September 28, 2006

Let's Talk Purses, Shall We?

Well. Not just purses. Purses and bags. In my mind, those items perform distinctly different yet equally important functions.

I like to be prepared. Hence I carry around a lot of stuff. Therefore I need a big bag. No, not a plastic bag. A tote. A shoulder bag.

When I leave our home for work, I carry my big bag stuffed with all manner of things I may need during my travels: my dayplanner, a book to read, antibacterial hand wipes, a notebook in which to jot random thoughts, a bottle of water, perhaps a small snack, an umbrella if the weather warrants. I do so like to be prepared.

Inside the big bag nestles a smaller bag. The smaller bag is my purse.

My purse is an island unto itself. It holds my stash of important littler things: wallet, cell phone, dental floss, cigarettes and lighter, assorted pain relievers, chewing gum, mints. Things I use often and like to have easily at hand. My purse can also be grabbed for quick errands when the big bag may be extraneous.

I envy women who have purses to match different outfits. I'd like to be one of them, but I'm not. Instead I'm the kind of woman who uses one purse exclusively until it is used up. Sometimes it matches my outfit, other times not so much.

I had a disturbing experience recently. Wendy and I went shopping over the weekend and I purchased a new purse. It was time, past time perhaps. Holes had worn in the seams of the old one. Once home, I excitedly transferred my precious purse belongings into their new home.

Monday morning rolled around and, as is typical of many Monday mornings, I was running late. The clock tick tick ticked toward the time, then past the time, I should leave for work. I let the dogs in, did our doggie thing, grabbed my purse off the dining room table, stuffed it into my big bag and slung it over my shoulder. I was off and running.

Halfway to work, as is my custom, I reached into my big bag to rummage around in my purse in search of the mints I always keep there. My forehead wrinkled in consternation as it quickly became apparent there were no mints to be found. "What's up with that?" I thought as I frantically fumbled around taking inventory with my fingertips. "I need a mint! I need a mint NOW!"

I discovered not only was my essential tin of mints AWOL, but so was my cell phone, chewing gum, dental floss, assorted pain relievers and, drum roll please, my freaking wallet. My brow wrinkled further as my anxiety grew. I was naked in the wilderness!

Alas, alack, woe was me! I had been careless. The purse I grabbed off the dining room table on my way out the door that morning was my OLD purse. All that was left inside was worthless stuff that didn't merit transition to the new purse.

I can only imagine this problem would be compounded were I ever fashionable enough to coordinate purses with my outfits. There is a reason I am like I am.



Gina said...

I will nod to the changing of the seasons with a fall/winter purse and a spring/summer purse, but that's as far as it goes.

I once had a college professor who had matching heels and purses for each one of her skirt-suits that she wore without fail to every class. I think she wore the same outfit perhaps twice. She fascinated me, because I am not like that at all.

sporksforall said...

Gina's story reminds me of one I like about a famous anthropologist. She bought multiple copies of the same dress and therefore wore the same dress every day. She said the male professors always wore the same suit. Why shouldn't she just have one outfit, too?

No purses for me. I have bags. The front pockets of said bags (I have four and which I use depends on the circumstance) carry the pursy things.

Middle Girl said...

Nope. No purses for me. Until recently I had one black purse. Daughter convinced me to buy another (brown) for our trip.

I carry bags--I have a weekday bag (messenger type tote) and a weekend bag (back-pack type carry all).

Coordinating with outfits?

Anonymous said...

No bags here, lucky me.

At work, I wear cargo trousers. The ones I am wearing now have eight pockets, and my shirt has four pockets. I have all the storage I need for my money, wallet, knife, gym locker keys, rosary, cel phone, jump drive etc...

When I'm not working, all of my kilts have large cargo pockets for the same stuff.



maxine said...

GF carries a rosary. Somehow I find that intrigueing. Did I spell that right?

Purses and bags, I have many. Not as many as I might like to have, but as many as eb will allow, roughly. Please let us not forget the cute grrl purse category!

I am a purse whore. That is the truth of the matter. I like purses. If I like a purse enough, I will eventually buy it. usually it will be on sale at JCP and then we will have a coupon event or extra discount for using the JCP card. Then my associate discount. Then incentive coupons for being a good associate. They practically give them to me. It can't be helped.

The latest purse I want so badly I can taste it, is a coach bag. Not gonna happen, but there will soon enough come along a suitable substitute. And I adore my faux Prada bag which was a gift from my hairdresser. One of the most spot on knock offs I have ever seen. Maybe her connection has an equally suitable Coach knockoff.

Anonymous said...

I also have the purse ant tote. I also don't switch purses that often and only have one...but my obesssion is with tote bags. I have about 5 of them and I am always looking for more. I still have yet to find the perfect everyday tote..that will allow me to throw all my "stuff" and my purse in there. My ideal tote also has nice pockets for little things...anyone know where I can find such a tote??? If you do please email me (Emily) at

Teresa said...

