Zach Galifianakis man-pursing while half in the bag

July 14th, 2009

Zach Galifiankis of “The Hangover” sports some stylish over-the-shoulder apparel after tying one on. Its zipper-up leather pocket looks just the right size for a flask. Also, “Indian Jones wears one.”

voice clip available at Entertonement

The briefcase is dead. Long live the man purse!

January 21st, 2007

The newly revamped Wall Street Journal helps its aging readers get with it.

Searching unsuccessfully for a briefcase for her husband, hapless New York reader G.N. seeks counsel from Journal fashion reporter Teri Agins:

I had a really hard time trying to find anything, let alone something that I liked. Are briefcases ‘out of style’ now, especially since laptop cases have become more popular?”

Agins bears the bad news gracefully: Madame, the briefcase is dead.

Demand for hard-sided briefcases has plummeted in the past 20 years. And while leather-goods specialists such as Levenger, Tumi and Hartmann still offer a limited selection of classic briefcases and attachés, they say such cases are now purchased mainly by men over 50 years old. Crouch & Fitzgerald, which has been selling all kinds of business cases since 1839, says it currently stocks only about 14 boxy attachés, down from 100 about 15 years ago. [emphasis added]

What’s taken their place among most of the 49-and-under guy crowd? Why, “laptop-friendly” cases, Agins euphemistically tells us; “soft-sided,” “multipurpose” bags. Messenger bags.

Why won’t she just come out and say it? Something with a strap. Laptops are just too darn heavy to be carried in a case that doesn’t have one.

Alas, Agins doesn’t single out the strap, and won’t use the “P” word. But we will. We know what she’s really talking about.

If the Wall Street Journal is truly looking for a faster-paced format to match its newly slimmed-down page size, it might offer readers a quicker, less circuitous summary: “Lady, ditch the briefcase. Get your man a purse.

Laptop cases for power-hungry men

January 7th, 2007
APC Power Ready Business Casual Messenger Bag

Sick and tired of friends and co-workers who always seem to get a large charge when they see you lugging around your man purse?

Well, here’s a bag that carries a charge you can put to use — juicing your laptop while it’s packed inside.

Every company wants its own line of manbags, it seems. Maybe it’s inevitable that when a manufacturer known mostly for battery backups and uninterruptible power supplies gets into the act the results will be . . . electric.

No, there’s no cord dangling out the back end of any of APC’s new Power-Ready Notebook Cases. You’re expected, it seems, to unzip before plugging in. But have a gander at the compartments inside: insert APC’s Universal Power Adapter into one of the pockets, then plug it into your laptop through a hole in the divider. Separate USB cords powered from the same device can feed your PDA, MP3 player, or phone at the same time. Now just park your bag by an outlet and juice up.

APC Power Ready Business Casual Messenger Bag Interior

The APC Power Ready cases come in saddlebag, roller bag, backpack, and messenger bag models — all in 1682 denier nylon and tarpaulin. The Universal Power Adapter — the key to power — is $99.99 extra. We like the Business Casual Messenger Bag ($39.99, shown above) and the Business Casual Saddle Bag ($59.99) especially.

But tell us: How would you react if you saw a large tech-y bag on rollers left alone at an airport, plugged casually into a spare outlet? Would the man sitting nearby seem a little frightening? We travel a fair amount, but must admit such a scene might give us pause.

But let’s remember: Fear is often an important component of power. And really, what’s more shocking about that man with the electric manbag: his purse or his plug?

[Thanks to PC Magazine for the tip!]

How to put a pocket on your backpack

December 18th, 2006
Built NY Electric Pocket

While we’re talking about products from Built NY, we thought we’d bring your attention to an odd little product of theirs called the Electric Pocket.

What’s odd about it? Well, for starters it’s shaped like a hot-water bottle, but it’s meant for items you distinctly won’t want to get wetor hot. Plus it has room inside for exactly one item, and it doesn’t seem to want to close fully. It comes in three colors, one of which is random stripes. We encourage you to skip the stripes and go for the solid blue or black instead.

