One of the most popular trends on YouTube is videos of women recording what they carry inside their purse. Literally called, “What’s inside my purse?”, the voyeur in me finds these videos fascinating.
There is something so addicting about watching strangers showing the world what they deem so important, they choose to carry those items wherever they go.
These peeks inside have made me realize, a lady’s purse tells you a lot about that lady. For instance, there is the “single lady” whose purse contains a disposable toothbrush and an extra pair of underwear for those unexpected “overnight stays”. Then, there’s the “girl scout” whose bag is loaded with items like anti-itch cream, a flashlight, and a handkerchief that can be turned into a tourniquet, a blindfold, or a lifesaving scarf in cold weather. There is the “fun grandma” who has a rubber chicken, farting slime, and a couple crayons tucked neatly next to her blood-pressure pills, and the “apocalyptic preparedness” lady that has miniature first aid, sewing, and fishing kits shoved into her camouflage-printed purse.
After watching tons of these videos, I decided I wanted to join this community of women with no secrets. I did not clean my purse out first. I did not stage or edit it for perfection. No, I just set up my camera, unzipped my salmon-colored Coach bag and let it fly. As I walked through pulling out and presenting every one of my personal items from my bag for the world to see and judge, it was as if I saw into my soul for the very first time.
I had never noticed before, but at some point, I have become my grandmother. She always carried little butterscotch candies in her purse, and now here I am, also carrying little candies “in case someone may need a little pick-me-up”. I don’t remember anyone sitting me down and teaching me about plummeting blood sugar levels and how to prevent a grumpy face with a tiny nugget of sugar, yet here I am. This “keep-a-snack-in-your-bag-in-case-of-emergency” thinking may be the underlying reason there are times my purse can serve as a small, portable delicatessen.
Yes, on regular occasions, you may find a leftover hot roll from last night’s dinner, a package of cheese and crackers, or a bag of granola floating around in my purse. Shoot, I was stuck in a crowd of people a few years back and we were all starving. I, literally, pulled a piece of raisin pie from my purse that I had purchased at a restaurant hours before, and fed the masses. It is amazing how many people will eat pie from a stranger’s purse when they get hungry enough.
I am so used to there being food in my purse, that just the other day I asked for ketchup packets and the lady behind the counter informed me to, “Look in the bottom of your bag”. I assumed she meant my purse, so I stood there and giggled. After an uncomfortable amount of time and a few air quotes, I finally realized she wasn’t teasing me about my “deli purse”, but she actually meant the paper bag full of loose meat sandwiches she had just given me.
Other things I noticed about myself while filming my video was: I am “fresh breath obsessed”, proven by the four different types of breath mints and one breath spray I always carry; I hoard ink pens at home and on the go; and apparently, I never throw away a receipt or straw wrapper. Oh, and I am one of the select few who carry a pink, bedazzled tazar.
Purses used to be an absolute essential. A woman made sure that her handbag matched her shoes, and she never left home without it. Like an undercover superhero, inside her pocketbook was everything she needed to deal with any emergency life threw at her. From a metal nail file that could also tighten a screw or be used as a shank to defend her family, to a tissue she could spit on and miraculously stop bleeding even after you blew your nose on it, everything she carried seemed to have purpose.
Unlike that woman, I have realized my bag looks more like it was packed by a toddler who is going on a sleepover. No rhyme or reason. Just whatever looks fun and/or tasty gets tossed in. Yet despite the seemingly unimportant value the items I carry may seem, when you put them together in a carryall with handles, they become so important, I will go into a panic if I don’t have them hanging over my shoulder.