My question to women (or any other-gendered person who carries a purse) is this: do you actually have anything useful in there?
In my experience, you do not.
Prove me wrong. Dump your purse on the table right now and list the contents. Be honest. Don’t embellish. I am on the search for truth.
Why do I care?
Because sometimes I have to hold a purse when you go into the washroom. Sometimes I have to go back into a place when you forgot your purse. Sometimes I have to “guard” a purse. Sometimes I have to put something in my pocket when you don’t have your purse and you wore those impractical pants that don’t have pockets (more on pockets later).
There must be an up-side to all this inconvenience. There must be something in that bag of inventory you carry on your person that will prove useful one day.
The other night at the fancy restaurant the kids were getting restless. No problem, there must be something in your purse to entertain them. Nope.
“Pass me a pen and paper. I need to write this down.” Dig as you might, you came up with no pen; no paper.
Allergies. A runny nose. Surely you have a tissue in there. Negative. Allergy pills? Negative.
So why lug that thing around? Is it just for fashion? Is it solely for hiding feminine hygiene products and miniature umbrellas?
I have some experience lugging a bag. It was a sixty-five-litre pack. Its contents sustained my life during an eighty-kilometre hike on The Bruce Trail. Believe me, everything in that pack was useful. I wasn’t about to lug anything over that treacherous terrain that wasn’t going to come in handy at some point. Practical. Functional. Zen.
In my regular life, I’ve thought about how a purse could be handy. I could carry Kleenex, a swiss army knife, a bottle of water, a pen and paper, a flashlight, a crossword puzzle book, some granola bars, toys for the kids… These are just items I thought of off the top of my head. Of course, if I was actually going to carry a purse I would have to make a much more comprehensive list and then filter it down to what would actually fit, based on the potential frequency of use of the items.
A purse is too impractical for me, though. It hangs annoyingly off the shoulder. It can get lost. It can get stolen. It can get caught in the turbine of a jet engine and turn me into strawberry jam.
The most practical way to carry additional items on one’s person is via pockets. The more the better. Cargo pockets on pants or shorts. Pockets on vests. Fanny packs. Velcro things that strap onto biceps like joggers wear.
The world’s fishermen (fisherpeople?), military and police personnel have already figured this out. And they aren’t carrying half-eaten rolls of Rolaids in their pockets. They are packing the practical, tactical gear that might save a life (or catch a fish).
So, ladies (or purse-carrying men), it’s time to see which side of the function/fashion line you stand on. You’ll be assessed based on what’s in your purse. Is it full of grocery receipts and lint-covered cough lozenges, or do you actually have anything useful in there?
Or should I just shut up and mind my own business?