November 16

Hey know who you are with the purse talk on your site. I love all that trivia and hearing the itemized list of what's in your purse. It reminded me of the somewhat appalled look on your face that first time you realized I'd left home without one and I went on a rant about them. I do have something to say about purses. (I can hear you laughing now.)

Even though you know I think purses suck, it's not the actual purses I hate. It's the dragging of them around everywhere like some inherited curse bestowed upon our gender. Men don't have to drag the world around with them and neither do we. I HATE carrying a purse! I just want to get up and GO and to hell with all that stuff. I don't want people fantasizing about what I'm toting around. I don't want to be the keeper of throat lozenges, Kleenex, Kotex, candy, gum, cleansing hand wipes, aspirin, cold tabs, writing tools, notepads, the extra penny or two, magic tricks for toddlers trapped in vehicles with you, and so on and so forth. It reminds me of the artist James Christensen's painting called "The Responsible Woman" I once saw with that mythological mother floating around surrounded by all things associated with women...every nauseating thing in the world was at her fingertips, including brooms etc.

On the other hand, a purse is often viewed by others as a handy trash bag. Just having a purse in your possession qualifies you to have hands blindly flung in your direction with gum wrappers and any other thing which might be inconvenient for someone else to hold or dispose of. Sometimes they don't even say anything, just assume you'll make the wrapper disappear into that nether world of a purse. And if you ignore them they might give you a few nudges without even looking at you. I just want to say to them "Abracadabra....well darn, it's still there...sorry."

I remember Snapper used to tease me about the no purse thing. We'd be driving along and he'd ask me for various things like hard candy, Tylenol or Kleenex. I just gave him a look. He'd laugh real loud and say "What the f-ck! You're supposed to have stuff like that in a f-cking purse if you'd ever bring one!" (Always said in good humor.) I asked him just exactly what were the items I was responsible for bringing on our escapades in my so-called purse. He'd prattle off a big load of stuff till we were laughing like crazy. I'd say would you like me to carry an extra little box of hog rings for your traps also, and a pair of needle nose pliers? Hmmmm? Maybe a few fish heads?" Also I said, "If you need to make a stop at the store, then let's go. I'm not a pharmacy or candy store so don't plan on me dragging a bunch of shit along besides my binoculars and birding books or whatever we plan ahead of time. Otherwise, figure out what you'd like to have handy and we'll stock your truck with it. I'll even help you. If YOU'D bring a purse all our problems would be solved!"

When I go out dancing I prefer to just take my license and enough cash for a few drinks and food. Just slip it into my pocket. T carries a purse but leaves it in the car when we go out and puts cash in her bra with her big breasts. I laugh my butt off when men see her reaching in to grab it out ever so discreetly. They love it. She whispers to me to watch right beforehand. The eyeballs get really big and smiles everywhere. She always suggests that I oughta do this, but I say "Hey! If I had breasts like yours maybe I would, but what's the point? My money would probably shift around and end up on the floor while I'm point in drawing attention to these!"

It's hard to believe how I used to love purses, couldn't wait to have my very own. Early on I noticed how powerfully important a mother's purse was! If Mom's purse was misplaced or lost for any reason it was a catastrophe and the National Guard was called out to help search for it non-stop till it was found. I loved my mother's purse and she did, indeed, keep all the world's treasures and essential needs in it. My sisters and I fought over who would clean it out every once in a while. It was a very important job. Mom's purse was sacred, see. No one was allowed to touch it or be snooping for any reason. Ever. Unless you were granted the joy of cleaning it out. We loved it! We'd clear a nice big private spot out of the way on the floor or in our bedroom and make piles... categories. Always the first thing was a frantic search for gum, then a race to ask Mom if we could have a piece. Cleaning out Mom's purse with a big fresh piece of Juicy Fruit in your mouth was the ultimate excitement of the evening at those young ages. We always came away with bright red lipstick on (having asked permission, of course.) The end of the ceremonial purse cleaning was to present it back to Mom so she could inspect it and make exclamations over how much nicer it looked now. There was usually something added to the assortment to surprise us. A piece of jewelry or a chocolate bar. I remember when we came across that portable cigarette maker and didn't have a clue as to what it was. I can't begin to say how impressed I was after we flew to my mom and watched her demonstrate how to make your own cigarette. Wow! She could do anything! Then, when my friends started carrying purses the big thing when you got together was to dump them out, compare and explore what you each had in your purse. It was so exciting...and gave us ideas for even more things that would be cool to carry around. And while we did that we talked about what other people had in their purses, and about school and boys and all kinds of stuff as we sat cross-legged on the bed. I remember shaking mine around and asking a friend to guess what the noise was jiggling. She didn't know, guessed maybe an ID bracelet, but it was my jax. When my next youngest sister and I fought, we'd threaten or chide "I've got something new in my purse that you don't know about and I'm not gonna tell you what it is!" What power!