The Electric Pocket comes in three sizes, though Built NY seems to have taken special care on its website not to identify the actual dimensions of any of them. They must be corporate secrets, we imagine; the pockets have patents pending. Size “No. 05” is meant for small cell phones, MP3 players, and UMDs. (That’s right; UMDs.) Size “No. 08,” on the other hand, is for iPods, small digital cameras, and (non-small) cell phones. Grande “No. 11” fits your PDA, (non-small-digital) camera, or Blackberry. Each size though, they assure us, is appropriate for “etcetera.”

So sure, the Electric Pocket comes in peculiar shapes, sizes, and colors. What do you do with it? Simply stuff the pocket through its handle, around your backpack or shoulder-bag strap, beltloop — or bicycle rack — and you’ve got a handy freelance pocket to cushion the gadget of your choice. Like the bottle tote, it’s made of neoprene — wetsuit material. But the Electric Pocket has a fleece lining, which the bottle tote doesn’t. (That fleece would probably be lost on your beer, anyway.)

Built NY Electric Pocket Video by Photojojo

The folks over at Photojojo got so excited about the Electric Pocket that they made their own video to demonstrate its superiority over your average camera case. It’s worth viewing just to see how the pocket, freed from pants, works. But don’t let the girlish model and flashy stripes in the demo fool you: this is a soft pocket without portfolio for men.

What makes us so sure? Well, isn’t this what Hugh Jackman has strapped to his man bag?

[Thanks again to Pop Wuping for the tip!]

A beer-drinker’s man bag

December 17th, 2006
Built NY 12-Ounce Bottle Tote

Now here’s a bag even the most man-purse-fearing guy should be able to appreciate. We’ll make it real simple:

Got a beer? Wanna hold it in something to keep it cold?

Well, here you go: Built NY’s 12-Ounce Bottle Tote. (Yeah, it’ll carry a can too.) A wetsuit for your malt or non-malt beverage — in green, red, blue, or black neoprene.

Sure, it’s a beer koozie. But it’s a beer koozie you can hook onto your belt loop — you know, so you don’t lose track of it. We know that can get a little tough sometimes.

Built NY 12-Ounce Bottle Tote

For some of you, it might seem like we’re headed into dangerous territory here. A handle on a beer koozie? Gosh, that’s almost like . . . a beer drinker’s man purse!

Relax. There’s nothing else you can fit into this bag besides a can or a bottle. And if that handle is really enough to give you the willies, fold it back and snap it. As long as you’re drinking from it, nobody needs to know.

Needs to know . . . what?

Umm . . . that you’re drinking your beer from a man purse.

Neil Strauss’s man purse of seduction

December 12th, 2006

We’ve all heard the excuses men give when they try to explain why they’ve broken down and started carrying a purse:

  • “I can’t carry all these gadgets in my pockets.”
  • “Wallets give me back problems.”
  • Jack Bauer wears one.”

and of course

But have you heard this one?

  • “I use it to pick up women.

What’s this? A man purse can be a tool of seduction? What kind of women can you seduce with a man purse anyway?

Those of you who have read last year’s New York Times Bestseller The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists, by Rolling Stone writer Neil Strauss, will know what we’re talking about.

Yes, in the midst of shocking advice on approaching, attracting, and bedding hot babes, and in the middle of the story of his own rise from frustrated nerd to suave pickup artist, Strauss devotes an entire chapter of his seminal work to the man bag he uses in his nightly conquests.

Strauss’s bag

was black, Armani, and the size of a hardcover novel, with a single shoulder strap so that it could be slung artfully across my torso. With so many magic tricks, gimmicks, and other tools of the trade necessary to use in the field, it was impossible to fit everything into just four pants pockets. [Emphasis added]

Yeah, we’ve heard that excuse before. But he goes on:

So nearly every PUA [pick-up artist] in the game had a prop bag.

Okay, so he calls it a prop bag. That’s a new one.

But really — this “prop bag” is an essential tool for pick-up artists? What kind of sack helps you bag babes? What goes in the magic man purse?