I don't carry a purse, no ma'am, not that there's anything wrong with that. I do carry many of the things you refer to as essentials: wallet, mints, address book, Carmex, hand sanitizer, cell phone, a magazine for unexpected reading opportunities, pain relief of various types, pens, and, in the "you never know" category, ear plugs. Where do I stash all these things, you ask? Well, in a bag, but it's not a purse, no ma'am, it's a messenger bag.

~Scout, who was subjected to antipurse lesbian ridicule when she first came out

outsidemymind said...

Purses are for weddings and funerals (although I do at times believe they are one in the same)only!!
My main stay has always been my old reliable JanSport leather backpack. Over the last 30 years it has doubled as a diaper bag four times, carried my life when I decided to "runaway", attended numerous parties (great place to carry those bottles of Stoli)and now it just gets me from here to there. For dressier occasions I do break out the Coach backpack (my partner gave it to me, she keeps telling me my JanSport has reached the age of retirement). I do not like this Coach pack, it does not have a history yet, it has no character, nothing except the fact she gave it to me.
I tip my hat to those of you who carry a purse everyday! And I thank the JanSport Company each and every morning as I throw that pack on my back and head out the door.

weese said...

I too - bag in bag.
I like everything to be in one bag for ease of conveyance. but there are times when the one is...well overkill. so i have a smaller one - a purse... for my cell, wallet and of course a swiss army knife, and possibly a mint.
the larger bag must be able to contain my purse, my lunch and all the other extraneous items (dubbed as 'overkill') which may, and actually have, come in handy. Not suprisingly included in the list of 'overkill' items are (but not limited to) flashlight, tape measure, latex gloves, hand wipes, a compass, and of course an emergency snack.
yeah, in case of disaster (or spontaneous remodeling) - you wanna be near me.

Eyes for Lies said...

I buy boring neutral purses. One tanish in color and the other black. Sometimes I have a blue one. Then I just use the neutral tan until a night out necessitates otherwise :)

I hate when I don't have my wallet! I sometimes forget it on my desk after internet shopping. Yow!!

Hope you have it all squared away now :)

Sapphique said...

Oooh, a purse blog! How darling!

I too am a "purse whore," Maxine. And occasionally, I am a "purse pimp," which I think is a purse whore to the power of 3. Yep, I buy purses I think will work (adequate space, sling over shoulder nicely, easy to find things) and then when they don't work, I give them to my daughter who has a positive JONES for purses.

However, I now have a system that works for me. I keep cell phone, lipstick, mascara, wallet, business cards, keys and pen in a small bag on a long leather strap that I wear slung across my chest and then everything else business-wise gets carried in a "girl briefcase). This way I don't have to keep transferring things.

Anonymous said...

On behalf of the butch lesbians of the world, I think you for explaining this complex subject! Great blog! Wonderdyke

Career Guy said...

When I was a teacher I had a briefcase that dropped open one day in the hall and papers flew everwhere. I replaced it with an American Tourister briefcase with those neat swivelling locks. I had it for probably 25 years. After a brief stint with a dorky black briefcase, I entered the age of the soft bag. Right now I use one I got at a conference. I keep waiting for it to die so I can replace it, but it's still hanging on. Contents: spare car keys, more pens than any human needs, printouts of emails that I think I might need, Palm Pilot, cell phone, wallet and (shhh) spare cash in the zip compartment. In an ordinary weekend day, I might remember to stick my drivers license in my back pocket, but I certainly don't need to carry a bag. Kathy is a minimalist, too. her cigarette case holds everything she needs, which is not much.
Wod Verification: finyky

WenWhit said...

Why would I need to carry a purse? ;p

sari said...

i, too , was subject to lesbian-purse ridicule when i came out, but after a short stint of trying to wear cargo pants everywhere i went, i gave up and went back to the purse thing. only now i call it a 'bag.' i have coach bags, louis vuitton bags, hobo bags, and various other bags from wonderous discount outlets like TJ Maxx. now that i've changed to 'bag' from 'purse,' occasionally i hear myself tell my girl, 'it's in my purse,' and it just sounds wrong.

Anonymous said...

Although I adore getting a new pocketbook, I hate switching my things over from the old one. I always transfer the main items to the new bag, promising myself that I'll finish the transfer later - when I have time to sift out the garbage. The only problem is that I never seem to find the time and I end up with boxes full of old pocketbooks loaded with loose change, packages of gum and a ton of other usless things. I sometimes wonder if I've left something valuable behind.

Onward to NaNoWriMo 2006!

SassyFemme said...

I love purses, but I absolutely don't have the time or patience to change purses to match my outfits. I generally have one that I use in the summer, and one that I use the rest of the year. My purse has to be medium to largish, to fit all my "stuff" in it, but it's not a big bag that other things fit into. I'm eyeing a coach bag, but I just don't think I can justify spending that kind of money on a purse, and Fran would kill me if she knew what they cost!

Anonymous said...

Maxine is intrigued by the fact that I carry a rosary.


Christine Cody said...

I bought my house because the master bedroom has two (2) closets. One holds my clothes; the other holds all of my bags. Ok. I admit it. It holds all of my shoes, too.