Aug 5, 2006

Clutch purse

Clutch purse. The term jumped out at me as I was reading the latest edition of Time Out Beijing , one of a slew of free expat monthlies in Beijing that would rival your high school newspaper. The article, "Morning glory" by Jen Lin-Liu, delves into excruciating detail about how the author has been unable to adapt to the bland breakfasts available in Beijing, much preferring the standard American-style, extra-sugary breakfast. Just as I prepared to rip out the page and use it to wrap the Juicy Fruit gum that I'd been chewing on, I continued reading the last few paragraphs. There, the author describes her last encounter in a local breakfast restaurant where she was hit on by a local man:
He handed me his card. 'Give me a call, and you can come over and play,' he said as he picked up his black clutch purse and left the restaurant. Eating in a dirty shack at 9am was the last place I had expected to be asked on a date.
Clutch purse. It's the term I've been searching for all this time. It must be the appropriate dictionary term for the object that countless people have called many other names.

I did some poking around on the web. Ebay shows some great examples of clutch purses, mostly frilly and lacey. Then I stumbled onto this article covering the history of the clutch purse. MSN threw me for a loop with this set of clutch purses-slash- wallets for men. What MSN shows are more like billfolds which you could put in your inside suit pocket, so I'll exclude them from the research findings.

A Buyer's Guide to Man Bags was quite informative, if you ever decide to take the leap. I found it amusing that in the article, they mention:
The first, and absolutely most important, is that it not look like a lady's handbag! As a result, leather is pretty much out; if you're looking for a leather bag, look elsewhere.
Note that pretty much every single man bag you'll see carried in Beijing is black leather or faux-leather.

Finally, although this article is a little old, it is still relevant. This excerpt was good for a chuckle:
There's no denying that handbags were invented for ladies in 1785 when pocketless dresses became all the rage, but does that mean men shouldn't wear them? Sigmund Freud said a purse was a substitute for a vagina...
We may not have made much progress on the question of why do they carry manpurses, but we're definitely getting the nomenclature settled.

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