Wednesday, March 15, 2006

My Purseful Driven Life

By Deana Nall
Baytown Sun

Published March 15, 2006

I have a confession to make. I am a purse abuser.

Purses do a lot for me. They carry around all my stuff. Thanks to my purse, I always have my Chapstick, Orbit gum, hand sanitizer, lotion and billfold — all things to which I am addicted on one level or another.

In return, I treat my purses horribly. I throw them around. I cram junk in them that should never go into a purse. They end up under furniture, in the floorboard of the car, and being dragged around the bathroom by my 18-month-old. It can’t be a pleasant existence.

I can’t seem to help it. Because I have so many people and things that I have to take care of, my purses lose out. But I have to have them, so I keep buying them and being mean to them.

Which begs the question: Why do women need purses in the first place? Why does half the population have to have an assortment of stuff with them all the time while the other half doesn’t?

In my opinion, purses function as one of the great contradictions of our society. We women get all bent out of shape of someone charges us with being “high maintenance.” But at the same time, we carry these mini-suitcases around with us everywhere we go.

On the other hand though, I’m not convinced men don’t need purses. I’ve been threatening to buy my husband one for years.

My bad purse-treating habits have been on my mind because I just got a new purse.

This new one replaced the one I bought at the end of my last pregnancy to be my combination purse/diaper bag. See, this time around, I was determined to be a cool mom. No canvas pink diaper bags with Classic Pooh on them for me. Instead, I bought a sleek, multi-compartment black bag that would announce to the world, “Look at me. I can be a mom and retain my sense of style at the same time.”

But I soon grew tired of reaching in for my billfold and pulling out a diaper instead. Or a sad, forgotten sippy cup one-third full of fermented apple juice. Or a wadded-up napkin containing a piece of cantaloupe that my daughter had decided, in mid-chew at a bridal shower with no trash cans in sight, she didn’t like.

So my purse/diaper bag became just my purse and I gave in to the pink canvas diaper bag. Which left plenty of room in my purse for junk. Receipts I would never need again. Long-expired coupons. Zip-Loc bags containing crackers that have been ground to a fine powder. Renegade Cheetos that have given everything in my purse an orange sheen. I found myself, like many women do, carrying a purse full of garbage around.

And that’s when we purse abusers buy new purses. Not because we find a cute one on sale, but because buying a new purse is easier than cleaning the old one out.

Fortunately, my new purse is so little that the things I need will hardly fit into it, let alone the junk I don’t need.

So maybe there’s hope for me after all.

Deana Nall lives in Baytown with her family.


  • At Wed Mar 15, 06:07:00 AM, Blogger Sarah P said…

    I want to know how that Ziploc bag full of crackers, once it has ground into a fine powder, can continue to poke holes in the bag until every crumb has escaped and coated the bottom of your purse. Seems pretty passive aggressive.

  • At Wed Mar 15, 09:12:00 AM, Blogger Karen said…

    You oughta check out Anita Renfroe. She has written a book called "The Purse-Driven Life," and another one called "Purseonality." She is hilarious!

  • At Wed Mar 15, 09:14:00 AM, Blogger Karen said…

    Ooops.. sorry. That "Purseonality" is a new DVD of hers. She is a great comedienne.

  • At Wed Mar 15, 10:38:00 AM, Blogger Diane said…

    Oh we have such commitment issues...we vow to treat this new purse so much better. Only in a year or two to be casting it aside: melted lipstick, broken powder compact, dried gum & all to start over again. (Hmmm, mine is over 5 years old now...[gone to Target])

  • At Wed Mar 15, 01:53:00 PM, Blogger HW said…

    My husband needs a man purse and we threaten to buy him one for each birthday. When we go out to eat he sets the following things on the table: blackberry, checkbook, overstuffed wallet, and keys - all in a very neat pile on the edge of the table. I've told him that Joey on "Friends" had one for awhile, but he's not going for it.
    We women carry purses for the same reason our mothers did; to old our kids' "abc"gum wrapped in an old tissue....

  • At Wed Mar 15, 03:07:00 PM, Blogger Jared Cramer said…

    I have often said that if it was more socially acceptable, I'd carry a purse. Instead, I just carry my black laptop bag EVERYWHERE!

  • At Wed Mar 15, 03:26:00 PM, Blogger Brian said…


    I can't wait until you get enough columns on your page this month so that the food from the 50s disappears! :)

  • At Thu Mar 16, 04:38:00 AM, Blogger Paige Robins said…

    Yeah, my only problem is that my husband bought me an expensive purse that I'd wanted for a long time and now he can't understand why I would want a new one. Oh, to be a man! So simple-minded! I think they even understand themselves!

  • At Thu Mar 16, 08:32:00 AM, Blogger Tracy said…

    I got Scott a murse (man-purse/satchel) for Christmas and he loves it. He uses it as his diaper bag/gym bag and keys. I'm actually surprised how much he likes it. I found it at American Eagle and it looks pretty cute, er, cool.

    But then again, the guy is in love with his crocs so what do we know?

  • At Thu Mar 16, 09:59:00 AM, Blogger "Snapshot" said…

    I have found that if I carry a small purse, I keep junk to a minimum. The larger the purse, me more I stuff junk in there. I used to carry a HUGE purse, but learned that was a mistake. So now I carry one just big enough for my "necessary" stuff.


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