The Ladies Who Schlep

The Subject is (Still) Handbags

The ladies who schlep

I hate to sound sexist, but as soon as baby boys can grasp objects, they’re given baseballs and footballs. Girls, on the other hand, are often given purses to carry. And all those little girls turn into, yes, the ladies who schlep. They may schlep handbags, tote bags, briefcases or backpacks, but schlep they do. And they’re not just hauling around lipstick and lunch, but also, memories and money, smartphones, and status symbols.

“Of course, a bag is important. It’s my home away from home.”
Sornam S. 

In case you missed it, last week’s blog The Subject is Handbags dished about the different names we give the bags we carry and the issue of, a-hum, size.

And size is a problem. Most gals like their bags big, very big, which they are the first to admit can cause back and posture problems.

“I usually carry a big bag which sometimes kills my shoulder but I can’t seem to wean myself off of carrying the kitchen sink with me.”

“(I carry a) BIG bag, though my back is paying the price.”
Anonymous 2

Yet, like chocolate, champagne, and bad boys, many women cannot quit their big bags! Although giving credit where due, some try to kick the hefty handbag habit.

“I took a class at the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre called Vocal Presence for Women, and the teacher told me my balance was slightly leaning to the left. She pointed out that it’s probably because I carry my purses on my left side, which is true! As a feminist and believer in equality in fashion, that really freaked me out. So, I’m mostly into backpacks these days.”
Kate H.

And Why is Big Necessary?

I believe it’s biology. Women are nurturers. Women are the real Boy Scouts, always prepared. Sort through the innards of a big bag and you’ll likely find a mini-apothecary  AND hardware store! Band-Aids, headache medicine, cough drops, antacids, safety pins, pens, notepaper … the list is endless. When the Zombie Apocalypse comes, stand next to one of the ladies who schlep a big bag. You’ll be safe.

Some Collect Art by Hockney. Others Collect Handbags

Buying handbags is also a serious business for the ladies who schlep! Women go to the ends of the earth to nab a bag … and a bargain to boot! For some, it’s just for fun. For others, it’s an investment.

From Shanghai came this comment:

“Yesterday I spent the day shopping with two girlfriends, mostly at the fake market.  I came back with over a dozen bags, four large and the rest smaller, primarily BaoBao bags, also Goyard and Bottega Venetta, some purchases at others’ requests, some gifts, and some (too many) for me as I cannot resist a bargain. A really fun but exhausting day, bargaining. Your first retort is supposed to be about 20 or 25% of the asking price and you usually end up somewhere in the middle or a bit less, threatening to walk away sometime during the ‘negotiations.’ It’s a real game.”
Robin E.

Handbags can be a significant financial investment. So reported The New York Times in  “You Can Play the Handbag Stock Market” just last week. And a friend agrees!

“I have always loved and wanted beautiful purses: they are the best dime for your dollar. You use them almost every day; purses are more forgiving than clothes because they don’t care how much you weigh,
or if you are temporarily bloated; thus, they are the safest investment for a high school or college reunion if you want to make a splash and want to get use out your purchase after the reunion.”

Me, My Bags, Mom, and Daddy Too

My mother, aka the Imelda Marcos of handbags, coordinated her entire wardrobe with a museum curator’s eye. When we traveled, we needed one suitcase just for her bags and shoes plus another one for her hats and still another for her wig! She was no carry-on luggage kind of a gal!

When I was younger, I carried a big bag with school books. As a TV reporter, I hauled note-pads, pens, make-up, and spare pantyhose. And as a mom, I, of course, shouldered diapers, wipes, kids’ changes of clothes, toys, books, and emergency supplies of every sort. Now, a middle-aged woman of aching shoulders and sore back, I’ve finally down-sized my bag.

And today I favor Target’s small price tags over Bloomingdales and Saks for my small bag purchases. I know my mother would disapprove, but … she did approve of one thing … my pick of a husband. She adored Handsome Hubby! So, at least, I got the big one right! My father died before I married, but he met Jon and loved him too. So, happily, I had that in the bag, too!

But I Digress! Back to the Ladies Who Schlep!

Some women are poly-bag-a-mists, switching handbags on a daily basis, sometimes even from day to night! Sometimes the switching creates mayhem and madness!

Here’s what happened after my friend Carrie, one of the most responsible women on the planet, transferred her driver’s license from her “ginormous leather shoulder bag” into a small evening purse for a fancy evening out with her husband:

“The next morning, I had an early flight to speak at a conference in Washington, D.C.  I got to the airport with my roller bag and the aforementioned ginormous leather shoulder bag.  Made my way through the line to discover that my driver’s license remained in my slender evening bag at home. I threw myself on the mercy of the TSA agent. I had my wallet filled with other forms of identification:  credit cards; bar membership card; library card. She was skeptical.  I threw in car wash coupons, frequent buyer cards for three different ice cream shops; organ donation card. Eventually, she let me through.”

Sometimes Mayhem is Deserved!

Now and then handbag mayhem doesn’t befall upon the rightful owner of the bag. Case in point:

“A healer friend of mine lent me a special crystal stone carved into the shape of a human skull… It was supposed to represent consciousness, not anything scary.
My car was broken into in the parking lot by Farmer Joe’s in Oakland and they stole that bag with the skull in it. It always gives me a smile to think of them opening up the bag and finding nothing of value except that skull.
I retain the hope that the thieves were terrified out of any future bag stealing.”

👜 🎃 👜

And with that, I put the subject of handbags and the ladies who schlep to rest … other than to say I hope your (kids’/grandkids’) Halloween Trick or Treat bags are filled to the brim with your favorite candies!

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