Forty, Married, and Finding the Perfect Purse…

Today, I had a moment while purse shopping.  If I were still in my 20’s (or even 30’s) I would have likely characterized it as “nearly shitting my pants”.  Now that I am in that decade, I choose my words more carefully lest I start any stinky rumours, or misconceptions about my pants.  I have had a bad run of luck with purses, and due to poor design/workmanship I needed to buy yet another purse.  Back in the day, my purse was a sleek little all-in-one purse wallet that fit neatly under any coat.  And although I rarely did “the bar scene” it was the perfect bar purse because it was small enough to always be a convenient and fashionable part of my person.  Over the years things like cell phones, reusable shopping bags, and prescription sunglasses, caused my sleek little purse to expand.  Lately, I have taken to sporting a purse that can be slung–ergonomically–across my shoulders like a mini back-pack.  I know it isn’t as cool as the sleek bar purse, but every bit as pragmatic in many other ways.  This style of purse is not all the rage, and thus not readily available in a bunch of stores.  I had to accept the possibility of maybe opting for a different design.  This when I had that ‘moment’ I mentioned earlier.

There I was, in this lovely shoe shop, and reaching for the big purses on display.  As I picked up the purse, I had a memory flashback that prompted me to nearly drop the purse on the floor.  I gasped loud enough to get the sales person’s attention. When she inquired, I blurted out “Oh my God–I nearly considered buying a purse exactly like the one my mom had when she was fort–my age!  I gotta leave before I start mixing my reds and purples!!”  I all but sprinted out of that store. From that point forward, I all but hissed as I avoided the ‘old lady’ purses in subsequent shops.  I reasoned, if I held my ground with the whole ‘back-pack’ design, then I will at least be in closer keeping with a youthful scholarly look more so than a forty-something look.  In one store I took great pride in not being the crazy person, or craziest person.  To be fair, that was perhaps due in some small part to the presence of a couple of women who were audibly obsessing over finding a purse that would “sit comfortably under [their] tits”.  I also took great pride in finding a purse that had my favored back-pack design, and at a reasonable price without freaking out any of the sales people.  Yay me!

My husband will be relieved that I was able to find a new purse all on my own.  Deep down he was scared I would find a way to work purse shopping into our Saturday errands.  He needn’t have worried, even despite the fact he was present with me the day I bought my last purse.  If there were any precedents set that day, they did not pertain to purse shopping.  In fact, if memory serves correctly, it was two days prior to our wedding, we were approximately 1900 kilometres into our road trip, and he had just backed my new car into a post.  Suffice to say I was not of a mind to actively pursue his ‘help’. In fact, my purse shopping was intended to passively aggressively encourage him to give me some time and space lest I totally lose my shit on him.  Blame it on a soccer concussion, but groom-elect was slow on the uptake that day.  He did not let me out of his sight throughout the entire afternoon, and offered his insight and support for every. single. girlie. thing I shopped for.  It was a brutal staring contest where neither one of us blinked.

Now, nearly four months later, I can very nearly laugh about it.  But more than anything, the chagrin is starting to settle in.  Damn those ‘they-sayers”! I am realizing that when they say “women start resembling their mothers once they turn 40” is a tiger lying in wait ready to pounce on me. Actually, that is a bad analogy, it is more like a live frog on slow  boil.  I have been gradually transforming into my mother–and if I were still in my twenties, I’d be shitting my pants.  Moreover, those who implied that things would change once we married are starting to look like freakin’ prognosticating geniuses.

My husband is still hanging on to his cavalier dismissive stance on people’s belief that things would be “better”, or at least “changed” once we married.  I, on the other hand, will grudgingly agree–in some instances.  Purse shopping is one example.  I have never been the kind of woman who needed a man’s perspective on accessories, and whether or not things ‘matched’.  I can go purse shopping, dress shopping, shoe shopping, and even linen shopping without him–in fact, in most cases I prefer it that way.  Sadly, perhaps, deep down I know that one of the first things I do when I see him this evening will be showing him my new purse.  But before you mock me, I should mention that recently he greeted me with a show and tell for the new drill set he found on sale (he was super stoked about all the extra lithium batteries that came with the set).

Things do change–whether we actively pursue it or not.  However, awareness (versus denial) can make us less hapless.  We have to be true to ourselves, and perhaps celebrate the small victories we enjoy as we are dragged kicking and screaming towards inevitability.  For example,  that lady you saw at the purse store–rubbing different purses under her “girls” to check for ‘comfort’–totally wasn’t me, and god-willing, won’t be for quite a while yet!  😉


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