Hey female Lions fans — punt those purses!
The only NFL-approvedfashion statement that trendy fans can carry into Ford Field this season is a gallon-size, clear plastic bag, the kind you might use to freeze ground beef or store leftovers.
That’s right ladies: Your big designer bag is not welcome at Ford Field this year. That goes for messenger bags, diaper bags, too. (And the NFL really doesn’t care what you do with all of that stuff — makeup, spare earrings, hand sanitizer, combs, brushes, tooth whitener, toothpicks, diapers, etc. — that you carry in your jumbo bag.)
“This is normally, like, my life,” said Stacy Karras, 36, a medical assistant from Roseville who found out from a patient Friday that she couldn’t bring her stuffed handbag into the Lions preseason opener, her first-ever major sporting event. “I thought she was kidding.”
“In one way, I guess it’s good,” said Karras, as she tried to figure out where to stash the purse as she picked up her husband near his Eastern Market workplace before the game. “I don’t have to worry about anybody trying to steal it.”
What’s allowed? The NFL policy, which was announced in mid-June and will be enforced this year at Ford Field, says only tiny purses and wristlets about the size of a woman’s hand are good, as well as 1-gallon plastic or vinyl bags. Fans carrying bags with medical necessities will be allowed after they are inspected.
Plastic bags “are certainly not an attractive option,” said Ben Manges, the Lions’ director of communications. “But our fan safety continues to be a priority with us.”
Manges said the organization has alerted season-ticket holders and distributed posters about the bag ban to area bar owners, who run shuttles to the games. The policy was in effect Tuesday for the Jay Z and Justin Timberlake concert at Ford Field.
“We’re comfortable saying that the majority of our guests were aware of and in compliance with the bag policy,” said Manges. “What really helps us in this market is that U-M and MSU have a no-bag policy, and we’re allowing a bag of some kind.”
Manges said the team will send a free vinyl bag with a Lions symbol to season-ticket holders soon, and the organization plans to distribute those bags before the next preseason game on Aug. 22.
Still, the handbag restrictions will be bothersome for many. Purses carry secrets and tools. Purses can signify status, fortune, taste and temperament. Their function adapts to changing times and new inventions — from personal hygiene products to makeup kits to collapsing curling irons to cell phones.
“The handbag is the soul of women. All our private things are in it,” said Sigrid Ivo, the director of a purse museum in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The museum features 4,000 purses dating back 500 years and its genesis was Ivo’s mother’s antiques collection.
“When I don’t have my bag with me, I’m almost naked. I’m a little unsure. Nowadays, a bag is almost a part of our body,” Ivo said. “I always feel a little bit angry about it,” if she can’t have her purse with her, Ivo said.
“With a bag, you can always be in style,” Ivo said. “A purse is showing history, art, social and industrial development. The daily life has the influence on the handbag and that makes it an interesting history item.”
At the game Friday, a mother-daughter team from Waterford, season-ticket holders since 1995, were prepared for the new rules with Honolulu blue Lions-emblem embossed wristlets. The purse policy was not a problem for Gina Merrill, 48, a dog groomer, and Nicole Merrill, 26, who works in retail.
“If it gets us in faster, I’m fine with it,” said Nicole Merrill, as her family tailgated pregame at Eastern Market.
But to Karen Sanders, a grant writer, Detroit mother of three and Lions season-ticket holder, her handbag is a necessity. When she heard about the new restrictions, Sanders figured the ban couldn’t possibly include purses.
“I thought they must not mean purses. Everyone in Detroit has a huge purse,” Sanders said. “I feel almost naked if I don’t have my purse with me.”
Sanders said she was used to long lines and security inspections of handbags at Ford Field. Her purse at a football game has held items to soothe and secure her three young children over the years, and “female” essentials. And don’t forget, she said, all the stuff her husband might ask her to hold — from sunglasses to keys.
Sanders noted how pro football has stepped up marketing to women — its fan base has grown to include a nice mix of men and women — but says the purse restriction signals otherwise.
“There are so many things I feel like I shouldn’t leave home without,” said Sanders. She didn’t want to divulge the full extent of these items, but did mention it includes a comb, a brush and lipstick.
“I think it’s overkill,” Sanders said. “Is there a chance that they’ll revoke the policy? It’s kind of discriminatory against women.”
Even though Sanders didn’t attend Friday’s preseason opener, she said she told her husband, “I have to go out and get a new clutch” to comply.
While some Lions fans like Sanders will likly have trouble adjusting without their bags, Stephanie Hobson, 44, of Detroit, didn’t need an NFL order to ditch her purse. She’s had a no-purse policy for years, ever since she left a purse at a restaurant stop pregame.
“I like to have a good time at the game, and I don’t want to be bothered with having any extra responsibility to carry with me,” said Hobson, an automotive procurement specialist. “Just bring the essentials.”
Her essentials include driver’s license and credit card in one blue jean pocket, cash in another, and lipstick/lipgloss in her front left pocket.
Why is lipstick an essential?
“You’ve got to have your yelling and screaming to have a good time. So your lips have to stay moist,” Hobson explained.
Courtesy of the Detroit Free Press