January 17th, 2022


Guy Dilemma: How to Carry Stuff

Greg Crosby

By Greg Crosby

Published August 12, 2016

Guy Dilemma: How to Carry Stuff

Me: "I'm going to the store now. See you in a bit."

Her: "Do you have your wallet?"

Me: "Yes."

Her: "Do you have your keys?"

Me: "Yes."

Her: "Do you have your phone?"

Me: "Yes."

Her: "Do you have your glasses?"

Me: "Yes."

Her: "Okay, drive carefully. Door closes. Then, after about a minute and a half the door opens again.

Her: "What's the matter?"

Me: "I forgot what I was going to the store for."

This might very well be a column about absentmindedness or senior moments or stupid husbands, but it isn't. It's about another problem, a problem that every man who ever leaves the house has to deal with, namely how to carry all his personal junk. A large part of why I can't remember all the stuff I need to take with me is because I don't have one convenient place to put it all.

Gals figured this one out a long time ago, they carry a purse. All they have to do is drop their individual things into their handbag and off they go. They don't need to remember each little item; they only have to remember to grab their purse. School kids carry backpacks. But men haven't quite come to grips with what to do with all the stuff they need to schlep around with them.

This wasn't always the case, actually the first purse dates back more than 5000 years, and was a pouch worn by a man, Ă–tzi the Iceman (don't ask. It's a whole other story). Purses came into being in modern Europe as a way to carry coins and in the beginning men used them as much as the women did. But when women's fashions moved in the direction of using small ornamental purses-which evolved into handbags-men's fashions went in a totally different direction. Pockets.

During the course of the 18th and 19th centuries modern men's trousers replaced old-fashioned breeches, and pockets were added in the loose, heavy material. This allowed men to continue carrying coins, and then later paper currency in small leather wallets. Pockets turned out to be a swell invention and soon there were loads of them put into men's pants, coats and vests throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. . At last men had places to carry all their stuff, in addition to money, like pipes, cigars, cigarettes, matches, pocket knives, handkerchiefs, glasses, pen, paper, breath-mints, gum and so on. As long as the standard man's outfit was a suit, he had enough pockets to carry everything he needed with him, no problem. But sadly today the traditional man's suit is no longer the normal daily attire for most men. T-shirts and jeans or polo shirts and khakis have considerably fewer pockets than do a three-piece suit.

Fashion designers have tried to re-introduce the idea of a man's purse, but most guys haven't bought into

it. The idea of a man-purse or murse just hasn't caught on. For most men it just looks like a foppish affectation; pretentious, theatrical and elitist. Then in the nineties along came cargo pants, which offered plenty of pockets, but like all fads eventually died out. For a while lots of men were walking around wearing cargo shorts until their wives and girlfriends put a stop to it. It seems that most ladies consider the look ugly and uncool. They do have a point, boys. Admit it.

Which brings us back to the original question. How can a man carry his stuff around with him if he doesn't have enough pockets or doesn't want to carry a purse? One answer might be cargo T-shirts, although this might not go over too well with the ladies who weren't that thrilled with the cargo shorts thing.

Another idea is cargo underwear. With cargo underwear you can carry all your stuff under your clothes. No unsightly bulges, and all your junk will be stealthily stowed until you need it. Or what about bringing back those lovely fanny packs? Or we could all just wear backpacks just like the kids.

Or maybe we could go back to wearing suits and sport coats again? Oh, there I go getting ridiculous. Suits and sport coats for men? How silly of me.


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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. He's been a JWR contributor since 1999.