Feb 26, 2008

Your bags, madam...

The Wah said something the other day that I found extraordinarily interesting.

(Not that I don't find everything the Wah says extraordinarily interesting; it's just I don't know how interested you'd all be in our post-show desconstructions of terrible British sci-fi series "Primeval".)

I was getting ready to go off somewhere and combing through my handbag - which at the moment happens to be a large-ish, orange carry-all, featuring embroidered Vietnamese god-figure on the front (courtesy of my Mum's trip to Ho Chi Minh city last year).

The Wah began ranting about women and handbags, and the messiness of it all. To paraphrase - his thesis was that no woman with a messy handbag can ever be taken seriously. Imagine, he said, meeting an important business contact, then fumbling through your bag looking for a business card. With men, reasoned the Wah, you reach into your wallet, grab a card, hand it over. No fuss. And men respect no fuss.

The Wah admitted that compartmentalised handbags are all right, if everything is stored neatly and made easily accessible. But they must be compartmentalised - because that's how men think.

Now amongst women, appreciation of handbags ranks second only to appreciation of shoes. I think most women understand that a messy handbag is an occasional hazard, nothing to be mocked. We have a lot of shit to carry, y'all. And despite the best efforts of the world's most fashionable scientists, we women are still struggling with "sinking key syndrome" (the reason you can never find your keys in under 10 seconds).

So I want to know the thoughts of others - what do men think of handbags? Do you think the style, colour or state of the contents say something about its owner? And ladies - is a handbag a fashion statement, or just a practical accessory? Is it entirely our fault - or can some of the blame be put on designers and trendsetters, who'd never be seen in baggy trousers with plenty of pocket room for phones, wallets, keys and a lip gloss*?

*Appreciation of lip gloss comes in third after shoes and handbags.


  1. It's funny- Phil (my bf) was raised by his mother to treat a woman's handbag with the utmost of privacy, and looking into at all it would be considered tantamount to sacrilege.

    Me, I couldn't care less, and in fact there have been times when I've asked him if you could just grab me something out of my bag, and he brings the whole bag to me instead.

    I have to respect his respect for it, but I do feel that it is taken a little to far. But then his mother and I never did agree on anything....

  2. I agree with The Wah. My girlfriend used to have a kooky handbag called Fluffy. It looked great but was just a big bag of random shit.

    Like Phil above, I'd be damned if I'd put my hands in Fluffy - it was just scary.

    Also, I have what some people like to call a manbag. Sometimes you just have more stuff to carry around than pockets will allow... and sometimes a chunky wallet can totally ruin your arse line. Still, my Crumpler has a chamber for random shit as well as specific pockets for keys, wallet, loose change etc which is why my keys are always in the front door while she is still rummaging.

    As for being taken seriously though, I think it would probably be over-rated.

  3. A woman's shallowness is in proportion to the amount of money she will spend on handbags, and how many handbags she owns. Or something like that. I'm still waiting on those results to prove that theory.


  4. Thanks for that incredibly shallow insight, Oisin. ;

    For the record, I have owned many handbags in my life, but have never paid more than $60 for one.

    That being said, if I had lots of money - hell yes, I'd be buying many expensive ones. If that makes me shallow, so be it! ;)