All right, we’ll spill Strauss’s secrets. Inside his Armani shoulder bag you’ll find:

  • 1 pack of gum, Wrigley’s Big Red
  • 1 pack of condoms, Trojan, lubricated
  • 1 pencil, 1 pen
  • 1 piece of dryer lint
  • 1 envelope of preselected photos
  • 1 digital camera
  • 1 box of Tic-Tacs
  • lip balm, coverup, eyeliner, blotting paper
  • cheat sheet, three pages
  • 1 set of wooden runes in cloth bag
  • 1 notebook
  • 1 Kryptolight necklace
  • 2 sets of fake ear and lip piercings
  • 1 small digital recorder
  • 2 spare cheap necklaces, 2 spare thumb rings
  • 1 small blacklight
  • 4 sample bottles of different colognes
  • various magic tricks

Feels a little like going through someone’s underwear drawer, then wishing you hadn’t, huh? But what did you expect? A chick magnet? No one said it would be pretty. Just — at least Strauss tells us — effective.

In the year since The Game was published (and quickly became required reading in frat houses everywhere) hundreds of websites have appeared to discuss in great depth the pickup techniques Strauss — who calls himself “Style” — describes (try a Google search for negging, or AMOG, for example). Strangely, though, we’ve seen very little followup on Strauss’s satchel of seduction. We know it’s small, black, and made by Armani. What does it look like?

Emporio Armani Black Shoulder Bag

Maybe something like this? Sadly, the booty bag Strauss favored during his hay heyday (about 2004) seems to have slipped off the Armani radar. But this year’s Emporio Armani collection of men’s accessories features a recent updated model: this shoulder bag in black washed nappa leather with a front pocket and a zippered compartment. Is this your bag, baby?

People magazine’s parade of celebrity man purses

December 4th, 2006

Ever wonder which celebrities are wearing which man purses? Ever wonder what random internet poll-clickers think of them?

Terrence Howard and Man Purse

AOL’s Entertainment News (“from People magazine”) is happy to help, by featuring a virtual man-purse fashion show: five photos of male celebrities and their bags. And readers get to vote: are the man bags hot or not?

Trotted out first, of course, is Terrence Howard, still making waves with his $15,000 man purse.

Robert Downey Jr. and Man Purse

And then there’s the curious spectacle of Robert Downey Jr., whose man purse seems less calculated to gather attention than the rest of his odd outfit, which includes a plaid hat and a striped sportcoat. Doesn’t he know stripes like that cause moire patterns in digital photos?

Kanye West and Man Purse

Yes, most of the votes are against the man purses. But there’s also a strange effect at work here. Those sly editors at People stacked the deck by arranging their purse pix from the absurd to the not-so-absurd. So that (as of this writing) fewer than a quarter of voters think Howard’s and Downey’s bags look good, and maybe only a few more like Kanye West’s dangling Louis Vuitton coin purse — but the numbers keep rising for each successive celebrity.

Seal and Man Purse

There are a few more votes for Seal (maybe because he’s glaring at the camera, daring you to say something bad about it), and then — what?

Hugh Jackman and Man Purse

Hugh Jackman’s floppy shoulder bag gets a whopping 66 percent vote of approval. There’s nothing extraordinary about it, except maybe its placement after a series of slightly less conservative bags. The photo even shows he’s got what looks like a cell-phone holder awkwardly attached to the bag strap (maybe it’s clipped to his pants right above his groin, we can’t tell).

By the time they’ve seen photo after photo of man purses, most AOL voters, it seems, are convinced that . . . well, at least one is acceptable. Familiarity breeds some sort of public acceptance — at last.

It’s the story of the rise of the man purse, in microcosm: see enough of them and they stop seeming so strange. Eventually, you’ll say, “Okay, enough. This one looks fine. Now let’s get on with . . . the hat?

Photo credits: Vince Bucci/Getty (Terrence Howard), Finalpixx (Robert Downey Jr.), O’Neill/White/INF (Kanye West), Ben Dome/Pacific Coast News (Seal), Humberto Carreno/Startraks (Hugh Jackman)

A man purse for on-the-street computing

November 29th, 2006

A laptop means computing freedom, right? Or so say all those airport billboards and bank brochure stock photos. You know, the ones showing some shiny-toothed lady paying bills at the beach.

