Friday, April 12, 2013

Purse Envy? No Way.

(Post copyright 2013, Dawn Weber)

Well, it's official. I appear to be one of the only women in the free world without capital Cs all over her handbag.

Damn. I forgot to spend $400 on a purse.

Those Coach bags - they're everywhere. City streets, elevators . . . just last week at Kroger, I watched a teen mom pull food stamps out of hers. I thought about asking "Brittany" how she could afford such a purse, qualifying for state assistance and all, but she was very busy chatting on her iPhone 5. Plus, I had to get back to work so I could support her.

Oh great. I sound like a Republican now, don't I? That is what ridiculously overpriced accessories do to me.

I know, I know. Many of the designer bags you see around are counterfeit - I'm aware of those purse parties. But even the fake ones cost more than a decent dinner at Ruby Tuesday, and given the choice, I know which one I'd choose. Have you seen me? Yeah. I pick Ruby Tuesday.

Priorities, people.

I just can't understand this trend. I don't care who made my purse; I don't care what it says, or where it's from. I have one requirement for my purse: It must be huge.

I guess the "C" is supposed to stand for something besides "Coach?" Maybe make a woman feel like she's rich, successful? What could that "C" stand for?

I have a few suggestions.

"Cost," "charge" and "credit" are some of the words that come to mind. Let's use them in a sentence:

"The Coach bag Brittany wanted cost more than her welfare check, so she charged it to her pimp's credit card."

Hahaha - oh, I have fun with my sweeping generalizations. And really - I don't mean to suggest that all women who buy grossly overpriced handbags are posers/hookers/Brittanys/welfare recipients. No.

Indeed - I have a dear, gainfully employed, non-hooker friend from my old hometown who carried one. I asked her once why she spent more on a Coach bag than she did on her Chevy Cobalt.

"It is SO well made," she said. "This purse will last forever!"

She used it for two months. I never saw it again.

Here's the thing about handbags - they're just like boyfriends. They seem great - for a while; they might even service you well - for a bit. But women get tired of looking at them, and there's probably a better one out there.

That? Is why females have so many different purses.

Though I don't condone the idea of expensive purses, I'm a big proponent of the concept of many purses. I have handbags upon handbags, tumbling out of my closet, all reasonably priced, all large.

And the bottom line is, a good purse is like a good man: It should be huge, and provide me with a bunch of money.

Not cost me a bunch of money.

Because I have other things to spend $400 on - such as groceries.

For myself, and for Brittanys.


Below is an excerpt from my upcoming book. (Sixteen essays done now - whoo hoo!)  If you don't know what Scotch tape and toxic chemicals have to do with hair, well, then, you didn't know my grandmother:

. . . "Fifteen dollars for a haircut? Ha! No way. Bring me the Scotch tape and scissors."

Oh, Lordie. Scotch tape, the scissors and my grandmother. Never a successful combination.

But there was no telling her that. She was a child of the Great Depression, and paying someone else to do something she could accomplish ranked as a totally foreign concept. Anyway, It was 1974. We did as we were told back then.

No, I'd been through this many times before, and there wasn't any use arguing. I handed her the Scotch tape and scissors, then assumed my perch on the folding stool for the inevitable.

"Let me just get it in a straight line here . . . "

I squirmed, and she frowned thoughtfully while taping the width of my forehead, smashing hair down into my eyes. She squinted through thick bi-focals - her bad vision was legendary - and with wide, frightened eyeballs, I watched the sharp scissors approach my face.  

''Hold still now!''

I squeezed my eyes shut and held my breath.


She cut across my bangs, then ripped off the tape . . . and hair. . . also eyelashes.


"There!" she said. "Much better. Fifteen dollars for a salon haircut? Ha! Look at this!"
She gave me a mirror. Gone were my bangs. Gone was my dignity.

Gone were half my eyebrows.

The length of my hair, thin, raggedy, dishwater blonde, fell limply onto my shoulders. She hadn't touched that. But my bangs, cut in a razor-straight, Scotch-taped line, rose high on my forehead. I looked like an orphan. I looked like a little beggar.

I looked like I qualified for state assistance.

Things didn't improve much for me or my hair in the 80s, especially on the days I saw Grandma frowning thoughtfully at me from the kitchen.

"Bring me that box of Toni perm in the closet. And get a big bath towel."

Oh, Lordie. There went my plan of roller-discoing  in the garage all day. The Toni Home Perm, the bath towel, my grandmother - once more, never a successful combination . . ."


  1. You're Grandma was awesome, if only for providing us with this glimpse into your unseemly past.


    And Coach purse? Speak to me not of Coach purses -- there are Brittanys on the bus with them, in stained pants and pulling dirty, unhappy children behind them.

    Here is where I admit, however, to buying a $180 dollar purse at Macy's, on SERIOUS sales and with a $50 GC I got for Christmas. A truly wonderful purse with all the pockets and whatnot that I require OF a purse for an additional six bucks.

    What the heck. :-)

    Hugs and Kisses,


  2. Crap.

    That's YOUR Grandma. Not "you're".

    I shall sit in the corner now...

  3. LOL! Been there, had that done to me. The emotional scars will never heal.

  4. My best friend is a self-proclaimed purse slut. She shops at Goodwill, however, so her 600 dollar bag she's currently carrying was 48 bucks.

    Me? I don't understand it. I carry a backpack all week long, there is a ton of stuff in there that I either need when I don't have it or room for things I might need to haul to work with me. Crafty stuff and all like that.

    On weekends, I pull out my debit card, driver's license, and frequent shopper card and zip them into a little pocket in my coat. Traveling light, ya know?

