Lady Bracknell: And where did this charitable gentleman with the first class ticket to the seaside resort find you?
Jack: In a handbag.
Lady Bracknell: [closes eyes briefly] A handbag?
Jack: Yes, Lady Bracknell, I was in a hand bag. A somewhat large… black… leather handbag with handles… to it.
Lady Bracknell: An ordinary handbag.
Lady Bracknell: And where did this Mr. James… or, Thomas Cardew come across this ordinary handbag?
Jack: The cloak room at Victoria Station. It was given to him in mistake for his own…
Lady Bracknell: [Shocked] The cloak room at Victoria Station?
Jack: Yes. The Brighton line.
Lady Bracknell: The line is immaterial.
[begins tearing up notes]
Lady Bracknell: Mr. Worthing. I must confess that I feel somewhat bewildered by what you have just told me. To be born, or at any rate bred in a handbag, whether it have handles or not, seems to me to display a contempt for the ordinary decencies of family life which reminds one of the worst excesses of the French revolution, and I presume you know what that unfortunate movement led to?

— Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

If I had to sum up in one word what has gone wrong with what used to be my treasured musclehead gym and is now a craven resort of mincing civilians, that word would be handbags.

What the fuck is it about handbags? Men get on without them. I do possess a hip pack, loaded with a fair number of things other than a billfold, such as a bottle of allergy eyedrops and a case of business cards for my literary alter ego. But time and place, ladies, time and place. I do not need the goddam thing when I am busting up a pair of forties off a flat bench or hauling on a parallel cable. Neither do you. What in God’s name is the potential emergency that you have to lug your freaking handbag from one gym station to another? The handbag is safer locked in the trunk of your car. Sturdy padlocks, if you must have it in your gym locker, are sold at Dick’s Sporting Goods. Or even your local drugstore.

I know, it’s not my problem, it doesn’t get in my way — I guess. It’s just a bringdown. It goes with the little chicky baby doing bench presses with a pair of TEN POUND WEIGHTS! BE STILL MY BEATING HEART! while wearing a shirt that says “Ready, Set, Glow!!!” and the honey doing what she thinks are squats with a pair of FIVES in her hands — both of them with the rote boredom that attends moving a dial from left to right. It’s the sign of someone whose badges of femininity mean more to her than giving her full attention to what she is doing with her body, to the song of her muscles and the exhilaration of bashing against the limits. Which is what I always thought a gym was for.

There is a place for people like this and it’s called Curves, OK? I bet  everyone at Curves lugs their handbag with them from one weight station to the next, in case they need to powder their noses or touch up their eye shadow.

Jesus Fucking Christ on a bicycle with no seat. Going downhill. Backwards.


7 thoughts on “Handbags

  1. At the gym I always have a (washable) light cotton “shopping bag” with me that holds my towel, wallet, iphone and kleenex (sweating always makes my nose run!). No, I can’t do without the iphone on Dread Recumbent Bike … I use it to play scrabble and stay alert so I don’t fall off in a fit of boredom and hurt myself.

    • I have a canvas bag full of my gym toys — the things essential to my workout. What I’m talking about is these ladies toting their everyday, fully loaded, fashionable shoulder bag around the equipment — and unlike where you live and work out, everyone arrives in a car, so they all have the option of locking it in the trunk.

      Everyone in the gym has a phone. Some guys run on the treadmill with it strapped to their arm in some bondage-like device.

      I get the phone, and I get keeping your car keys or wallet close, but I don’t get toting the Jimmy Choo knockoff around. Or working out in the same clothes you’d wear to a PTA meeting or sitdown restaurant. Or working out with long hair loose and flying around, just asking to get caught in equipment. It’s just another sign to me that girliness is more important to these women than getting the job done.

  2. I don’t work out – but! it seems I have the option to! More later 🙂

    But I also do not carry a handbag. I have a tote bag, with a great graphic of a cat licking its hole. It has my wallet, keys, lunch, and iPad in it. Everything else goes in my pockets. WHYTHEHELL don’t they make women’s clothing with pockets? When it’s warm and I don’t want to wear a jacket, where am I meant to keep my keys, money (both of those only if hubby isn’t with me) gum, knife, Chapstick, and smokes?

    We will not discuss himself’s Man Bag.

  3. I’m a guy. What doesn’t fit in my pockets doesn’t follow me out of my house, or at least stays in the car. No matter where it is that I’m going. I am never going to understand the need of women to carry half or their bathroom stuff in a large bag everywhere they go.

    Just like you said, it doesn’t bother me in the sense that those bags don’t get in my way, and it’s not me who got to carry them around. But I’m in pain just looking at these people carrying these bags around. There need to be one woman left back on the beach while the others go swimming, because someone has to watch on all these bags. Why didn’t they just left the bag in the car? Why do you need your mascara, eyeliner, tampax, antiperspirant, and your $650 iPhone 5s, at the beach? That’s why you put your swimsuit on in the car, because you don’t want to carry your cloths around, so what is it with the large bag that contains in value 3/4 of all of your possessions?

    I swear, some of my female friends could spend 3 weeks without ever going home and nobody would notice.

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