Monday, June 16, 2008

in search of a good place to hide a sandwich ...

every time i rode shotgun with my mom, even before she had cranked up the screaming yodel of rush limbaugh, she would back out of the driveway, squint upward toward the garage door opener and say: "chrissy, could you dig and my purse and grab my sunglasses."

it's not like she was asking me to artificially inseminate a cow. the purse was long dead and tanned before i reached inside. but something about this tick, this consistant request, always made me seethe. past the altoids, the clinique blush, and a left at the checkbook and my blood would be knocking against my temple.

why not just grab the sunglasses before squirreling the purse down at my feet? as a teen, i'd have preferred she risk our lives. wait until we were playing chicken with a semi shipping libby's corn down the two-lane highway 52 to take her eyes off the road for a split six seconds of plundering her own damn purse her own damn self.

at some point i made a concious decision to never be a purse owner. pockets bulging with chapstick, tampons, debit cards and quarters wouldn't be a terrible fate. i stood behind this lifestyle commitment well into my 20s.

then i realized a purse is a good nest for an emergency sandwich, and so i made some concessions.

my first shot at a purse was gunny sack style and color with a draw-string top that could hang like a canteen or a backpack.

"will you hand me my bag?" i asked fannie one time.
"my baaaaag, wank wank ..." princess linda mocked, going minnesota shallow on the "a." "it's not even a purse."

this sort of fashion assassination [ass-fashion-assnation?] was out of character for princess linda -- and really something i'd have more expected from fannie -- so i attributed it to the residual effects of an all girls posh private catholic college nestled deep in something called "collegeville."

a steady stream of similar-styled bags and backpacks followed, never more than one at a time, and never something adorable.

i cannot be a person who owns a something-hundred dollar purse. i do not not treat my things nicely. consider that jcrew, a far more responsible person than me, accidentally used one of her kate spade bags for a diet coke-filled flask. now multiply that, taking into consideration where my clumsiness and sloth fall on the richter scale. two days, max, and the bottom of my kate spade would be a gooey layer of red machine naked juice saturated orbitz raspberry bubblemint gum, dyed orange from runaway urinary tract pain pills.

also consider that a kate spade bag would clash with my bulk supply of hanes tank tops and grey hoodies.

i've had my most recent bag for upward of two years. technically it is a children's backpack, purchased during a back-to-school sale at american eagle. it has my one major requirement: a long strap that i can wear horizontally across my chest.







this look, chuck klosterman would say, makes me appear to be a radiohead fan. i will neither refute nor confirm this.

i would also like my bag to be large enough to hold a book and a magazine, an ipod, a camera and cell phone, kiss my face mint-flavored chapstick, 3 dollars worth of pennies and a sandwich wrapped in a napkin.

so i've needed a new bag for awhile. piping is coming loose. the lining is yellowed. an individually wrapped slice of velveeta worked its way to the bottom, came unwrapped and makes the insides look like i cremated a box of goldfish crackers.

lately i've been thinking about what my appearance -- particularly my clothes -- says about me:

arrested development?
overslept?
likes mustard?
must have gaping hole in bottom lip?
on the lam from shampoo?

i'd like to hone my look a bit. think more seriously about what i buy instead of picking up a tightly packed pillow of men's tank tops in bulk and chucking them into my cart. shrugging, and adding another pack in a different color. i've been scouring magazines to find out what i should be wearing, and how i can modify it to make it stain-guarded and as close to pajama pants as possible.

since i've started this deep introspection, i've seen one woman on tv encapsulate what i'd like my look to be, and she was wearing a low-slung purse with a horizontal strap across her chest. she was also playing a high school student.

i touched a purse at younkers today. it was green and shiny and shaped like a weiner dog. but it was made of silk or fur or something that i would love to press my oily cheek against and coo. it was 80 dollars and didn't have a harness. i also found something rain-proof and hot pink for 40 dollars.

i found exactly what i was looking for at american eagle. horizontal strap, check. 11 dollars, sandwich not included.

later i ran into jcrew.
"did you get a new purse?" she asked.
"yes! isn't it cute?"
no response. snot. at least my bag isn't leaking a trail of aspartame.
"oh, i noticed that," the norwegian wonder commented.

sometimes i think my friends think my signature statements are ugly, for example the omnipresent winter beanie. they just don't tell me until i upgrade my signature statement to a newer version of the same thing. and then they still don't like it.

oh well. anyway. i've decided to master a look called boho-american eagle-adult-in-heels. ape it if you will.

