Sunday, June 11, 2006


In my life, there has been a long line of purses. The purses with zippers, snaps, ties, and some that gaped intentionally in a casual unassuming way. Purses of clothe, canvas, leather or plastic. I remember a time that it seemed I was forever shopping for another purse because the straps stretched or broke, the fasteners gave up, or they became soiled and could not be cleaned. But I tired of it all and eventually all I wanted was a serviceable purse. One that would put at an end to all this purse circumstance. And so, eventually Hub bought me a lovely hand-tooled leather purse.

That purse hung from my shoulder for eight years or more till I was so sick and tired of it, I wanted to puke. But still no sign of wear, soil, age, or wilt. All I could see in my future was me and that purse going on and on and on.

Now please don’t tell anyone this (particularly Hub) but eventually we were in a battle, that purse and I. One of us was going to have to give in and I sure hoped it wouldn’t be me. In retrospect I like to think it was not deliberate, but eventually I started doing things like throwing my purse on the floor in the car and putting my feet on it. I began scraping it on door- jambs and slamming it in elevator doors. Carrying it outside the shelter of my umbrella in downpours. Eating in restaurants with it on my lap as a napkin. Roughly yanking it this way and that whenever the opportunity arose. Doubling the weight and volume of its contents. They say “familiarity breeds contempt” and I had definitely reached the point where that purse with its undying serviceability, was totally contemptible. And so, eventually after another four years, I was able to scar, soil, and deface it enough to toss it out.

And so I returned to the revolving doors of purse shops for a number of years until my daughter bought me a soft grey-colored sports-type bag about six years ago. It is a good purse. It can go in the washer and dryer. Problem is it soils easily, and whenever I want to use it for a special event, seems I always forget to launder it. And when soiled it looks like something from down-on-the-farm.

So yesterday, Hub and I went shopping for non-essentials in the city. And I found myself drawn to the purses. No one can deny that it is time for me to have another purse. I feel like I am rapidly aging and with it comes frequent despondency. Awareness of the quick passage of time taints so many other-wise lovely days, that I couldn’t help thinking that maybe the healer might be a dress-up purse with a bit of a splash. So from the selection of no-nonsense purses, I chose the one that really stood out. A small fabric purse cradled in a mesh of navy beads with a beaded shoulder strap. It was unique, different, and ‘navy’.

Now what you need to understand is that ‘navy’ is a color that seduces me. It comforts me. When I dress in navy and look in the mirror I find that it lends sophistication to graying hair. It is color that rejuvenates pallid skin and widens eyes that age is forcing into small dots. Navy is my saving grace. It brings back the ruddiness of youth. It is a color that exhilarates my body and soul, and refreshes my countenance. Regardless of youth or age, women done up in navy always look smart and classy. So that navy purse beckoned me and I threw it into my cart.

So now Hub and I went to the till with our non-essentials including my navy purse. Hub made a move to place my purse on the counter but he stalled mid-air thoughtfully examining it with a puzzled frown. “Roberta, are you sure you want THIS purse?”

Then the clerk picked it up and said, “Is this a purse? (snicker) as she checked it inside and out. “It sure is different.” (more snickers). The beads rattled like loose change as she passed it over the scanner.

Now only a moment before Hub and I heard this same clerk huffing and snapping at another employee. Her countenance and voice a crystal communication of impatience and disgust. But when she was putting my new navy purse into a bag, her eyes begin to twinkle and suddenly, quite unexpected, she looked at Hub, Hub looked at her and both of them broke into laughter. Serious laughter that leads to knee slapping and bending over at the waist.

At first I was totally dismayed. But not for long. After all, that’s what navy does. It makes one well pleased and happy.

And with that quick bit of recall came understanding and I doubled over at the waist and laughed my ass off as well.


So while we're on the subject of 'purses', tell me about yours. What you like about it or don't like about it. Does it make you happy? Or have you had anything i.e. jeans, curtains, boots, or any other such thing so long that it became utterly contemptible?


Anonymous Scotia said...

I don't like purses. I've never had one. Purses have always seemed to feminine and while I am a woman, I'm not really a feminine type. I wear sneakers and t-shirts and the occasional hoodie, jeans and sweats. So, I have my "bags". And I have the same draw to bags as you seem to have to purses. Right now, my bag is more like a purse than it has ever been. So much so that much to my dismay, I have to tell friends and coworkers, "It's not a purse! It's a small messenger bag!" Which it truly is... a small messenger bag.

But it still looks a lot like a purse. :( So, maybe that's the happy medium. :)

2:45 PM  
Blogger Roberta said...

I think scotia, that purses are going out of fashion, and large roomy bags are becoming more common. And when it comes to bags, I do love book bags of heavy canvas that are so serviceable in every respect. For me, a good bag can exist on it's own without looking anything like a silk purse. ;)

11:31 AM  
Blogger Desiree said...

I don't think I buy near enough purses, it would be so fun to be frivilous and buy a purse of a different color with each new jacket that one bought... or with each new shoes.

I currently have a backpack, not too darn gorgeous, but it suits life on crutches... ouch... I look forward to getting back to my roomy handbag (nothing too fancy, just a leather handbag with a removable shoulderstrap too if one wants to use that rather than the handles).

8:05 PM  

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