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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Terrible Truths Dept.

All right, so I have a man-purse.

Rather than start this out by delineating some defensive argument wherein I try to justify the carrying around of said handy garment, I’ll just come right out and cop to it.

At least I’m in good company. “My boy”, Michael Wilbon, is rumoured to also be the possessor of a man-purse. And we all know about Joey Tribbiani’s famed dalliance with a man bag, as he was seen (and mocked) carrying this infamous tote in the episode, “The One With Joey's Bag”.

So, in the company of such fellow studs as these, I will actually make the case for this being cool.

(Haha, ‘case’, get it? Yeah, unfunny, I know.)

First, when I carry this thing around, it is nearly always in the CBD of Wellington. So I tend to blend in with the rest of the urban, working-class, brainy crowd. Granted, I don’t notice many other such man-satchels in deployment, but there are plenty of guys with briefcases at least. Also, my overall look really isn’t that metrosexual at all, given that the only piece of gear I’ve got equipped that would fit this category is the man-purse. I know, it’s a big-ticket item when it comes to how it influences my overall 'metrosexual-ness', but I don’t sport (or own) any of those flare-collared nightclub shirts, nor do I wear ANY form of eye-liner or makeup. And no pinky rings or flashy silver bracelets, either – I’m not a wannabe hipster, by crikey.

Secondly, well the damned thing is just too handy. I can’t be bothered stuffing my jeans pockets with car keys, a wallet, my chapstick, and loose bills and change. If I owned more cargo pants then I’d not need look anywhere else to stash my personal effects. But until I trade my valise for a few new pairs of the latest in cargo gear from The Gap, the manbag remains my best option. I guess technically it didn't become a 'purse' until I started keeping my keys and stuff in it.

Thirdly, it’s not really a purse. I haven’t actually purchased something from Mont Blanc or Louis Vuitton that is purposely designed for the metrosexual man on the go. I wish I could afford to be that stylin’.

No, the garment in question is actually the carrying case for my keyboard. I realize that admitting to this potentially portrays me in a worse light than if I had ‘just’ a man-purse. Not only does this case resemble one of those, with its long black strap and black square frame, but its sole purpose is for the transport of my word processor.

What’s the name of this geeky, chic gadget of mine? Why, it’s the AlphaSmart 3000. I first read about one of these babies in “No Plot? No Problem!”, the book penned by the creator of the famous NaNoWriMo, Chris Baty. NaNoWriMo is shorthand for National Novel Writing Month, which happens every November. I noticed the coincidence between this tradition and Blogspot's push to have its blogger faithful post every day last November, and thought that was cool.

If you’ll permit me to brag on this contraption a bit, it runs on just 3 AA batteries – they’ve lasted well over a year and a half, with the little battery power icon still at full strength! It displays four lines of text and has eight total files which each hold a sizable amount of data.

Back in mid-2005 I decided to jump start the creative thought processes by crashing into November with the intention of writing a novel. It was going to be a lot of fun, and my purchase of the AlphaSmart 3000 is tangible proof of this.

I never did write the novel, partly because I could never settle on a story idea that really drew me in. The point of the exercise isn’t to write something worthy of being published, to be sure, but at least something that was coherent and fun to compose. It’s something I’ll certainly pursue at some stage later on.

But what short-circuited my plans to go through with NaNoWriMo that year was the beginning of my obsession with New Zealand. Some of the many books I purchased while sipping macchiatos at the Barnes & Noble Café back in the Newz (I wanna shout out to my peeps Vicky, Robyn, Laura, Ginger, Ann, Liz, and Jay – holla!) were travel books about NZ, and you could say I never looked back.

So, the novel-writing energies were converted into trip-planning ones, and you see now the fruits of those labours. I don’t regret it one bit, of course, and NaNoWriMo will always be there.

Plus, the AlphaSmart 3000 is still going strong with those original 3 Duracells, natch.

I’m only a little self-conscious about this man-purse, mainly because I tend to hit the same 3 or 4 spots every time I’m in the CBD. I may be known as the ‘man-purse guy’ or worse, especially because most of the staff in these places have seen what it truly contains. I’ve actually gotten a few compliments on the keyboard, as it’s served as an icebreaker on several occasions. Maybe they all think I’m a food critic or something since I’m often writing while I’m eating or drinking in a lot of these places.

NB: As I type, a guy has just sat down at the table next to me with a no-doubt-about-it man-purse. He’s with a hot babe, so score one for the men purses! Odds are, however, he isn’t carrying around a battery-powered word processor in there.

At least I know I’m nowhere near as conspicuous as I was that one Sunday when I went to Starbucks. It was right before I had a shift at the after-hours, which is about a fifteen-minute drive from downtown Welly. Since it was on a Sunday and was cramping my usual coffee-sipping/newspaper-reading style, I figured I’d make the most of it and at least start my day off with the same ritual.

What I didn’t realize until too late, however, was how I had dressed. I usually go to work wearing a long sleeve shirt with the sleeves rolled up, a tie, and slacks. And, of course, I was carrying the black "murse" that stars in this post.

So who else does such a get-up remind you of? Somebody that you might see on Sundays, usually traveling in the company of a similarly-dressed young white male with smiles on their faces? Occasionally knocking on your door, asking if you’ve heard the Good News? That’s right: I looked like a Mormon. Or any other Christian on a mission on any given Sunday.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that! But that is definitely not me, and I became acutely aware of this as I noticed people’s reactions to me. I saw - more than once - people flash me uneasy smiles and avert their eyes, giving me a wide berth. Perhaps they were just reacting to the keyboard, but I had to wonder if it was because they were afraid I was going to ask them to join my church.

To my credit, I didn’t ask for converts. Just money.

What, you think all those coffees at Starbucks come cheap?!


Blogger Beechball * said...

I tried to comment on your post yesterday at school but our MAC computers are pieces of crap, so yeah.. it wasn't working. Anywho, I wanted to say that I honestly feel bad that there is such a stigma about having a man-purse. These days, people need to carry around so much stuff that it's terrible to think how you boys do it. It looks rediculous when guys have their pockets overflowing with junk like keys, chappy, wallet, cellphone, make-up (hey, some guys are weird like that) so I really do feel bad for you because I can relate. I carry around a packsack and a gymbag to school like 3 or 4 days of the week and I manage to run out of space, so I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to not be 'allowed' to carry a bag to help lug around all your stuff. Keep using your murse, and I hope that ths trend picks up and its more acceptable among society soon. My main reason for this... I hate having to carry around all Dan's junk in MY purse.. grrr, get your OWN! lol wow, that was too long.. I gotta get back to my homework! lol

1:19 PM  
Blogger Brooksie said...

Glad you can sympathize with me Lyndsay - appreciated! It's funny but after writing this post at coffee the other day, I noticed no fewer than 3 other guys sporting their own men-purses. So, at least in downtown Welly, I fit in quite well! Good luck with your homework, missy!

8:34 PM  

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