Why Does My Husband Hate Holding My Purse in Public…Even for a Second??

“Honey, why do you treat my purse like decomposing roadkill when I ask you to hold it for a second?” I asked my husband as he tossed the offending object (my magenta Coach handbag) back to me while shopping in Macy’s. “Why do men act that way? It’s not like my purse is going to bite you or that people will think you’re gay just because your holding it for me.”

“It’s because I am NOT a woman. That’s why! The same reason that I don’t wear your dresses,” he explained as if that reasoning would satisfactorily answer my question.

ME: “But, you had no problem carrying an aquamarine, bunny covered diaper bag on your shoulder in public for hours at a time when the kids were babies. Why such rebellion against my handbag?”

JAMES: “I am a father and proud of that fact. Diaper bags go along with fatherhood. Purses DON’T.”

ME: “But I’d gladly hold your wallet anytime you ask. I wash and fold your underwear several times a week and don’t fear losing my femininity based on this exposure.”

JAMES: “Look, Honey, reason all you want, but it’s a man thing. I’m just keeping up the code.”

ME: “Code? Whatever!”

I’m still stumped as to why it’s so unappealing to be seen in public holding your wife’s handbag for a few seconds.

I posed the question to a few friends of my husband’s. Their answers validated his response. “It’s gay. It’s not manly. It’s stupid looking. I’ll look like I’m henpecked.” But these answers didn’t really clear things up for me. They seem to he afraid that purses have magical gender changing powers of osmosis. Uhm, okayyyyyyyy.

So, now to my smart, manly, intelligent Good Husbanding audience. Perhaps YOU can tell me what’s so wrong with handbag holding.


Short URL: http://goo.gl/8UCdi

Filed Under: featuredMan Stuff

About the Author: Angela is an award winning humor columnist, freelance writer and public speaker living in Middle Georgia, and the San Francisco Bay Area. She uses her keen insight and clever wit to help husbands understand the complex mechanisms that are their wives. “I like to think of goodhusbanding.com as an owner’s manual for the average wife. Of course results may vary, but we’re all fairly similar whether we admit it or not.” Angela uses her background in psychology, the myriad of learning experiences offered through her ten year marriage, and input from her “in the trenches” audience members across the country as input for her articles.

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  1. Colby K says:

    There are, in fact, several reasons why we men avoid the toxic pocketbook:

    * It’s a miniature version of “The Aisle” at the grocery store. You know it’s in there, and you don’t want to accidentally come across it, touch it, or end up mindlessly holding it out in public view while you’re digging for the thing you’re really looking for. 

    * A purse is a shrine to Random, the god of non-sequentiality. There are too many non-sequential, unrelated, illogical items in too small of a space, causing the linear male mind to short-circuit. Even Jackson Pollock would freak.

    * It’s a matter of respect. Stay out of my wallet, and I’ll stay out of your purse. Nothing good can come of an encroachment in either direction.

    * All men know that at the bottom of every purse is a black hole portal into the galaxy called “Feminus.” Get to close to the vortex, and you might get sucked right in. It could even cause the singing of show tunes.

    Why is this so hard for women to understand???

  2. If your guy likes holding your purse, you should be worried.

  3. ridgely ann johnson says:

    My husband won’t even put his hand in my purse- his reply “I have 3 sisters who threatened me with death if I ever went in OR touched their purses!”
    great post

  4. Ken Jamaca says:

    I actually don’t mind holding my wife’s purse. I also help her shop and pick out clothes. I will tell her what makes her look hot, and what she should burn in the store so nobody else feels the need to try it on and look that ridiculous.

    That said, there is a “man code” that does prevent many men from doing the types of things I just mentioned. The thing I have found is there is a time and place to look beyond the “man code” and play the part of a helpful and caring husband.

    One of the things that is not commonly considered in “Man code” is there are lots of reasons to break that code. Almost all of them involve increasing the chances of seeing something nekkid. Holding your wife’s purse shows you care, when she believes you care, she wants to care for and about you…when she wants to care for you, only good things happen.

    Next time your wife asks you to violate a man code provision, ask yourself this question…”which is more important; man code or orgasms?” I’m sure you will make the right call…every time.

    • Andrew Klino says:

      That’s the most retarded answer I’ve heard to date!  There is *NEVER* a good reason to break Man Code!  Beyond Man Code, it’s just ridiculous to hold a purse in the first place.  That’s what having daughters are for.  They’ll gladly hold the purse, and dad can go shop in the firearms dept.

  5. Alton Mercer says:

    I don’t mind holding a womans purse while she shops as long as it is matching my shoes.

  6. Hunter Eck says:

    I have to go along with his reasoning about not wearing your dresses.  I look at purses as something akin to articles of women’s clothing, and if a man is holding a purse, he is essentially wearing women’s clothing.  Women can get away with wearing men’s clothing; however, everyone would agree (men AND women) that a man should not be caught dead in women’s clothing.  

    I also agree with Colby about it being a matter of respect.  Women’s purses are alien, sacred, mystical things to a man, and he just doesn’t mess with them.  To me, they almost seem like a woman’s nerve center.

