I have horribly ugly feet. All three of my sisters do, too. Although my sister Meghan is willing to endure intense physical pain in return for being fashionable, I, being the sensible oldest sister, am not. This means that my options when it comes to footwear are sorely limited. I long to wear sassy, strappy, pointy-toed high heels, but I’m forced by nature and genetics (thanks, Dad) to stick with shoes that are more about concealment than personal style.
Sadly, I still love shoes. Love them. I’m quite sure that I’d have a Carrie Bradshaw-esque shoe fetish if only I had been born with size six feet, tiny toes, and dainty ankles. But circumstances being what they are, my accessory affection has been forced to find another object, and that object, it seems, is purses.
The problem, of course, is that (being a discriminating Goddess) the purses I pine for are ridiculously expensive. Even if I had the money, I’d have a hard time (also being the sensible oldest sister) shelling out $1,500 for a Prada handbag, no matter how exquisite the craftsmanship, or how buttery the leather. And don’t even get me started on the Birkin bag. Until I told him so, my Ho had no idea that there was such a purse in the world that could cost thousands of dollars and have Oprah herself on a waiting list. A purse that could have it’s very own episode of "Sex and the City." The holy grail of handbags.
My part-time retail job brings me face-to-face with lots of purses. Some are horrifying, most are totally forgettable. But the store where I work happens to be located in one of the more affluent suburbs of Minneapolis, so occasionally someone comes through my checkout line with a bag that causes a painful longing in my soul.
Last week brought one such handbag to my register. I could only see the back of it—a wicker basket bag, rectangular, with a flat black leather top and leather strap handles—but I could see that it was beautiful. I was in love at first sight. I complimented the customer on it, and even though I was dying to know where it had come from, I resisted the urge to ask. I didn’t want to seem gauche and uncouth as I rang up her two-for-$15 rib-knit tanks.
That bag stayed in my mind all weekend, until a little online research revealed that it was none other than a Kate Spade Venice Basket. A bargain compared to the Birkin, but still well out of my price range. And, lucky for my budget, from her 2002 collection, which means I can’t just pop over to Nordstrom’s and pick one up, anyway. Not that I didn’t find some other tempting lovelies online.
How in the name of all that is good and just in the world can a purse cost $395? It’s just cruel to tease me with such beauty, and then hold it out of my reach. These days, I’m still getting a novel thrill from being able to pay my bills and have money left over for groceries each month (hoo!). Demigoddess the Elder needs braces, my refrigerator keeps creating puddles on the kitchen floor, and I haven’t even seen a bill from my lawyer yet. Even at Ebay prices, a Kate Spade bag is not in the same Federal Reserve district as my budget.
And yet, they haunt me, those bags. They whisper to me in my dreams… “You work hard,” they softly sing, “You deserve it. And you will be so very happy, so fulfilled as a human being, if only you had one of us in your life every day. $395 is not so much money. The children will find food somewhere…”