Got a Handle On It

A long, long time ago, my husband went purse shopping with me, which is why he went a long, long time not purse shopping with me.

There are no perfect handbags. There are only perfect handbags for each outfit and occasion.

There are some things I need to tell you up front:

1) I have owned maybe 30 bags since I got my first one on my tenth birthday. I am not a collector of bags. I am not a handbagaholic. I do not have a purse problem. I may have some shoe and scarf issues, but the purses are under control.

2) I have a few bags I’ve held onto and reused many times over the years — a black silk clutch my mother gave me in college, the itty bitty cross-body patchwork thing that goes on hands-free outings, an enormous denim weekender circa 2005, a chic patent leather putty clutch from 2013, and from 2011, a yellow handbag whose leather may as well be butter.

3) I have had a few bags that I carried for years and years: the blue satchel, the black messenger, the giraffe tote. My friends who read me just nodded and nodded. Iconic Joey bags. They know.

4) I do not buy handbags on a whim. I can’t buy anything bigger than candy on a whim, because I suffer terrible buyer’s remorse. Also, do not buy generic gummi bears.

5) I do not pay full price for handbags. I have not and will not. Won’t happen.

6) Since leaving the job I felt I lived at, I’d abandoned my enormous weekender bag. I’d been carrying the yellow bag. I planned to use the yellow bag through the summer. I wanted time to shop for a new purse.

dramatic-pause

But then, on any old Tuesday in May, one of the handles on my fine Italian yellow handbag broke.
It had been a rather Scarlet O’Hara day for me overall, so that handle breaking was tops on my NOT-FUCKING-NOW! meter.

Because Dan Antion told me he’d once stapled his pants, I stapled my bag to get me through. So inspiring, Dan. Then I restapled. Because staples for paper are not the best sort for holding together straps of leather. They are, however, inconspicuous and leave only the slightest marks.

IMG_5631

This got me by for a while, but there comes a time when a woman simply cannot go on carrying an unreliable bag and she must take it in for repair. My baby!

I dragged out my canvas tote and woefully placed all my preciouses inside it, and went out in search of a new handbag.

The Mister went with me.
The Mister got involved.

See, all I said was how I have exquisite taste. And since we’re talking about a man who carried the same hunter green backpack from 1989-2013 and felt guilty spending $70 (On Clearance!!!) for a beautiful leather man bag, he no doubt hoped his involvement would rein in my spending.

Joke’s on him.

He, too, has exquisite taste in handbags.

Some of the handbags, I don’t even look at, because I know. I know the look of fine construction, I know at a glance. I don’t pick them up and get personally involved with them because I know I am not going to buy them, because I have no business buying them. Unless they are half off. Then I will debate a bit.

Given his lack of experience, The Mister has no wisdom in these matters. He picked up a bag:

“Looks like a bowling bag.”
“Yes, very nice bowling bag.”
“Look at the stitching.”
“I know.”
“This is nice hardware.”
“Oh, I know. Look at the price tag.”
“Holy fuck!”
“Mmhm. Is very nice bowling bag.”

He had me in stitches! I’m sorry you weren’t there for all the laughing.

On he went. He could pick out a purse for me, no problem. It turns out his complaints about handbags are my complaints about handbags. His disdain, my disdain.

Design a beautiful bag and then maybe try not to put your name, your brand, your emblem all over the fucking thing. I want to advertise my taste, not my money, and certainly not you.

An embellishment here and there is fine. It needn’t be crammed with detail. I don’t want a chain and a tassel and some bling and a pop of color and a big ass flower all on the same bag. Stahp.

If you want me to empty my purse for the purchase of your beautiful purse, then for the love of leather, show some respect and put some fucking feet on the bottom. I am NOT The Queen of Indiana, I can’t hold my bag all the time. I have to shop and eat and applaud and use public restrooms.

I’ve got a fine European back. It’s ideal for hauling sacks of potatoes up the hill, but since I’m not trying to bulk-up, I don’t want my purse to weigh twenty-five pounds, thank you very much.

We looked at hundreds of handbags.

And I left without a new purse.

Then another day we went to the mall, where The Mister repeated the same commentary and made lots of scoffing noises.
“I thought you liked these. You didn’t look at this section at all,” he said.
“Baby, lemme help you with this,” I told him, “Where we were before? That’s where they go after a season or two. This is where they’re born. They’re full price here.”

His Face. 
Oh y’all.

After two weeks and eleven shops, I finally got a new bag. Half off.

