Though handbag styles vary widely – as a trip to ESSE will quickly attest – the women carrying those purses generally fit a few basic purse-onality types, types that can be exemplified by pop cultural heroines.
At one extreme, we have the Ellie May Clampett, who don’t need no durn purse or anything that won’t fit in her pockets. She’d just climb a tree and lose a handbag anyway, and Granny would tan her hide.
The Blanche Dubois carries nothing except what fits in her hand or pockets and relies on the kindness of friends and relatives to supplement her waifishness.
“Darling, could you possibly carry my wallet/cell phone/reading glasses/keys in your purse for me?” “Honey, do you have a comb/lipstick/Midol/nail file/piece of gum I could borrow, please?”
Maybe she’s a hippie or hipster friend who never grew up – or maybe she’s your teenage daughter – but we all know or have known one.
(Actually, Blanche Dubois is likely to be your husband, who wouldn’t be caught dead carrying a manpurse but thinks nothing of dropping things he needs into yours.)
The Holly Golightly carries some kind of fabulous bag, but it’s loaded as lightly as her name implies: a mirror, a lipstick, fabulous sunglasses and possibly a small amount of money for cab fare or donuts – but the queen of preparedness she is not.
She slips easily into Blancheness when a need arises.
The Nancy Drew, whether carrying a sleek clutch or sassy shoulder bag, is the utmost in organization with everything a gal might need for an average – or urgent – situation, packed most efficiently, with everything in its place and every pocket carefully filled.
You won’t catch her asking to borrow a flashlight.
Then we have the Mary Poppins, who carries everything you can imagine and more, and, though she may act stern, will gladly give you whatever you need to help you make it through the day or night.
Just don’t ask to look into – or dare reach into – her bag. Some things are sacred. And some umbrellas bite.
Of course these are extremes; most of us slide up and down the scale. Some days I can relate to Samantha’s Aunt Clara on Bewitched, as likely to pull a doorknob or parakeet out of my purse as something useful.
If you had to classify your purse-onality, with whom do you identify? She doesn’t have to be on our list, but we’d love to know.