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Some time ago, I was at a coffee shop with some friends and a few new faces having some random conversations here and there about whatever came to mind. Naturally, because of the industry that I work in the topic of fashion and leather bags came up. Eventually, our conversation led to men's leather satchel bags, and within moments out came the "oh I got myself a man purse as well!"
This is a common term that I have heard many times before in the past. But like in the past, I never actually took the time to ponder on. Now, for those of you who don't know, “man purse” refers to messenger bags and satchels worn by men. But what does the term "man purse" imply exactly? And could anyone be offended by it? This was the question I began asking myself later on that night. Because for everyone else, they found it to be a simple joke and chuckled here and there. I also found it to be funny but with the added feeling that someone may feel offended by it. However, at that moment, I wasn't sure why I felt that someone could be offended.
So after giving it some thought and recalling all the times I had heard it in the past, I realized something interesting about it. As we know, it is somewhat of a commonly used term around the world. People often say it to friends as a simple joke, as if it "could" mean something more. As if they heard it on a movie sometime ago and thought it was funny, but didn't understand the full blow of it. Bringing me to my point, when said in some places of the world, it's meaning may imply something completely different than what we think. And in one of such places, I have had the experience of growing up in. That place is otherwise known as, Southern California.
If there is anything that I can remember about Southern California and what men should and shouldn't wear, it is this; men do not wear bags across their shoulders or on their shoulders. In fact, the feeling is more so along the lines of; men shouldn’t wear anything that even has the slightest feminine appearance, at all! Although, I think I went against the grain on this sharp edged Southern California social standard, because on my most recent trip back home I took my satchel bag with me. I was embraced with love and welcoming arms, and as I can remember correctly, some very memorable comments about my "man purse".
Southern California is a place where you will find tough guys, buff guys, gym addicts, road rage and more tough guys. And along the same lines of this manly induced social way of life, there are some interestingly high levels of criticism towards men using or wearing anything that resembles women’s clothing or women’s clothing accessories. Now don’t get me wrong, being bisexual is all the common rage in Southern California as anywhere else in the world. However, with Southern California it goes a bit like this; if you’re leaning to the left then lean to the left, but don’t lean to the left and say everything is all right.
Often times in Southern California when this term is said by one man to another, very rarely does it only imply a harmless joke. It undoubtedly will almost always imply that the man wearing the leather satchel bag is more than likely a bisexual man or a very feminine man. Not to mention, the body language and face expressions accompanied with this comment is what entails to us that men wearing leather satchel bags is truly perceived by many men in Southern California as being bisexual or very feminine.
Coming from such a diverse place like Southern California, one could only imagine how men wearing leather satchel bags could bear such a meaning. However, this could very well be due to a lack of diversity in worldly fashions and lifestyles. Narrowing down this "unique" point of view furthermore. I would say, that a good large portion of the world if not the entire world shares the same opinion about men wearing leather satchel bags. It's stylish, men look good wearing them and it's a very traditional type of clothing accessory. It does not and could not, in any way what so ever, indicate that a man is bisexual or very feminine. And the premise that this term could possibly imply such a meaning, is absolutely stupid.