The iPad isn’t crazy big. But it’s too big for a pocket. That means one thing: a bag. Not too big of a bag. More like a purse.
I have no inherent distaste for the man purse.* In fact I’ve been waiting for years for my literally closeted obsession with small bags to become socially acceptable. If the arbitrating metric for men’s accessories is utility without gaudiness, the man purse falls comfortably within acceptable boundaries. It lacks the practicality of the backpack, perhaps the most versatile option, but doesn’t dress down a suit. Nothing looks more tacky than a man in business attire with a backpack.
The larger options, attaché cases or messenger bags, are excellent compromises when one must carry a laptop. But one of the beautiful things about the iPad is that it can ably replace a laptop in many situations. Sitting in a coffee shop browsing the web. Reading an ebook on a train. Watching pornography in a hotel room. To slip the relatively small iPad into a laptop-sized bag is inelegant.
Of course this presumes that we’ll want to carry around our iPads at all times, just in case. Our New York contingent claims they’ll rarely take their iPads out of their tiny apartments, content to use them as coffee table portals to their media. Why take an iPad out on the town when an iPhone does nearly the same stuff? A fair point for city dwellers, yet I would challenge with this: What about keyboards?
One of the most exciting thing about the iPad for writers is that we’ll finally be able to use 2002’s most exciting technology with our Apple portable: the Bluetooth keyboard. Even if Apple allows the iPhone the same Bluetooth keyboard access as they do for iPad—a dream come true for this dork—you’ll want to keep a small keyboard on your person. That brings us right back to the man purse.
Although I’m not sure how much you can read into the pre-release offerings from iPad accessory manufacturers, clearly at least a few of them have considered the man purse—or more commonly, “satchel”—as the optimal size for toting an iPad. Even the cases sold without straps are only a couple of D-rings away from being dashing little man purses.
I’ll cop to being too concerned with the question. I’m the sort of man who has nearly as many bags of varying sizes as he does things to put in them. I’ve been in search of the perfect leather satchel for years, resigned that I’ll never find perfection until I pick up the awl and punch and captive-bolt pistol and craft my own.
I’ve refrained from the man purse over the years primarily because its primary proponents tend to look like total twats. “What do you have in the purse that you can’t keep in your pockets, Nancy?” A phone in the pocket, never the belt holster—and a huge bag for everything else.
But maybe the mainstream success of the iPad—I’m thinking it’s a lock, if that weren’t already clear—will finally give the varnish of utility to the man purse, finally making it acceptable for even the sweatiest sweatpants stallion to toss his shit into a tiny ballistic nylon satchel and get back to the really important things in life: arguing whether using Apple products in the first place make you look like a total homo.**
* We will leave the too abbreviated “murse” in the dustbin of history alongside “metrosexual”.
** We call that bit of rhetorical judo “Beating you to the punch.” Fuckers.