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Learning to say ‘never’ more often

Country Roads

February 20, 2012
Arvid Huisman ( , The Daily Freeman Journal

Once I was on my own and began experiencing a wider world, I tried to avoid saying "never." It hasn't been easy, however.

When it became fashionable for men to go to women hair stylists I said, "Never." Barbers were plenty good for me.

Upon moving to a new community I couldn't find a good male barber. A co-worker recommended her stylist. Frustrated with lousy haircuts, I took my co-worker's advice and got the best haircut I'd ever had from a female stylist.

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I tried even harder to never to say "never."

There have been other incidents that lead me to be cautious about saying "never," but there's a fashion trend that has me gritting my teeth. I sure want to say "never," but

Do any guys you know carry a murse? That's M-U-R-S-E as in a man purse. The handbag for men and the word "murse" have been around for a few years but the practice of men carrying handbags not unlike those women carry seems to be growing in popularity these days.

Nearly 50 years ago old men threw a fit over long hair on men. A few years later old men got their boxers tied in a knot over men wearing earrings. No one gives either practice a second glance today.

So in the near future will men be carrying handbags, or a murse? Will I carry a murse? I sure want to say "never."

Let's face it, men have been carrying brief cases for years. I have learned to streamline what I bring on business calls and carry everything in a leather folder. When I travel out-of-town, however, I usually lug along an old leather briefcase with lots of pockets and flaps. And in those pockets you will find, in addition to pens, pencils and file folders, ibuprofen capsules, antacid tablets and candy. Maybe even a snack.

One could argue that my brief case is similar to a purse, but you'd better not argue that with me. My brief case bears no resemblance to a purse or a murse even if it does carry a few personal items.

Ironically, men carried personal belongings in bags of one sort or another for centuries. As early as the 14th century by men and women were carrying money, religious items and keys in bags attached to their waist with a leather strap.

Pockets began appearing in men's clothing around 1600 and, with the exception of game bags and briefcases, handbags became a women's accessory.

You have to admit, it would be handy to be able to carry things like your wallet and keys in a handbag. I carry everything in my pockets and admit they do add a lumpiness to my form. But then my form is lumpy to start with so I doubt anyone notices.

I've been watching this trend of men carrying handbags for several years now. Just as I begin to understand that there is some practicality to the idea, I read of other feminine practices moving into the realm of manhood and the word "never" returns to my lips.

A for instance? How about mandals?

Mandals are sandals for men. They are made of black or brown leather that covers more than 50 percent of the foot, have buckles and heavy soles. I would never say "never," but, yuk.

Another for instance: mantyhose!

Yep, you can now purchase pantyhose for men. Don't ask me why. I don't know and I don't want to know. "Never" is sounding better all the time.

One fashion manufacturer is offering skirts for men. Designers suggest men wear the skirts with matching tights. Okay, I will now say "never." By no means. In no way. Not over my dead body.

I have already said "never" and haven't even mentioned the mankini. This is a one-piece t-back bathing suit which is hangs over the shoulders like suspenders. It leaves the stomach bare way down to well, far too low. The world would be a better place if every man in the world said "never" to this hideous fashion.

My great-grandfathers probably would have said "never" to slip-on shoes, Hawaiian shirts and fanny packs. Who knows what men will be wearing and carrying 100 years from now?

Until then, I'm learning to say "never" more frequently.



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