings — which ranged from backpack-looking items to ... well, more backpack-looking items. No, that’s not what I’m looking for. I need something that will allow me easy in-and-out access.

The search continued.

The second site was a blog from a guy writing for City Paper in Philadelphia where he defends his right to carry a man’s purse. The more I read, the more I wanted to heckle the guy for wearing a man purse in a Philadelphia subway. That was certainly not what I was going for in this exercise. I clicked another site.

Not much better. This one showed how the Rev. Jerry Falwell lashed out against a kid’s character named Tinky Winky for carrying a handbag. Yeah, I certainly don’t need him on my back.

Another site offered the opinion that they are already popular in Europe, so it should be fine for men to carry them here. And, well, running away from conflict and men wearing all-too-tight pants is also very popular in Europe, and I don’t really see me falling all over myself to get in line for those things.

Then I found it ... the Gadget Bag. It’s similar to a fanny pack but it’s held on your person by a strap that goes over your shoulder. This thing can stash everything from your pockets, and provides easy access since it drapes right over your shoulder. It also comes in a variety of colors and ...

Who am I kidding? I’m not getting that thing. What I really need is cargo pants.