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Aussie Men Are Not Afraid of Your Handbag

Some time last year I read an article about handbags in British Vogue. There is nothing particularly extraordinary in that occurrence, except to note that the writer opened with a declaration that if one wanted to reduce a British man to cringing mortification, one had only to ask him to hold a lady’s purse in public.

I read this and was truly astonished. Really? Are British men really that spineless and so afraid of having their manhood impugned? I was pretty sure that most Aussie men would be completely unfazed by this request. I conducted a straw poll and was gratified to find my good opinion of the Aussie male was justified.

I made a general call-out to my male Facebook friends with this question: ‘Who among you would be unfazed to hold your female companion's handbag in public?’ Here is a sampling of their (and their partner’s) comments:

‘All the time – I don't even blink.’

‘Completely unfazed.’

‘All the time, I take the role of humble servant or camp gay friend, depending on the bag she wants me to hold.’

‘I do it all the time.’

‘My husband does it a lot, no dramas!’ (Several women said this.)

There were quite a few ribald comments along these lines:

‘Depends on the colour, has to match my outfit too.’ And, ‘Only if doesn't clash with my outfit.’

‘Sometimes I meet my lady at the train station just so I can carry her bag home.’

‘And who would hold mine whilst I was holding hers?’

A single gentleman was agreeable with one qualification:

‘Marmaduke says he has no problem as he likes my handbags. If they were gaudy or frilly or something he may feel differently.’

And only one was uncomfortable with the proposition:

‘Never done it. To be honest I would put it on the ground and stand next to it, not hold it.’

I therefore come to the conclusion that most Australian men are so comfortable with the representation of their manliness that to be seen in a public street holding what is patently a woman’s handbag could not ruin their image – it could only enhance it. They are man enough.

Thank you gentlemen.

Many thanks to Volodya, who nonchalantly agreed to model for this shoot, and held not one, but two handbags with complete sangfroid.

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