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Believe me – it’s not you, it’s me

October 12, 2009 by  
Filed under lifestyle


PursesI don’t require years of expensive therapy to come to grips with this issue. I am prepared to acknowledge it up front – I have a commitment problem. Not as far as people are concerned. I have a number of friends dating back to pre-kindergarten and a husband of almost 27 years. I’m talking about my inability to commit to a purse. Mating oneself to a handbag is just too critical a decision for me to get over. After all, no other accessory, article of clothing or member of my family is as attached to me as closely, or spends as much time with me day in and day out, as my purse. I should clarify that I am referring to my everyday purse, not the occasional dressy evening bag or the abbreviated run-out-to-a-movie kind, neither of which need to come up to the rigorous standards required for an acceptable everyday purse.

And what are these exacting standards? Every woman has her own, of course, but here are some of mine. The purse must be: 1. Appealing in colour; 2. Made from very soft leather (I’ve tried other fabrics and they just don’t cut it); 3. Configured with the right number of inside and outside pockets and zippers, each properly sized; 4. Light (at least before I load it up); 5. Not too expensive; 6. Equipped with two shoulder-length straps for easy access; 7. Devoid of any brand markings; and 8. Sufficiently capacious (Dickens loved to use that word and it works here) to hold all of the essential items, which include, in my case: wallet: sunglasses, credit-card holder (both the mini version for the most often used cards and the expanded version that includes only occasionally used items like voter registration card, museum memberships, receipts, store credits, department store credit cards, etc.): hand calculator: daily planner: BlackBerry: cheque book: inspirational journal: address book: notepad: car and house keys: pen/pencil case: train schedule: and office security pass. Plus I use separate holders for various assorted items, including but not limited to: photos: candy (this container also holds Advil, dental floss and gum): lipstick (accommodates up to three shades): tissues: coffee creamer and artificial sweetener packets; batteries; business/appointment cards; eye drops; and other miscellaneous items. On days when I’m required to make the magical transition from office to evening I may also carry toothpaste, toothbrush, an assortment of cosmetic reinforcements, deodorant and hair gel. Now when I say “capacious” I mean big enough to allow the hand to roam freely through the contents but not so big that (a) everything floats around in a bottomless pit or (b) the bag would have to be checked at the airport. Finally, the purse must be stylish and aesthetically appealing in a you-know-it-when-you-see-it kind of way, i.e., in a word, cute.

You would think that when, after long and painful searching, I finally settle on a purse that meets all of these requirements I would cling to it forever. Well, for a moment I do actually believe it’s the real thing, that I’ve found “The One” and I’ll never need to look around for another. But almost as soon as I’ve transferred the contents of my old purse and head out the door with my new arm candy swinging jauntily from my shoulder, my attention is caught by a snazzy little number winking back at me from a store window, and I begin to waver. Now I wouldn’t want you to consider me promiscuous. Think of me, rather, as a serial monogamist with a passion for purses and a chronic wandering eye. And who could blame me – all those soft, supple leathers in more colours than a 64-count box of Crayola crayons and every imaginable size and shape, those cunning zippers and snaps, all those cleverly placed pouches and pockets, even the occasional bow or adorable dangly thing … therein lies my weakness, my
inability to commit.

Sporadically I will find a bag that suits me so well that we’ll spend an entire season happy together. But when that same season rolls around the following year, as fond as my memories may be of our times together, I can’t quite bring myself to give up the excitement and possibilities of a new relationship. So off I go, seeking the one thing that even the perfect handbag can’t provide – variety. And what happens to my castaways? They end up on the proverbial (and in this case literal) shelf with all my other ex-purses. Every so often I will pull one off the shelf, like the guy flipping through his black book calling up his old girlfriends, but after a few “dates” I remember why we broke up in the first place.

So this is me – good for a season than goodbye. And I’m no more likely to change than that playboy with the black book because, truth be told, neither one of us really wants to settle down. Besides, this is the only area in my life where I allow myself to be a little irresponsible. I’m very lucky I don’t have the same problem with jewelry.


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