A Purse-onal Problem

I've had many people say the bag I'm carrying makes me look as though I'm going on a weekend trip. I've ignored Negative Nellies who whine, "How much stuff do you actually need to carry around?"

Long have I championed the large purse. It carries 6.64 times more crap than the average purse! It can take you from home to work to the gym to the club, all while holding your wallet, your keys, your phone, your novel, your Tide pen, your glasses, your bus pass, your sunglasses, your backup glasses, your workout gear, your planner, your checkbook, your umbrella, your handkerchief, and your disco-glitter dancin' shoes! It turns you into a walking Walgreen's! Why, it even cures epilepsy*!

Unfortunately, it also hurts your back, and that's not something I want to deal with simply by popping a few of the Advil I keep in there. This is the mammoth bag I was carrying around everywhere for about a year until only recently, when I noticed some muscle pain in my back that could not be due to anything else (tested):

I'm sorry; it's not you, it's my pansy of a back. 
You'll still hang out in my closet, though, right?

This bag is about the size of my torso turned sideways. So I decided to experiment with a purse most sane people would view as a normal size: approximately a foot long by six inches high and four inches wide. It's very cute (sorry, bought it from the Goodwill and haven't taken a picture yet), to be sure, but after a couple of weeks, I feel confident when I say that it is too small.

It's about the relative size to me as this purse is to this model.

This purse only holds my wallet, my phone, and my keys comfortably. With some serious cramming, I can maybe fit a chapstick, my (flat) bus pass, one (1) pair of glasses, and my Moleskine (which is exactly the length and height of my purse, so that's really pushing it). When I need to blow my nose, I have to go seek out a Kleenex. When I want to kill time on my commute, I must be content with gawking at the strangers around me or pretending to sleep. When I want to bring my lunch to work, I need to carry a separate bag (two bags! inconceivable!). And every time I take something out of it, it's an embarrassing, danger-courting, time-consuming game of Tetris to put everything back in so that the dang thing will close. This purse barely holds what I would put in a clutch for a night out.

This is hard on me. I don't want to seem high-maintenance, but I tried to be like everybody else with their tiny purses and failed. I feel lost if I don't have everything I could possibly need on hand -- because frequently I do need almost everything I kept in my big purse. But I don't feel able to go back to the gargantuan purses of my heyday because of my rapidly aging back. There's got to be a middle ground!

Do you have any suggestions? What's your favorite purse? Your everyday purse? What do you keep in them?

*Idiopathic only.


  1. Anonymous1.4.10

    i suggest a satchel. or a bag that has a sliding strap that makes it long enough to sling around your shoulders and lay flat on your back. (flat is a relative term, since we both know it will bulge in the most incongruous ways). i like the gray one i got at some weird consignment shop. i can shorten the strap to be a purse, or i can haul it like i'm some sort of fearless-in-the-face-of-certain-death bike messenger.


  2. I still wear the giant-ass backpack that I had in high school. It fits all kinds of stuff and since it's over two shoulders it hurts my back far less. Then again, it's not very hip. Maybe you could start a "trying to act like a teenager again" stage and get a Hello Kitty backpack or something, that could be cute in an ironic way? Or something.



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