Purses, Wallets and What's Most Important

An interesting hint of a thought pinged it's way across my day yesterday.

Ideas do that in my life. As I go about my business making contacts with those around me, keeping everything on an even keel and making sure the school work gets accomplished, ideas like to ping, like one bouncing off a trampoline errant, right across my field of vision. They are usually pretty interesting ideas - especially to one who likes to ruminate on various obscurities. Often, they ping into my mind, then ping around inside my head until I have a quiet space to capture them and beat them into submission.

Anyway...this idea was a simple one. Not sure where I saw it, but it got to pingin'.

What are the three most important things in your purse?

I found myself thinking about what I carry around in that rather inconvenient and irritating bag called a purse. Purses are a fascinating item to me. Women carry them - it's just a given. Why? Men don't have to carry stuff with them, do they? Now, I'm not talking about the new fad of sorts called the man-purse; no one can convince me for a minute that any self-respecting man would carry some of the common items you might find in a woman's purse around in a bag. And, without the appropriate items, the man-purse is automatically disqualified as a purse at all. I'm alright with calling them messenger bags...not purses. But, that's just me - call me weird.

I've never come to a good, logical reason for why women are shackled with these bags, usually slung over their shoulder. (Some women call their purses pocketbooks - do you find that odd? Me, too.) I find myself attentive to the type of purse a woman chooses to carry, too. Have they chosen an impractical fashion bag, or the ever-popular 'big bucket' where everything is just thrown together like a big 'stuff party' she carries around every where she goes? Or have they opted for the the 'as small as I can get away with' bag? (This is the trap I tend to fall for frequently, then get snagged someplace not having what I need at a most crucial time.) Older women, just a generation or two ahead of me, like to carry the smaller satchel-style purse with short handles. They typically are stuffed to the gills with...well, important stuff. What is interesting is that these women pay no mind to the fact that the purse has shorter handles and attempt to carry the silly thing on their shoulder. And, just because they are smaller than the large fashion bags or the big-bucket purses, don't think they are lighter. They are like carrying around a brick with handles. Truly. Perfect if you ever need to defend yourself, though.

Some women have rejected the whole purse idea, and have opted for the backpack option - this is usually the younger women or college students. That's cool, but isn't that awkward when they need to pay for something? Shimmying out of those straps, if they are utilizing them both, is a lot of physical movement that draws attention to the wearer at the front of the checkout line, for sure (kind of like getting out of a too-small garment). I'm always worried someone behind the backpack wearer could just take what they wanted without hindrance - that's not good. And if you don't use both straps as they were intended, and sling it over one shoulder, why not just use a purse, for pete's sake? The backpack has then been converted into a giant canvas 'big bucket' purse referred to above.

And what about the woman who refuses to carry a purse at all, deciding to carry only cards and cash in a wallet, similar to a man? Is this kosher? So many of the young people carry stuff (phone, iPod, etc.) in their back pockets these days; honestly, it messes with my mind. For all my life, only men carried stuff in their back pockets. Now, when I see young people carrying stuff in their back pockets it just doesn't seem right, adding extra 'baggage' to lycra-infused jeans. Not good in my simple view.

(And speaking of men's wallets, isn't there some sort of rule about which side...?? I have also heard of men who have hip or leg joint problems from having too fat a wallet in their back pocket - you, too? In our family, we don't seem to have this problem...)

Alright, I have successfully deviated from the subject at hand, haven't I?

The three most important things in my purse...hmmm. I have a lot of stuff in my purse, but not as much as my mom carried in hers, that's for sure. She had it all - important papers, kleenex (usually used but still usable), cash (she like to carry quite a bit of cash - never know when you may need to buy something, she would say), various keys, and long-forgotten tubes of lipstick forever banned to the chasm of darkness that was the bottom of her purse. Always change down in the bottom, too, just in case someone had the urgent need to avail themselves of a gumball on the way out of the grocery store. She always had aspirin or tylenol in there; shoot, I'm surprised she didn't carry a small bottle of water, too. She actually had two purses - one for work and one not for work. I could never figure out why she couldn't just carry the same for both personas...

So...three things. In my purse...
See why this fascinated me so?

Third Most Important Item in my Purse
Practically, my identification and debit cards are the most reached for item in my bag. Stuck all together in a little zippered pouch, it's like the bank in my purse. Sometimes receipts and some loose change find their way in there, but not for long. It just gets too irritating after a bit. Oh, and cash has sometimes been known to be in there, too...but it's rare.

Second Most Important Item in my Purse
This one is a tie between feminine goodies and pain-killers. Man, when you need either of these things, you really need them. Keep 'em well stocked, 'cuz it's when you don't, you will find yourself in a mess...or pain. Yeah, some hand sanitizer is a good thing, too, but not as important as these other two items.