    I have seen a lot of really stupid girls/women with the very expensive bags. I try not to be blatant, but yes, I laugh at them.

    My mom used to use the pink hair tape on my bangs. I have since learned to cut my own. Much better, and not straight. More... wispy.

  5. It was after midnight following a party at my house.
    My 10 year old had gotten one of those oh-so-cute her hair. You know the kind. The one in which colorful strings are intertwined.
    After a few weeks, she had gotten tired of the braid so she wanted it removed. So, since Mom was saying goodbye to guests, I along with a friend, attempted to untie it, freeing my daughter's hair. Well, no luck so I listened to my friend who said, "Why don't we just cut the braid off?"
    So, I took a pair of scissors and did just that.
    Surprisingly, my daughter is still speaking to me. And Mom eventually got over it. But, you can bet your bottom dollar this story still comes up after nine years.
    Remember: This was after midnight. AFTER a party. Yes, I was.
    BONUS: You may be asking why a 10 year old was still awake after midnight. We were in Iceland. It was summer. It was still light out.

  6. >>Here's the thing about handbags - they're just like boyfriends. They seem great - for a while; they might even service you well - for a bit. But women get tired of looking at them, and there's probably a better one out there.<<

    Pure gold there girlfriend. I could not have said it any better.

  7. Pearl - I'm not completely against quality bags - sounds like you got a great deal at Macy's. I probably should have been more clear - the Coach purses I'm talking about are canvas - not leather. $400-odd for Canvas! If it was leather, it would make a bit more sense. I still wouldn't pay it, but it'd make more sense. :)
    Linda - Never. They'll never heal.
    Ami - I see those purses at Goodwill, too. I'm always amazed that they're there. Spend $400 on a purse, then give it to Goodwill? I hope they took it as a tax write-off.
    Penwasser - You nut. That? Is why men should never be allowed near they're daughter's hair. Especially after a party. In Iceland. ;)
    Pixie - I know, right? I am just sayin'. ;)

  8. I love your blog! And I couldn't agree more about Brittanies and Coach bags. My mother used to tape my bangs to cut them, too. Straight and short. And I wasn't the only girl at school suffering either.

    Great to meet you on Linda's blog.

  9. Shoulda seen her class picture that year.

  10. Love your grandma----that's hilarious. My mom totally used to cut my bangs--you should be damn thankful she used the tape bc mine were NEVER straight!

    And the purses? I own one Coach purse--I bought it at a yard sale. :) It is very roomy and trimmed with pink--my fave!!! TH eonly purse I spend $$ on is Kate Spade--bc they really are stylish and cute and unique, imho. I don't get what's so stylish about having C's all over a boring purse, personally.

  11. I love well-made designer bags, but I absolutely must get a deal on them. Found my current black Michael Kors bag on Ebay for $80. Owned by a little old lady who'd worn it once. Swear to God. The thing sold for $300 retail. Yes!

    As for your bangs, I remember when I was 11 and my cousin went to beauty school... Not good.

  12. I don't think I noticed at the time, but now I'm highly embarrassed by the extreme angle at which my mom cut my bangs. Helen Keller could've done better. But at least mom didn't use scotch tape. Sorry for that, Dawn.

    And a Coach purse? I don't even eat at Ruby Tuesdays. We're talking Taco Bell with a raggedy handbag from Tijuana.

    Great, humorous, quick-witted writing, as always. Keep going. Your book is full of promise and laughter.


  13. Carol - Thanks for stopping over! Glad I wasn't alone with my state-assistance looking hair.
    Al - I bet it was her favorite one.
    Scarlet - yep. Kate Spade makes lovely bags. I'd never buy one, but if I was going to purchase a $$ purse, I'd choose hers over the ridiculous "C" canvas ones.
    Jayne - Now see? You're smart. Jayne knows how to shop!
    Robyn - Oh, I love Taco Bell. Meet me there, 11 a.m., before all the Brittanies arrive. Haha. Love ya, girl.

  14. Finally a woman that agrees with me on the whole purse issue. Now that we have that taken care of, how do you feel about shoes?

  15. PT Man - To which shoes do you refer? I have several hundred pair. ;)
    I don't feel that they need to cost a lot, though.

  16. Dammit Dawn, another fashion trend I missed. No wonder I get funny looks in the supermarket. *note to self* Try. To. Keep. Up. Thanks! Roth

  17. Late to the party again. Wife's Grandma was also depression era. In her kitchen junk drawer was a small box labelled "String, too short to use." Absolutely true!

  18. Indigo - Perhaps a UK version of a ''Brittany'' will loan you one. What is your UK version of a Brittany?
    Jono - Did she also collect bread bags...and plastic butter dishes ...and twist ties...and...

  19. Purses are a lot like a new set of golf clubs. Hopes, dreams and desires all in a new shiny package, soon forgotten!

  20. This post just proved that I'm a bad person. Not because I've ever owned a name brand purse but because when you said the "C" must stand for something else, I nodded in agreement and automatically assumed you meant a horrific four letter word that I can't even bring myself to type out. I am the worst!

    Also, I seriously snortled so loud reading about your Grandma. I can't wait for this book!

  21. Ray - Very, very well said! Couldn't have said it better myself. And I didn't.
    Vixen - I know the C word of which you speak. I can always count on you for catching my drift. ;)

  22. I always wanted bangs. I wanted to be Audrey Hepburn with bangs so it was me with the tape and scissors. Ha. Nobody told me I had a one inch forehead!! I looked like a brillo pad. Jody,The Medicare Mom p.s are you self publishing?