01:40:24 pm on
Monday 22 Jul 2024

I Hate Purses
Jennifer Flaten

Among my many, and, yes, there are so many, so don’t even go there, quirks is that I hate carrying a purse. Yet, in an overwhelming bit of dichotomy, I love purses and have an extensive collection of them.

I don't like carrying a purse.

Apparently, I like the idea of the purse, just not the actual schlepping of the purse. I barely tolerate a small bag. I can’t imagine hauling around one of those giant tote bag purses; shudder.

One thing I do like about purses is getting a new one. I equate shopping for a new purse to going on an African Safari. I roam the aisles stalking the perfect purse. I find the perfect one, on sale! Yes, this purse will definitely change my life; I bag it and bring it home to gloat.

Alas, after carrying it for a month or two I grow to loathe it. I find reasons to dislike it. The strap’s too short. The pockets are too small, too big or too “pockety.” I guess it’s time to find a new purse.

When I was a teenager, I think I owned one purse. If I was going out and wanted to look girly, which was not often, or grown up, which was more likely, I would take my purse. Otherwise, I would shove my house key and some money in my pocket and be all set.

Coat pockets are my kind of purse.

I loved coat weather because the coat pockets are just like a purse without all the hassle of carrying an extra item. Every single jacket I own has bits of money, random tubes of lip balm and receipts for purchases long forgotten squirreled away in the pockets.

I didn’t seriously start carrying a purse until I had children. Even then, I was resistant. Lord knows if you are hauling a diaper bag packed for two, twins, around you don’t need another piece of gear.

So, at first, I just crammed my wallet into the pocket of the diaper bag, but that ended with potty training. What parent doesn’t want potty training to start as soon as humanly possible?

God, kids. Even as they get older, they need so much stuff; snacks, tissues, towelettes, lip balm and so forth. You need something to carry all their detritus and all the important stuff that comes with being the households authorized purchaser.

Most days, especially when I have to go to the office, I carry a purse, grudgingly. On those rare days when I am home, with my husband, I am purse free. As he is always the driver, always, he always has his wallet, which makes him the authorized purchaser by default. There’s no need for me to bring a purse.

Once, my husband forgot his wallet and I had no purse.

Except for when my husband forgot his wallet. We went to the store and he didn’t realize he didn’t have it until he reached for it at the pay station. After doing that thing men do, slapping all over their body in hopes the wallet has somehow migrated from their pocket to a different spot on their body; he admits he doesn’t have his wallet. He looks at me hopefully. I shrug and gesture to my purseless body.

The store is nice enough to load our groceries in a cart to hold until he returns with his wallet. As I am lazy and would rather stand in the store “guarding” our groceries then walk to the car, drive home, get wallet and drive back I stay behind.

We live close to this store, so imagine my surprise when my husband takes an inordinate amount of time returning with the wallet. He’s gone so long, our former clerk sidles up to me. She whispers, “He’s been gone a long time. I think he isn’t coming back.” I just look at her. She shrugs and tries to cheer me up “Oh, he probably stopped at the bar.” Goodness, she certainly seems like a woman with relationship problems.

Before I can ‘Dear Abby’ the clerk about her choice in significant others my husband reappears. He was caught in a funeral procession; trust me this is believable, as there is a funeral home in our neighborhood.

We pay for our slowly defrosting items and head home. Perhaps maybe I should carry a purse after all or sometimes.


Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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