Number One Most Important Item in my Purse
And the one thing that is most essential that I absolutely must carry in my purse?
Lip Smacker.
Yes, that's right. Not my phone, not my reading glasses or my inhaler. Lip Smacker.
That little burgundy tube of Dr. Pepper goodness that has saved me time and time again from dry lips and slagging confidence. Slide some of this wonder-gloss on and you can conquer the world. No, really...it's true. I not only keep at least one in my purse, but one in each vehicle, in most of the pockets of my jackets or vests ...even in my besties purse (who has one of the best mom purses in the world, second only to my daughter's purse, which has absolutely everything).

So, there you have it. The three most important items in my purse.
I'd sure like to hear about yours.

“When a man meets catastrophe on the road, he looks in his purse, 
but a woman looks in her mirror.”
~Margaret Turnbull

A woman's mind is as complex as the contents of her handbag; 
even when you get to the bottom of it, 
there is ALWAYS something at the bottom to surprise you!
~Billy Connelly

As a side note...one time I witnessed a purse weighing contest at a women's retreat - it was absolutely hilarious! I think the winner's purse weighed in excess of forty pounds. And men think women are weak...ha! You carry around that weight everywhere you go, and you won't be weak, I'm tellin' you!

Y'know, I could do a clever little 'drash on how this relates to our lives, something really introspective about what's most important and how G-d works into the whole affair...but...not today. I'll just leave you with that thought hangin' out there. Kinda like the shorty brick purse stuck on the shoulder of a 50-ish year old shopper.


Anonymous said…
Somehow I just KNEW that Dr. Pepper lipsmacker was going to be on that list. ;-) I was actually waiting for it as I was reading this one.

I've been known to carry a small wallet-type purse at times, usually if I don't have pockets (vest pockets, coat pockets, or (yep) pants pockets). I usually only tend to carry my phone and a little wallet/change purse thingy....and my keys. Yep...that's about it so I don't try to have something like a purse to have to remember. I've been known to forget it places so it's MUCH easier to just have those few things in my pockets. Makes life SUPER easier. Of course I also am not inclined to wear skinny jeans or lycra pants. Maybe that makes a difference.

I will say that my mom has actually developed pretty significant physical problems due to carrying a purse packed FULL of everything....except the kitchen sink. Talk about heavy. Maybe that's another reason I just opted for the pocket thing. Hmmm....
Patty said…
Hmmmm . . Three most important things in my purse . . . hmmm . . . That's a tough one . . Oh, wait, I don't carry a purse . . . so I have 4 things on me: My keys, cell phone, wallet, and pocket stuff. Okay, that works for me. :-)

BTW, LOVED this post!!! ;-)
Ari C'rona said…
I think I'm falling down on the job with my 'mom purse' (sorry to disappoint) - it's not nearly as full as it used to be... I took out the measuring tape, the Jedi fabric samples, and a few other odds and ends.

Now, for the 3 most important: My reading glasses for sure! My ID, etc., and my handy little pill container. Yep, I think those top the list. And, yes, I do carry a Dr. Pepper lipsmacker just in case... :oP
Anonymous said…
So I think the three most important things must be the things that also come with me letterboxing, right. My pocketbook(weird I know but it is the habit that I grew up with) stays at home when I go hiking and the important things get put in the backpack or a pocket. These things are id and credit cards, phone, and keys. I should probably mention that the ever important backpack also doubles up some of the other things in my purse. Lip stuff, pill bottle or box, and sunglasses are so important that they reside in my car, my coats, my backpack, and my purse. :) Hmmmm... sounds a lot like your list actually.

Mrs. The Spooky Group
Marmalade said…
OMG – I have observed and pondered this very same issue, and I’ve run the gamut of purses at various stages of my life. When I was in high school I carried a bucket purse, with everything in it. Cosmetics, calendar, love notes, a roll of duct tape... yeah, duct tape. My boyfriend was in a band and they always forgot the duct tape. College brought me to the ‘book bag’ aka backpack, always over just one shoulder. Got rid of THAT when I got my degree.

When I travel, I’m back to a bucket that can hold a bottle of water, map, a shawl, my purchases and assorted smaller bags for assorted things, including a small bag that can double as a clutch if we’re going out and don’t need to carry much. If I’m not traveling, I lean toward the ‘less is more’ philosophy, and again, things are generally compartmentalized. I notice that I frequently go ‘minimalist’ and just put the most important stuff in the front pockets of my skirt. So I guess that effectively winnows down my ‘most important items’ list to my wallet (the same sort of zippered pouch you describe), my phone (which is my calendar, watch, To-Do list, entertainment and communications devise) and my keys. Number Four on the list is a tie between my chocolate chap-stick and a tiny tube of hand lotion. I have those stashed everywhere, just like you.

My all-time favorite ‘purse observation’ is seeing the Queen of England with one of those short handled ‘bricks’ over her arm. I mean, what does she have in there? Probably chap-stick and hand lotion. And maybe a Kleenex or two. She has minions to carry all the rest.