Everyone says they’re thrilled for me and I’m sure you are, too.

IMG_6060

Even though Doris The Red is still new and I will keep her for years to come, next week at the fair, Imma take a serious gander at those hand-tooled leather bags I always ogle.

I’ve got a handle on it.

About joey

Neurotic Bitch, Mother, Wife, Writer, Word Whore, Foodie and General Go-To-Girl
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79 Responses to Got a Handle On It

  1. Ally Bean says:

    I’m with you on #4. Big buyer’s remorse person here.

    I have about 5 leather handbags and I use them in rotation. I have yet to find a perfect one, but I keep on trying because hope springeth eternal. In fact is is my dream to have a red leather handbag, so you’re living me dream there. Lucky girl.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Benson says:

    I always try to find something to relate to in your blogs. Your mania-my mania. Your addiction – my addiction, That sort of thing. Try as I might I can’t come up with anything as far as your love of all things bags is concerned. I can relate to your fondness for quality at half off. Your new red bag is beautiful and I hope it serves you well. Did you ever get Ol Yeller fixed? I love the thought of a buttery leather purse. What a wonderful statement. Nice post. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Thank you!
      I have not taken Ol Yeller into Hakky yet. I have been by there twice, too. :/ I’m pretty bad about getting to specialty places overall. By the time I took them my last pair of shoes, I already had another pair break. Oy.
      Ol Yeller is my FAVORITE. She’s all-season, almost all-style compatible. Dammit.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Bill says:

    I read this so intently. I often carry a “merse” (my word for man purse) which is disguised as a downsized backpack fer my stuff when backpack is too big. I suppose I already knew that ladies handbags are a big deal, now I understand why even better. I admit that I have never assisted with the acquisition of one. I also know why I never will be asked to (but I will hear “what do you think?” and “I only paid $XX for it.” Another well-told Joey story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Thank you for reading intently. Honestly, I worked hard on this post (which is unusual) so it means a lot to me that you read it.
      Honestly, I hate shopping, but handbags are probably one of my least dreaded shops. I just don’t like to be rushed. I’m sure your merse is fabulous and I hope you’re spared the shopping of Hers.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. AmyRose🌹 says:

    I’ve downsized, Joey. Purses galore as in the past. When my purses became so heavy with stuff in them that they were hurting my neck, I said enough! So, now I carry on my person my wallet and my phone. That’s it. If I’m wearing a gloss that day, that goes into a jean pocket. Nice and neat and clean and simple.
    Just to give you an example how much we are connected to STUFF, I came across a female photographer the other day so loaded down with stuff I told my sister she was like a donkey … a beast of burden. HOW can you enjoy yourself when you are so loaded down with stuff? She had her camera, another lens, her tripod, and a backpack filled with stuff including her laptop. Say what? Where did the FUN go?
    Imagine all the TIME you would save shopping IF you no longer had a purse to throw your stuff into. I know …. silly. YOU need a purse right now. And that’s OK. GREAT post again!!! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Haha! Thanks!
      Where do you keep your glasses and sunglasses? Your keys? Your mints? Your hand lotion and tissues? Are you not blind and dry and snotty?!? Like, I’m happy for you, but I don’t see my future as purseless. I don’t even know who I’d be!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I bring a small canvas bag to work these days. Too many pairs of glasses, plus I don’t have to sit on my wallet all day. I’ve been on those shopping adventures with my wife. Best if I don’t go, and don’t know.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sharukh Bamboat says:

    I think we all go through that feeling of remorse after impulsive shopping. In my circles, I’m probably the only guy who loves to shop. Sarah has a greater control over her shopping. So, I’m the one who usually has to tell her to “Please Shop”. Now, when I am at a party with my friends and their partners the equation looks like I am a spendthrift and I never grumble about my wife shopping. So, my friends don’t like that because they might have a bit heated after-party conversation with their partners on how they should be like me. It is funny what the world perceives of you when you act in a certain way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      I’m sure those women who love to shop are happy to have you on their side! Neither my husband nor myself enjoy shopping for anything but books.
      Thanks for stopping by to read 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. loisajay says:

    You mean you don’t like those bags with all the C’s on them?? I thought they were only for girls named Cathy. 🙂 Sad to say, but I do love my Kate Spade bags. After she died, I went to her outlet store, where not only were her bags marked down, but also 70% off. Yes, I did. Several, in fact. I do love a good leather bag. No Mister shopping with me…. This is one of your all-time greats, Joey.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      I have had three C bags, none of which had Cs all over them 😦 In fact, I have a whole notha handbag story about a C bag.
      I LOVE Kate Spade bags, too. I’m in the $350s with my size preference though, so I have never bought one. I feel certain one day I will find one in my size, and on sale in my range. I’m so glad you snagged some! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Jewels says:

