Guys, don’t let ‘gender-fluid’ fashion leave you holding the bag

Published 10:01 am Monday, May 8, 2017

They won’t relent until every red-blooded American male is toting one.

I speak of the fashion industry’s newest attempt to persuade men to carry purses.

In a new Chanel advertisement, a fashionable fellow named Pharrell shows, or tries to, that it’s hip for a man to carry a purse.

The fellow’s full name is Pharrell Williams. He’s a singer, record producer and fashion mogul who, according to Essence, is a “leader in disregarding societal norms when it comes to style.”

In the advertisement, Pharrell walks into a warehouse with a heavily ornamented purse strapped around his shoulder. He rides industrial carts with wheels and dares to walk on a dangerously narrow steel beam.

How manly!

In the spot, the 44-year-old fellow is wearing stylish tennis shoes, the way kids do, black-and-yellow striped socks, the way teenage girls do, and a dainty, high-design shirt, the way women do.

At first glance, his choice of clothing might suggest he is a casual, free-spirited fellow. But there is nothing casual about the duds he sports or the purse he carries. The purse is named “Gabrielle” and its price tag is a ridiculous $3,600. It’s part of a larger strategy for fashion executives to push “gender-fluid” clothing on an unassuming public.

Chanel executives are surely betting big that the ultra-hip Pharrell — Chanel’s first male handbag model in its 108-year history — can get millions of confused males to spend zillions on man purses.

If you’re a male who thinks you need a purse to carry your high-fashion junk — hair goop, jewelry and whatever other feminine items you shouldn’t be carrying — you’ve got to come to your senses.

Look, it was bad enough when male-focused magazines began running the same sort of headlines as female-focused magazines: “How to Trim that Belly to Improve Your Self-Esteem and Win Her Affection.”

It was bad enough when men began getting so self-absorbed with their looks that they began doting on their skin, figure and clothing the way women do.

But purses for men? Oh, where to begin.

Let’s start with a biological fact: On balance, most women are very different from most men.

According to Psych Central, a study led by Marco Del Giudice, Ph.D., of the University of Turin, made a shocking discovery: There are significant differences between the sexes.

The study used “new and more accurate methods to measure and analyze personality differences” in men and women to assess 15 personality scales, such as warmth, sensitivity, perfectionism and so on. By assessing multiple traits, rather than individual traits as prior male-female studies had done, the researchers identified several differences between men and women.

Why are we different? Michael Gurian, author of “What Could He Be Thinking?: How a Man’s Mind Really Works,” says survival is the reason.

He explains that evolution thousands of years ago geared the male mind toward open spaces (the ability to track animals), whereas evolution geared the female mind to enable multitasking (the ability to manage numerous details that were needed to keep the family alive).

And though we no longer need many of the instincts and impulses that are built into our DNA, the unpleasant fact is that they’re still there. The unpleasant truth is that our biological makeup is the reason men and women are so different.

Here’s another truth: Men and women are at their best when they celebrate, rather than obscure, their unique qualities — in actions, manner and dress.

So if you’re a trendy male who is dumb enough to spend $3,600 on a lousy purse — if you want to be the willing dupe of the fashion executives pushing the gender-fluid trend — here’s something you’d better keep in mind.

Women carry purses. Men don’t.

TOM PURCELL, author of “Misadventures of a 1970’s Childhood” and “Wicked Is the Whiskey,” a Sean McClanahan mystery novel, both available at, is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist and is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. Send comments to Tom at