Effeminate to carry a canvas grocery bag on the shoulder--or, why was I whistled at?

First off, I can be mighty slow on the uptake about things like this, because I usually pay little heed to the conventions that dictate you must do something in a less comfortable, practical, or effective way in order to be “manly”.

But one evening I was walking back from a quick trip to the market, and I heard a wolf-whistle. Not seeing any likely object of such whistling in the vicinity, I wondered if they meant me, as if to call my manliness into question. But I can’t think of anything I was doing, unless it was the way I was carrying my grocery bag…much as a woman carries a purse, slung over the shoiulder. Like I said, I think some of these conventions about gender appropriate behavior border on the asinine. In the last Seinfeld episode, when it was said that George’s kneeling backwards on an airplane seat so he could talk to the person behind him was effeminate, I was more bemused than amused. But at the same time I recognize that I live in an asinine culture that places great importance in these behavioral traits.

So what do other people think about this (the grocery bag question)? Because Europeans tend to be a little more open minded about this sort of thing, it would be helpful if you say where you’re from.

Well a couple of years ago I attended a conference related to my job and the organisers gave out a Welcome Pack at the beginning that consisted of relevant paperwork, pens, sample CDs etc. all in the kind of bag you describe.

A majority of the delegates were male, and many (including me) seemed to feel self-conscious about the bag, and didn’t know how to carry it without making it seem effeminate. It was widely criticised in the “what do you think of xxx '99” survey questionnaire.

I live in London, where the conference was held, but the delegates were international and where people were from didn’t seem to affect their feelings about it.

If any of my friends ever saw me with a ‘grocery bag’ slung over my shoulder I’d never hear the end of it.

My friends and I are Americans.

I would say it’s touch effeminate to worry about the correct method of grocery bag holding. :wink:

Personally, I really want a man-fur!

Is that going too far?

Why did you put grocery bag in quotes? Would a different kind of bag not cause trouble?

I usually carry my stuff from work to home and back in a canvas tote bag I got at a NASA workshop last year. I’ve wondered about the same thing myself, but nobody has ever commented about it.

Before the tote bag, I used a bookbag to put all my stuff in. Two problems: first, people alway assume I’m a student. Second, if I’m wearing a heavy winter jacket, it’s hard to remove the bag from my shoulder gracefully, especially on an accelerating bus.

The only other alternative is a briefcase, which is too small, and too formal-looking anyway. So tote bag it is.

I just used the quotation marks because I was quoting the term you used.

But I’m kind of with you on this. I think carrying a bag make sense. It won’t tear or break like paper or plasic shopping bags, and it’s a lot easier to carry heavy things by slinging it over your shoulder. But if I did it in public, someone would see me, and eventually word would get out.

And this would result in what, exactly?

Rumors, teasing, that kind of thing.

I think the same thing would happen if I carried one of those ‘fanny-packs’.

Good God, remind me to stay out of Gobbler’s Knob!

Lots of guys 'round these parts use fanny packs, especially when working out or running. I think they look ugly with street clothes, but not particularly effeminate.

As for the grocery bag issue, for me it’s usually a question of how heavy the stuff is that I’m carrying. If a person is really loaded down with lots of heavy groceries, I can’t see how it’s effeminate to put the bags on your shoulders. But if it’s light, I carry the bag(s) in my hand.

I think it’s usually a pain carrying a grocery bag over my shoulder because it keeps colliding with my purse and generally makes things difficult.

Learn not to give a toot about whether someone else thinks that what you are doing is inappropriate. What is in your own mind is more important to your actions.

“He who would be a man must be a non-conformist.” – Emerson

Maybe he just whistled at you because you were cute :wink:

A bag over the shoulder is only slightly effeminate to me…unless it was a pink bag then it would be really effeminate.

Jeez, it never even OCCURRED to me that the way one carries a grocery bag could be considered effeminate. I regularly see men carrying grocery bags, tote bags, or over-the-shoulder bookbags, and have never been given any indication that this was seen as anything but manly. And while I can imagine that there may be a certain number of people who would see such luggage as effeminate, I would certainly think they’re in the minority. I’ve never seen a man taunted because of the way he carries a bag.

I live in Boston, so I wouldn’t expect the cultural influence to be a whole lot different from that in LA.

Is it possible the whistle was one expressing genuine appreciation of your extreme sexiness, javaman? Or were you maybe wearing a miniskirt and fishnet stockings? Cause I could imagine that getting you a whistle or two.

I sometimes carry books in a canvas bag around campus. It’s heavy when full, and if I carry it just by the handle it comes perilously close to dragging on the ground. So i loop it over my shoulder and let my shoulder take the weight. I don’t care how it looks.

And if anybody said or whistled anything, I could always hit 'em with the bag. Considering what it weighs, they’d never recover.

When doing light groceries, I often bring a canvas tote bag (because I’ve got enough plastic bags at home, thankyouverymuch). If it’s heavy, it drags on ground, so over the shoulder it goes. No one’s said boo so far.

When doing a heavy grocery shop, everything goes into saddlebags and my backpack and a biking-I-will-go. (I used to have easy access to a trailer, but no more. I miss my bicycle trailer.) My record is $175 worth of stuff, but I didn’t have lots of fresh veggies that day. I did have a 24-pack of TP though.

Put groceries in a car? What, are you crazy or something?

Grocery bag over the shoulder! What were you thinking! That’s the internationally understood gay symbol for “I’m ready to take off my bulging boxers and give you the rugged buggering your steaming, hairy rump deserves”. Christ! You’re lucky you got away without being raped. Please be more careful next time.

I have no problem slinging a bag over my shoulder, as long as it doesn’t interfere with my cock ring.

I usually carry my purse by the short handle but if I need both my hands I’ll sling it across my shoulder and chest.

Only a few neanderthals have made disparaging comments (no whistles or catcalls) but I am secure in manliness to not let it bug me. What I do find amusing is guys who say they like my “man bag” but feel they would be ridiculed for getting one.

Women tell me they wish their husbands/boyfriends would get one so they wouldn’t have to carry their man’s stuff in their own purse.

Wait 'til I get my kilt…

Hmmm… guys who like my “man bag”…

Perhaps they meant something else?

:slight_smile: