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  • 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English

  • Welcome to 6 Minute English,

  • the programme where we explore an interesting topic

  • and bring you some useful items of vocabulary.

  • I'm Rob.

  • And I'm Neil.

  • And today we are discussing manbags.

  • Rob: Yes, manbags - they are the height of fashion of the moment, the stylish accessory

  • that modern men are carrying.

  • An accessory is an additional item added to something to make it more useful or attractive.

  • I'm not so sure, Rob.

  • I mean, I wouldn't be seen dead carrying a manbag!

  • Really! So what do you carry your lose change,

  • your credit cards, tickets and mobile phone in?

  • I just stuff everything in my pockets, Rob -

  • it's better than being a laughing stock, carrying a handbag around!

  • By laughing stock you mean everyone thinking of

  • you as silly - but you wouldn't be because

  • it's a manbag, Neil - not a woman's handbag.

  • Maybe I can convince you to change your mind

  • by the end of the programme.

  • But now let's not forget to ask you today's question...

  • Is it about manbags by any chance?

  • It is, so it might be tricky for you to answer!

  • According to market research company Mintel,

  • how many men bought a manbag in the UK last year?

  • Was it... a) 5%, b) 15% or c) 25%

  • Well obviously not many, so I'm going to say 5%.

  • And I'm not one of them!

  • Rob: Alright. OK, you've made that very clear!

  • We'll find out the answer at the end of the programme anyway.

  • Now let's talk more about manbags.

  • For hundreds of years women have carried their possessions around in handbags,

  • so why can't a man do the same with a manbag?

  • Neil: Maybe it's the name. Why can't it just be a bag?

  • Why does a bag have to have a gender?

  • Rob: It's a trend, Neil - a stylish fashion item designed to look good on men.

  • Many big names have flocked to adopt the trend.

  • Pharrell Williams, David Beckham and Kanye West,

  • are just some of those who've been spotted rocking a manbag.

  • Rocking is an informal way of saying 'wearing'.

  • Neil: But what's wrong with a sturdy briefcase -

  • sturdy means strong and not easily damaged.

  • Are you saying manbags are just fashionable?

  • Rob: No, they're practical too.

  • We've always needed bags

  • to carry stuff around but what we carry these days

  • has changed - you know laptops, mobiles,

  • even our lunch - so why not have a trendy looking bag

  • to carry these things around in?

  • Neil: I think part of the problem is

  • carrying one is not seem as a very British by some people.

  • We're not always

  • as stylish as our some of our European neighbours, are we?

  • Well, speak for yourself! But Nick Carvell, GQ Contributing Fashion Editor, has a reason for this.

  • Here he is speaking on BBC Radio 4's You and Yours programme...

  • In Britain we are still very tied up with that idea of masculinity

  • that is almost so fragile that it can be dented by carrying a bag.

  • We think a lot about that in this country

  • in a way that I don't think a lot of European men do.

  • So Nick feels some British men are still

  • tied up with the idea of masculinity -

  • these are the characteristics traditionally thought to be typical of men.

  • And for us British men,

  • these characteristics are fragile -

  • they can be easily broken.

  • Neil: Yes, we can also call it manliness -

  • things like not crying during a sad film.

  • It's a slightly old-fashioned idea

  • but it could still be dented - or affected -

  • if a man was caught carrying a manbag.

  • Rob: Whereas some European men

  • don't give it a lot of thought, according to Nick Carvell.

  • But with people like Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Gucci and Dolce and Gabbana designing these bags,

  • they're bound to have a hefty price tag -

  • that's an informal way of saying a high price.

  • Well fashion comes at a price, Neil -

  • you need to shake off your inhibitions -

  • that's a feeling of embarrassment that stops you from doing something.

  • And if you really want to be

  • on trend you could also splash out on a 'murse'

  • that's a man's purse, or a 'mote'

  • - a man's tote bag. Have I convinced you?

  • No, not really, Rob. I have a feeling that a manbag

  • by any other name is, well, a bag

  • - and I have one - my trusty backpack.

  • Well for some people, manbags are the thing -

  • but, as I asked earlier, according to market research company Mintel,

  • how many men actually bought a manbag in the UK last year?

  • Was it... a) 5%, b) 15% or c) 25%

  • And I said a) 5%. Come on, I must have been right!

  • You were wrong Neil.

  • The answer was actually 15%.

  • And nearly a quarter of 16-34 year olds

  • have bought one.

  • Well as I say, Rob, a good practical backpack is for me.

  • But now shall we unpack some of the vocabulary we've discussed today.

  • Starting with 'accessory'

  • which is an additional item added to something

  • to make it more useful or attractive.

  • "A tie is a smart accessory to wear with a suit."

  • Rob: Maybe, but you wouldn't catch me wearing a suit

  • in my media job - it's all t-shirts and jeans for us!

  • If I came to work in a suit

  • I would be a 'laughing stock' -

  • I mean, I would be seen as someone who people think of as silly.

  • Our next word was 'sturdy' -

  • something that is sturdy is strong

  • and not easily damaged.

  • "If you're walking up a mountain you need

  • to wear some sturdy walking boots."

  • Rob: Good advice - if I was going up a mountain,

  • which I'm not. Next we mentioned 'masculinity'.

  • These are the characteristics that are traditionally thought to be typical of men.

  • So we sometimes

  • refer to it as being macho!

  • Like: "Neil went swimming in ice cold water

  • to prove his masculinity."

  • That I would never do - I'd rather carry a manbag -

  • despite their hefty price tag -

  • that means 'high price'.

  • Finally, we also mentioned the word 'inhibitions' -

  • that's feelings of embarrassment that stop you from doing something.

  • "Neil's inhibitions are stopping him from carrying a manbag."

  • It's a bag, Rob - just a bag!

  • But we've talked enough about this so that's it

  • for this edition of 6 Minute English.

  • But before you rush off to purchase a designer manbag,

  • don't forget to visit our Facebook, Twitter,

  • Instagram and YouTube pages. Bye for now.

  • Bye-bye.

6 Minute English from BBC Learning English

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B1 UK rob carrying bag masculinity accessory fashion

BBC Learning English 6 Minutes| Learn to talk about men's fashion in 6 minutes!

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    colinsyuan posted on 2018/04/03
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