Bagging it, Belgrade-style
Call it whatever you like–a a murse, a manbag, or a European carryall–but don’t call it girly. Tough guys all over town sport these smaller messenger bags, often called torbica. Personally, I’m all for them. If Muz paid me a nickel ever time I held his Blackberry/sunglasses/keys, I could buy him the fanciest one available.
In my totally unscientific poll, I’d say 50% of Belgrade men have a torbica or two. What’s in them? I had grand plans for man-on-the-street interviews, but between my camera’s “video” function and my halting Serbian, I’ll just guess instead: cigarettes (naturally), sunglasses, phone, bottle opener (why not?), keys, and identification. Serbians often carry ID booklets that don’t quite fit in wallets, so a torbica prevents the dreaded “Costanza wallet.”
Indeed, the European carryall has its benefits. A guy can carry many valuable possessions yet remain hands-free for important taxi-hailing or phone calls. For once, a lady can ask her guy to hold something besides ID and lipstick. No girlfriend? The torbica also becomes a useful pick-up tool: “Miss, would you like a mint from my torbica?” Acually, that sounds kind of dirty. Better to offer a cigarette.
It’s even a health aid. This guy may be suffering from liver damage, but he’s not going to get “fat wallet syndrome,” aka piriformis.
Though Balkan men have popularized the man purse, there’s a long tradition of tough guys sporting bags: Santa Claus, Indiana Jones, and Chewbacca, to name a few. These pioneers have helped Balkan men be stylish, manly, and courteous to the women who don’t want to carry their stuff. RHOB says, long live the manbag! Or, excuse me, satchel.