Purses have always been a mystery to me. I’ve never owned one, used one or wanted one. There are a lot of things I don’t know about women, and purses are part of that. There are some things that we just don’t need to know.

The man purse, or murse as they’re sometimes called, are just as foreign to me. If you’re a guy and you want to carry a purse, I’m not judgmental. As long as it matches your shoes, I’m sure it fits nicely with your manbun and manseir. It’s just not the look I’m going for.

As purse averse as I am, I have to admit that I was cautiously eager when my wife asked me today to retrieve something from her handbag. It was an invitation to explore unchartered territory. I don’t know what she carries in that mini-suitcase, but now I was about to find out.

You see, I view purses like a closed bathroom door. You don’t just barge in there uninvited. It’s personal space. 

I don’t snoop in people’s medicine cabinets, nightstands and closets, either; there are some things I don’t want to know about my friends. 

I’m not sure I could keep a straight face knowing what fungus you’re fighting or how many leather whips you keep under the bed. Certain receptacles come with an expectation of privacy, and purses are one of them.

I know a few things that my wife keeps in her tote because I see her pull them out on occasion. There’s going to be lip balm, a pocketbook, a cell phone, tissues, ink pens and car keys. But if you put all the things I know about in a pile on the table, they could fit inside a bag less than half the size of the one she carries, so there has to be a lot of stuff in there that I don’t know about.

I have had to, on occasion, move the purse, and it’s way heavier than all of its known contents. If I had to guess, I’d say she probably has an anvil, a bag of fishing weights and a couple of bricks in there, but I don’t know why.

She was driving, though, and needed something out of her purse, so she asked me to get it. With great effort, I pulled the red haversack from behind the car seat and placed it on the console between us. Then I awaited further instruction.

OK, unzip that, she said. Then inside there, there’s a flap. Unsnap it. Open the flap and you’ll find another zipper. Unzip that and look for the pocket closest to me. It was like opening Pandora’s box. I needed a treasure map to work my way through it. I expected a pirate to jump out at any moment. Or maybe an Indiana Jones-style booby trap. 

I was taking too long, so she finally just jabbed her hand inside, felt around for a few seconds and pulled out the tiny tube of lip balm she wanted. Then I had to zip, snap and button everything back in place. 

Fathers, if you want to protect your daughters, make them wear a body purse. Nobody will ever be able to get through it.

Man cargo is much simpler. I carry everything in my pockets. A regular pair of jeans has five pockets — two in the back, two in the front and that little pocket within a pocket on the front right side that nobody knows what it’s for. 

It’s not that I don’t have enough stuff for a purse. Most days, my pockets hold a notebook, two ink pens, a cigar cutter, two cell phones, five key chains with 30 keys, a couple of mints, 40 cents in loose change and a money clip holding no cash but about a dozen debit cards, nine of which are expired. Some of the keys are for cars and buildings that no longer exist, but I’m not sure which ones they are, so I don’t throw any of them out. 

All that and I still have an empty pocket — that little one that nobody knows what it’s for.

© Copyright 2019 by David Porter, who can be reached at porter@ramblinman.us. After doing a little research — that little jeans pocket was designed for pocket watches. They went out of fashion 100 years ago, but if they ever make a comeback, we have a place to put them.