Pardon My Purse


Ten years from now, when this shows up again as a repeat, I’ll use the subject line “2020 Called…” and note that as late as the Pandemic Era, a cross-dressing reference was still acceptable as  punchline (just as, ten years earlier than that, “fear of being thought if as gay” was still good for a chuckle).

Please note that I’m not being critical of Mr. Lee: he’s writing for 2020 audiences. My point is that 2020 comics shouldn’t be judged by 2030 standards.

(Of course this is assuming that the overall trend toward tolerance continues, but we won’t discuss that here)


  1. I don’t see it as a cross-dressing reference, more as the woman insisting that if the mugger is going to take the purse, he has to take the shoes as well since they “go together”.

  2. I saw the satiric target more as the regular-character woman than the robber. It’s a case of fashion mandates vs common sense – she is volunteering to give the robber her shoes, since he’s getting the purse and they go together. That is, the shoes will be useless to her as she can’t wear them without the right purse.

  3. For the reasons Philip and Mitch4 gave, I also don’t see it as a cross-dressing reference.

  4. While these are interesting and insightful points, I don’t think this strip is about cross-dressing. Yes, Jesse Jane (I just looked up her name on Comics Kingdom – I don’t remember ever seeing it in the strip) thinks the shoes go with the purse, but that doesn’t mean she thinks the mugger is going to wear them. They wouldn’t fit him anyway. He is so taken back at her insistence that he is accepting them, although he has no interest in either the shoes or the purse, merely the purse’s contents.

    As for the thought of being taken as gay, I think the Seinfeld formulation still works: If you’re not gay, you don’t want to be thought of as gay, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  5. Speaking from a queer (though not gender-queer) perspective: I also didn’t take this as a cross-dressing joke. It’s just a joke about how the woman is very insistent that the purse & shoes are a matching set that shouldn’t be broken up.

  6. He’s not a gay and he’s not a transvestite. He’s a regular heterosexual man. As such, he has been conditioned to pretend to care about things that a woman cares about in an attempt to avoid conflict and/or ingratiate himself as part of the courtship process.

  7. I didn’t have the slightest thought that it was a cross-dressing reference. However, once the idea was brought up, I’m sympathetic to it. The strip is ‘much more funny to me without attachment to that idea.

    Specifically, I think CIDU Bill may not have understood that Jesse Jane (thanks Usual John), in her desperate need to mentally survive the mugging, has gone with her impulse to say, as she would with a friend, that the matching shoes must go with the the bag. This fashion thing started in the 1950s and is a deep part of the culture and has been expressed repeatedly in movies and on TV through the years.. deep that my only thought could be that this strip is about the woman, and the man’s line is a reaction, a giving in, to her commitment, not necessarily a pre-existing thought of his ever before. (As a side note, I never thought of matching my snake-skin wallet, oh-so-thin-even-with-compartments,, with snake-skin shoes)

  8. “Jesse Jane […], in her desperate need to mentally survive the mugging, has gone with her impulse to say, as she would with a friend, that the matching shoes must go with the the bag.”

    That reminds me very much of this comic which claims to be non-fiction. “Trigger Warning: Breakfast” and “The morning after I was raped, I made my rapist breakfast.” Be warned that it’s very powerful and *not* a happy story:
    View at

  9. “‘Le total look, c’est has been’”

    ‘Le look total, c’est has been’

    I used to espouse this look, when I went to work every day. After I retired in 2005, fuggedaboutit! Nowadays, folks are lucky I’m wearing clothes and shoes (well, not that I go out much any more).

  10. If he wants only the contents of the purse, it’d be more sensible for him to leave the actual purse with the woman – she’d still have the matching shoes and could appreciate that. The crook is unlikely to appreciate the pairing.

  11. “If he wants only the contents of the purse, it’d be more sensible for him to leave the actual purse with the woman”

    A quick getaway is preferable to not taking something extra. Plus, he can search at leisure for hidden goodies *and* has a bag to carry things in while getting away. Though waiting for and carrying the shoes does detract from this line of reasoning.

  12. Before the moment shown, the mugger demanded her purse, and she reacted by thinking he wanted the purse itself (perhaps too taken with her own fashion sense) rather than or in addition to the contents, and insisted of course he must want the shoes since they go together so well. The mugger is either persuaded or humoring the crazy person. It’s amusingly bizarre.

    I agree it is not about cross-dressing.

  13. @MJSR I want to shout, “Brilliant!” I had all the parts, you found the funny. I’m a little embarrassed and a lot happy.

    I’m the only software engineer left where I work now that there’s no one to explore ideas with. I find myself programming what I think is the easy thing which is actually a non-usable thing in the long run; I used to help the other guy(s) avoid solutions that turn into temporary test code.

  14. moderation… dang, misspelled my name last week , must be the email address this time (and yes, I believe that I cannot know what will cause moderation at any given time; I just know I wasn’t careful this time.)

  15. Misspelling your email address is pretty much an automatic trip to Moderation: everybody’s first comment goes to Moderation and if doesn’t recognize your e-mail address, you’re “new.”

  16. I am convinced that before comicgeddon, Bill had a large collection of ways I mistyped my edress.

  17. I go along with her trying to force the shoes on him as they go with the purse, not cross dressing – that would involve him asking her for the shoes and she seems to forcing them on him.

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