The Acceptable Man Purse, a.k.a. The Messenger Bag

Earlier in the week, standing in a crowded subway on the way to work, I noticed several guys around me wearing messenger bags. This is not a new phenomenon; in fact, it’s pretty non-newsworthy.

A friend of mine who studied abroad with me four years ago (and probably still uses his) had one. When I first saw it, I complimented him on his anti-traditional backpack. But I really had no idea just how popular these would become.

It is my contention that dudes want to carry some kind of a purse but haven’t found the most practical, stylish or society-accepted one – until recent years. An ex-boyfriend of mine got a new laptop when he started a new job last year. He began carrying it to and from work in an over-the-shoulder laptop bag.

He later admitted to me that he had grown so accustomed to carrying the laptop bag, in which he could put all manner of items other than just the laptop et al, that he felt rather naked without it. He had nowhere to put all his little things he wanted to carry around with him if he wasn’t carrying the laptop. (What’s a boy to do without hairspray and 928 receipts?)

I’m not basing my entire theory on his desire to carry things around. The sheer popularity of messenger bags, backpacks and other types of acceptable man-sacks in New York tells me that we would see the exact same thing in the other metropolitan areas of the country, especially where people mostly use public transportation. It makes complete sense that every person who lives in New York would need to have some kind of bag with him or her at all times. Without a car, we have to have someplace to put our crap. (I know I do. I can’t clean out a purse without wondering how I ended up with so much shit in there. I end up throwing away 3lbs of stuff I was carrying around with me for months.)

It’s exceedingly rare to see someone walking around this city or standing on the subway with nothing on his person. I only say ‘his’ because I have never seen a woman who isn’t carrying something; it can be as small as a credit card but women do not walk around this city with nothing. (Which brings up the whole topic of leaving the house without stuff like identification or keys – the thought panics me.) More often than not, I see women in New York carrying two purses – one giant one as a gym bag and the other as her actual purse. Seriously, without cars we become nomads.

The bottom line is, men have finally found an acceptable way to have a purse. And I quote, “Several boys and men were actually among the first to use messenger bags to help make their load lighter.” Check out the article that goes into a brief history on messenger bags. Truth be told, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to carry your crap around with you, especially in a big city like this. But we as a society are extremely slow to change strong notions (turnover on gay marriage, anyone?) and men carrying something akin to a purse is one of them.

There are two key factors which aid its look and functionality, the first being the flat flap over the bag. As the article on states, a guy can put patches or pins or what have you on it, or just leave it plain and it’s fine. Some might argue that plainer is better – that one shouldn’t have to dress it up with anything. The flat flap is easy to open, making all his junk accessible. (Hmmm that applies to another flap guys deal with everyday. Coincidence?)

The second key factor is the strap that enables a guy to sling it over one shoulder and across the body. In this way, the guy isn’t carrying it over his shoulder like a woman does with her purse (although I am perfectly aware many women prefer the across-the-body look – I am not one of those). Also, if he doesn’t want it in front of him (more purselike?), it can sit behind him – acting as a giant wallet where he can reach behind and grab what he needs. Lastly, it avoids having to carry a bulkier, heavier and sometimes hotter backpack. Why does someone need to be a student to carry crap around? He doesn’t. Enter the messenger bag.

Dudes, if you haven’t tried one, pick up a cheapy one and see if you like it. Make sure it’s comfortable – that shoulder strap across-the-body thing is really important. I saw a video on YouTube showing how to make one out of trash bags. (I mean, really….) So they range from practically free to going all out and buying one from Gucci, if you wanna get retarded serious about where to drop your dollas.

Add one to your gift wish list – see if it changes your life. I’m betting it will. And, in the process of attempting to be unique, you’ll become part of the majority.

Messenger bags define “hip” by being nearly an anti-fashion statement. They look casual and trendy all at once – and like a denim jacket or a concert t-shirt, they can actually become even cooler the older and more beat up they become.

