What’s In Your Purse? Money, Credit Cards, Lipstick … A Pontoon Boat? It Could Be

I’ve never understood women and their purses.

I know we need to carry a few things when we leave the house – some money, a credit card and our driver’s license. I can see throwing a tube of lipstick in for good measure, and maybe our checkbooks and OK, a comb.

But purses today are big enough to fit a small pontoon boat, a cooler of beer and some fishing tackle. Who needs all the room?

I tried on purses today at a local store and most of them made me feel as if I were lugging around an ornate bowling bag. What would I ever put in this thing? When I leave the house, I throw my debit card in one coat pocket and my car keys in another.

And the truth is, I’m a horrible purse carrier. They never match my outfit, are never in season and seem to accumulate garbage: receipts from 2010; random-colored Skittles; a leaky pen; a dog treat and lottery tickets whose winning numbers probably expired years ago.

I know women who open up their purse and have an organized utopia inside – the kind of women whose Tupperware containers still have their lids. Their purses are perfect little worlds that hold their make-ups bags (with no lipstick smears), tidy wallets, and little checklists of things they need to do (like clean their perfectly clean purse).

As hard as I’ve tried, I can’t seem to get there in my life. I’ll buy a new purse, vowing to keep it tidy. I’ll place a little notebook inside where I plan to write down important things, and I’ll put my lipstick and a comb in a separate little bag that is clean as a whistle. But two days later, I’ve got a world-gone-wrong inside.

I’m not alone in this. There are women everywhere who suffer from the crazy purse disease. I know this because I’ve asked.

I surveyed women from all walks of life and asked, “What do you keep in your purse?” And I laughed out loud at the answers.

One woman had more than 70 things in her purse including most of the items stocked and sold at CVS; a large combination lock, and cloth dinner napkins. This is the sort of woman you can make odd requests of when you’re out, and she’ll have it in her purse. Even if you say, “I wish I had a socket wrench,” she’ll pull it out of some side pocket.

Other interesting items from the lists include a pearl shotgun, a pair of chopsticks and a good luck pig keychain. One woman had a lacrosse ball, along with a sock and a Barbie doll and some Pokemon cards. A copper pendulum in a drawstring bag was another interesting item, and how about the jar of peanut butter, a spoon and the survival kit that someone else claimed? One woman said she pulled out a Barbie toothbrush and tried to write a check with it when she mistook it for a pen.

(Here’s a tip for investors everywhere: Every woman I polled had lip balm in her purse.)

Honestly, though, anyone who carries a lacrosse ball or a jar of peanut butter in her purse is a woman after my own heart.

She’s a woman who has never spent $10,000 on a Kelly purse from Paris, or has matched her purse to her shoes. Her bag is like her life – full of interesting, odd things, a little messy and a perfect reflection of who she is.

As for me, I’m getting a satchel that will only hold the few things I need.

If I want to lug around my messy life I’ll bring along my junk drawer.