I Had an Epiphany Last Night

This is probably a no-brainer for the rest of western civilization. Everyone has likely made this leap of logic and symbolism. But it was new for me. While I was sitting on the zoo lawn waiting to listen to Cyndi Lauper sing the blues, I glanced at our friend Paula’s new purse (she’d been showing it to me earlier) and it struck me: Purse = