From Where I Sit – A Spirited Defence of the Contents of My Purse

Step away from the bag and no one gets hurt. You see, my purse is oh so much more than simply a utilitarian fashion accessory; it’s an appendage, a personal assistant, a security blanket, a statement.

What, pray tell, are its precious contents? Oh, just a microcosm of my life: a month-at-a-glance calendar, a Tungsten E2 Palm Pilot (my acquiescence to the age of technology), a leather wallet, business card holder (for my own and others? cards), a no-frills cellphone (usually turned off), auto expense booklet, a little notebook of titles in my library (to avoid buying duplicates), lipstick and liner, a sectional pillbox with iron supplements and Fisherman’s Friend lozenges, keys, clip-on sunglasses, memory stick, and discount coupons. Maybe there’s also a protein bar or baggie of homemade trail mix.

It can and does become a heavy load. Not something my chiropractor approves of, by the way. Sometimes to lighten the load I’ll off-load some of the less essential items into a tote bag. Same total weight, just more even distribution over two arms instead of one. Clever.

How is it that some women get by with a lip gloss and keys? Or a debit card and keys? How do they function? I don’t get it. I guess pockets make it work.

Ideally, I would be together enough in the morning to switch bags to the most apropos for the outfit or excursion. However, it doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes I use the same favourites for weeks. My most expensive bag at two hundred twenty-five dollars doesn’t get as much use as it should. I vacillated between (yet another) black one and the nutmeg brown I settled on. Black would have been more practical, but dammit, I didn’t want to be practical. Buying it at an upscale hotel boutique in Vancouver probably wasn’t practical either. I just love its style, its feel, and the fact it’s a Canadian designer’s creation. It’s just a bonus you can’t find it at Walmart.

Handbag contents reflect the age and stage of its carrier. Young mothers will carry wipes, Band-Aids, snacks, perhaps a bottle or soother. Teens may carry an iPod. Senior women might have more pills, doctor appointment cards, reading glasses, address book.

That’s the beauty of the bag. It can adapt to our changing needs. It becomes precisely what we need it to be. Glitzy evening bag for liquor tickets and lipstick; hobo satchel for everything but the kitchen sink; brief for files and projects on the go.

So ladies, whether you fill ‘er up or purge the excess, count your purse as greater than the sum of its parts. As far as I’m concerned, I couldn’t function without my purse. More importantly, nor would I want to, from where I sit.

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