The Big Bag Theory

Gone are the days of dainty purses and miniscule wallets. They’re fine for special events, sure, but for everyday use, it looks like women are turning to real bags. Huge bags. The kind of bag into which you fit half your life- and then never find it again. Giant black holes slung on our shoulders sucking in every stray business card, matchbook, and penny that cross their paths.
At one time Big Bags were strictly for use by mommies, to carry Bandaids and nail clippers and tissues and lip balm and the million-and-one other things that kids may require on a daily basis.
Now my own Big Bag is stocked with Bandaids and nail clippers and tissues and lip balm, and I definitely have zero children in tow. The bottom is littered with old receipts, seven pens and gum wrappers. My Metrocards are slipping between the pages of my three notepads and my laptop is a constant companion. There’s even a hardcover copy of The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen somewhere in there. My iPod headphones are tangled up in my cell phone charger. Every credit card I’ve ever owned is jammed into my wallet that contains no cash. Three lipsticks are rolling around stuck inside of the lining.
Sound familiar?
The Big Bag bug has bit women nationwide. I think it started with the infamous “hobo”, but I can’t be sure. The trend has certainly evolved. Yesterday, I found myself looking interestedly at a purse that was really nothing more than a demoted suitcase. Toting around an extra pair of shoes, or two, comes in handy sometimes.
There’s something innately comforting in knowing that you’ll always have what you need, even if you are carrying a perpetual 20-pound load on your shoulder.
Today however, I realized that I might want to think about carrying something a little more crowd-friendly. Having a duffel bag under your arm is not exactly practical when you are trying to maneuver through the rush-hour swarm of people on the 5 o’clock train, or standing in the crush of the beautiful people outside the hottest club.
I started to become annoyed with my bag’s oversized-ness, and the continual “excuse me’s” necessary to avoid knocking an innocent bystander off his unsuspecting feet. So I dug out one of the small shoulderbags I had used back in the 90s. As I sat trying to figure out how to fit both the hand lotion and the hand sanitizer without breaking the zipper, I recognized the futility of the effort and gave up, stuffing the new tiny bag, hand sanitizer and all, into the well-worn recesses of the old one.
Apparently, they have not found the cure for Big Bag syndrome. I will gladly keep on suffering. Are you infected?
[Photo courtesy of]

Living at Home in College: The Road Less Traveled
Living at Home in College: The Road Less Traveled
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