    Ooo so shiney and red! 😍 Love it, loved the story, thanks Joey! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Would you PLEASE go out and buy a purse for me. Medium, lots of pockets, not black on the inside (every small thing I have – glasses case, wallet, checkbook – is black), made of Kevlar (so I don’t worry someone will slash through and take my stuff), LIGHT. Every bag I’ve ever bought is wrong. And too heavy.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. scr4pl80 says:

    Love the red bag! I have a lot of purses but find myself going back to just a couple. Depends on where I’m going. I’d rather shop for purses than shoes. I never, ever pay full price!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. orbthefirst says:

    I DO THIS!
    Well, sorta. Lol
    Research for a new pack is a serious endeavor, unless I just go military surplus, then its whatevers cheapest when I get there. I think I spent about a week looking at reviews, and watching videos for the pack that hangs off the back of my wheelchair. And wtf is the deal with branding anyway? NO ONE CARES about your pretty Northface winter vest that leaves you cold in the 30s! A simple tag on the inside will do. I mean, yea..I have my preferred brands, but thats only because I can toss them out of a moving truck at 35 MPH…They make for a good starting point. Lol
    After that…Black..internal frame (Or if itll just sit square when put down)…doesnt sag..good organization..MOLLE webbing…
    Im not picky LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      I totally get that. Internal frame on pack = structured handbag. Research is everything when it comes to me parting with my money.
      I wanted a NorthFace jacket last year, actually, we all wanted one. It was so light, but uber warm, but at $130 a pop, that’s $520, so we said no.
      I agree about brands — sometimes you’re getting what you pay for and sometimes you’re a walking ad. I ain’t into the latter.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. L.K. Latham says:

    I don’t care if it’s from last season either. And what’s with the egos of designers that they have to put their name all over their purses? I refuse to advertise for someone unless they want to pay me to carry their name with me everywhere. Glad to find another like-minded-no-nonsense- purse lover out there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      I KNOW, RIGHT? I don’t want to upset anyone who likes them, but for pity’s sake, I’m not a brand queen and I sure don’t work for brands! Thanks for your support! 🙂

      Like

  13. marianallen says:

    I have one purse which I use for all occasions. I don’t have a great variety of occasions. I can’t be messing with transferring stuff and deciding what HAS to be in. I want it ALL in, or I wouldn’t have it in the one purse in the first place. Of course “purse” is what I’ve learned to call these objects. I grew up calling them “pockabooks”. I love your new one. I would call her Red Sonja, because I am a geek and Red Sonja is a Sword and Sorcery heroine.

    Liked by 2 people

    • joey says:

      Oh. All in, all the time. Yes, we differ there.
      She is called Doris because she’s very dramatic and we know a Dramatic Doris. Shh, don’t tell Doris, she dunno she’s drama.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. eschudel says:

    Nice bag!! Kevin was the same with prices of good bags, until he realized how long they last. His purse cost more than mine, but will last forever!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. JT Twissel says:

    I’m more of a hat person. Awfully hard to find the perfect hat!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I might be a purse person. I have some, and since I’m in a downsizing mood I actually gave away…gave away a box full. I regret giving one away. I wish I hadn’t given that one away. Oh well.

    I have had some of my purses since I was in my twenties. A long time! I love real leather purses, and yes, please with feet, and no logos, and I love them lined.

    Does your new red one have feet? Why don’t they put feet on them any more? I have to take them to a cobbler to have them put on.

    He-Man has never gone purse shopping with me, or for me. I have given him pictures of purses to purchase for me for gifts. He did real good then. 😁👜👛

    Liked by 2 people

    • joey says:

