I am not the most feminine of women. I was a tomboy as a child, and still prefer practicing karate to ballroom dancing. But I do have two feminine indulgences — perfumes and purses.
I love many fragrances, preferring flowers (think lily-of-the-valley or lilac) to fruity, spicy ones. And the real perfume-y ones, like Bijan, are my all-time favorites. But perfumes are easy to buy, easy to shop for. Spray on paper (or wrist) and see how it works with your body chemistry. And buy it.
However, purses are a different matter. My husband knows me very well. About 20 years ago, not quite 10 years into our marriage, Jeff bought me a very fancy Dooney & Bourke messenger bag. I used it a lot in the first few years I had it. I still have it — although I almost never use it. It’s a beautiful, brown leather bag, but it is not a purse. It is a business bag, to hold a computer with a notepad, an ideal gift for a writer. But as a purse, … not so much.
What I’m looking for in a purse, is nothing short of perfection. I’m looking for a medium-sized, multi-pocketed, stiff-sided beauty. Nothing in cloth, nothing resembling shower curtain material.
The size is important. It has to be large enough to hold my wallet, a journal, several little bottles of pain and heartburn relief, hair brush, several lipsticks, compact, a baggie of Stevia sweeteners (you never know when you have an opportunity to drink ice tea, and Stevia is the best sweetener, ever. For me.), four to seven pens, nail file and tweezers, sunglass case with sunglasses, a paperback book and a brick. I’m just kidding about the brick, wanted to make sure you were paying attention. So, it has to be big enough to hold stuff, but it can’t be so large that it’s unwieldy, or doesn’t fit well on a cross-body strap.
So, an ideal shape, for me, would be a saddle-bag style with two distinct compartments inside, with smaller pockets in the front, the back and smaller still sides pockets (one side is for holding the cell phone, the other for keys). One would think, since I know exactly what I want, that I would find it. One would be wrong.
Most saddle-bag style purses have one large compartment inside, so I wind up rummaging through the entire purse looking for pens, or rooting around looking for a migraine medication instead of Tylenol or Tums. Plus, most of saddle-bag style purses are tiny, so I cannot carry my journal plus a book in them. The large ones are so huge, I could add carrying a chess board plus pieces in it, in addition to the above-mentioned brick, … and still have room for a hard-covered book in addition to the paperback one.
I have bought many purses, and have come close to perfection on several occasions. Yet each purse still came short. In my search for purse perfection, I have owned many, many purses, often at the same time. At one point, I had more than 20 purses, but wound up giving most of them to charity. Then I bought some more purses.
To a degree, it’s a matter of my budget. I have a high-end boutique store desires on a wholesale superstore budget. I begrudge having to spend hundreds of dollars for a purse, but the purse I seek is never going to be cheap. I believe the perfect solution would be for me to begin a fund for a purse, putting away a dollar here, 20 dollars there. It will all add up in the end. And in case anyone was wondering — yes, this idea just came to me as I was writing this.
All right, I am starting a savings envelope as soon as I finish this blog. I have $4 right now in my wallet — that is all the start-up capital I need. To paraphrase a song, some bills to build a dream on…