From the very beginning, no matter how thrilling, I was very aware of the inconvenient, burdensome side of purse toting. It's like a baby. You have to keep track of it at all times. It has to be in a safe place. You worry and fret about it...have to clean it out all the time because it gains weight easily. And it gets so heavy. If you lose it, you will pay dearly, maybe even lose your whole identity...for all that matters in this world has some sort of connection to something in your purse. You didn't know that did you? Nevertheless, purse manufacturers have no power over me. When I stroll through department stores that entire section is invisible to me.

Yes, I did succumb to purse-carrying peer pressure again. But only half-way. I consider it a car purse. You think where you might be headed and imagine for a few seconds what you could possibly need during that time, then toss it in. If you're getting out of the car to get milk and bread, grab a few bucks out of it as if it you'd just requested it from a close friend. Then stick it in your pocket and go. You'll get to swing your arms freely, gesture and wave, shade your eyes from the sun, catch yourself if you start to fall, and just all manner of gleeful things. I repeat. Purses suck.

In spite of all the above, I am still intrigued by OTHER people's purses! Yes, I confess. I am dying to know what is in them. And pockets as well. I always want to ask guys to empty their pockets into my hands/lap so I can see what they are carrying around. What's so important it has to be right next to your body at all times.

But back to the purse thing....I was in a doctor's office a few weeks ago. A beautiful teen girl came in with these platform shoes on and the typical sort of Sarah McLachlan outfit. After she got comfortable reading a magazine I was looking at her clothes and spied this awesome little purse. It was a brown suede sort of drawstring pouch. But on the whole front was a colorful silky oriental picture. It seemed to have forest and fancy birds and other things I couldn't make out that went round in a circular way so you'd have to tilt your head to see. The threads caught the light and shone magically, and I was coveting to know what was inside this enchanting little purse. I remember shadowing it with my eyes like a crow as she walked across to select another mag. And N, I've always had imaginings about what you keep in all YOUR bags. Your bags of all shapes and colors and sizes! They're my favorites because they're usually full of stuff I LOVE! But I've always felt like ransacking them when you turn your back! How exciting that would be for the little girl in me. Each time you pulled out a great big Symphony candybar for me it was always a surprise. There might even be one in there now!...ha

What have I appreciated a purse for in the past? hmmmm. For hiding urine specimens behind on the way through the doctor's office when I was pregnant. For stashing lacy panties stolen from prior visits then tossed as an afterthought by D right before I walked out to my car. For leaning against soft drinks in cars where there was nowhere to put a drink. Not much really. What I do notice is that at any one time I hardly need anything out of it, yet carry everything just in case. Yck. I always have a strong compulsion to give it a heave over the hill or drop kick it to the moon.

What do my daughters think of purses?
20 yr old: "They're good to's a good idea, but they're a pain in the ass to carry around."
13 yr old: "I think they get too much perfume stains. And I don't want to carry them around because they could get stolen easy so I'd rather have wallets."
12 yr old: "I don't do it...(carry purses around) because they always keep slipping off your shoulder and stuff. And you always have book bags."
16 yr old: "I can think of a million reasons not to carry purses! They take up too much space. You can lose your money and everything in them and a lot of things! Purses match people that carry them! Just like when a person gets a dog, it matches them...the way they look."

PURSES: Go ahead...leave home without one. (of course you'll be sorry...ha)