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Sunday, 20 October 2019

A Woman's Purse

There is something about a woman's purse. It is a place of mystery, a treasure trove, a cherished item, a coveted possession, a thing from which one cannot be parted, or nowadays - nothing at all.

My husband has shared that his mother told him as a child, that you never go in your lady's purse! On the rare occasion that he needs something, like a set of keys for example, that might be in my purse, he asks first and then asks for directions, and even then often has a hard time retrieving the item. I'm not sure why it is so difficult to find something in my purse. It's not that complicated, although there is an outside pocket and an inside pocket and two sections...


I don't think I have a lot of "stuff" in my purse. My mother, long before Wet Wipes, used to carry a damp washcloth in a plastic bag in her purse. You never knew when someone's sticky hands might need a wipe. Currently in my purse is my wallet, a grocery list, a lipstick (or two), two pens, a set of keys, my reading glasses, an assortment of mints from restaurants provided with the bill, a sample of dental floss from my last dentist visit, a variety of pills (most of them travel headache related), a couple of business cards (must remember to book a time with the massage therapist), and a Tim Horton's card. There might be other items - I'm not peering into my purse at the moment.


But you go ahead - there it is, leopard print and all. I do like my orange pen which is easy to find in the depths of my purse.

Do you have a full purse? My mother-in-law, who in her defense is suffering from dementia, keeps her whole life in her purse and it must weigh ten pounds. It is falling apart. It's an old black Joan Rivers purse that she ordered from the home shopping network on tv many years ago. She loves that thing and husband even used black duct tape to secure the inside of it for her. She will not part with it. She recently flew to see her daughter (with husband's help) and she almost wouldn't let them take her purse and put in on the little conveyer belt to go through the scanner at the airport.

My bag is not expensive or designer or anything fancy at all. I don't really have any friends for whom a designer bag is important. None of us have that much disposable income to put towards a purse. But it's comfortable over my shoulder and tosses easily on the seat beside me and has lasted a few years now.

This past summer, my daughter accidentally left her purse, which is more like a wallet with straps, in a McDonald's restaurant in Montreal. When she got home and realized what had happened she went into action cancelling credit cards and arranging for other i.d. to be replaced. She did a great job. She contacted the McDonalds, just in case the purse had turned up, but no luck. A while later, a person contacted her through social media. They had found her purse and wanted to know if she wanted it returned. Daughter said yes and provided an address and did an email transfer of a bit of money to cover the cost of postage, and the individual very kindly mailed it to her. Everything was intact! However, at this point all the i.d. had been replaced, but she still got her purse back and had some faith in humans!

Girls my daughter's age, or younger, don't really seem to carry purses anymore. They carry their phone. They slip their debit / credit card inside the phone case. That's it. They travel light. When I was that age, I was an eighties girl and my purse contained not only a wallet, but a full arsenal of hair products - brush, hairspray, teasing comb... My friend even carried her own cordless curling iron with its own cannister of butane! I probably had a wide variety of makeup, a couple of pairs of earrings, maybe an extra pair of nylons in a ziplock bag... but not a cellphone. There were no cellphones then (shock, horror). I likely had perfume, like Cinnabar from Estee Lauder or L'Air du Temps . I might have had a camera in there too, with it's 110 film. Yes, young women these days travel much lighter.

A woman's purse. Is yours a treasured item, a mystery, or nothing at all?





44 comments:

  1. In England we call a purse a handbag, or a bag, and a purse is the small little thing you put your loose change in which goes inside the handbag. That aside I do not use a handbag preferring to have my hands free of anything to carry. I put my money in my pocket which these days is nothing more than a contactless card anyway, with a handkerchief and my phone. If I have to carry more I use a small backpack as, for instance, when I was on holiday and needed to carry a few things.

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    1. Interesting how terminology is different depending on where you live. A backpack for travelling makes the most sense. -Jenn

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  2. I like the symbolism of your purse - plain with a lot of buckles on the outside but lined with a silky satin, leopard skin print... Is there a side to your character you are not divulging?

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    1. Ha ha, I'm tough on the outside, sometimes described as a "strong woman", but in reality I'm pretty much a marshmallow underneath it all. I've never thought of my purse that way.

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  3. Don't know whether it's good or bad, but I carry more "stuff" in my purse than you do! I, too, have noticed that younger females don't carry a purse. Do I look like a dinosaur because I still carry one? You're at least 20 years younger than I am and (now we know!) still carry a purse about the size of mine. By the way, every now and then I have a dream about someone stealing my purse and it's a terrible, awful, bad feeling. Can you analyze that for me?

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    1. Dream analysis: you are a very organized, routine - oriented person. To have someone steal your purse would throw your whole routine in a frenzy, plus it's an invasion of privacy, plus it's a royal pain in the neck having to replace everything. How's that?
      I never think of you as older than me. I think of you as a peer. I'm a dinosaur right along with you!