Matthew McConaugheeeey sporting his bag.

Matthew McConaugheeeey sporting his bag.

Bottom line, these are awesome

After taking a ten day break from posting to the blog, I’m making my efforts to get back in the game with one or two posts this weekend. I checked my drafts and notes I’ve made to myself to see what sparked my interest. Some material just begs to be written, ya know?

Anyhow, one post I’ve mulled over quite a bit is giving props to some of my favorite things as of late. They don’t really run together in a thematic way, but that’s just how I roll. Even when I journal, I’ll interrupt my own thoughts to write about something completely off topic and then go back to finish writing on the first subject. Re-reading my journals definitely cracks me up and absolutely gives credence to the term “stream of consciousness.” (I don’t usually go back and reread, though. I have a weird thing about that.)

But let’s get to the awesome stuff, shall we? A couple of weeks ago, I was at my local grocery store and I came to the cereal aisle. I don’t purchase cereal too often, since I’m hardly ever home to eat it. I get to the weekends and usually want it but to me, it doesn’t make sense to run to the store to get a box for two whole days. But this time, I specifically went to the cereal aisle to see if they had something in stock that I’d been secretly wanting to try for quite some time: Chocolate Lucky Charms. Oh yeah. None of this grown-up, 20g-of-fiber-per-serving crap. “Whole grain,” chocolate and marshmallow infused, sugary goodness. I could practically hear my inner 5 year-old shrieking with delight.

I put the box in my basket, made sure I bought fresh milk, and proceeded to jam home so I could dig in. I poured a huge bowl immediately, let the cereal sit in the milk for about a minute and dug in. I love this closeup I found of the stuff:

I love the rainbows!



If you have had any remote inkling within you to try a kids’ cereal, try this one. Sure, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Frosted Flakes are all fine and dandy, but this one tops it all, guys. Trust me on this one. It’s a close race but the only other kids’ cereal I would eat with regularity (but don’t allow myself to) is Reese’s Puffs. reeses-puffs-cereal-box

OOOOOMMMMMGGGGG they are so good! But since they don’t have marshmallows, they make #2 on Zoe’s List of Awesome Cereals. Have you ever had whole milk or dare I suggest it, half ‘n half on cereal? The quality of milk is very important. Don’t even try to tell me that cereal is good with skim milk on it, because we all know it’s not. It’s blue water. Remember the movie Friday where the mom tells Ice Cube’s character, “Use water. Won’t hurt.” when there’s no milk for his cereal? Yeah. That’s disgusting. (Incidentally, I think my dad suggested that to me once when I was a kid. Water on cereal tastes like you’re eating it out of the toilet. I’m just saying.) Creamy, delicious milk on Chocolate Lucky Charms absolutely makes the weekend. Try it for yourself.

Moving on. Something else that has been at the forefront of awesomeness for me is Lancome. (Jennifer, I know you hear me on this one!) Ladies, this is not just crappy, American slop with a fancy French label. This is the real stuff from Paris and their skincare and makeup is hard to beat. If you only buy one thing ever from Lancome, make it their mascara. For a very long time, their Definicils was my favorite but then…they came out with L’Extreme. My fellow Lancome lover Jennifer told me to try it and I’ve never looked back. Does it cost $24 for a tube of mascara that, worn faithfully, will only last you three months? Yes. But is it worth every superbly lengthened eyelash? You bet.

