Remember the one with Joey’s man bag? Unlike Rachel Green the fashion savvy, for many of us it was the first encounter with a man bag or as they call it in French la sacoche. The trendy accessory is much loved by celebrities and civilians alike. While there are many styles of masculine bags i.e. the classic briefcase, la sacoche is a rather small, cross body bags. Back in UK, my experience of seeing men carrying a handbag was only at times when imposed. They would reciprocate by holding it as awkwardly as they would a dirty diaper, hardly a catwalk acceptable style. Well, here is a tale of how I got caught off guard during my early integration phase in France.
It was an exceptionally great morning. I arrived at work bright and early. For a change, I found a parking spot close to the office building and I even had ample time to grab a drink and peruse my clients’ files. I esteemed the day to be rolling out exceptionally well until my first client arrived. I spotted him holding a handbag and so I immediately connected the dots, we are waiting for her. I kept craning my neck in anticipation of his female companion. What’s taking her so long? In any case, I had started to get a bit apprehensive as I only expected a single client and I was simply unprepared for a group lesson. I kept making small talk, waiting for the second body to make her entrance. Nobody showed up. By this time, he had opened his man bag and gingerly emptied the contents onto the table. Alas! So it is his handbag.
The French love their sacoche. I spot them all the time now. At work, in town, you name it, he’s wearing one. And who can blame them? It is so practical. Their female counterparts do not have to face the ‘leaving the house domestics’. Darling, could you please carry my phone, my wallet and my bulky keys in your clutch?
For some it might look like a weird and somewhat a rather feminine accessory, but for the French man it remains a trendy and a très praqtique accessory.
Bag = Sac
To hang = accrocher
As tiny a detail as it might be, it’s the little things like these which make interacting with other cultures quite interesting. What shocked me at the time has become as natural as my own shadow. On the contrary, it felt unnatural to ask my clients to pose for my blog post photos, so I must give thanks to my best friend Google. How about you? Have you lived any peculiar experiences abroad?