    And, well, it’s just a man thing.  You do NOT hold a woman’s purse…anytime that I have even touched a purse, I had to detox by watching a Three Stooges marathon, firing up the Dirty Harry dvds, or spitting or something.   

  7. Bob Wolf says:

    I guess I’m comfortable with my sexuality. Some men are not. I don’t mind holding my wife’s purse as long as 1) she’s nearby, 2) she takes her phone with her so I won’t have to dig through whatever is in there to answer it, or 3) we don’t talk about it with friends.

    When we’re at home and her phone rings she expects me to answer it, if I’m the closest. That includes when it’s in her purse. Holding it is one thing, but digging through it? How am I to know it’s not booby trapped or something. Can’t get past that one. And it has nothing to do with trust. That’s my answer and I’m sticking with it.

  8. Steve Norris says:

    You have to understand the whole dynamic as to why a guy is having to hold a woman’s purse in the first place. We are men, which means we are expected to do all the heavy lifting. If we are holding a woman’s purse, we are afraid other men are looking at us and saying, “What is his wife doing? Carrying all the bags? What a tool.” There is also the stigma of not “wearing the pants” in the relationship. Any guy who is in the mall shopping with his wife or girlfriend in the first place, is going to automatically be put in the “just trying to score points” club (which we’ve all been a member). But once you’re spotted holding the purse, you are not considered an alpha male. Plus, you are seen as weak for not watching football or doing yard work. You, indeed, suck.

    “But wait…if a guy is being seen in the mall, that means that other guys have to BE THERE to see him, right?”…

    Yes…but men go to the mall to buy what they need, and leave. We don’t shop. There’s an old saying…”A man will pay $2 for a $1 item that he needs. A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item that she doesn’t need, but it was on sale”. Men also hate the stigma of being seen “shopping”. That is for the metrosexual guys and we really don’t understand them…plus, they are all single. Any guy that is married and still metrosexual, is gay…period. Sorry, Ladies…but once a man is married, there really is no reason to polish the brass on the Titanic anymore.

    Also, many of us have played sports. We are used to carrying a football, a baseball, basketball, etc. They don’t have handles or straps for carrying. Ever notice that when a guy does have to carry a purse, he doesn’t hold it by the handle or put the strap over his shoulder? He grabs it by the sides like a bowling ball. There’s a reason for that. It’s just more manly looking. It makes it seem more like we’re carrying a tool box or a tackle box, which is perfectly acceptable in the straight-man world…in fact, it’s encouraged. Yes, those too have handles but they are heavy-duty handles. There’s a difference.

    In this day and age, almost all men have a gay friend and/or family member. We don’t hate gays, we just don’t want to LOOK gay. My next-door neighbor is an Elvis impersonator. He’s a nice guy but I NEVER want to look like Elvis. A straight man holding a purse may be the ultimate gay image to all straight men. We know this from early elementary school. Since we were kids, we wanted to be Superman. We still do. A woman’s purse is Kryptonite…

  9. Jamesweight39 says:

    It is a woman’s accessory. Just like a pony tail or bracelets. I don’t want a pedicure. I’ll never wear lip gloss. No high heals. And never anything pink! But football, beer, trucks, now we are talking. A man holding a purse is like a woman chewing tobacco! Just plain wrong.

  10. James Downie says:

    Oh come now… NEVER wear lip gloss?

  11. Certain acts are reason to have your “man card” revoked. If a card carrying male is spotted toting a purse while his wife shops, instant revocation is the penalty. The same for pushing a cart down the feminine product isle. Come on you don’t want your mans card revoked do you?

  12. Chris Knowles says:

    I hold my wife’s purse like its radio active b/c I don’t want there to be any question that I know the correct way to hold it. Or that its something I do frequently. It is just part of the code… like men’s bathroom etiquette… DO NOT stand directly next to any guy at an urinal. Must maintain a 1 urinal buffer zone.

    p.s. If a man is in the mall holding a purse and there are no other men there to see him… was he truly holding the purse???? I say “Nay, Nay”

  13. Tom Degroh says:

    Just a suggestion. It is demeaning asking to hold the purse because it is usually while you are doing something “important”. Here hold this while I do something else that has nothing to do with you. If your husband asked you to stand there holding his wallet or playboy magazine while he left you there shopping for tools, I am certain a woman would be annoyed. 

    • TonyaS says:

       Nope not in the least. Playboy yes that is demeaning to women I wouldn’t hold that but I bet the woman who posted this article wasn’t asking her husband to hold a purse with a pair of naked man fondling each other on it. If you care about your spouse you aren’t afraid to be in their shadow once in a while its a balancing act and a partnership marriage is. 

  14. Nick says:

    I know this is an old article, but I just stumbled across this site and I have some contributing thoughts.  I’ve experienced this exact phenomenon while holding a girlfriend’s purse.  Immediate anxiety, concern, etc.  I’ve deducted a few reasonable possibilities as to why we freak out.

    1. Its embedded in us since birth that purses are for women.  Forget the whole “mancode” argument, its psychological… blame our parents for not giving us purses to play with as kids.

