Men: May I Ask You A Serious Question About Man Purses?

Hi Guys,

Ladies feel free to join in too but I wanted to know exactly what men think.

Ever ticked off someone over the smallest little unimportant thing? Well apparently I did to a fellow writer friend. I didn't mean to but well, I had to be honest.

He asked me how I felt about his male MC having a man purse and how I thought audiences might perceive him?

I could only speak for myself but I told him I would think of a man with a man purse (which I consider just a purse) as maybe a bit feminine or weird. That might be a bad opinion but I had to be honest. I told him unless the book was humorous, I'd see the man purse in a negative way. I mean come on, a man carrying a purse in a thriller? I also said I couldn't take the MC seriously because, well just because.

So he got pissed! I don't know if he carries a man purse or what but he acted like I insulted him personally. I reminded him that he asked for my opinion and then I let him have it. I told him the average man does not wear a man purse and that I don't know how male audiences specifically could view his character as some big hero, manly type if the dude's carrying a purse! Well that set him off and of course from then on he was convinced I didn't know what men really want or think like because I was a "girl".

A girl?

Anyway, I didn't mean to hurt the guy's feelings. But when you're a writer, your work is gonna get different opinions. He told me everyone else thought the man purse was cute. I didn't believe him. I think they said that to be nice. I don't know any men who wear men purses and the only time men talk about them is when they are making fun of them.

I'm from the South. Texas. I don't see men carrying purses down here, LOL. Maybe it's different in his neck of the woods but I think he's in the minority about how men feel about these purses. Please. They even make fun of them on television. And isn't a man purse just a purse any darn way?

Most men I know wouldn't be caught dead with a purse. I even asked my dad who's in his 60's what he thought. He looked at me crazy and said, "Sure I'd wear a man purse. Right after I start wearing dresses."


So guys, if you read a book where the male MC wore a man purse and spoke of it religiously, what would you think? What would your perceptions be?

Maybe it's just me but the man purse stuck in my head so much I couldn't concentrate on what the character was doing!  I kept going in my head, "Man purse? Really?"

Best Wishes!

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You are right, Stacy. He is wrong.

I live near Seattle, which is as trendsucking and urban-dillettantish as any place in the country. And a man walking around Seattle with a "man-purse" would get double-takes, snickers, guffaws, eye rolls and outright heckles.

I guarantee that his agent or editor — if he has either — would not allow this to happen unless it's a comic mystery. And probably not even then. Readers would neither like this character nor relate to him.
Hi Jim,

LOL! He's aspiring to be published and this is his first manuscript. I was trying to give him some insight but you see he didn't want it.

I agree with you. The minute I saw the MC had a man purse, I thought of that scene in The Hangover. Did you see that movie? If so, remember the scene when the fat one walks out to get on the elevator with that man purse on and the others look at him crazy and one goes, "Please don't wear that."

LOL! That's exactly how men I've seen would react!

Best Wishes!
A writer who can't take constructive criticism is doomed.
"It's a satchel, Indiana Jones has one."

Mate, unless the MC is metro there is no reason to have him using female accessories. They've taken our hair products and our eyeliner - is nothing sacred???
I'm with Jim on both counts:
1. You're right, and your friend is wrong.
2. He's doomed if he can't learn to take criticism better.

At best, his character is going to be seen as a little too "precious" to be taken seriously. Unless that's what he's going fpr, but it doesn't sound like it from your description.
If it is a purse purse LOL .... Ha, ha, ha .... wait a minute ... hah ha ... snicker, grin wiping tears from my eyes.
Not no, but hell no.

Now if it is one of those thingies that straps firmly around the waste that has a couple of zipper pockets, I know a few guys that carry them when they are at outdoor events to keep money in when they are selling items. In fact I have one that I use when I am selling my trapping books, to keep money and my .45 semiautomatic pistol in, out of sight.

Garry, no I know what you're talking about. You mean a bag or a satchel. That's different lots of men have those. In his book, the author describes the thing as a purse AND the MC keeps referring to it as his man purse. So he means a purse, LOL. And the character was wearing it over one shoulder like a woman would. Most men where satchels and bags crisscrossed over their chest or on their backs, not on one shoulder like women. LOL.
A purse? Why not have him wear a dress? That's cute, too.

Jim and Dana got everything right. Writers who don't learn to take criticism with a smile (it takes practice) have a much harder time improving their skills and their manuscripts. They never hear the truth when it pops out at the time, or tries to sink in later. Even the worst critique group can offer something if you listen and take notes like a pro.
Yep, he's not gonna get close to being published with his attitude. The thing is, he's not even a bad writer. He's pretty decent for someone who's never written anything before. I remember when I first started writing, boy did I SUCK! I'm embarrassed just thinking about how some of my first projects looked.

I wonder how he would have reacted if I were an agent or someone? Say an agent said, "I might take this but lose the man purse." He's so stubborn I believe he probably would tell the agent to kiss his butt before changing the man purse.

I know us writers are sensitive, but I was only trying to make him see that the man purse thing is one of those situations where he's gonna be in the minority and it may seem like a small detail to him, but it could hinder him from getting anywhere if agents and editors feel like most people would.

The point is, he needs to realize how it's gonna look to READERS. They aren't gonna see the MC as he might want them to. He says the man purse gives the MC character. I said, "No it makes him look like a sissy or something. It's not the norm."

I think he added the man purse just to make his character different from most male characters but I think it's gonna give him an opposite reaction.

I think it's more of a gimmick now that I think about it. Something he's added to get some kind of reaction from folks. Well he definitely will! LOL!

Best Wishes!
Actually I think a compulsively metrosexual protagonist would be pretty funny--your friend could make him really smart but kind of socially/cutlurally clueless (or so cutting edge that he just doesn't give a shit--he likes the man purse and fuck what anybody else thinks). He'd need a down-to-earth sidekick to balance him out and give the reader someone to identify with. The repartee could be very funny, indeed. "Hey, boss--where you going?" "I have a Kyudo lesson at 2:00, then I'm getting a lime-juice and cucumber facial at Spa Ciro. Care to join me?" It could be a fun, 21st century take on Holmes and Watson.
Jon, if s/he won't write it, I certainly hope you will... *waits with bated breath*
SOMEBODY has to write this!


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