All these years, I’ve been wondering to myself, “What’s wrong with Russians? What’s with their strange Byzantine ways? And what the fuck is the deal with that murse thing?”
“Murse?” you ask. The stubby little word may sound unfamiliar, but you know what I’m talking about. You’ve seen everyone from burly former sportsmen to atomic physicists totting murses. Murse: it’s the ubiquitous male purse.
In the West, there’s the mistaken belief that only chicks should carry purses. What foreigner hasn’t had a laugh at the expense of some guy who looks like he eats his Cheerios with vodka instead of milk, clutching under his arm such a gay little accessory as a male purse?
Then I felt one in my own hands. And I can say honestly that, to quote Fet, “A murse cannot be understood with the mind, but only with the armpit.”
This week I held a murse in my hands for the first time, and immediately things changed. Murses are not only NOT gay, they’re: indescribably fantabulous. It’s hard to explain my spiritual transformation when I felt that cool leather case in my hands the first time, and thought to myself, “This could be mine. I could walk into a pricey restaurant holding this thing, and people would think to themselves, ‘Hey, that guy’s not gay at all. In fact, he’s going places.”
The murse is more than a way to liberate your pockets from the usual jumble of your wallet, passport, keys, shoe shine brush and cell phone. Though it’s that too… But the murse is so much more.
It’s a feeling of security that you get when you’ve laced the wrist-strap around your arm and you know you’re immune to pickpockets. It’s knowing that your passport will stay in the same condition it was the day you got it. It’s having a portable filing cabinet that will not only organize any documents that you might obtain over the course of a day, but preserve their crispness. It’s knowing you’ve got a secret ruble reserve in one of the small zippered pockets. And it’s knowing that the expandable walls mean that I’ll never have to decide which discount and club cards I can carry with me at any one time.
It took a trip to Cherkizovsky Rynok to discover all this and more. Cherkizovsky is Moscow’s most famous rynok, where Russia cut its teeth on capitalism. It’s also Ground Zero of Russia’s Murse Movement.
So join me in my special photo essay as I undergo an Extreme Murse-Over.
Murse Mountain: the pride of Cherkizovsky Rynok’s murse merchants and shoppers alike!
“My friend! I give you best price on murse!” At Cherkizovksy,Sikhs and Pakistanis have the murse market cornered
Me and my murse: Nothing can stop us!
iMurse: built-in battery-powered calculator for the Power Murse Man.
Packin’ Murse Heat: we dare anyone to call this guy “gay.”
Murse in one hand, kvas in the other: It just doesn’t get better than this
Murse Envy: Two murse holders pretend like they’re not sizing up the other’s murse.
Find the national symbol!
Babe Magnet: Studies show that a murse has four times the sex appeal of a Merc.
“With my new murse, the sky’s the limit!”
This article was published in Issue #244 of The eXile, August 2006.
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