Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Victory for the Purse-Holding Men of America

Men of all ages have been submitted to the painful request of women asking male counterparts to hold their purses. Men loathe this.

Maybe it’s because purses are so distinctly feminine that we can’t feel like real men if their on our person. Maybe it’s because we know that the purses we hold are filled with things like lipstick and sanitary lady products. Or maybe it’s just because the word “purse” oozes with dainty, flowering, pinkish connotations that we men want nothing of.

Whatever the reason, it’s time for me—on behalf of the men purse-holders of the world—to establish rules for this abhorrence. And so, without further ado…

Instances when it is NOT okay to hold the purse:

  1. Any time you’re in public and people can see you, except for in certain rare instances (see below for more details on this).
  2. When a woman is going to try on clothes in a department store and wants you to hold the purse while she does. This is absolutely unacceptable. She takes the purse into the changing room with her.
  3. When she wants you to hold the purse so she can root through it to find what she’s looking for. This is what tables are for.
  4. When she’s putting on her jacket and wants you to hold it until she’s wrapped up. The purse should have no problem sitting on the floor while she does this. Let her know you have no problem watching the purse during this period, but that you will not hold it.
  5. Without exception, a man may NEVER hold a purse, under any circumstances, if the purse is pink or has Hello Kitty anywhere in its design.
  6. Sometimes at the line at the grocery store, she’ll remove her billfold from her purse and expect you to hold it while she roots through the wallet to find the proper credit card. The purse should remain in the shopping cart at this time, not in the man’s hands.
  7. At a wedding reception, prom, charity auction, or other such formal event in which a woman carries a decorative bag of some sorts, you may not hold the purse when the woman goes to use the bathroom. If you’ve been out on the dance floor and she wants you to hold it until she gets back, walk her back to the table so that she can place the bag there, and sit and watch the purse until she returns.
  8. The only woman’s purse that should ever be held for any reason whatsoever, is that of your wife or girlfriend. Unless you’re under the age of eight, you should never be asked to hold your mother’s purse. Sisters’ purses fall under this rule as well. This is what fathers are for—and their discretion in holding said purses should follow these same guidelines.

Instances when it is okay to hold the purse:

  1. First and foremost, in any acceptable purse-holding venture, a man must know the proper way to hold it. Holding it by the strap is unnecessary. Place a hand (two for bigger purses, but one is always preferable) underneath the purse. By punishment of death, a man should never pull the strap onto his shoulder.
  2. When you and a woman are the only two people in a building with windows closed and blinds pulled, and you only have to hold it for five seconds or fewer. This same scenario is not acceptable in public.
  3. When a woman falls down and hurts herself, dropping her purse in the process, it’s okay to pick up the purse for her while she dusts herself off.
  4. When a woman hands it to you to set down somewhere—as long as the man goes directly from the woman’s hand to setting it down in one fluid motion. Hesitation for any reason in this instance is frowned upon.
  5. When a woman is breastfeeding your child in an unorthodox location, and she can’t physically hold the purse while doing so. The woman gave birth to the child and now offers a raw teat to the baby several times a day. You can hold the purse for a few minutes in this instance, lest the woman divorce you and/or eat your soul.
  6. If you work in a store that sells purses and you are asked to stock them. But this is only acceptable if you make a face like you’ve just eaten horse vomit the entire time you’re doing the task.
  7. If a woman, any woman, gets her purse stolen by a mugger and you are witness to the robbery, you may chase down the mugger and retrieve purse, as long as you don’t hold it by the strap.
  8. If the girl you’re dating is clearly out of your league—like WAY too good for you—you should disregard this entire column and hold her purse whenever she asks you to.

Fair enough, right? Look, men feel ocky holding your purses, handbags, etc. because they make us feel womanly, and feeling womanly is not the M.O. of our gender. Do men finish a great pickup game of basketball and then say to their wives, “Here honey, can you hold my sweaty jockstrap for a minute while I put my coat on?”

Why not? Because we know you’d find that gross. So try putting yourselves in our shoes and see the other side of things before you call the act of purse-holding “no big deal.”

It is a big deal, but starting today the lines have been drawn. Let’s solve this sad, worldwide problem once and for all and move on to something more important, like AIDS or global warming.