    2. Purses seem inefficient and cluttered to most men.  Imagine our desks at work.  Paperwork, notes, pens, stress balls and a myriad of other “stuff”.  They’re unique to each of us.  My desk appears completely organized to me… my coworkers’ desks look like someone had dropped a grenade on it.  Now, ask one of them to find something in MY desk.  They’ll struggle because its disorienting to dig through someone else’s things.  Purses are women’s work space!  Its YOUR uniquely organized area that we have no right to invade. 

    3. Many purses seem excessively large…. large enough to fit more purses inside your purse.  It tells me that either the woman can’t decide on what stuff she needs to bring with, so, she just brings all her stuff… or… that she cares far more about being stylish than functional.  (stylish vs. functional is a whole other can of worms, but I digress)

    Fun fact: I have no problem holdling my gf’s purse if it is one of those wristlet purses.  Its small, efficient, and makes sense to me.  It holds exactly what she needs (ID’s, cash, chapstick, etc.). I don’t care, even if its pink, covered in glitter with pictures of kittens on it. 

    Final thought: make your girlfriend/wife hold your wallet.  NOT PUT THEM IN THEIR PURSE, but actually hold it… and our keys…. and cell phone.   I bet you that they’d have the same “WTF” response that we do while holding their things.  Cause for as much crap as we get for not holding items that don’t belong to us, women do the same exact thing to us.  I’ve handed my wallet and cell to girls in the past and each of them either threw the stuff into their purse… or set it down on the nearest flat surface.  Even if it was to just hold it for a minute. 

  15. TonyaS says:

    I was looking for pictures of men holding purses for my blog post that I am about to post cause I have such a wonderful man. All evening we were out and about in a very crowded public place and I had to do a lot with my hands and move around a lot and i was so wishing tonight was one of those nights I left my purse at home but in fact its one of those things I don’t think twice about grabbing as I head out the door. So I was constantly handing it to my husband to hold. Which he did with no problem whatsoever. My husband is one of the most homophobic men on the planet. He still refuses to believe Elton John is gay cause he likes some of his music and that would mean he would have to stop liking it. Narrow minded of him I know, but thats the man I married. lol He is one of the most mocho men I have ever known and I love him for being a man’s man but he’s not afraid to carry the purse cause he is secure with who he is and knows its just an object and he cares about me so he is glad to help at anytime I need a third hand to carry the dang thing, that I can’t live without but sometimes is a pain in the butt. I can’t really tell you why men don’t like to do it except it makes them look girly for a brief moment but not all men have a probem with it.

  16. Willis says:

    We don’t want to hold purses cause it’s like throwing your baggage on us. I can understand why women want us to hold their purse. It’s because they want to try something on and want us to watch it. Thing is some men who do hold their partners purse may not be reciprocated when they need help. I’ve heard women reason you’re a man and I’m just a woman; can’t you hold it yourself? Anyways we don’t ask women to hold our wallets. We keep our wallets in our back pocket, we don’t need you to hold it. So that reasoning is squashed.

  17. Sean says:

    When I hold my wife’s purse, it’s because she has to do something. But while she does that something, I’m not about to go walking around with a big flashy purse on my shoulder. So I stand there holding it in a very uncomfortable way, making sure that it appears obvious that this isn’t my purse and I’m just holding it for someone else. At that time, I am immobilized. I feel like a big dog wearing a furry pink leash. Other dogs stroll by and look at me like ‘where’s your master?’ and I’m just there holding my own leash — which is worse. At least they’re being walked by their masters. I’m chained to a hydrant.

  18. tommy says:

    Dont you see a lot of gay guys going around with their flashy purses. I dont want to be mistaken, even worse some gay might jump on me.

  19. Angry at the airport says:

    My husband will not pick up my purse even if forgotten in the airport at a restaurant while I have left ahead if him to take our son to restroom etc./ play area etc. His explanation “doesn’t touch purses vs. possibility if stolen purse or credit card number doesn’t really cut it with me. He has done this a few times and it infuriates me as I would never leave his wallet on the table if forgotten. Also he is a hairdresser and always been very vocal about being against gender stereotyping. Any insights? WTF – just a jerk?

    • Ken Jamaca says:

      I would have to call that bad form…It is the responsibility of spouses to ensure the other spouse has their “feces correlated” (aka: S*%t together).

      If someone forgets, drops, loses, misses something and the other spouse (either husband OR wife) notices, I would argue it is their matrimonial responsibility to pick up the slack.

      In the case of your husband specifically noticing something and not doing anything to assist/rectify said situation…I’d have to agree…he’s just being a jerk.

      While one could argue that turnabout is fair play, there is nothing fun about losing a purse or wallet…instead I would offer this:

      Rather than YOU leaving early to take your son to the bathroom/play area/etc, put THAT activity on your husband, like so: “How about YOU take him, and I will make sure we have all of our belongings. I know you have a purse-phobia and I would hate for us to miss our flight because we left something behind!”

  20. fucktard fagtroll says:

    carry your own damn purse. why do you even need one?