In fact, if you go to Lancome’s website and click on Best Sellers, the first five things that grace the page are their Bi-Facil eye makeup remover (which totally rocks, I can attest) and four of their mascaras, including Definicils. Their new one is Oscillation. I don’t know a thing about “vibrating” mascara but it’s selling well, obviously. You can watch the demo video. It’s ten bucks more but if you want those fabulous eyes framed by longass lashes, it could be worth it. For those of us who live in New York, we have access to Lancome through more than one outlet: Sephora, the Lancome store and any number of department store makeup counters. I have a little of everything in Lancome, but I have also tried their Pure Focus skincare line and it’s nothing short of fabulous. For those like me who have oily skin, a MUST HAVE in your regiment is their Tonique Pure Focus. It has mattifying powders in it that keep your face from getting nasty greasy throghout the day. Worth every cent and photographs without a shiny T-zone. I won’t even get into Juicy Tubes or their eyeliners, but the point is obviously to try some Lancome. You’ll never go back. The reason I can say this so emphatically is that due to budget constraints, I bought some L’Oreal Bare Naturale mascara and I gotta say, I’m not impressed. I do like that it boasts more natural ingredients, yes. And I have tried and really love the whole natural makeup thing – I have Bare Escentuals powder foundation and it’s the only thing I’ll use. But what I don’t like about this particular mascara is that not only does it take much more time to try to get the same effect as Lancome’s L’Extreme, but my lashes harden very stiffly. I’ve also noticed that my eyes get irritated at the end of the day and so while I saved $20 by trying it out, I will not be repurchasing. That having been said, I have read reviews where women swear by this stuff, but it’s not for me. What can I say, my lashes demand more. They have expensive taste.

The last thing I’m writing in-depth about is autumn. I love this season. I really enjoy the transitional seasons more than the extremes. I was born in the spring so maybe that makes me biased. There are even parts of winter I enjoy (like Christmas) but after awhile, the extreme cold gets to me and I’m ready for warmer days. After spring, summer hits and I tire quickly of the blistering heat and sweating constantly with a million other people sweating in the NYC subway. Blech.

What I love about autumn is the transition from hot to cold, progressively, over its three months. The leaves change color and gives us these gorgeous views. My mom took some photos and sent them – I thought these two were particularly grand:


The leaves fall, getting nice and crunchy. They coat our sidewalks, streets and homes. A chill begins to permeate the air. Is there anything better than smelling wood smoke on a crisp, autumn evening? The heaters begin to come on and at least in New York apartments, the sound and smell of steam from the radiators becomes a part of the apartment atmosphere (unless your landlord is a dick and keeps the heat at some ridiculously low temperature and you freeze).

Road trips in autumn are my favorite. Back in college, my friends and I would go up to my old roommate’s house in Lake Placid, New York, where the scenery just stole your breath. Plenty of wood smoke smell there! Listening to music and driving whilst sipping on something like pumpkin spice coffee or hot chocolate….mmmmm…’s like all my troubles melt away. Damn, it just reminds me I don’t own a car anymore. To Do: buy a car in the future.

Then after the road trip when you get to your destination or back home, the cold night air makes you want to curl up and watch a favorite movie under a toasty blanket. I recently purchased Good Will Hunting, a movie I’ve been wanting to add to my collection for a long time. (My book club debated on who was hotter in that movie, Matt Damon or Ben Affleck. I’m in the Matt Damon club.) There’s nothing about autumn I don’t love – Halloween, Thanksgiving, the lead-up to Christmas….mmmm. I’ll have to write about the holiday season in another post – I love it. I’m one of those annoying people who can listen to Christmas music the start of November. Uh huh.

All of this makes me want to go unwrap the new movie and give it a spin. I even have the perfect blanket in which to wrap myself. All I need now is some Chocolate Lucky Charms and extended eyelashes care of Lancome.

The Great Election of 2008

Happy Election Day, everyone!!!!

I don’t know about you but this election season has seemed interminably long. Finally, at last, those of us in non-early-voting states can cast our ballots.

It’s been far too long since I’ve written a real post but I just wanted to encourage anyone who’s on the fence about whether to vote to get to your polling place ASAP. No matter your candidate preference, it’s an important act and I know I am grateful to live in a country where (theoretically) my vote counts.

And if anybody was curious to know for whom I marked the X in the voting booth….my blood runs blue.


Post Script:

'Nuff said.