So the other night I went for dinner with my friends Chris and Tanya. I've known them since high-school, introduced them, in a manner of speaking (it involved a large party I shouldn't have had in high-school :D at least one good thing came of it) and I was best man or something at their wedding. They've lived here for about six years now.
We finished dinner, at an Outback steakhouse, and went shopping for something at Migliore. Migliore is a market like an open air market but indoors. These types of places are common in Korea. Each vendor has their own stall in something like an open floor mall. We were looking at handbags or something when I joked that I was going to buy a big great-aunt style purse to keep my junk in. Chris said, "Well, dude, you *are* in the land of the man-purse!"
He's absolutely right. I hadn't noticed it before but I'm not sure why. I've been going around with a satchel or a beltpack while all the Korean men are running around with what appear to be purses or handbags. They aren't frilly or feminine, but they are definitely what you'd call a handbag. They range in size from a little leather thing with a handstrap, reminiscent of Jerry Seinfeld's "European carry-all", up to what looks like the great-aunt-sized jumbo shoulder purse suitable for carrying a range of accessories.
I think I'm going to join this trend of man-purse carrying guys, I usually have enough stuff to more than fill my pockets and it'd be damned handy. I remember remarking on my jealousy of women's ability to carry a purse to a female friend once back in Canada. The taboo doesn't exist here.
On the way to dinner with Seyoung, the previously aforementioned lovely lady, I remarked on my jealousy that she was able to wear a dress, a real comfort in the warm and humid evening air. She said that she could loan me one if I wanted to try it out. Maybe I'll start a new trend!