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Men, Just Call Your Bag a Purse
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Men, Just Call Your Bag a Purse

Nick Douglas, Gawker Media

Photo by Garry Knight

We've come a long way from when men were terrified to carry a bag, which might be mistaken for a purse, which is what women wear, and therefore bad.

But we have one important step left: Stop juggling names for your satchel, your "bag," your man-purse, your murse. Just call it a purse.

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Two reasons this matters. First, the only reason you're not calling it a purse is a tacit cultural agreement that things associated with women are bad. You're not calling it a satchel because of its shape. Women have satchels, and clutches, and totes, and handbags. And they-or at least you, manly man-call them all purses.

So while you might hate to admit it, it's a tiny bit misogynist and/or homophobic that you're afraid to call your purse a purse. You're acting like a character on  Friends , which is generally a bad sign.

Second, once you realize you have a purse, you can start to really use it like one. My bag used to carry just a paperback, notebook, and headphones. But as soon as I realized my summer tote was actually just a purse, I immediately thought of all I could carry in it: lip balm, wet wipes, aspirin, Purell, a cardigan. You know, purse things. None of this felt very manly but, well, who gives a shit?

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You don't have to go crazy. Keep your wallet, phone, and keys in your pockets. Not because that's manly but because everyone with pockets should do that, so when their purse gets stolen it's not such a hassle. But if you do throw your keys in your purse, add a Tile Bluetooth fob so you can track them from your phone.

And no one's asking you to get a pink handbag or a jeweled clutch. Just get something that matches most of your outfits. Most branded tote bags are pretty gender-neutral. Or, you know, if you want something girly and flowery, go for it, dude. Who looks dumber, you or someone who gives a shit what color bag you put your iPad in?

Calling it a purse will seem silly and performative at first. But as our culture gradually gets over its centuries-long panic over gender roles, the word will sound normal. Because, after all, it is.

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