At a party last weekend I told my friend Audree how I’d bought a new purse. (I’ve altered the spelling of her name for privacy purposes. It’s really spelled Audrey.) “Finally!” she exclaimed, before I could hold up my new tan clutch. “You got rid of that old purple thing you’ve been dragging around!” I assured her no, the aubergine purse I bought five years ago from the Hallmark store in the mall is indeed alive and well.
And then I made a mental note to get some new friends.
I don’t buy expensive purses. It’s not about the money; as my husband would just love to tell you, I have no problem with spending. I mean, just the other day I bought a cupcake for $7.00, and this sugary confection lasted less than three minutes. (And no, I did not share it.) But there are just some things that don’t seem worth it to me – things like nice underwear or fancy jewelry. Or purses.
The truth is, I don’t get purses. The fall into the same category as maxi dresses and leggings: they always looks better on someone else. Purses are the things you use to carry your junk around. (Kind of similar to underwear, now that I think about it.) Why invest in that?
Nonetheless, Audri had shamed me. On my next trip to the outlets I wandered into the Coach store prepared to make a purchase. “Hello!” the young salesgirl chirped cheerfully. “Looking for anything special today?”
“Well, yes”, I stammered. “I—“
“Oh, hang on!” she interrupted. “Kelsey can help you, not me!” (The words yousillygirl were implied in her last sentence.) Out of nowhere, Kelsey appeared, wearing skin-tight jeans in spite of the ninety-degree weather. All of a sudden my comfortable sundress felt cheap, matronly. Were tight jeans now in style in the middle of summer? When did that happen?
Jean-clad Kelsey asked me what I was looking for, and I explained I wanted a purse exactly the same size as the one I was carrying, preferably in the same eggplant tone. “Oh”, she said skeptically. “You want a pocketbook. In purple”.
(Just what is a pocketbook? Too small to hold a book, especially the giant John Irving I’m struggling to get through now. But it’s certainly bigger than a pocket. Oh, what a riddle. And why does everyone keep trying to pigeonhole my purse into purple? It’s really more plum-y.)
Together, Kelsey and I ransacked the store in search of the perfect purple pocketbook (her words, not mine). Twenty minutes later, after I’d rejected every leather-buckled-adjustable-strap bag she held up, she admitted defeat. “I think” she gasped, breathless from rummaging through all the shelves in low-slung denim, “that maybe you don’t want a new pocketbook. Maybe you like the one you have.”
Embarrassed, I slunk out, clutching my Hallmark purse/pocketbook to my chest and trying to avoid any more attention. “Hope you come back and visited us again soon!” the first salesgirl sang out. “Oh definitely!” I agreed. “We’ll be back for sure!” Then I remembered: I was alone. I made a quick attempt to salvage the moment by tossing back a “Whoops! I mean I’ll be back!” She’d already turned away.
I wonder if Wal-Mart sells purses. Or pocketbooks. I’ll have to ask Audreigh.