We all know it doesn’t really work like that. Laptops are great because you can park anywhere to use them — provided you’ve got power and a signal. But what about all those times when you’re on the go? Why can’t you use them while you’re going?

There’s the irony behind the whole hackneyed concept of the “road warrior.” At your most mobile, your laptop — as light and docile as it may be — is still just a hunk of luggage. You’ve got to pack it up every time you move, then unpack it and set it up again when you want to use it. If you’re really using it “on the road,” we don’t want to hear about it — at a minimum, we won’t be driving near you.

But what if we said to you that there was a way you could use your laptop in transit? And that a man purse could help you do it?

You’d probably say, “Yeah, but it’d probably make me look like a dork.”

And we’d smile, and say, “Well, continue reading below, and we’ll see what we can do.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Viral man-purse marketing: that hot new Murse video

August 17th, 2006

The reviews are in for the first man-purse commercial ever!

Well, we think it’s the first. And it’s not exactly a commercial . . .

And no, we didn’t see any one else’s review.

But so what? We think it’s brilliant, so we’re featuring it below. It’s called “The Murse,” it lasts an entertaining two minutes, and no, it’s not a secret ad for a Smirnoff adult beverage. It’s the work of a new L.A.-based sketch-comedy troupe called My Sneaky Cousin.


Are lumpy, overstuffed pockets getting you down? Ever wish there was something you could carry your stuff in? . . .

The murse is the carry-all for real men.

If it’s not a Man-n-Bag, you’re a pursey!

August 6th, 2006

What is it with those “Man-n-Bag” folks?

Man-n-Bag Axible Shoulder Bag

What is Man-n-Bag? Well, it’s a company that sells man bags. And they seem like fine products, from the looks of them. The company’s Axible is a small black nylon shoulder bag meant for gadgets. It has some nice features, including a bright interior lining, a magnetic snap closure, and a concealed flap you can keep your ID in and flash to anyone who questions your age or gender.

Man-n-Bag’s Axible, DayTrek, and Messenger models are all shoulder bags, but they appear to fit best on men who already carry huge chips on their shoulders.

What do we mean by that? Well, let’s just say that the Man-n-Bag site goes more than out of its way to assure its presumably homophobic or gender-related-insult-sensitive prospective customers not to be afraid: YES, HETEROSEXUAL MEN CAN CARRY BAGS, the company insists — perhaps a bit too vehemently. BUT ONLY IF THEY ARE OUR BAGS.

Man-n-Bag Man Bag Waltz

Awkwardly coded assurances are smeared all over the site. The home page features a pretty yet stiff man in a light-blue polo carrying an Axible over one shoulder and dipping a cheery and obviously man-loving woman in front of him, as if she were his ballroom-dance partner. She smiles at the camera as they waltz into a . . . train station! With an American flag hanging boldly in the distance. What a heterosexual he-man he is, that man-bag guy!

More hammy attempts at heterosexual coding abound on the DayTrek page: There’s a horse, sniffing after the bag-carrier’s butt at the top of the page. And in the distance, horse races! The Messenger and DayTrek models also feature the more cloddish version of the company’s logo, displayed prominently on the flap, so any onlooker can see it’s a MAN’s BAG. In the background of the largest DayTrek product photo there’s a boat!

The testimonial page, too, is peppered with references to girlfriends, fiances, wives, and the respectful approval of onlookers and roommates, plus a few feeble allusions to supposed heterosexual prowess: “My girlfriend says it’s sexy,” says one. “My wife has said that my butt looks better,” says another. Our favorites, though, are this comment from “Mark S,” in Shanghai, China:

Your MAN-n-BAG has fully restored my masculinity.

and another from Rodger B, stateside, which ends with this . . . uh, manly exhortation:

Men everywhere, strap one on and leave those sagging pockets in the past! [their emphasis, not ours]

As should be obvious, we don’t think customers who require this kind of comical reassurance of their supposed manhood before they’ll carry a handbag will solve their problems with any brand of man purse.

But what sort of deep-seated psychological trauma would cause someone to set up a site such as this? Read on, and we’ll tell you.

Read the rest of this entry »