In the bag
I belong to the category of person who always has to have a handbag with them. I know this is perfectly normal behaviour, indeed common to the majority of women. But it seems to me that in recent times things have got a lot more complicated in regards to ‘the clutch’. It seems that now there are as many handbag sizes, styles, colours and shapes as there are people to carry them. There are satchels, holdalls, mini rucksacks, duffel bags, bucket bags and cloth bags all masquerading as handbags. There are countless brands for each design, and somehow I am supposed to choose.
Each week in my Sunday newspaper magazine (remember them?) there is a page of the most wanted five objects. Very often this list will contain a desirable, expensive, exclusive handbag. Sometimes the newspaper runs a prize draw; send in your email address and you have the chance to win a highly coveted object. This could well be a handbag. I gaze at the shiny picture, imagine running my hands over the soft, supple beige/red/black/green/white leather – white? Who on earth has a white handbag? I come back down to earth with a bump. The item in question apparently costs £1500, so even if I did win it I couldn’t possibly use it, I’d have to frame it behind glass in case it got damaged.
Even when you’ve chosen the style, colour and price bracket, it doesn’t end there. What about the mobile? Does the bag have a handy exterior pocket for parking my phone, and if I leave it there will someone whisk it out of said pocket as I stand on the Tube, squeezed against a host of other people? But if I leave it safely zipped up inside then I’ll never hear it ring and will no doubt miss that extremely important call I have been waiting for.
Then, of course, there is the knotty problem of owning several handbags, something that fills me with dread. Because for me the trouble with having even more than one handbag lies in the tricky area of transferring the contents from one to the other. I simply don’t know how the rich and famous do it – whenever they are out and about they are always pictured carrying a different bag, setting the bar for the latest brand. Perhaps they have several duplicate sets of everything so there is never any need to transfer anything at all. Does this include purses and credit cards, I wonder?
This situation is further compounded when one is faced with the challenge of moving the contents from a larger bag to a smaller one. At this point difficult decisions need to be made regarding exactly what is going with you and what is staying behind. It becomes a sort of miniature version of packing for a holiday, yet seems to take just as much time. Anyway, I make my decision and sally forth, handbag over my arm. It seems that barely five minutes have passed before I realise with horror that a vital piece of equipment essential for modern day living is laughing at me from the depths of the handbag left abandoned back home.
Yes, it’s the front door key.