Have handbag, will travel

I can’t cope. My work security pass is at home, I can’t find my travelcard and had to buy an extra ticket this morning. My brain’s a muddle and I can’t find my favourite fruit flavoured gum. What can induce this state of non-functioning low performance in a woman? Well, I’ve just changed handbags, of course.

As any self-respecting ‘holder of the purse’ will attest, such decisions are not to be taken lightly. My decision came after months of lugging a kitchen-sink sized sack from pillar to post with all the associated worldly paraphernalia and detritus.

Much as I thought I couldn’t possibly live without any of the contents, my back and a hypochondriac self-assessed impending hernia told me that I would do myself a grave danger if I didn’t change forthwith to a more normal sized bag. Indeed, it had reached the stage where the weight of my bag was adding to my own bulk and slowing me down so much, I had given up on stairs and resorted to taking lifts and escalators everywhere – even for just one flight (shame on me!).

Unlike some (sensible) women who have two bags – a work bag and a weekend bag (who admittedly spend much of their lives transferring the contents of one bag to another) – I am a one bag woman and tend to simply fill up the handbag of choice until it falls apart at the seams or the handle comes off before inflicting my torture on the next innocent looking PVC holdall daring to cross my path in the handbag shop.

Why is it that sometime around puberty us gals decide that other than a small, pink, spangly pocket bag for the disco, we can’t survive without an army rucksack? We cram so much in because we feel at some time during the day we just might need any or all of the following:

(a) the citrus Wet One
(b) the mini calculator
(c) personal freshness spray
(d) Vaseline intensive care hand lotion
(e) hairspray and compact hairbrush
(f) diary, address book and notepad
(g) two decent pens, one broken biro and in case
of emergency an old kohl pencil
(h) lip gloss, face powder/ compact/ cosmetics mirror, selection of eyeshadows, clear, blue and black mascara
(i) one sachet of Lemsip for that life-threatening cold that starts in the middle of the day plus of course aspirin/paracetemol or nurofen (according to choice)
(j) plasters and emergency sewing kit
(k) a spare carrier bag in case the contents of the first bag expand at ‘lunchtime’ (for which read ‘shopping’ time) and we can no longer bring the contents home in one bag
(l) credit cards, phone card, library card, swimming card, supermarket loyalty card, lottery tickets and (just to be practical) a small book of stamps
(m) passport, driving licence, works security pass, travel card, train Network card
(n) small A-Z
(o) packet of tissues
(p) chewing/bubble gum or fruit flavoured chews not forgetting the indispensable folding umbrella, purse, cheque book, cuddly toy and bottle of wine (well maybe not the last two items).

Why? And how do men cope without these things?