Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Purse

*If you are a man, you'll just want to move on from here, because I promise, you will not understand this post. Trust me.

I have been shopping for a purse. That fact is astonishing in itself, because I don't spend time shopping for makeup, shoes, or purses. That list used to include jewelry, but now that my baby is six and no one tries to yank the earrings out of my ears or teethe on my necklaces, I've reached the point where I can again accessorize. But as I was saying, I have been shopping for a purse. My old one was purchased for $3 at a consignment sale: practical black canvas with straps just long enough to fit over my shoulder and large enough to hold all manner of items from water bottles to books to Halloween candy PLUS all my normal junk. It went with everything. It has been a good purse, but not perfect. It was a bit too large and with no organizational features, I found myself literally digging for the items I needed. And, to be honest, it is a bit boring. Time to move on, boring black purse.

I had it in my mind that I would simply walk into the Handbag Warehouse and pick out a nice new number and be done with the whole business, but... out of all the bags in Handbag Warehouse, there were none that called my name. Because if I'm going to actually pay real money for a purse, it has to call my name. And ideally, have a zipper closure, a nice long strap, a pocket for my cell phone, and some great organizational features. And be red, because I'm tired of boring black even though it goes with everything. But no purses called my name, so I ventured inside the mall.

First stop, Elder-Beerman, where I roamed around the purse department and I saw it: the purse that was calling my name. It was (gasp!) a designer purse, but it was also on sale. I stood for long minutes in front of the shelf, staring at this purse that was calling my name. And I circled the purse department again and then I stared for more long minutes. Surely this could not be the purse. It was just barely big enough for my essentials, much less water bottles and books. It had no great organizational features besides a few paltry pockets and a place for my cell phone. It was $5 more than my cut-off price and I did not even have a coupon. But it was red. And shiny! And it was calling me.

This purse offended every practical bone in my body and I left the store. I went to Dillard's, Sears, the purse kiosk in the center of the mall, JC Penney, Kohl's, and even to New York and Co, where my practical black purse had been purchased before it was relegated to the consignment sale. Nada. Nothing. There was a wonderful, almost-perfect purse at Sears (of all places) with all the correct features and a touch of whimsy to boot. Its color was called vino. "No," I told the purse. "I do not carry purple purses." I traipsed back through the mall, spent a few more long minutes staring at the red designer purse that was calling my name and did the proper thing: I went home. This purse was too flashy to be calling my name. It belonged on someone much more fashionable, someone who has cute hair and does not wear overalls out in public.

I thought that after I gave it some time, the lure of this purse would diminish, but it did not. I had to go back to the mall. As I rounded the aisle, I mentally prepared myself for the inevitable: the purse would be gone and it was the last of its kind. It was still waiting for me. I stared at the purse again. I circled the purse department again, desperately searching for an alternative. I picked up the purse, pulled out all the stuffing, thoroughly examined every pocket. I tried it out on my shoulder to be sure it was the correct length. I am certain the store security was watching me closely by now. And I left again, determined to give Sears another chance, but the purses there seemed so maw-maw by comparison. Back to Elder-Beerman. More long minutes staring at the purse. It was time to go home. I bought the purse.

When I got home, I pulled out the paper stuffing and managed to fit all the essentials inside. Becca walked into the room and spied this new shiny thing. "Ooh, pretty!" she exclaimed. I don't know if her admiration of the purse is a good thing or not, considering some of her pre-teen fashion choices. I decided I would give this purse a trial run and leave the tag on until I was committed. As we headed out the door later, John Mark said, "Hey, new purse! You left the tag on." "I know!" I hissed. And off to church we went, me in my overalls and shiny new red purse with the tag still attached. If that isn't Minnie Pearl, I don't know what is.

But at church, I looked over at my shiny, red purse and smiled. "I like you," I thought. I came home and took the tag off. I am committed to this relationship. Meet my new purse:


janjanmom said...

I like it. It matches your pretty hair, you DO have pretty hair. I think that purse will even look good with overalls.

Maude said...

Pretty! Thanks for a fun story :)

Pennie said...

I've been in exactly the same situation - price tag dangling and all! My friend, Dawn, said (and still teases me years later about it) that I am the only person she knows that test drives a purse. Now I can tell her that there are at least two of us out there!

Dan said...

I know you said I should just move on, but I couldn't help reading--I've been shopping for purses with Teddie a few times--in fact, just a few months ago. And we did some of your routine, going from store to store. And you are correct: purses at Sears look like something *my* mother should carry, not my wife. Thanks for the funny story--you made me laugh out loud!

thruchildeyes said...

Ooooh, la, la. I'm sure you're the best thing that happened to mall security! Everybody needs a good chuckle. It's a fun read, too.

Anonymous said...

I read your blog to Dad. He said "Ha! She's a riot!!" We like your new red is pretty, just like you!