14 comments:

Beret said...

When I moved to NY I had to change my vocabulary to try and fit in with the locals and my in-laws. Pop became "soda", grocery carts became "carriages", and now I don't stand in line, I stand "on line".

But I cannot start calling purses "pocketbooks". That's what everyone calls them here. It's insane. I don't want to be carrying a "pocketbook" ok? I'm only 35, not 100.

I like your new thingy that holds all your stuff.

Sproactually said...

I can't believe we didn't have the chance to provide input on this momentous occasion. As someone who is inspired to be a hippie biker chick, you need the ultimate in accessories. The Timbuk2 messenger bag.

http://www.timbuk2.com/tb2/products/home

Wide strap, durable, the ultimate biking accessory. A little more pricey than American Eagle, but oh so worth it.

Whiskeymarie said...

I like the purse- I think it's still "you" but a bit more...I don't know...you?

I have one friend who never hesitates that she doesn't like what I wear, which I can appreciate.
She asked me once, "why do you dress so weird?"
I didn't have an answer. I still dress weird. I don't care.
Fly your freak flag high- wear what you want. Carry a "bag" instead of a "purse".

CDP said...

I like the new bag; I like messenger bags in general. (note that Kate Spade makes messenger bags, and that I have two; one black one that I bought with my Nordstrom employee discount ten years ago, and one hot pink one that I bought at a Nordstrom rack three years ago, using a $50 gift card I received from my mother. Net cost to me, including tax? $40). They both still look pretty good, and I still carry them.

Anonymous said...

it's cute! i like that it's white...except that it will only be white for 2 or 3 days. ;) ya know, i should have thought of you when i sold my faux coach bag that i risked my life to obtain in chinatown...it had a long strap, but it could be shortened for appropriate occasions. it was big enough too. sorry. i have a similar one, actually, that i could also give you. somehow there's pink matter on it that won't come off (hence the 2-3 day comment..not because i think you're clumsy or spilly)... kisses, fannie

nanners said...

i didn't say i didn't like it. it's a vast improvement over the disgusto green thing you've been toting rotten food in since toonces was skinny.

L Sass said...

I try not to think about what my look says about me. I'd love it to say "Creative NYC Fashionista who hasn't totally given into consumerism" but I fear it just says "cheap."

Renaissance Woman said...

I like the new purse! Who really knows What to wear...Hmmm

liss n kids said...

I like the bag. Does it have a sunglasses pocket?

Sigh. Just be glad your "look" doesn't say "I have a toddler with a cold and a preschooler who thinks my shirt is a napkin" like mine does!

Beverly said...

I can't believe: 1. That you willingly go to the mall; and 2. That anyone cares what kind of bag you carry.
I'm sounding hostile. Sorry about that.

Kristabella said...

I was just thinking about my own wardrobe and purse choices the other day as well. I look at all the "pretty" people on TV, all fabulously dressed and I think "I want to dress like that." And then next day, I grab the same black pair of work pants and the same v-neck t-shirt and I go to work. Because I don't like to make an effort. And t-shirts are comfortable.

travellerb said...

lately i've been thinking about what my appearance -- particularly my clothes -- says about me:

likes mustard?

likes mustard - bra-fucking-vo. still laughing...

peace:

dr. b

christina said...

spro -- that is almost exactly what i was looking for. that definitely says 'radiohead fan.'

fannie -- it has already acquired a mysterious blue tint.

beverly -- i like the mall on my own terms, but i don't make eye contact or going during peak hours.

nanners said...

I don't believe in apathy when it comes to fashion. i enjoy the proliferation of wardrobe helper shows and so should we all.