My Life Is Too Big For A Tiny Purse

Big purses exist because we lead big lives, rife with potential for disaster. I want to face that life prepared.

Jan 22, 2013 at 4:00pm | Leave a comment

I began my week feeling crestfallen. Not because I was newly reminded that Mike Rowe and his TV show (and thus, his wickedly hirsute bod) have gone off the air. That’s a daily, constant, source of sorrow. Instead, I was bummed because I found out that the wacky world of women’s fashion has decided that big purses are being phased out, replaced with tiny, adorable, human-bladder-sized* scraps of leather.

I was saddened, not because it meant I had to go out and buy all manner of new purses if my lifelong dream of staying on trend** was to be met, but because it meant that my assortment of small-horse-sized purses would be met with looks of scorn. My purses, like my luscious form, adhere to the idea that bigger is better. I’m not sure I can ever imagine fannying about town with a bag big enough to carry just one false eyelash and the idea of a lipstick.

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Whenever I am criticized for carrying around a purse that can be easily mistaken for an aircraft carrier, I plead the Ally-Sheedy-In-"The-Breakfast-Club" defense. Big purses exist because we lead big lives, rife with potential for disaster. I need a bag not only large enough to hold a pizza cutter (in case of, you know, surprise or accidental pizza) , but also the Tide stick and Pepto to erase all evidence of the 'za I have (presumably in this “surprise” situation) acquired from the garbage and snarfed en route to a dinner with friends.

Of course, there are some differences between me and Sheedy. I mean, in addition to the fact that Ally Sheedy is a famous actress and also that I was two when "The Breakfast Club" was released. (I still identified with it though -- I was angst in a diaper, guys.)

When it comes to explaining her massive handbag filled to near bursting, Sheedy’s character Allison shrugs and offers, “You never know when you might have to jam,” which is pretty much the most massive and badass teenagery statement ever made.

If you were to dump out the contents of my purse, my reaction wouldn’t be as cool. I mean, even if I put all my hair in my face and scowled and mumbled, the truth is you’d probably be more likely to find an entire jar of Smuckers in my hole-riddled and admittedly ubiquitous Longchamps. And let’s be real -- no amount of artful shrugging or eyeliner is going to make, “You never know when you might need some jam,” sound like anything other than what it is: the crazed thought process of a woman whose years of city living have made the carrying around of all her earthly possessions and maybe some of yours seem totally normal and not at all insane.

This isn’t to say that I find tiny purses to be uncute -- if anything, I like their delicate, carefree look. It’s just that I’m not quite naive enough to think that I lead a life where carrying one is even a remote possibility. I mean -- look at the contents of my bag today, for example. Keep in mind that this is a random Tuesday, I’m not going to the gym, I forgot my Nook, and I don't have any post-work plans (#popular) other than laundry and seeing if that new Kevin Bacon show is any good.

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(I'm not proud of this.)


Object 1: Cole Haan Nike Air Pump, Right
I legitimately have no memory of putting this in my bag, nor do I have any real knowledge as to the whereabouts of the left shoe. Life is a mystery, every shoe must stand alone, apparently.

Object 2: Atkins Endulge Nut Bars
I bought these thinking the high-protein count would keep me from eating my own hand at the office. Not only was I mistaken, but also they taste like the musty leg of a vintage plastic doll from a haunted attic. Also "endulge"? Really?

Object 3: Flintstone’s Multivitamin Chews
To counteract the effects of eating “chocolate” made in a “laboratory,” vitamins. I have to eat like four of them to get the adult dose, but whatever, if it means I’m not laid low by what I call the “Adult Multi-vitamin Puke Shits,” I’m down.

Object 4: Umbrella
I believe carrying an umbrella at all times proves you are an adult even if you still have a roommate and almost never remember to clean your glasses slash bathroom floor. Also, I once walked a guy home in the rain because I had this emergency umbrella. Can you say, gender-role-re-assigning-romance, anyone?

Object 5: Wrist Brace
I had wrist surgery in July. There’s really no reason for this to be in my bag anymore. Unless I am around someone who spontaneously injures their wrist, in which case I will be a GODDAMN HERO. Also I am convinced that the onset of carpal tunnel upon my hunched, computer obsessed form  is inevitable. Thus I am prepared.

Objects 5 & 6: Burt’s Bees Tinted ChapStick, Makeup Forever Lipstick #30, Rouge Artist Intense.
My favorite shade of matte, bright, bright pink lipstick. And the ChapStick I use when it dries my lips up to allllll hell.

Object 7: Plastic Baggie of Assorted Pills
Advil for practical reasons, Percocet to make friends! JK, JK, it’s also leftover from my wrist surgery.

Object 8: Work ID Badge
The picture is terrible, and when they laminated it, a pube got stuck over my face. So I turned the card over. I still can't think about that pube for too long without grimacing.

Object 9: Journal
Bright pink journal for my thoughts, feelings, and meticulously planned vendettas.

Object 10: Headphones
Those white Apple headphones are the bane of my life. They hurt my weirdly shaped ears and one bud always goes day approximately seven minutes upon my using them. Now I use these massive Sony Headphones and I love them -- and I love you. Sorry that’s probably the expired Percocet talking.

Object 11: Macadamia nuts.
Nature’s Doritos.

Object 12: Can of Trader Joe’s Tuna
Lunch, y’all! I love tuna. But I’m never organized or, uh, awake enough in the AM to like, open it up and put it in a bag or whatever. So I just keep toss the whole can in my bag.

Object 13: Can Opener
See aforementioned lunch and laziness.

Object 14: Gum
See aforementioned tuna.

Object 15: My Wallet
Oh, dear lord, my wallet. It is packed with receipts that would have to be carbon-dated in order to accurately determine their age. Seriously, I took one out at random and it read, "Tincture of arsenic, ambergris, papyrus." It also contains more "club cards" than I am proud to admit. I bought this wallet in Texas a million years ago and I AM NEVER GETTING RID OF IT. <3 you, wallie!

Object 16: Hand Lotion
To massage into the flesh of my victims. I mean. For my baby soft hands? It’s good, it smells like orange Pez.

So there you have it. Completely unedited. Normally I have at least one mangled food item or its dust on the bottom of my bag, but I think it must have fallen out of the hole at the bottom (which is also what she said.) I don’t think, given the way I live, a tiny bag is in my future. I mean not unless I cut back to, like, solely carrying my can opener around which just seems absurd. What about you? What’s the weirdest thing in your bag right now?

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(the closest I will get to a tiny bag.)



*bladders are probably bigger than I’m speculating, but I felt all weird and serial-killery using any other human organ. Quoth the weirdo.
** ha ha ha ha