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Handbags, the 1940's versus the 2000's

Every woman has experienced that dreadful moment when she reaches for her handbag and it isn't hanging on her arm. It's not to be found in her shopping cart nor does she feel the comfort of it draped on her shoulder.  A woman without her handbag is as lost as a wondering lamb and that has not changed over the decades.

My lady's handbag is her carry tote that supplies every need while she is out and about, whether it be at her place of employment, a romantic dinner date or the weekly trip to the supermarket.  The immense importance of the handbag is such that most women own several, in varying sizes, styles and colors.  She will want one that is large, and larger, another small, one made of leather, another fabric, fur, suede, petit point, rhinestones, beads, metal, plastic........and so on.

The power of the handbag and the mystery within it, reaches far beyond the imagination of men. There is an aura around a woman's handbag that expresses her individuality and speaks volumes about her fundamental needs.

The secrets that lie within are the elements that will promote her comfort and those contents are a secret indeed.  Every woman will give an uneasy glance if someone should peer into her treasure bag.  A thoughtful man should always turn away whenever his companion opens her handbag and he may have to be thoughtful quite often.  This attentive display of respect will not go unnoticed.  Something is bound to slip out of her bag soon after it is opened and she will quickly sneak a peek to see if he is watching.









Although a woman's handbag should be well organized, we discover that on a typical day, it is anything but in order.  It's bizarre, but things actually disappear from handbags, usually at the most inconvenient moment, however, after analyzing the contents for about 10 minuets, the missing Item miraculously reappears.  Regularly, bus drivers must wait for women to find their fairs, bank tellers wait for pass books and cashiers, well they wait for just about everything and anything.  If I only had a dollar for every time I said, "I know it's in here, I just saw it".

I wonder what a man thinks when he sees a woman searching feverishly for that elusive set of keys or that hidden twenty dollar bill.  Perhaps he feels superior because he will never have to carry a handbag or be dependent upon it's contents.  A man has his numerous pockets, that must be why men never misplaces anything....right.  Nonetheless, some say that nothing gives a man more pleasure than to buy his lady a luscious handbag, melting her heart at the very sight if it.

So why haven't women just adapted to pockets?  Women's suit pockets were never meant to carry much of anything, certainly not her numerous belongings.  And even if they were, women would never compromise their shapely curves by stuffing their pockets full of personal effects.  So women will continue to carry handbags and fill them with their precious possessions.

Throughout the decades, the handbag has come under high scrutiny.  Some psychologists have studied the use of handbags to categorize female characteristics.  For example, the very way a woman carries her purse can be indicative of her easy-going nature, her generosity, whether she is vigilant, careless or even predatory.

In days long ago, the definition of a "lady" had specific boundaries, it was considered ladylike to carry less.  Many times, when a lady opened her purse it was to give to the needy, or to take out a small book, her favorite handkerchief or a wee bottle of smelting salts.  Today, those limitations have been lifted, ladies have a far more varied agenda.  They have arrived at the corporate office and their handbags burst with the unseen. 

1940's handbag contained:
One or two lipsticks and a compact
1 freshly laundered handkerchief
Several letters to be mailed
An address book
A change purse
1 hairnet
Pictures of the children
1 fountain pen and 2 pencils
Scrap paper with names and telephone numbers
A bottle of vitamins
Her supermarket shopping list
Mad money
Ticket stubs

Handbag of today contains:
A bag of make-up filled to capacity
1 bunch of crinkled used Kleenex
A stack of receipts that date back two years
An electronic organizer
A wallet full of credit, debit and supermarket cards
2 hair brushes, hair clips and spray
A cell phone that takes and stores pictures
1 pen that has run out of ink
Scraps of paper with email addresses and no names
A bottle of Prozac
Breath mints, a banana, an energy bar, the whole supermarket
A checkbook with attached calculator
Huge ring full of keys, only two will open anything

The list could go on and on but you get the idea.  It's no wonder that handbags have gotten larger and larger over time.  It's not just about fashion anymore, handbags must be functional to support the lifestyles of today's women.  As the standard of living continues to change, one question remains constant, what secrets lie within her closed handbag?

Comment about this Article: caroldubilo@gmail.com


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