The Lure of the Handbag


I have a confession. I hate handbags. Mostly my own. And I truly mean bag. It's really nothing more than a bag albeit a colorful one with a strap so I can sling it around my neck, um I mean shoulder. That part is all fine and dandy. The problem is inside. It's pretty much a gaping black hole where everything gets sucked into a whirling vortex of now you see it now you don't. I don't know why I do it but I continue to carry it I wherever I go. And I continue to drop things inside of it, which, when needed, I can never find, and often in a moment of urgency. My Blackberry is ringing and ringing and ringing and I dig and dig and dig and invariably I locate said phone just when the caller hangs up and my fingers have been reduced to bloody ribbons from locating every other sharp object I have tossed in there, specifically Dixon Ticonderogas sharpened well enough to perform an appendectomy with. And of course when I call back it goes to voice mail. Or when I desperately need a quarter for the parking meter because Maleficent the Meter Maid is eyeing my vehicle with glee in her beady crossed eyes and waiting for the little red flag to pop up so she can slap a ticket under my windshield wiper.

Yes, ladies, the peril of the handbag, that ubiquitous, obligatory accessory we all use, and admit it, sometimes hate. I know women who go gaga over handbags with fancy names like Coach and Louis Vuitton. I mean really, $3000 for a bag. A bag! All purses, all handbags are just that, a bag. A large Hefty Freezer bag will work just as well. But of course, I understand. If you're going to carry a bag, why not make it fashionable as well as utilitarian? But you know what happens. You start out small, just needing something to carry your wallet, your cell, your car keys and then what happens. That's right you start tossing more and more stuff in there. The need for a bigger bag grows and grows like some horrible Crack addiction you need more and more and bigger and bigger because you have more stuff until finally you are lugging around a fifty-pound bag the size of a bed pillow. Women, it is no long a handbag. You are carrying luggage!

O, what a terrible monkey we carry on our backs, or shoulders or wrists or some of us just carry our bags in our hand. That really bugs me. The clutch bag. Women willingly and joyfully reduce themselves to having just one arm in order to carry a fashionable clutch. Um. And what does it hold besides a hanky and maybe a lipstick. Important items I suppose for an evening out. But the next morning, you turn back to old faithful, your Mary Poppins carpetbag to haul around with you as you run errands or to take to work just in case you might need something. It's a sickness this bag thing. We are never happy, always changing our stuff from one bag to another, always on the look out for a better bag, one more suited to our particular needs and or skill set. It's a tough thing this bag life. And fraught with anxiety also. We worry about our bags as we walk down a crowded city street or through a mall always on the lookout for potential bag snatchers. Personally this has never happened to me. No, I fall more into the "where did I leave my bag?" category. I worry that I will leave it behind and that just makes me shudder because all my most important stuff is in there.

So what is this stuff we carry. Just for kicks I dumped my bag out. I carry: wallet, Blackberry, two Moleskine notebooks, (I am a writer after all) miscellaneous receipts, three dirty cough drops, one renegade Tylenol, an Ice Age 3 ticket stub, a baggy with various and sundry First Aid items, another smaller bag with a zipper to hold pencils and pens. Yes, you see what's going on here, I carry a bag to carry more bags. It's madness. Where will it end?
What's in your bag?

7 comments:

Jennifer AlLee said...

I'm with you, Joyce. I hate having to carry a bag. I envy men and their ability to only carry wallets.

And I'm not a purse afficionado. I use one purse until it falls apart. I had a bag that I was able to use for about five years because it was kind of expensive and very well made (but I got it for free - YAY!) Well, the strap finally broke. So, instead of buying a cheap one to replace it, I broke down and spent more than I wanted in order to get another that would last. Hopefully, I'll still be lugging it around five years from now!

Phoebe said...

Ah, yes, I avoided a handbag until I was fifteen. Now I have this huge ol' denime thing with a shoulder strap that is currently waited down with my mp3 player, Iron Man wallet (woot for Hot Topic), playing cards, pocket knife, earbuds, recipts (to write on the backs of, I skip out on the notebook), and, of course, about six pens. Oh yeah, I got one of those pocket Bibles, except mines about the size of two of those. Oh, the joys of bags.

Judy Christie said...

Oh, Joyce, I have one of my all-time fave bags right now, a "Gone to Green" handbag bought at the Canton, TX, First Monday Flea Market. It is bright green with white dots. I've gotten so many comments on it that I told a friend it needs its own blog.
I do love a great purse,reasonably priced and steamer trunk size. I may still be a contestant on Let's Make a Deal and need a boiled egg and a book of S&H stamps & a screwdriver ...

Susan Skitt said...

I switch between my brown bag and my black one, that way it sometimes actually gets cleaned out - lol!

Funny stuff girl!

Anonymous said...

My most interesting handbag story is from when my kids were young. I told each one to put a snack in my purse so they could eat it in the car on a trip. About an hour into the trip, my son pipped up: "Can I have my jello now?" It was in there - no container.

Karen Deikun

Pam Halter said...

Wait till you see the bag I sewed for myself ... for the conference. hee hee hee

Barbara Scott said...

Like Jennifer, I'm carrying an expensive Coach bag. I know for a fact that my daughter-in-law paid over $200 for the thing as a Christmas present...IF she bought it at an outlet mall. It's almost two years old. It's dirty. So I schlepped out to the outlet mall and found a bottle of cleaner for 10 bucks. Ten bucks!! I still haven't cleaned it. I just know it will take up one of my precious Saturdays. Before this, I'd never spent more than $20 for a bag, purse, clutch, poke, pouch,sack. ... You get the idea. Except I think I bought a leather one at Penney's once for $29.99 on sale. Pretty good deal. I figure I'll be buried with my current bag. How can you throw something like that away?