Thursday, August 18, 2011

What's In Your Bag?: A Dispatch From the Land of Disarray

I've been reading the "What's In Your Bag?" posts from the recent Independent Fashion Bloggers meme, and thus seeing lots of super-cute tubes of hand crème—not cream, mind you, but crème—and compacts in mint condition, and adorable leopard-print makeup cases, and I'm all, Where are the crumpled straw wrappers, people? So in a peculiar combination of exhibitionism and self-defensive pride, I present to you: What's In My Bag? A Dispatch From the Land of the Woman in Disarray.

1) Paper towels: Because you never know. I used two of these during today's lunch in order to protect myself from a questionable discoloration on the stoop where I hunkered down to eat my salad. I used to carry around wet-naps but then kept "saving" them for when I "really" needed them, and then, at age 32, realized I had literally been carrying around the same three since college.
2) Multiple random flyers: I feel like standing on a street corner trying to give Manhattanites yet another piece of crap must be a pretty lousy job, and if I were doing it I'd just throw them all in the trash and lie about it. However, there are many people who are more conscientious than I am, so I'll do my part and take the flyer when they hand it to me, stick it in my purse, and not throw it out until I wonder why the hell my bag is so cluttered, which will probably be in November.

3) Small flip mirror: I got this as a free gift with purchase from Clinique in, like, 1996. It's dirty, probably because I never used my wet-naps to clean it.

4) Three Goody "bobby slides": Okay, listen up, people—bobby pins are stupid. They're good for pitting cherries, and terrible in your hair. They fall out! They make funny ridges! But not these. These will stay put all day, and they don't leave weird imprints on your hair, and you can buy them in different colors to better blend in with your hair color, and if you tell me where I can buy them in bulk I'll buy you a sandwich.

5) Tattered bag of cosmetics: Okay, so here's where the goodies are, I guess? Two lip pencils and two tubes of lipstick (I am a believer in the Lipstick Corollary), one eyeliner/eyebrow pencil, Wet 'n' Wild face powder, some magic gel blush I got in Amsterdam that is colorless until you put it on and then makes you look rosy, mascara, a concealer pen that Maybelline gave everyone on the CosmoGirl staff in 2007 and that I still have, tinted sunscreen moisturizer, and a box of spare contact lenses. Cloudy, battered bag by Ziploc.

6) Contact lens solution: Soon to be gone, thanks to most excellent reader comments!

7) Spin Pins: I never use these! Why are they in my bag? I don't know!

8) Relations in Public by Erving Goffman: I get a perverse thrill out of reading about "temporary stalls" of "personal space" when there's someone sitting on my lap on the Q train.

9) Steno pad pilfered from the office: It's like being on the high school newspaper all over again!

10) Caffeine pills: The offices at one of my clients started charging $1 for those K-cups to use in their coffee machine, which seems like a goddamned crime to me, right? I mean, the conquistadors gave indigenous workers in the silver mines free cocaine. Sure, it was the raw unrefined stuff, but if those Spanish overlords recognized the value of giving exploited workers tools to make them more productive, there's no reason every midtown office shouldn't do the same. This is why China will win, or maybe India. Anyway, caffeine pills! Terrible idea, really.

11) Chanel sunglasses: One of the few Truly Fabulous things I own, and in fact the only designer item I own. My eyes are light-sensitive, I have a big face that can carry a big pair of sunglasses with panache, and I admit I just feel amazing whenever I pull out the quilted case and put them on. I will wear these until I am 74, which brings their cost down to $8.12 per annum.

12) Snacks: Another quart-sized Ziploc bag, this time containing exactly 11 emergency almonds and a half-eaten box of raisins that I am assured by the source will be good until February 23, 2012, at which point I will throw them out and replace them with a new half-eaten box of raisins.

13) Four pantiliners (panty liners?): I'll take this opportunity to tell each and every one of you that the IUD is the best and most underused form of birth control ever made, except prayer. I'm baby-proofed until 2014, people! And I don't have to do a thing about it! It hurt like hell to get it in, but for seven years of freedom I'm willing to go through the discomfort, and will happily do it again when the time comes. But! Spotting. So, pantiliners.

14) Crumpled wrapper of Nature's Valley Oats & Honey granola bar: Totally the best on-the-go snack, and as far as the wrapper, no litterbug I! Now, you would think that I'm carrying 11 almonds and half a box of raisins so that I wouldn't have to buy granola bars from vendors in the subway, wouldn't you? I move in mysterious ways.

