When my siblings and I were young, I recall my mother wouldn’t leave the house without her big black leather handbag. Strap tucked neatly over gloved arm, like a waiter’s napkin, she would proudly set off with her tribe tucked neatly in behind her. Mother Duck and the Ducklings.
I’ve since come to realize that the proud tilt of her chin and her upright posture was simply her smug self-satisfaction in knowing that no matter what catastrophe may befall her, there’d be something in her handbag to remedy the problem.
Thirty years on, the style and shape of her handbag may have changed, but I guarantee you would still be able to change a car tire or prevent nuclear war by poking through the contents of my mother’s handbag.
Alas, it seems to be a trait that has passed from mother to daughter, because I’m the one amongst all my gal pals who can always be counted on to produce a Bandaid for a cut finger, or the perfect lip gloss for a touch up. Oh, and I’m always the one with the spare tissues and tampons.
I would like to ask Dr Freud about my peculiar predilection for carrying the entire contents of my bedroom (and kitchen, and bathroom) in my handbag, but he would probably relate it to some female sexual inadequacy problem. (Penis envy sounds like a good one!)
What never ceases to amaze me is what on earth can the celebs who walk down the red carpet at those gala events possibly fit into an evening bag the size of a matchbox? Heck, they look like they haven’t got room for a match let alone a matchbox. I always imagine their mother, or assistant, or hanger-on person, inconspicuously lugging their oversized Louis Vuitton traveling case through the rear tradesman’s entrance. After all, what celeb would leave home without a complete makeover kit, change of underwear, spare toothbrush (or teeth!) and an extra bottle of Moët in case of an emergency?
Most men who tell you women are mysterious creatures have never witnessed the full monty, so to speak, of a woman’s handbag. I don’t know if they would have the physical or mental strength to deal with it.
As the nurturers and carers of the world, I’d like to think that my handbag is an expression of my humanitarian global-thinking persona. I’m the one who will always be there to help another human being in need. As long as they wear the same shade of lipstick as me.