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.