Monday, February 26, 2007

Forget the driver's license... ask to see her purse!

Wild times at our house, Blogites; hence the lack of updates. I wish I could say they were the good bacchanalian kind of wild times with the wine and decadent food and crazy sex and whatnot. But no. Not so much. Think more along the lines of decaf coffee and grilled chicken and abstinence on account of narcotic pain relievers.

But at the end of it all, Husband seems to be feeling much better. He’s taking a drug called Topamax, which he has affectionately renamed Potamax for it’s groovy side effects. The drug seems to be preventing the headaches, so he’s working on adjusting to the foggy-headed feeling and his new affinity for Cheech & Chong movies.

Middle Sister called this weekend in the midst of a heart-wrenching dilemma I know all too well: the switch to the big purse. In our teens on through our mid to late 20s, women are willing to carry these minute little vessels that we pass off as purses, but are actually no larger than your average espresso cup. The limited storage capacity works just fine when all you really need to get by is some lip gloss, your cell phone, and a condom.

But there comes a point in every woman’s life when she finds that the cute little nightclub purses no longer cut it. The moment has been creeping up on you for years. Many women will even walk around with their Lillputian purses unzipped and bulging at the seams. Want to spot the woman over 25 in the group? Look for the itty-bitty purse with the car keys sticking out of the top because her gym and grocery store discount key ring cards won’t fit inside. (And lip gloss doesn’t hide the dark circles under her eyes.) Logic dictates a bigger bag, but vanity wins out for many many years. We are desperate to avoid our awful destiny: the mom purse.

I’ve decided that it’s really a sort of rite passage- the day you find you are less concerned with a teeny purse and more concerned with actually having room for all the shit you need to carry around. If you have ever looked at a little bag and thought “huh… that’s never gonna hold my calendar AND my mini-umbrella!,” well, my friend… your time has come. As I said to middle sister this weekend, come over to the dark side and get yourself a big ol’ tote bag! You will find that the pleasure you once took in looking hip with that little tic-tac-sized change purse has been replaced by the relief you feel at having your Clorox pen handy.

I myself have gone to the aforementioned gigantor tote bag a little early in life in part because I frequently carry snacks for hypoglycemic Husband. (Yeah… for Husband… that’s right… ) I also carry a wide array of over-the-counter remedies for my very persnickety tummy. One of my college girlfriends went to the big purse right out of college because she’s very short and wears heels to appointments… but she can’t drive her stick-shift car in them. And we all discovered that professional-woman hair and makeup requires a few more maintenance tools than just a rubber-band to hold back your locks should you consume too much Purple Jesus. (A note: if your hosts have mixed the PJ in the bathtub, they will be less than enthusiastic about letting you vomit in the toilet next to said tub.)

I’ve also noticed that the size of the purse is directly proportional to the number of people and the needs of the people for whom the woman feels responsible for caring. Some women simply give up a purse all together when their children are small and just toss their own stuff into the diaper bag. (Want to pick her out in the ladies room? Look for the woman brushing Cheerio dust out of her hairbrush.) I remember my Mom and older sister’s purses as veritable treasure chests of neato stuff. No matter what the delay or situation or complication, they were prepared. Mom always had Ziploc bags in her purse because of my propensity for vomiting when I was carsick/scared/upset/nervous/excited/getting blood drawn. (You get the point- I was a regular little Linda Blair.) My sister once produced half a barnyard’s worth of little plastic animals, a sippy cup, and a stuffed toucan from her purse to soothe her irritable toddler in a hospital waiting room right after she changed his diaper, washed his face, and medicated him with materials from the same bag. It was impressive.

I think it all boils down to the same reason you don’t see tons of older folks camping. There comes a point in your life when having access to the little conveniences and comforts contributes mightily to your disposition. In my 30s, my idea of “roughing it” has come to mean a hotel without an adequate spa. Similarly, I am now highly annoyed if I’m caught without Tums and my round boar bristle brush. When you’re no longer distressed if you don’t get carded, why not get a purse that holds more than your driver’s license?

Don’t get me wrong, I get a faint sense of nostalgia when I see a cute little hipster out with her bag the size of a walnut. But when those four-inch stiletto shoes she’s wearing give her a blister, it’s nice to know I can give her a Band-Aid.

1 comment:

gerry said...

Reading your post it made me believe the fact that with age comes wisdom and all its goodies. I totally understand the point you have made in your post but it is also true that you wouldn't have thought the same 10 years back and therein lies the difference. A woman is usually deemed wise when she can look beyond the immediate and work accordingly. Just the way you proved to be wise by ending it on a lighter and brighter note. Great post! Do drop by my blog for some more interesting and exciting posts of your liking.