Purse. Pocketbook. Billfold. Clutch. Handbag. According to Wikipedia, “A handbag, commonly known as a purse in North American English, is a handled medium-to-large bag used to carry personal items.” This opener is accompanied by a picture of Queen Elizabeth II with one of her signature purses hanging on her left arm. I love this! The Queen is very well known for her ever present handbag and my friend, Cheryl, and I get a charge out of its presence on her arm in The Crown scenes. Just another Wednesday afternoon hanging out in the drawing room with her handbag on the coffee table beside her. True to life? I guess we can’t be sure, but I love thinking about her wandering around the castle in her nightgown, with her purse on her arm, reminiscent of Sophia Petrillo from The Golden Girls. Incidentally, the Queen is an acknowledged GG fan.
If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that I feel burdened down by stuff; be it literally (schlepping stuff back and forth to school and/or work) or figuratively (owning knick-knacks, sentimental memorabilia, etc.). In fact, ever since my surgery last summer, I’ve been trying to reduce the size of my purse and the number of items I consider essential. I’m on my third handbag reduction, carrying a smallish cross body purse that has credit card and cash pockets, as well as a spot for my driver’s license allowing me to eliminate the need for a separate wallet. But in my opinion, there are still too many items I just can’t seem to leave behind when I step-out.
At a recent family gathering I picked up my niece’s purse to hand it to her. I almost fell over under the weight! “What do you have in there?” I asked. She didn’t answer my question, so I had to conclude she had about 15 rolls of pennies she intended to drop off at the bank. Another niece had an equally heavy ‘pocket book.’ I asked my question again about contents, but either nobody heard me or they thought it was rhetorical.
Today, in the interest of blog research, I texted my inner circle (of which both those nieces are a part) and asked these ladies to tell me about the contents of their purses, and what they carry that someone else might find unusual. Although niece #1 is still mum about the top secret contents of her bag, I was delighted to receive some interesting feedback as well as a couple pictures! Two of the five respondents had a travel straw – I had never even heard of this – and one had a full sized bottle of goats milk lotion and a Christmas CD.
For the most part, they had the same types of things I carry in my purse – paper, pen, lip balm, and Tylenol. Most women consider these items standard. But I’m still conflicted about certain items that I’ve used only occasionally, but are essential when you need them. More than once, I’ve needed a Band-Aid, wished I had a throat lozenge, and been glad I had my checkbook – when the chip reader wasn’t working.
MOH stopped asking me years ago if I would put his keys in my purse whenever we are out and about. That would be a firm no. I’m not interested in carrying extra stuff for anyone, but I’m glad to share whatever I’m already toting around. Need a tissue? Piece of gum? Fingernail clippers? I’ve got you covered. But regardless of what I end up deciding to carry, there’s one thing I know for sure, if I were the Queen, my entourage would be carrying my purse.