      Pity you lost a beloved bag. I’m sure someone appreciates it muchly, though.
      My oldest bag is from the late 80s, that black silk clutch that was my mother’s. It’s served me well since college, and will forever.
      Doris the Red doesn’t have feet, but she was under $100, so I’m okay with it. The lack of feet on an otherwise high end bag disturbs me so. I don’t understand it. You want to spend $500 on a quality leather handbag and then set it down WHERE? No.
      I think it’s absolutely precious that He-Man bought you purses! I’ve no doubt The Mister could do that for me, but I don’t think he’d want to 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Had to laugh at your stapled bag. I once super glued a bathing suit top…. but that’s another blog entirely.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Ah, a topic everyone has an opinion on. When I was working, I had a purse that went with each pair of shoes plus the small ones for dress and the big ones for being out and about. Since I retired, I have one that I use until it has to be replaced. I hate shopping for purses because one has half the things you want in one and another has the other half. My last three purchases have been Baggallinis on sale. Why do I keep buying the same maker? They have a strap and a hook inside where I can attach my keys and wallet. That way I never have to look for my keys and I can’t leave my wallet at a store. Funny, how you look for certain things at different ages. I hope Doris the Red serves you well. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Thanks!
      You’re right about the half and half.
      I think it’s uncanny that you like Baggalini, because I just suggested that to Alicia for their lightweight and compartmentalized qualities.
      Many of my bags have that interior clip, which I, too, am all about.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. That’s a beauty, Joey. I have some handbags/purses, none at full price either I hasten to add, but a number of years ago, I found a Fossil over-the-shoulder bag that rides in front on the left and has a bag compartment big enough for my iPad, which I was then (pre-pre-smart-phone) using for photos. I paid $25 for it at an upscale thrift store and felt quite profligate!! But I’m still using it for almost everything because it’s so easy, I don’t have to hold it or try to keep it on my shoulder, and it keeps me from carrying too many things. If I could find another, I might pay full price, safe to say, as I’ve looked on the website and there’s nothing like it. I did find something similar at Target a few days ago, a travel purse with RIFD shielding (and I have an RIFD small “purse” for all my credit cards), slash-proof strap, and altogether just what I need. I did pay full price, but what the heck? It was at Target. 🙂

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      One time, at Target, I got a “Rafe exclusively for Target” handbag for $62. I carried that sucker til the tassel fell apart and the zipper warped (bout 4 years) and then my sister-in-law carried it another six months or so. Generally, I don’t buy Target bags, but ya never can tell what’s there while supplies last 😉
      Finding gems at the thrift shop, well, there’s nothing like it!
      I require a hands-free bag for outings, so I very much relate to your love of yours.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. ghostmmnc says:

    Pretty, pretty red purse you got! That yellow one sounds great, and hope you could get it fixed.
    I have a thing about purses. Can’t stand shoes, but purses seem to call to me…buy me! That said, most of mine come from yard sales or flea markets. I did get a new one on sale, and using a gift card I’d had for Penny’s that was really old (needed to use it) awhile back. Mostly I like big and unusual ones. The more outlandish the better…also vintage! Love some vintage bags! I don’t neeed any more, but can’t stop!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Thank you! I understand about the bag buying, cause like I said, I got scarf and shoe issues.
      I really do want one of those leather tooled bags, and there are many vintage ones available online, but I can’t feel them or smell them… so garage sales would be much better. Never found one in good condition at thrift shops. 😦
      I could guess you’d like big bags. I could shop bags for you, no problem!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Dan Antion says:

    I love these stories. I can’t rebut this, because I have similar issues with laptop bags and bsckbacks. Kudos to the mister once again. I tell ya, that guy’s a keeper. I’m glad you stapled. I felt vindicated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Thanks!
      I am not kidding, not even a little bit, I would love to know your backpack recommendations. Seriously. We read reviews and shelled out some good money and came out half-pleased. :/ Is true backpack durability even still available, Dan?

      Like

  22. Laura says:

    That RED. Ooo la la. And I am loving the staple save because talk about being a super awesome MacGyver girl.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Joanne Sisco says:

    Who knew? We’re Purse Sisters! I could have written this post! I have a LOT of issues – including shoes and scarves – but purses? No, ma’am. I have a small handful of go-to bags and that number rarely changes.

    I’m loving the new Doris The Red. Funny, I don’t particularly like red. I don’t like wearing red. But I do like a red purse. In fact my current purse in rotation is also red 🙂 It’s the replacement I had to buy this spring because my previous red purse broke its handle.

    See? Told you. Purse Sisters.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. markbialczak says:

    I’ve got great taste helping my dear wife Karen out in many of her fashion purchases, Joey, but the bag involvement may have stopped the moment I called the smaller version a pocket book. The look!

    Liked by 2 people

  25. prior.. says:

    I enjoyed the fun little nuggets you seamlessly insert into pieces – handle on it, European back, stahp, etc.
    Ah – Joey flavor right from the shaker baby.

