Handbags for Both Men and Women

handbagsWhat is it with women and expensive designer handbags? I’d really like to know. Every man I’ve ever known, who has a wife with one or more expensive handbags, couldn’t care less about the brand name of the handbag or wallet he carries.

As far as I can remember, it all started for me in 2009 when my wife, Josie, bought two Coach handbags and gave one as a gift to our older daughter-in-law. Those handbags weren’t cheap, and they weren’t on sale. I’ve watched her browsing online for hours at a time, salivating over Louis Vuitton and Michael Kors handbags. Is it something about the brand names, or just that owning expensive handbags is a status symbol or something?

Women and Handbags

When I was growing up, women carried what they called purses. I never hear women calling them that anymore. My grammar checker still tells me to use the word “purse”, and that “handbag” is the British word for the same thing. Forgive me if I don’t care.

Regardless of what they’re called, women seem to be collectors. They never seem to be satisfied with the ones they already have. I always dread going with Josie when shopping at department stores. She’ll inevitably steer herself toward the section where the handbags are. I’ve lost count of how many handbags she’s owned over the years.

I understand the impulse to buy things you want, because I’m the same way when it comes to computer-related items. The difference is that I rarely buy what I want. The strangest thing about a woman’s handbag is not the handbag itself, but the things they store in them. I think Josie could start a small-scale thermonuclear war with the contents of her handbag. Why else would it take her 15 minutes to dig out something she needs right away?

Handbag Prices

When Josie told me one of her Coach handbags cost over $300, I just had to go visit the website to find out what the fuss was all about. I’m sorry, but I wasn’t impressed. The handbags she’s looked at since then have been in the thousands. Thousands! There was one she drooled over that was priced at over $20,000. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather spend that kind of money on a new car or something.

Ever since Josie started carrying around her designer handbags, other women have stared at them and commented about them. The men just ignore them, like they ignore most things women seem to be interested in. Regardless of why the fascination exists, I guess the men will just have to deal with it.

Fashion Items to Go With the Handbags

Josie has to own shoes and watches to match her handbags. If she can find the right ones, they’ll be designer items as well. Why? Honestly, there are literally thousands of alternatives to the handbags, shoes, watches and anything else with designer brand names on them. There are many well-known names on less expensive products. I’m talking about the likes of “Guess” and “Fossil” and others I can’t remember by name.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t care about the money Josie’s spent on them. I just love to harass her about it because everything I wear or carry on a daily basis costs less than $100 anywhere in the world, and only one of the things she wears or carries costs more than that. It’s amusing how much people will spend on brand names. I stopped looking at brand names years ago. I live on a fixed income now, and I’m glad those brand names don’t do a thing for me. Otherwise, I’d probably end up being broke all the time.

Men and Handbags

When I was growing up, men carried wallets and billfolds. I guess “billfold” lost out to “wallet” over the years. I don’t know how other men feel about their wallets. It’s one of those things we never talk about to each other. As for me, I feel ripped off if I spend a lot on a wallet, regardless of how cool it looks or how functional it is.

Men carry handbags, but they’re not like handbags for women. Unless they’re full-sized messenger bags, they’re not likely to be as large as handbags for women either. They don’t have handles, but they have straps. Messenger bags can also be called carryalls. A smaller version can also be called a sling bag. If you look up messenger bags at online stores, you’ll find a bunch of different names for the bags men carry. Here’s a short list:

  • cross-body bag
  • fanny pack
  • messenger bag
  • messenger shoulder bag
  • satchel
  • sling bag
  • sling backpack

The handbag I carry on occasion, especially when I’m in the Philippines, is like a small messenger shoulder bag. It’s not too big to be a nuisance that I have to lug around. I’ve been using it since I bought it in one of the malls in Olongapo more than five years ago.

The Items I Carry

I have no idea what anyone else would carry in any kind of handbag for a man. I carry things that I may need to pull out at any given time. My United States passport and various other items along that size takes up one compartment. A flattened roll of toilet paper takes up another compartment. Most of the restrooms in public places in the Philippines are either lacking in toilet paper or you have to buy your own from a nearby store. I dislike the tough, thin toilet paper in the public restrooms in the United States. Charmin or Kleenex feels way better, and they do better jobs

I carry fingernail and toenail clippers in another compartment, otherwise they’ll get lost (and I’ve lost many). If I’m going to be sitting for a long time, like when I’m traveling for more than an hour in a car, I’ll slide my wallet into another compartment. If I’m not using my cell phone for anything, it’ll take up space in one of the compartments, whether it’s shared with something else or not.

Not Just for Men

I always wonder why women insist on having designer handbags (with both handles and straps) that they’re not going to carry very often. Both Josie and my daughter-in-law, Cathy, carry handbags (clutches?) that are as small as mine way more often. Other than looking feminine, they could function much the same as my own.

Most men used to refrain from carrying handbags of any kind unless it was absolutely necessary. More men carry them these days, but they still try to avoid looking feminine.

Image by Rdsmith4, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Leave a Comment