Mama’s Got a Brand New Bag

Did I ever tell you about my handbag theory?

Ever since I started earning my own money aged 13, I’ve been into arm candy. Handbags are my THING – my porn. There is nothing sexier than a beautiful vintage handbag dangling on the arm of a gorgeous person. Sex and the City was all about the designer purse for me, the love lives of the girls secondary to Carrie’s sweet sweet collection of luxury perfection. The Fendi baguette, the Dior saddle bag, the Balenciaga – ooh la la!

I have lots of fond handbag memories and one very painful one. I inherited a vintage Adidas flight bag from my uncle when I was around 17 and it was the greatest thing I’ve ever owned. It was his as a teen and he’d kept it pristine all those years.

Alas my mother got sick of all the crap in her loft, including 5689 other bags of mine, and she slung the lot while I was backpacking around Australia. She did ask me if it was okay first and – feeling freshly zen from all the finding myself (and so not being about material possessions anymore) – I said yes. In the kerfuffle, the Adidas met an early demise and I’ve never got over the loss. Since then I have loved a lot of bags. The thing is – and this includes the Adidas – not one of them has been completely perfect, and this is where my thinking comes in.

The search for the perfect handbag is not unlike the Holy Grail – it might exist only in myth. But if it does, I imagine it really would contain the secret of eternal youth and all the miraculous powers and abundant happiness of legend. In historical descriptions, the HG has always been a dish, cup or a stone but there’s nothing to say it couldn’t be a vessel large enough to house 77 lip balms.

There’s a chance however, that what is perfect one day might change the next. Even if I do one day stumble across the bag of all my dreams, what’s to say it will remain ‘the one’ forever?*

Say I do find it and I don’t change my mind – is it akin to finally accepting oneself or discovering the meaning of life? Once I’ve found the Holy Grail Handbag, is that me done? And if that’s the case, do I even want to find it?

Maybe the hunt is the real point here, that’s where all the fun lies. With every new bag there’s a new beginning and I think this is the other main draw for me. Every new bag requires a fresh start. You clear out the old bag of all your shit and you transfer it into the new one – everything is shiny again.

Just get a bag and drop a dream in it, and you’ll be surprised what happens. ~ Charles Nelson Reilly

So, while I’m searching for the one, I don’t think I actually want to find it. I can’t imagine giving up the search, or settling down with one bag for the rest of my life**. Life’s so short and there are so many heavenly purses for me to love. Each and every one of them deserves its place in the sun, dangling from my stumpy white arm.

I bet you any money though that I’ll spend my whole life searching only to find out that the answer to all this has been within me the whole time. That it’s not what you carry all your stuff in, it’s about the stuff itself.

Go figure.

What’s your thing?


*Obviously we have bags for all occasions. There are situations that require a teeny tiny cross body or a sophisticated clutch – and summer is all about straw beach bags – when I say ‘the one’, I mean in relation to the every day essential

**If I had to name the closest I’ve ever come in the past to true love, I’d say my 90s Barbie backpack. I can’t remember what happened to it but I miss it every day

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