I Keep My Dignity In a Bag

I figure there are two types of women in this world. Those who carry a purse and those who don't.

I'm not a purse type of gal. I think I was scarred at a young age by the sheer weight of my grandmother's enormous purse. She always had enough loose change at the bottom of her purse to feed a third world country and a wallet that literally would bust at the seams with cards, receipts and Canadian Tire money.

It was like lugging around a sac of potatoes or a small child. I never understood it. That damn purse was so heavy that one of her shoulders was three inches lower than the other and she reminded me of a granny version of the hump back of Notre Dame. Minus the whole living in a church steeple, of course.

As a young woman, I vowed never to carry a purse. It was too girly and far too much work to find a purse that matched your outfit, your shoes and the colour of your car.

I figured God invented pockets for a reason. So what if it looks like I'm carrying a block of butter stuffed in my front pocket? I never had to worry about losing my purse. Or worse yet, suddenly dropping the damn thing at the foot of a hot dude only to have my tampons and nasal spray roll out while I try desperately to distract him from finding out I suffer from the curse of womanhood and congested sinuses.

How embarrassing would that be?

Yet my husband likes to point out the flaws in my thinking. I never have a kleenex on hand for emergency snot escapees. And as a parent to small children there has been many a time when a booger made a dash for the border only to be wiped on a sleeve because that was the only thing handy to contain it.

I have a lovely tendency to put cell phones on my lap while driving and then get out of the car and forgetting about it, only to have it drop on to the pavement for someone else to find or to smash it while I drive over it when leaving the parking lot.

(It has only happened three times. He won't let it go. It's not like I accidentally threw his brand new shiny phone into the fire with some trash. Oh wait. Maybe I did.)

I may have lost countless lipsticks and house keys as they wiggled loose out of my pocket and fell to the floor forgotten.

But in my defense, I have never lost my purse. That has to count for something, right?

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So I stuff my bank card and my keys where ever I can fit them. Even if the only place is in my bra. (In my defense, I do try to avoid this scenario as I don't really like looking like a pervert who likes to cop a feel as I'm digging for my debit card down my shirt while a line up of annoyed and possibly aroused customers wait behind me.)

Nothing I have lost could never be replaced.

Other than my dignity, my husband likes to remind me.

I ignore him as I don't see him offering to carry a man bag around to tot tampons and kleenex.

I refuse to fall prey to the stereotypical woman trap of purse toting. I don't believe bags are beautiful and I just shake my head when my lady friends coo over the cutest new purse they just purchased after having sold their newborn child to pay for it.

Yet sometime last week when I went shopping, I lost my bank card. Annoying yes, but problematic? Not so much. It just meant a trip to the bank to get a replacement card.


After standing in line for what seemed like an eternity, I finally made my way to the teller at my local branch.

"Hi, I seemed to have misplaced my bank card and I need a new one."

"Do you know your account number and do you have any identification?"

"Yep." I've been through this drill many times.

"Hmmm. It would seem you have lost a few cards before," the ditzy teller announced. Loudly.

"A few. I may have melted a card in the dryer once before, broke another in half while trying to pick a lock. You know, the usual."

"Our records indicate this is the 24th card you have lost since you began banking with us." The teller is now glaring at me like I'm the sole reason she didn't get a wage increase at her last annual review. Like replacing a few bank cards is going to come directly out of her pocket.

"That's all?" I joked. "I was aiming for at least thirty." Heh, heh. Aren't I witty?

"This is your fifth card in a year." Again with the disdain. You'd have thought I was speaking to my husband or my mother.

"Seems so," I chirped back. By now there was a growing line of waiting customers who were starting to give me the evil eye. I could feel all the annoyed looks burrow into the back of my skull like laser beams.

I noticed then that my teller was the only teller on duty at the moment and she seemed to take more interest in hassling me than moving the line along.

"I promise, this will be the last card I will ever need. I'm planning on having it surgically attached to my left hand," I joked as I raised my hand to show her. Come on lady. If you don't hurry up I'm going to get whacked by all the elderly people's canes who are waiting to pay their bills. It's not like these people have all the time in the world. They don't like to have it wasted by an irresponsible young person hogging the only bank teller available.

"I'm going to have to get my supervisor to approve this. I'm new on the job," she sniffed. The patrons behind me were growing more restless. I was starting to sweat.

At this rate, it would have been easier to just bend me over and beat my arse with a rubber paddle.

An eternity later, she returned with a new bank card and a grim look. Thank heavens for small mercies I thought as I snatched the card from her claws.

"You really should be more careful with your bank cards," she tutted loudly as I signed my life away for the 24th time and shoved the card into my pocket.

"Thanks Mom, I'll try to remember that," I politely replied as I turned to make my escape before the hordes of annoyed geriatrics ate me alive.

Walking past that line of elderly customers was like doing the walk of shame. They all eyed me like I was some irresponsible hoodlum who just wasted fifteen minutes of their precious life diseased.

Shame is a powerful tool. I went and bought a purse bag.

I reckon I'll need it when I bring home a new kid. It can be a pseudo diaper bag-slash-purse. Really. I was thinking of my new duties as a new mom when I chose it. I swear I wasn't remembering an old lady shaking her cane at me and my irresponsible ways when I selected it.

I have now just crossed over to the dark side. Thanks to my walk of shame, a bitchy bank teller and my husband's years of pestering.

I feel so dirty.

I guess this means I'm a real woman now.

It sucks growing up.