Throughout the ages, great mysteries have captured the hearts and minds of man and spawned exhaustive and dangerous expeditions, deep scientific debate, wild conspiracy theories and legendary folklore.
Even today, television shows are crowded with wild ideas about how the pyramids or Stonehenge were created, including such outlandish theories as alien intervention.
The Easter Island ‘Men’, the Loch Ness Monster, The Holy Grail, Big Foot, even crop circles keep us intrigued and in search of definitive conclusion. I suppose it is our natural curiosity that drives us to solve these questions once and for all.
The truly greatest mystery ever faced by man, however, isn’t any of these. No, the greatest mystery of all, in reality is something so confusing that it has silenced half of the world’s population. They refuse to discuss it, investigate it or research it, and have resigned themselves to gleeful ignorance.
What’s truly amazing about this mystery, is that the answers are readily available to us, but we refuse to seek the truth. Why is that? Even the legendary Knights Templar, carefully guarding secrets of the Holy Grail and the lineage of Jesus of Nazareth dare not tread into these murky waters.
I’m talking, of course, not about life on Mars, or the spoilage-defying lifespan of a fruit cake, but of the one true mystery of mankind: Purses!
This innocuous little fashion accessory has defied logic, physics and has created paralyzing fear in the bravest of men. In it’s simplest form, the purse is nothing more than a bag with a handle on it, but has launched some into the fashion stratosphere and others into bankruptcy.
Once on the shoulder of any woman, the purse conjures magical powers. It can make a lady’s knees quiver with its beauty, or make a lady’s knees buckle with its weight. Girls swoon in high-end fashion boutiques at purses that cost more than a mini-van.
As delicate and beautiful as they may be, given to a man to hold, they take on the properties of a sack of anthrax. Men perspire, and use only the extreme ends of their finger-tips, desperately attempting to limit physical contact with the bag.
Just observe the look on any guys face as his wife/girlfriend/mother hands them their purse and says ‘hold this while I try on this dress’. Sheer panic. He holds the purse awkwardly, keeping it a good distance from his body as if to try to convince everyone else in the store that it isn’t his.
Hand a purse to a girl, and the reaction is completely different. They immediately size it up, turn it around and around, check the handle and clasps, then cozy it up close, snugly to their shoulder, and rush over to the nearest mirror to see how it looks on them.
The outward properties of the purse may indeed be a great mystery to most men, but it pales in comparison to the truly enigmatic features of the inside of the hand bag.
What deep secrets lie beneath the zippers, clasps, or snaps is the stuff of legends. For men, the contents of the average purse are and always will be as taboo as walking in on your parents having sex. You must never peer into it, or like Medusa’s spell, you’d immediately turn to stone, or worse, uncover a secret about your sweetie that can’t be undone. Once you know, it’s like trying to put the toothpaste back into the tube.
Even for the owner of the purse, it’s contents are often a puzzlement, and items placed in it seem to disappear into a vast black hole, and can only be recovered with significant effort, and usually in a really inappropriate time and place, like when standing in a rainstorm, locked out of your car or house.
I was at the grocery store the other day, and I watched as woman after woman, knowing that they’d have to find their credit card to pay for the groceries, didn’t start the frantic search until the amount appeared on the little screen. It’s not like they had other financial means if the amount was less. I don’t get it. Then, despite the amount of time they take carefully putting things back in the purse, it takes 10 minutes to retrieve it again. ‘Now, where did I put that debit card?’, while a very long line builds up behind them.
This last puzzlement seems to confuse me the most. Somehow, when a woman is looking for something in her purse, it gives her universal license to block the way of everyone behind her without any apology.
‘Honey, this person is trying to get past you’.
‘Well, he’ll have to wait. I’m looking for my shopping list’.
Purses, like the ones Mary Poppins or Hermione Granger have, seem to be able to hold items of far greater mass than the dimensions of the purse itself. While a deep mystery that defies the laws of nature, they sure do come in handy!
How is it that a purse barely big enough to hold a super-model’s lunch, can actually house a full set of keys, wallet, makeup bag, lip gloss, change purse, cell phone, kleenex, Tylenol, nasal spray, sticky notes and pen, address book, baby wipes, sewing kit, scarf, pocket calendar, extra panties, and crackers? Then, when you get to the store, you hand her your wallet and keys, and she finds room for them!
Yes, the common purse is likely the greatest, and scariest mystery that any man will face, and it’s best that we simply accept the unknown magical powers that lie within these handy fashion accessories and leave well enough alone.
Like the curious cat, it may end badly if we were to dig within the silky walls of the purse and attempt to do any more than appreciate it’s special properties from afar….so next time you ask for something and your better half says ‘It’s in my purse’. Don’t dare try to retrieve it yourself. Gingerly and with great reverence, pass it to them to reach in and pull that rabbit out the the proverbial hat.