July 25, 2006 — -- Why should Andy Roddick be scared of Chewbacca, the fur-covered warrior? It has to do with purses, sort of.
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There is a growing trend in men's fashion, the handbag. It goes by many names: the man-bag, the murse. It is a cross between a backpack and a briefcase that looks very much like a pocketbook. They have been big in Europe for quite some time. Who can forget Jerry Seinfeld's exclamation, "It's European."
But now, it is coming to America. Why? Because in these teched-out, decked-out times, American men need to put all that stuff somewhere.
Guys have their cell phones, BlackBerries, wallets, checkbooks, sunglasses, body spray, you name it. And the 21st century guy wants to put it somewhere special.
"Once you are out in the work world, do you really want to be carrying a backpack when you are wearing a suit?" says Adam Rapoport, the style editor at GQ Magazine. "At the same time, most guys don't want to be like their dads and carry a briefcase."
Hence, the man-bag, like the one carried by 36-year-old Carlo Vogel. I met Vogel in Central Park, where he carried his man-bag with pride. Inside were two cell phones, a camera, money and cigarettes (Vogel rolls his own).
"This holds the perfect amount of stuff," Vogel brags. "There is nothing else that I need that is not in this bag."
But there is a catch. He suffers abuse from friends who lack creative imagination. They say things like "Is that your man-purse?" "Is that your purse?" "Can Isee your purse?" "What's in your purse?"
It's the genre of comment that shocked many when American tennis star Andy Roddick uttered his version at Wimbeldon earlier this summer. Roddick clearly didn't dig European style, saying, "Anything bigger than a money clip or a wallet is to be left to your girlfriend or wife. If you have a man-purse, the wall is waiting."
Vogel had his own choice words for Andy Roddick: "Andy can carry my stuff the next time he's around here if he has that attitude. He's got what, people to carry his stuff? Lucky him!"
It should be noted that Roddick hasn't won a tournament this year. Maybe a man-bag would help.
Which brings us to Chewbacca. Take a careful look at the masculine figure next time you watch "Star Wars." What is he carrying? It must be a man-bag. Or in his case, a wookiee-bag.