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  4. Love the leopard print lining. I have different bags (purses) for different occasions (big, small, summer, winter) but mostly I leave it behind these days, just going out with phone and specs.

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    1. I used to swap mine out with the seasons, but this past year, I just stuck with the same old bag.

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  5. Hi Jenn :) My purse is NOT designer! I try to keep as little as possible in there because it gets heavy - the reward cards alone take up a lot of room! Besides the usual glasses, wallet and pad of paper and pen, I basically carry a mobile pharmacy in my purse!

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    1. Ibuprofen, sinus meds, pepto bismol pills, aspirin for husband...

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  6. My purse is a small one so that it is not heavy to carry. I don't really have very much inside it, but for some reason it seems wicked heavy. Hmmm. I do, however, remember a time when I carried a much larger purse with a bit of everything in it for whatever occasion might arise. My camera won't fit in my current purse. But I do have a camera in my cell phone, so I'm okay. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

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    1. I suspect most people just use their phones for cameras now, unless they are very specialized and have all the special lenses. For my purposes, the camera in my phone does a good enough job.

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  7. We are headed out on a vacation to San Diego... so I have been thinking about what purse to take with me. I do want one that I can carry over by shoulder crosswise...can't be grabbed easily then! I am only taking one credit card, my health insurance card, driver's license and a list of medications...my cellphone and some cash! That should suffice.. That's lots less than in my usual purse!! BTW... my husband is also deciding what to carry in his pockets and wallet!! LOL

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    1. The cross shoulder bag seems like a good idea as well (Rachel, above, wrote about using a backpack for travel).

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  8. I try not to load up my purse with too much stuff because yes, it gets heavy after a while! I use a LUG purse -- they wear like iron and last forever! I knew someone once who paid $800 for a designer purse. I thought "what a waste of money!" but prudently kept my thoughts to myself, LOL.

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    1. When your purse is more than your mortgage payments, you're in a different realm than myself! :)

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  9. My purse is a symbol. While Geoffrey was in the last month of life I saw my family, in bits and pieces,often. I was always fumbling around in it and taking stuff out of it to get to what was in the bottom.
    My sister and son said “ it is too small you need a bigger one!” I had been looking for a purse for years. I had an amazing colorful woven one a Fossil that I got for dirt at a store close out. It eventually wore out and I have yet to find the replacement. So my sister offered up one she had purchased but never used.

    Stay with me a bit long but worth it.

    So I got used it and hated it. It looked fine from the outside but was a maze inside. Every time I had to dive in I came out frustrated and empty handed. In short it had too many options as where to put things and I could never remember what got put where.

    Do I still use it? Heck yeah. I finally worked out a system and pretty much still dive in and come up empty handed.

    Why do I keep it ? I realized one go round as I was mumbling to the cashier “I am so sorry my sister gave me this purse and I can never find anything.” While reading this great post of Jens It became clear. My sister and I had been estranged most of our adult life (a long story) and I will carry this purse until it falls apart because we now have a great relationship and every time I mumble about it I am so enjoying being able to say “my sister gave it to me.”

    Sorry Jenn for taking up so much airspace 😊

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  10. I personally believe purses were created by men for women to carry to keep us in bondage, they fill up & weigh us down (col). I'm all for the cell phone with driver's license & debit card. ... Mary-Lou =^..^=

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    1. There you go - different opinions on purses. You won't end up with shoulder pain!

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  11. I might be like your MIL, I carry everything in it, and can't find a thing. ~smile~ I keep saying I ma going to lighten my load, but just can't seem to part with the items, telling myself, I might need it.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Sue

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    1. I'm trying very hard to release myself from the "I might need it" mindset. I'm not always successful.

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  12. Basically, I prefer as near to nothing-at-all, as possible. -smile-

    It's been called The Nana Bag, since having grands. Back then, it had "emergency" items, like tissues and a piece of chocolate, for a 'grand' playing basketball and being "wiped" at game end... Those sort of "emergency" items, along with wallet, keys, and my tissues.

    Now, it's just the bare necessity. Still (my) tissues, wallet, check book/pen, keys, old flip top cell phone for emergencies.

    My arm gets "tired," when I see a purse, with "everything but the kitchen sink" in it, hanging on a lady's arm. -smile-

    🍁🍂🎃🍁🍎🍂🍁

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    1. Oh yes, the mom-of-little-people (much like the grandma purse) was a whole different thing than what I carry now. Goldfish crackers, small toys, always Kleenex, children's Tylenol, bandaids...

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  13. I do like my purse but the present one is a bit too small. I ordered a nylon one a bit larger but with several pockets. It should be lighter. I always have my Kindle in my purse which is a bit hilarious but makes me feel safe!

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    1. A kindle would weigh it down a bit, I guess. Hope you like your new nylon purse when it arrives.

