Linda Hall: How bloke-y can a 'murse' be

By Linda Hall

What has become of the Kiwi bloke? Once upon a time they were described as tough men who wore Swanndri, went hunting and fishing, and knew how to change a tyre.

There were tall, dark and handsome, short, blonde and still handsome, redheads and still handsome and they all knew that letting ladies go through doors in front of them was the polite thing to do.

Then came the new age man. They were still polite but these sensitive men were expected to open up and talk about their feelings, look after their skin ... and so they should. I'm not knocking this ... the skin bit.

Everyone should take care of their health and that includes looking after your skin, after all it's the only one you have and it has to last a very long time - hopefully.

Not sure about opening up and having deep and meaningful chats with wives, girlfriends or mates though.

I've heard snatches of conversation while passing groups of men and from what I've heard they don't talk about the price of milk or how lovely their mate's shirt looks.

Speaking of shirts, not long after the new age man emerged so too did pink shirts.

I'm totally fine with men in pink shirts. Some men look very nice in pink shirts.

However the latest "craze" is beyond me.

Apparently it is okay for men to have a murse - that's a man purse.

Good grief, Daniel Boon would turn in his grave.

What's wrong with a good old briefcase?

Too big? What about a satchel? Or maybe a backpack, or just a carry bag. Then all the things that don't fit in a wallet or pocket can go in one of the above.

What exactly do men carry now that they didn't 20 years ago apart from a phone, iPad or laptop?

Phones can be held in the hand, slipped into a pocket or I have seen them clipped on to men's belts. Good idea.

Several men I spoke to scoffed at the notion of carrying a murse.

One said "it's the way you hold it" and "if the murse has a pen or something sticking out of it then it's not a murse but a work tool".

Another young man frowned when I asked if he had a murse. "What's that?"

A man purse, I said.

"Oh yeah. Nah, I have a briefcase but my Dad has one. He puts his iPad in it. I told him it was naff but he doesn't care."

So there you go ... it's all about perception.

Really for me it's not actually about men carrying something other than their wallets.

It's really no one else's business what anyone cares to carry around and what they put it in.

It's the name that grates.

Man purse? A purse is such a feminine thing.

Wikipedia says a purse is a small bag that may refer to coin purse, handbag, money bag and wallet.

Purse and women go together. How many times have you heard someone say to a woman: "Have you got your purse?"

Or a woman says: "Oh hang on I need to get my purse before I go anywhere."

So maybe the murse needs a new name. Think wallet ... ballet, mallet, pallet - all taken.

Man bag? I've heard that used before, but it's a tad too close to handbag.

I thought and thought about this but no matter what name I came up with it was either taken or sounded daft.

So why don't we just stick to wallet.

There could be an everyday wallet, an iWallet (for phones and iPads) and an xwallet for larger items.

The majority of men have probably never even heard of a murse. But remember if you do get one it's all about the way you hold it.

FOOTNOTE: Purse also refers to a monetary reward in horse racing and naval warfare - both not so feminine.

Linda Hall is assistant editor at Hawke's Bay Today.


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