15) Crystal Light singles: See #10. They make a Crystal Light with caffeine now! It's called "Focus." The aspartame will kill me eventually, but I don't really need to be here for that long anyway, thanks to my IUD.

16) Wallet, phone, keys: Bo-ring! Though I will take a moment to pump Queen Bee Creations, which made my wallet and purse. I still get tons of compliments on my purse but will do Queen Bee the courtesy of sparing you a photograph of it, since I haven't yet replaced it despite its cracked straps. But Queen Bee makes adorable stuff! (And it's also a dead giveaway that I spent significant time in the Pacific Northwest.)



  1. * This asterisk is for Point # 13. It should be noted that our beloved blogger is the product of an IUD failure. Granted, she was conceived when her mother was in her 6th year of using said device but it is worth noting. Of course this was (mumble, mumble) decades ago...

  2. Please ease my worried mind and toss the vintage Maybelline concealer pen!

  3. My bag is gross in comparison...

    I use it to carry my lunch to work too and my banana may have gotten somewhat mangled in the crush. At least, I hope that's what the gooey bit it.

    I have well over 15 items in their, including loose make up, hair clips of varying sizes, an umbrella, two packs of gum, Claritin, old hotel passkey, giftcards, makeup pouch, phone, iPod, keys, bobby pins, bus tickets, contacts, contact solution, a single earring...

    I should probably clean my bag out. One of these days.

  4. And ease my worried mind and get off the caffeine pills and aspartame!

    I applaud your exhibitionism here. Very fun read.

    I loved, "Now, you would think that I'm carrying 11 almonds and half a box of raisins so that I wouldn't have to buy granola bars from vendors in the subway, wouldn't you? I move in mysterious ways."


  5. I love the idea of Spin Pins, and have often stood daydreaming about them. Alas, I have no hair.

    IUDs for the win! The Mayo clinic's birth control info pages speak very highly of IUDs and their effectiveness.

  6. LOL! I love this! SO real and probably what most people ACTUALLY carry. I try to clean out my purse every 3 days so this only happens to me once a week or so.


  7. @"Anonymous": MOM, I've told you you can comment here under your real name. And now the story of my conception and the failed Dalkon Shield is a matter of public record! I still maintain, as I did at age 9 when the class-action lawsuit came through, that the settlement should have been used to buy Your Little Accident a trip to Paris.

    @Beke: You know, I followed your advice a while ago and shampooed my makeup brush to very satisfying results! So, your wish is my command.

    @Nathaliad: I actually had to stop carrying gum around for the same reason as your banana--I'm not a big gum chewer and just had it there in case I needed a quick breath freshener, but one too many times it slipped out of its wrapper and got gooshy in my bag. Gross!

    @Cameo: I know, I know! I've tossed the pills, actually, since I realized it was a little nutty of me. But the Crystal Light! Just one a day?

    @Rebekah: The NEW IUDs are totally awesome! But...see comment #1.

    @Courtney: Ah, so that's how your bag post was so spotless! I am terrible about cleaning out my purse. Seriously, I do it maybe once every other month? My best friend stayed with me for several weeks when she first moved to New York and I would watch in awe as EVERY SINGLE NIGHT she would clean out her handbag. Did I ever join her? No! Missed opportunity.

  8. The book was the most curious item to me. May have to check out that title.

  9. Terri, I highly recommend Erving Goffman--when I talked with Kjerstin of Mirror Mirror Off the Wall (she's getting her PhD in sociology) she described one strain of sociology as making the strange familiar, and another as making the familiar strange. Goffman does the latter effectively and fascinatingly--reading the reasoning behind, say, the peculiar dance we do when we're navigating pedestrian traffic and figuring out who we deviate from our path for and who we assume will move for us is interesting.

  10. Haaaaaaa! I love it! And thanks for the bobby slide tip!

  11. After I read this post, I kept thinking of the single Band-Aid I carried from September to June of sophomore year- until two weeks before school ended, an acquaintance got a cut from their dance shoes on the back of her ankle. I was so, so glad that the Band-Aid my friends had teased me about when going through my bag was put to use. But then after that, multiple other Band-Aid needing opportunities came up, but I didn't restock (as the year was almost over), and felt so sad about that, that I couldn't supply the Band-Aid needed. I wonder what that means- a desire to be useful? I crave being helpful, useful, etc., so I think so.

  12. Stacia, I'm telling you--bobby slides are so the way! My updo has never been firmer!

    Alexa, I totally had a Band-Aid! Still do, in my wallet. And yes, I think you got it--a desire to be useful, to pitch in.

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