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​Purses: A love hate history

"You got another purse?"

My husband says this to me at least once a year. I have dozens of purses, scattered around the house. Some are petite and fancy, meant only for a lipstick, my ID, and a some cash. Others, I could shove a small child into if need be (and I've been close once or twice). In between, I have representatives from every category: funky, slouchy, structured, professional, distressed, beach, summer, winter…


You'd think that I love purses.

I don't. I hate them.

The problem with stuff

I am one who is terrified of being bored. My biggest fear is being stuck in a car or line and having nothing to do. Even when I was small, I never left the house without a book, any book, under my arm. Once, given no chance to run to my room to grab something, I took my father's Consumer Reports with me on a trip to the mall.

Purses allow me to carry my stuff with me. At this very moment, my purse contains:

  • My knitting project
  • A 3DS XL with Pokemon X
  • My phone, which is filled to the brim with podcasts and books

This is relatively light, too. Back before I got used to reading on my phone, I usually had my Kindle stashed in there, too. Before I could buy games and save them directly to my DS, I carried at least four cartridges with me. Before I had a smartphone, I carried a separate music player.


Why yes, I did practically need a backpack. But at least I wasn't bored.

Why not just carry a stupid backpack?

I tried! But then I found that there was something worse than being bored.

Other people.

In theory, I love other people. I'm a people person. But people have an annoying habit of putting their crap in my purse. Sometimes, they ask. Other times, I reach in and find twenty Matchbox cars and a My Little Pony and my son's phone. And then I have to buy ibuprofen for my shoulder pain.


The hunt

So the purse has become a hunt. It must carry my stuff. It must carry only my stuff. It must sit on my shoulder so I have to deal with it as little as possible. Clutches are right out. Cross-body is best. The purse should be light, because I'll be filling it with my heavy crap, and my shoulder already hates me.


I used to care about the fashion of them. They had to at least look funky and kind of cool. I didn't want to carry a mom purse! I was way too hip for that! But the hunt has worn me down. If a purse had nothing but pictures of kid silhouettes and cats in old fashioned clothes and nursery rhyme verses, I would freaking use it if I could fit my stuff and only my stuff in it.

I'm sad that this is the one place in my life where throwing a bit more money at the problem doesn't solve it. I checked out the high-end places. They're all either too big (by the end of the day I'd be carrying all the phones, DS's, wallets, and toys) or too small (how will I walk my Pokemons if I can't put it in my purse?!). Damn you, Coach. Why am I not in your demographic?!


So I find myself at Target, because at least they have more options. Those options are filled with crumpled up paper, so I have to scan about myself, making sure no one is watching, and quietly pull out the paper so I can test each purse. One, the structure makes it so the knitting doesn't fit right. Another, my items are lost to the cavernous space within. One is too short to hold my 3DS. Another, so wide and long and hard, I would probably give my daughter a black eye if I turn too fast. I replace the paper in each, feeling a little more disheartened each time.

Finally, I find a purple leather thing. It's not the hippest color, but it's okay. The zippers do nothing, but they make it a tiny bit edgy. I put in the knitting, the phone, the wallet, and the 3DS.


They fit.


I do a jig in the aisle. I found it! I found my purse! And it isn't too bad. Sure, I think my mother had one like it in the 90's, but those styles are coming back, right? I go home, formally retire my previous purse the hall closet of shame, and set up my new purse.


My daughter comes up, and, trying to grab something off the table, accidentally knocks my purse over.

Everything falls out.

I should have looked for a zipper.


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