Ah, yes, the gift-giving season. So what do you get for the contemporary fellow who has everything? The Man Bag.
The Man Bag is a high-style satchel a purse, though its creators hate when you call it that. It has pockets for the modern man's wallet, keys, sunglasses, iPod, cell phone, body spray, hair goop, diary and whatever other junk he totes around these days.
Why was the Man Bag created? As it goes, three fellows Brian, Peter and Thai "were tired of being ribbed for carrying their gadgets around in handbags. The torment reached a boiling point one night when Thai was called a 'pursey' at a party."
That rude fellow was lucky Thai didn't yet have a sturdy Man Bag to swing at him.
In any event, the three soon created the Man Bag (they call theirs the MAN-n-BAG). The concept took off. ABC's "Nightline" refers to it as the latest trend in men's fashion. A GQ magazine style editor the entrepreneurs spoke with explained why:
"Once you're out in the work world, do you really want to carry a backpack when you're wearing a suit? At the same time, most guys don't want to be like their dads and carry a briefcase."
Which is precisely the problem. Modern guys don't want to be like their dads fellows like Steve McQueen and John Wayne, who defined themselves by their actions, not their style.
My father, the Big Guy, is such a fellow. He has long known that a man carries his keys in his right front pocket. A man carries his change in both pockets, so he can jangle it with both hands while shooting the bull with the butcher, the mechanic and anybody else he encounters in his travels.
The Big Guy's wallet is what a real man's wallet should be thick, fat and worn. He keeps it in his right rear pocket. It holds only the basic items: license, money and a yellowed photo of my mother from 1953.
Nobody taught the Big Guy to carry his keys, change and wallet this way. Nobody taught me, either. It was hard-wired into male DNA. It is what men have always done because it is what we're supposed to do.
But the genetic code is being rewritten in sensitive new-age men, such as the fellow who wrote a testimonial to manbag.com: "My chiropractor suggested your Man-n-Bag because sitting on my overstuffed wallet was misaligning my spine."
The only thing more misaligned than his spine is his understanding of how to be a man.
I'm not certain how the American male has evolved to such a sissified state, but I have a hunch. It dates back 40 years or more. That's when the feminist movement kicked into high gear.
To be sure, feminism brought us many good things. Women deserved equal opportunity and they're doing well. But some feminists weren't content to win equality. They wanted to destroy the enemy, and the enemy was the American male.
First they convinced us that we were wrong, that our tendencies and habits were products of how we were socialized as boys. They changed the socialization process. Then they changed the education process. Their goal was to make us more sensitive and emotional more like women.
Boy, have they succeeded. Men now spend hours fretting over their looks and style they spend thousands getting their hair primped, their skin moisturized, their eyebrows waxed. They cry at baby showers and clap when junior goes to potty.
They carry purses.
Men, we need to get hold of our senses. Look, women are different from us. It's best that way. It's best that we distinguish ourselves from them in our actions, manner and dress. They carry purses. We don't.
So what should you get for the contemporary fellow who has everything? A thick, fat, worn wallet that he'll knowingly slip into his right rear pocket.
Sure, it may misalign his spine, but at least he'll finally have one.