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Why carry handbags

2/20/2016 7:24 PM

Because in general, pockets in women's garments are awful and inadequate (see also the other related questions at bottom), so from a fairly young age girls learn that if they want to keep something with them and not lose it, they need to put it in a bag of some sort to bring it along. Anything that you don't want to permanently use an entire hand on carrying, goes in the bag.

Some girls use mostly backpacks for this purpose, but if you are dressed nicely or formally (and, as a general rule, girls are more pressured to dress "nicely" for ordinary social occasions than boys are), the backpack doesn't fit in with the look, or might rumple fancy clothes, so you need some OTHER bag. Some bag that looks formal/fancy/nice. Generally, a purse.

Some girls transition away from backpacks entirely (except for things that need a backpack: large items or schoolbooks) and develop the habit of keeping a purse of some sort with them at all times so that they have the "basics" and necessities of life with them and they know they haven't lost it.

What things might habitually be in a woman's purse? The sorts of things that men tend to carry in their pockets:

  • money or credit cards
  • identification
  • small items used while out of the house, like a chapstick/lipstick, sunscreen, makeup
  • keys
  • a phone or other small digital device
  • breath mints or gum
  • her business cards, if she uses them


And from there, it moves on to "things you might need," which many girls learn to carry because their MOTHERS always carry them. Things that either the purse-carrying woman or someone they're socializing with might occasionally need:

  • a menstrual pad or tampon
  • a band-aid or two
  • a handkerchief/pack of facial tissues
  • a comb or brush, and a backup hair elastic or clip
  • a small container with a few ibuprofens or allergy pills in it, or any other medications the individual needs on a regular or occasional basis
  • a 'stain stick' for quickly treating spills or marks on their clothing to avoid permanent damage
  • a compact folding umbrella, "just in case" (women's hairstyles and clothing are more likely to be ruined by a sprinkle of rain
  • an e-reader, Kindle, or physical book to read
  • a small flashlight
  • a pen or two
  • Some scrap paper to write on
  • ... and so on.


In fact, many of the guys I know who are in long-term relationships with women rely on their partner's purse to carry things they want to have with them when the couple is out together. He avoids having to carry them in HIS pockets because she has a purse to carry them.

Some guys just carry their own small bag of necessities -- a backpack or a messenger-type bag. Just don't call it a man-purse. :-

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