The relationship between a woman and her handbag is one of those that are meant to last. If she cannot get it in leather, she will take it in fabric, fur or plastic. A handbag is the key to her real self. Catch her oblivious, you never know what is in there. If you can ask her what she is carrying, you will probably get a monotonous reply in a rather ignorant or unfriendly tone that it is ‘essentials.’ And usually, this response will come with a wry smile. Perhaps, the weight of her handbag can determine what these essentials are. Some international celebrities like American heiress Paris Hilton put pets inside their handbags. The curiosity with handbags is that strange things emerge out of it. The clutter inside can scare you and anybody would agree that a handbag is a woman’s unnamed special room.
“My handbags complete not just my look but me as a woman,” says Lorato Mmolotsi, revealing that she has over 20 handbags. It is where she keeps her wallet, make-up kit, mints, mobile phones, chocolates, body spray, hand lotion and mirror. Katlego Batoko adds to the list: gums, house and car keys, nail clipper, diary, pens, ear buds and toothpicks. For Mellissa Nair, a handbag is also a place of first aid as she keeps band aids for cuts and bruises. Her essentials also include hairbrushes, hair clips and tissue papers. As an accountant, she also keeps reading glasses to ensure she does not make numerical errors.
Interestingly, the contents of a handbag revealed by internet source handbags.com, have since changed from the 1945 handbag. The typical handbag of a woman then contained a packet of cigarettes, matches, the laundry bill, one bottle of vitamins, a leather picture folder and a parcel of V-mail letters covering several months held by a rubber band. The similar essentials with the modern handbag include lipsticks and pens.
The source further describes every handbag as a lost and found department in itself. Since things sometimes disappear and reappear on the surface ‘after three or four investigations and complete pell-mell on the contents.’ And men know this crazy drama well. “My wife can spend time looking for her lip balm in her handbag and will get very upset if she does not find it, only for her to laugh at herself after finding it in one of the zips,” laughs Motheo Nkwakweng, also stating however that he has adapted to buying her many designer handbags. But there is also a myth that men never carry a handbag, which Nkwakweng confirms as true, with the reason that they were made solely for women. His wife also has handbags that he also refers to as luggage bags because they are big enough to cater for her clothes and shoes.
Some psychologists think the way a woman carries her handbag is characteristic. Seen from such professional angle, it could demonstrate the entire scale of characteristics, from light-mindedness and generosity to caution and greed. One analyst from Oprah.com warns men against women who keep their bag rolled around the wrist and the hand firmly clasped around the clock. In the good old times, when the definition of a lady covered very definite limitations, it was said to be ladylike to carry as little as possible. Some historic British cultures believed that whenever a lady opened her handbag, it was to give money to the poor. Today’s ladies have a far more varied programme.
All said and done, a woman and her handbag’s affair have a mystery only known to the two of them.