Style & Substance – Duffle Bags, Briefcases, Backpacks & More


Duffle bag. Briefcase. Messenger bag. Backpack. Generally, this assortment of gentlemanly accessories would be categorized under leather goods & travel bags, and they would be dignified with their appropriate name. However, since the public seems to believe that only a woman can own a stylish travel companion, it is necessary to differentiate a bag being carried by a woman versus one being carried by a man. And that is accomplished by simple attaching the word “man” as a prefix to the word “bag“. I don’t know which word I hate more, man-bag or metrosexual, but both are equally ridiculous. So, why am I exploring this topic today? Well, after JR Smith’s monumental mental collapse in the waning seconds of regulation in the NBA Finals (Game 1), the only other topic that has garnered more lattention is Lebron James’ post-game attire – specifically his alligator man-bag (Thom Brown bag, pictured above) that accompanied his ensemble.

Gay. Homosexual. Fag. Those are some of the words I read around the Internet used to describe James’ presentation. To be sure, I am not a fan of gentlemanly interpretations of style that go above and beyond to appear effeminate, but upholding the ever-enduring trope of being sartorially masculine can sometimes border on foolishness. In a desperate attempt to eschew the slightest hint of homosexuality, we practice behavior that is downright stupid and has nothing to do with sexuality. Holding an umbrella – what, are you afraid of getting wet from a few raindrops? Wearing a coat – what, a few drops in the temperature have you shivering? Rocking a man-purse – what, you can’t carry your lipstick in your pocket?

So, let us have a discussion about the “man-bag”. Selecting one is simply a means of function. Yes, a gentleman needs a carryall to house some of his odds & ends that he cannot carry on his person. Sure, a gentleman may possess less small accessories that require storage than a woman, but he still requires storage nonetheless. Prime example: I purchased a lunch bag from Target to carry, you know, my lunch. Over time that lunch bag has transformed into a storage space for my wallet, checkbook, car keys, cell phone, cell phone charger, eyeglass cleaner, eyeglass cloth, Bayer aspirin, Motrin, various vitamins, hand lotion, lip balm, and whatever else finds its way into the Bermuda Triangle of lunch space. And before you ask – no I am not stuffing my coat pockets with all those items, and I would have no luck in the summer anyway. And no, all those items (varying shape the items being a contributing factor) cannot fit into my briefcase. Therefore, for my lifestyle, I need a bag of some sort to provide refuge for my accessories.

Alternatively, I can walk around with low energy, smudged eyeglasses, chapped lips, ashy knuckles, a stiff back, and a headache – because damned if I look gay walking around with a bag to hold all my stuff. But I do – it’s just a lunch bag that does the heavy lifting because I’ve just been too lazy to invest in a smooth, stylish bag. Again, it all depends on lifestyle, but as I have grown older, I find myself carrying those little odds & ends that I choose not to stuff into my outerwear or pants’ pockets – which distorts the shape of the clothing over time anyway. Trust, there is nothing gay about Lebron James. So, man-up and go get a man-bag. Just kidding. Whether it is a medium duffle, messenger, tote, or just a stylish carryall; I believe every gentleman could benefit from owning one. I’ll be sure to post a picture of mine when I scrap together enough coins to do so. Although it won’t be anywhere near the $41K James dropped on his alligator companion. Respect.

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