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  14. Because I am handicapped now with old age and need a stick in order to stay upright I travel light - spare specs, mobile phone, keys, money, comb,tissues - that's about it.

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    1. The things you listed are really all you need anyway.

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  15. So thankful someone mailed your daughter's purse to her. I do not pay more for a purse than I will ever carry in one. LOL...what a waste that would be. I feel about a purse like bras...it's so hard to find one you truly love. LOL. We never touched mommy's purse and neither did daddy. Blessings to you, xoxo, Susie

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  16. My current purse came from Value Village and cost $4. I don't always take it with me and clean out all the junk after each excursion. It holds all I need - wallet, glasses, two lipsticks, comb, sometimes my cheque book, Kleenex and breath mints!

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  17. My purse is sacred...I'm of the mindset that your mother in law is/was...don't get into my purse without permission. Not that there's anything sacred inside it...it's just a space that is all. mine. My wallet, a hair brush, tissues, pens, headache pills, and always at least one tube of chapstick. I do, however have a thing for leather purses, so occasionally I do spend more than I should on a purse, but I usually use gifted money from birthdays or Christmas so that I don't feel guilty! :) The story of your daughter's purse gives me hope that yes, there are still honest people out there in the world!

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  18. My purse is about as big as two wallets. I don't like carrying it, but it can be easier than just a wallet.

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  19. These days I don't have just the one handbag, which in the past was the Work Bag filled with all the necessities ready to go when you stumble out the door every day in the dark. I have a couple on the go now of differing sizes and need to decant items from one to the other before I'm set to leave home. A little exercise, when I think about it, designed to ensure I'm not the owner of a bottomless pit of Stuff. Years ago I heard a very funny comedy routine where a young man analysed the contents of a woman's handbag and he included the essential scrunched up tissue found at the bottom. He said that all women were given a tissue by their mothers when they came of age and that sacred object was to live in their handbag always and was used over again to dab and assist themselves and others but never given away. Not funny in my retelling but it was such an hysterical and near-accurate observation by a young man!

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  20. I kind of like the way the younger generation is not lugging around big purses like we used to, and still do. I'm not there (yet) but would love that kind of freedom!

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  21. My mother never carried a purse. I only have a small over the shoulder purse. having been diagnosed with fibromyalgia about 20 years ago, one of the things the rheumie told me was never to carry a heavy purse. I carry my drivers license, my bank card and a couple of points cards, a package of tissues and maybe some cash. I NEVER carry a credit card unless traveling, or health card unless I'm heading for a medical appointment. Less to lose!

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  22. I could never live without my purse - I may end up being like your MIL. I carry my wallet, my phone, a small calendar (because I'm not adept at using the one on the phone), keys, sticky notes, cheque book (even though I only write 2-4 cheques a year, my ID, glass cleaning cloth, and the list goes on.

    My daughter is starting to think about a purse, as she's been carrying a diaper bag for the last 2 1/2 years. Now that the grandson is potty trained, she realizes she still needs something to carry snacks, perhaps a change of clothing and so on. Otherwise she's a wallet and phone carrier and has managed to set down and forget at least one of them pretty much every time I see her!

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  23. We even call purse which fits in palm pa pocket of your Jean or in a handbag. Well written.

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  24. Morning Jenn, I love this post. I love that the purse does seem to be a bit of a mystery many of the male species. Here, we are like you, a purse is just about any size bag; a catch all name. Mine seems to get heavier with the years, or maybe it just seems that way as I age.

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  25. Mine is short on style and high on function. Inside, my wallet with my health cards, license and one credit and one ATM card and a little packet with things like lip balm, cough drops, and ibuprophin or Tylenol. Then a pen or two. And when I think I might want it, my camera and/or a book! If I have a big purse, I fill to the available size so I try to keep it small. This is such a FUN post!

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  26. I do like me a pretty purse!! I have many, and they are all many years old. Currently I'm carrying a 10+ year old purple patent leather Coach tote, which is good for work as it holds everything I need for the day. It sometimes has a curling iron....sometimes a makeup kit....sometimes a camera or extra tights! Cute post!!

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  27. This was an enjoyable post, Jen, and while I do carry a purse at times, most times I do not, but will slip some money or a credit card in my pocket especially when walking to an in-town store. My late mother had an older black purse in which she had a lot of things, far too many to carry around. Glad your daughter's was returned with all the paperwork intact, even if she had already cancelled cards.

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  28. Thanks everyone for your comments! I love reading them all and I feel like I know you a little bit better now!

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  29. I never used to carry a purse. Then my brother, who is in prison, made me the most beautiful barrel purse. I have had thousands of compliments on it. I became very dependant on it, but now I'm afraid it is slowly disintegrating. I've gone to carrying everything in my phone. My nieces once dug in my purse like it was their mother's. I sternly told them not even my husband digs in my purse without permission.

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