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Ach, brave sporran

Surely it is time for men to take up the purse again?

When my mother turns in for the night, she places her handbag safely next to her bed.

This ritual is greeted with derision by her aged consort, who thinks that his wife's obsessive concern for the where-abouts of her bag is akin to the ancient Israelites and their spiritual compulsion to carry the Ark of the Covenant whenever they went into battle.

Hence the name given to my mother's handbag as "the ark" whenever the reticule goes missing. The cry "ark alert" resonates through the house when the need arises for wide-scale reconnaissance for the lost ark.

Men have always failed to appreciate the co-dependent relationship that a woman enjoys with her handbag. However, because we are of Scottish descent, I put it to the aged parent that it wasn't too many moons ago that Rob Roy would have fought tooth and nail if an interloper had tried to separate him from his sporran. No wonder that a Scotsman kept his pouch close to his family jewels.

Then I fell to wondering - not what that Scotsman wore underneath his kilt, but what he packed in his sporran?

Obviously, it held the odd coin, possibly a snot-rag, perhaps the basic ingredi-ents for porridge, maybe some dried haggis for when the going got tough, but you can't imagine that a man in the 18th century would have had much to line his pouch with.

In the 1980s, blokes got a right pasting for sporting the dreaded "man bag". Was it because there exists a survivor's impulse that a man's fists should always remain unencumbered in order that a hand could spring to his side to unsheath a dagger when trouble crossed his path?

The idea of having one hand employed in the mincing act of bag-clutching would be considered indulgent or downright risky. See Umaga v Masoe, Jolly Poacher, 2006. So the cursed male purse disappeared and was consigned to the handbag museum to appear under the embarrassing display heading of "Curiosities".

Still, it seems sad for a man to miss out on the joys of handbaggery. With the rise of the metrosexual, you wonder how any self-respecting "met" can step out of a night without his moisturiser, tweezers, lipgloss, not to mention an after-dinner mint. All those grooming aids jostling around like twitching budgie smugglers in the trouser pockets would be sartorially offensive, enough to make a metro-sexual keen "Will he no come back again?" for the return of the male bag.

Enter the sporran, with its ideal fur covering to protect the metrosexual from rogue redneck kicks to the dried arrangements, and enough room for all the bankcards, cellphones, laptops and grointops you could possibly hope to stow in the commodious carry-all.

Having waited for the sporran to make a comeback on the catwalk, I have been sadly disappointed. With the Scotman's reputation for short arms and long pockets, the sporran may have been rendered temporarily extinct, but now that a Kiwi's Scots blood has been sufficiently distilled, surely it's time to take up the purse again?

Would it be too much to ask that every man with Scottish blood demand not only the restoration to its rightful resting place of the Stone of Scone on which the ancient kings of Scotland were crowned, but also a resurgence of the sporran?

Curious tourists might then ask: why do New Zealand men wear sporrans? Because it gives Kiwi females somewhere to park their lipsticks.