Does This Match My Shoes?

Does This Match My Shoes?
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2008

My wife recently committed the heinous, unpardonable crime of asking me to carry her purse.

Not hold the purse, but to actually lug the thing around so I look like I've got so much stuff, I need to carry it in a large leather bag. It's a humiliating thing for a Guy.

For the record, I carry a messenger bag or a backpack. They're not man purses, man bags, or man clutches. They're testosterone-laden, adrenaline-pumping, football-playing messenger bags and backpacks.

It's hard enough when I have to hold the thing. Then I have to figure out the most masculine way to hold a woman's handbag, trying to figure out a how to give off the vibe that I'm reluctantly doing this as a favor for the woman I've chosen to spend the rest of my life with. A vibe that says it's only a lifetime commitment made in front of family and friends that has saddled me with this humiliating task.

Once I tried pinching it delicately between my thumb and forefinger, but I looked like I was holding a raccoon carcass. Then I remembered I'm a Guy, and we don't do anything delicately, otherwise our other Guy friends make panty jokes about us.

So I set it on the ground next to me, but she scolded me for not knowing how to take proper care of a leather purse. (On my list of important things I need to know, this ranks right below knowing the color of my aura.) You would think I had just asked my son to juggle knives.

Then I tried setting it on top of my shoes.

"What's the matter, not secure enough in your masculinity to hold my purse?" she asked.

"There's not enough masculinity in the world to hold a woman's purse," I said. "I just don't want people to think it's mine."

"Don't worry about that, it doesn't match your shoes."

For the last few years, I've been able to hand the thing off to my oldest daughter. This usually gets an annoyed look from my wife, but at least I avoid the uncomfortable stares from passersby.

But she finally crossed the line a couple Sundays ago. We were in church, standing outside the sanctuary. Our kids were already in their classes, and we were getting ready to walk in. We were actually on time for a change, and could get a good seat.

"I have to make a quick stop before I go in," my wife said, sweetly batting her eyes at me. I've been married long enough to know that when she bats her eyes, I'm being set up for something horrible.

"Can you carry my purse in for me?" She shoved the bag into my hands, and I held it, not knowing whether to drop it and run away, or shove it back at her.

"I'll just stand out here with it."

"No, you have to go in and get our seats."

"But. . ."

"Oh, don't be such a baby."

"Why can't you carry it with you?"

"Because I don't want to set it on the floor." Apparently there are purse-eating bacteria lurking on bathroom floors. "What's wrong, are you afraid someone will think it's yours?"

At that moment, a husband and wife walked past us, on their way into the sanctuary. He looked at me with a mixture of amusement and understanding pity, like he wanted to laugh at me, but had recently felt the sting of carrying his own wife's purse around.

"You poor S.O.B.," his eyes said.

"Ha ha, you have to carry that," his smile mocked.

I almost hit him with my purse.

"Just take it in please. We need to find some good seats for once."

I gave her my best "I'm never doing this again" look. She lobbed back an effortless "don't bet on it" stare.

"We'll see about that," I thought, as she walked away.

I stomped into the sanctuary, clutching the offending handbag in a white knuckle death grip. God was smiling on me that morning, because the lights were off, everyone was already standing and singing, and there were two open seats near the back. I ducked in, slipped the bag into my wife's seat, and stood with the rest of the morning crowd, without anyone noticing.

Crisis averted.

Wives, stop asking your husbands to carry your purse. When we said "for better or worse," this isn't what we had in mind.

We were thinking more along the lines of letting your mom stay with us for a couple weeks over the summer.

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