There was a time in my life—college—when I used to love shopping. Now, this was mostly because I enjoyed the malls in Atlanta, with Cumberland and Lenox Square being my favorites. I went to Cumberland because it was on my side of Interstate 285 (the west side) and sold more than shoes, baby clothes and gangsta grills (like Greenbriar), and it was the only mall I’d ever been to that had a Wendy’s with great fries.
Lenox was where I went for the entertainment of it all. There were always tons of celebrities, which made any shopping trip that much more exciting. I saw a member of Destiny’s Child perusing the main drag, Jermaine Dupri and Da Brat posted up in Foot Locker, Mobb Deep standing outside Macy’s, C-Murder looking at jewelry at one of the kiosks in the middle, etc.
Atlanta in the 1990s was exactly what you thought it was: a city full of flash and opulence where you could see celebrities almost anywhere, including Kroger’s, or that time I ran into Big Gipp at Mrs. Winner’s on MLK. The point is that I used to enjoy physically going into a store to purchase something.
What a difference a day makes. Or years. Or Amazon Prime.
I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in my worship of Amazon Prime. The fact that I can order something right now and by the time I hit submit I might receive a text saying that my item is at my front door hiding behind a tree hoping that somebody named Pookie, Ray-Ray or Leon doesn’t get to it first is the greatest thing to happen since a Michael Jordan comeback, which led to his eventual retirement, which led to his NBA Hall of Fame induction speech, which led to the actual greatest thing to happen ever: the M.J. tears meme on full display after the Villanova Wildcats bested the North Carolina Tar Heels in a most gripping fashion. That was a very long sentence.
Also, I may have exaggerated how quickly an item arrives via Amazon Prime. But two days is a super-quick turnaround in an instant-gratification society. Since discovering Amazon Prime, I have made it my go-to spot for purchasing things that you do not necessarily need to try on. Gifts, toys, books, baby accessories, random doodads, etc. I’ve purchased it all from Amazon, and 9 times out of 10, that purchase has gone exactly how I needed it to go. I open the box and pull out exactly what I thought I was getting, and happiness abounds.
But that 1 time out of 10? Yeah, that’s how I ended up with a murse. What’s a murse? For those who are unfamiliar with the perfect synergy of melding two words together, it’s a man purse. It’s a bag that is probably masculine enough to be worn by a man, but with the size dimensions and portability of a purse. Not quite a satchel or messenger bag, it’s the kind of bag that a metrosexual man would wear as an accessory to match those lovely leather sandals he bought at Cole Haan, which, while possible, he probably did not purchase using Amazon Prime.
I’m not sure if I’m a metrosexual man or not, but that’s irrelevant because as it turns out, metrosexual or not, I bought a murse.
Here’s how I bought a murse.
I’m in the market—or at least as much as a person can be in the market—for a messenger bag. For work, I have a very nice backpack that’s more colorful and adventurous than is probably considered professional. Not that anybody at my job gives a s—t, but I like the idea of my entire outfit looking intentional, as opposed to looking fly as hell and then throwing on this lime-green backpack that doesn’t match anything.
Since I don’t feel like I have much time to make it to the mall, and Amazon Prime is just a URL away, I decided to try my luck at a bag. Of course, when you begin looking for one thing, Amazon, in its infinite wisdom and ability to remove you from your hard-earned dollars, shows you other options. So I was looking at some bags, and then up pops this particular bag: a Mens Boys Vintage Canvas Shoulder Military Messenger Bag Sling School Bags Chest Military Leather Patchwork Messenger Bag (Khaki).
Long title aside, the bag looked pretty cool. And it was $17.95. Now, because I was being lazy and cheap on this particular day, I didn’t look at other options that included more pictures of the bag—which showed a person wearing said bag—which might indicate that it wasn’t as big as I thought. The sole picture I saw made me think that it was sizable enough. And again, $17.95.
The idea that I might be purchasing what amounts to a murse never once crossed my mind. And to be fair, it’s not an actual murse, it just plays one on television. So I ordered it. Like a kid on Christmas, I waited excitedly on Saturday for it to be delivered. As soon as it got in, I ripped open the too-small box (I assumed it was folded) and pulled out my bag and noticed that most of it was missing. In my house at this time were my girlfriend, daughter and son, all of whom looked at me curiously as I slung this bag over my shoulder and wondered if I had, indeed, purchased a murse (I did).
Of course, the first thing I did was go online to check out the bag’s dimensions, something I didn’t do at first. Also, the dimensions were in metric and I’m an American—except they also had the inches listed next to the centimeters, something I’m sure women wish was a standard option. Zing!
When I clicked on another color option, up popped pictures that included one of a gentleman sporting said bag that still looked bigger than what I have but would have indicated to me that this particular bag was going to be too small. Le sigh.
So now I have this bag and I’m not quite sure where I can use it, and not only because it’s a murse. I’ll rock a murse if it looks right with my outfit; I’m enlightened. The problem is that the bag is so damn small, I’m just not sure what the hell I’d put in there of utility. I can fit my wallet and cellphone, and I suppose an iPad mini, if I had one. But I have a 13-inch MacBook Pro that absolutely doesn’t fit. I can’t even do work with this bag. It’s purely aesthetic.
And because I never met a lesson I wasn’t willing to learn the hard way twice, I bought another bag that is also smaller than I anticipated. But I’m using this bag and forcing items in there because I’m stubborn.
The lesson here? Learn the metric system. Even drug dealers know the metric system. Or else you might end up with a (really nice) murse.
Panama Jackson is the co-founder and senior editor of VerySmartBrothas.com. He lives in Washington, D.C., and believes the children are our future.