I have a vivid memory of being in a grocery store as a 4th grader and seeing a girl slightly older than me with a purse hanging from her shoulder. It was love at first sight – with the purse that is. “Someone near my age is old enough to have a purse?” I thought, and the campaign was on. It took me approximately 3 months until I had convinced my mom that it was time for her little girl to go through the right of passage and get herself a big girl purse. I saved the subsequent weeks’ allowances, and invested it all straight into that glorious symbol of maturity. I can picture it now in all it’s light blue, plastic, Caboodles-branded, long-strapped splendor. I have no idea what I put in it (my best guesses are: Lipsmackers lip glosses in flavors like Dr. Pepper and Vanilla Icing, a Hello Kitty pen, a half-finished friendship bracelet, and pogs) but there’s been one on my shoulder ever since.
Nowadays the staples of my purse are wallet, keys, sunglasses, phone, checkbook, lip gloss (Burt’s Bees is more my style now), and a pen. In reality that’s all that will fit, and even then I have a hard time zipping it unless those items are all in the appropriate places. This means that anything else I need to tote with me has to find other means by which to be carried – typically my hands. For example, I have been putting my makeup on in the car on the way to work (I should state here that DAN DRIVES. We now carpool everyday which has been awesome) . When I get to work, I sling my purse on my shoulder, grab my lunch bag with one hand and that makeup bag with the other, then finagle a finger out so that I can press ‘9’ on the elevator. At the end of the day yesterday, I grabbed my beloved-ly small purse and left the office, only to realize that I forgot my life line… *ahem*… makeup bag in my desk drawer (ladies, ever had to go out in the morning in business casual completely sans makeup? ‘Naked’ is the only feeling I can liken it to). It was this oversight due to maximum purse capacity that made me realize: it’s time to move up another step on the purse totem pole.
Don’t worry, I didn’t shell out the cash for a designer bag (although, if there’s anyone in NY or LA reading this and knows a good street vendor… I’m in the market), but I did buy a new one that is more than double the volume of any purse I’ve previously owned. It’s fantastically roomy and will fit my usuals, AND my makeup bag, AND my planner – all with room to spare, although I’ve yet to figure out how to pull out a floor lamp, Mary Poppins style, I do believe it is possible with this sucker.
In complete contrast with the feeling I had of going to work naked-faced, having this “I am woman, hear me roar” bag on my shoulder gives me a phony yet enjoyable woosh of empowerment. When I was 9, a transparent blue purse meant I was growing up. Now, it’s as though I’m making the statement ‘I am important enough to have enough crap to fill this purse’ (arbitrary elitism, it’s a little game I play). What does that mean really? Absolutely nothing. But it feels like I’m announcing my grown-up-dom all over again (14 years later), and it is wonderful.