    And recently I put back a “name brand” medium-sized purse (not overdone with the logo) realizing I was only considering it cos it was clearance – it also had some appeal to me and I need that size for stuff I carry two days a week and sometimes a fresh bag is just fun – even tho years ago I had this “rather go bagless phase and once had a lady offer me an old coach purse – as if I was in need – ugh – I was new to a place in Ca and well – if she knew me….
    But I did not “like” that recent bag-purse even tho part of it appealed – the hardware and the feet – etc
    And my point isn’t that something I had to get a handle on was not buying something for a great deal – I had to ask if I really liked or lived it – and watch a perception skewed –
    Ya know?
    Oh and thx to both you and dan for the staple tip – very good hack!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      I do totally know. That’s why I planned to carry the yellow bag through the entire summer, so I’d have time to find something I really loved. I hunted for Doris The Red and I love her, but I don’t love to hunt. I like to stumble upon.

      What on earth do you mean bagless phase? How on earth did you manage?!?

      You made me giggle like a schoolgirl with this comment “Joey flavor right from the shaker baby.” LOL! Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • prior.. says:

        Glad you liked my phase.
        Well the bagless phase – how can I describe it – worked at a nature center three minutes from home (soon to move and then had a big ol commute – but I listened to like one hundred bill hybels cassette tapes and got all enriched while driving – go figure)
        But when I was close – I literally had a tiny purse to hold wallet and bare minimum – often had cell phone clipped on – oh wow – thick but small phone – when flip top was out but before the Motorola Razr. Anyhow – I would carry a few folders loosely and then had two books and maybe some (few) misc craft supplies – I’d stack and carry.
        It felt nice to stack bagless but when I realized how other people watch us come and go – and then had the bag offer (ouch) well I guess I learned about so many little things –

        Liked by 1 person

        • joey says:

          I’m shaking my head at both the offer and the baglessness. I am definitely attached to worldly goods like wallet, glasses and sunglasses, keys, phone, mints, balm…

          Liked by 1 person

          • prior.. says:

            well now my purse is much bigger and feels like part of my right arm.
            and have bags in different shapes and sizes – and have a few stories coming to mind – but for another time.
            Need to get back to the offer of the old coach.
            OMG
            It was so old and that was when I realized i was coming across a certain way. I was hired on permanent after a summer job and it was my first week with office folks. I think she saw the real me later that fall – but yikes – first impressions can be so off.
            and I really hope you enjoy the new red one.
            what did you do with the stapled yellow?

            Liked by 1 person

            • joey says:

              I can tell it really affected you :/ I’m sorry someone saw you in a ‘lesser’ way, but really, it says more about her than you, you know that, right?
              Yellow bag waits for me to go to the place. There are two shoes stores (same store, two locations) where I take stuff, so when I get out that way, I’ll get her in for repair. She’s a keeper. She’s my old reliable.

              Liked by 1 person

              • prior.. says:

                That is great about the repair place! Quality stuff is fixable
                And you know – I seriously do not think it bothered me as much as it came across – and you know Joey – I have had misperceptions happen a lot with people first meet me – the changes once they get to know me – and for a while it was a thorn in the side – hard to explain / but still happens.
                Oh and enjoyed all this comment talk – just fun

                Liked by 1 person

  26. April says:

    Beautiful purse! I recently purchased one through a Lightning Deal on Amazon. Two purses for $20! One is a mediumish size and the other is a cross-body. My son….the princess of the finer things in life, the snob of high fashion, the dude who has to scrape his money together to have the best of the best…..saw half of my $20 purchase. He felt the handle and said, “this feels like really nice leather”. Ha! The joke’s on him. In fact, when I received the purses a little card was inside that said something about a strong smell and to place tea bags in the purse and let it air out.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Anxious Mom says:

    I like the color. I tend to stick with one bag for a while, too. If it doesn’t work for the occasion, then whatever I need goes in my husband’s pockets. I have one leather bag in a tealish color, and it’s soooo pretty.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Now we are talking, Joe. I’m a HUGE purse person. Yours is gorgeous.
    I felt sad to leave some of my purses behind when I left France. But we had to pack light. I gave some to my best friends and sister. Since then my husband has offered me the best purses ever. And my most favorite is red too!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Amy says:

    That is lovely red bag! I have a green bag that I love. I also have a pair of red shoes that I love, but I don’t wear them together. Sorry about your yellow bag. Staples seem to be a go-to for temporary fixes. My aunt used them on a tear in her raincoat when we were in Scotland last year. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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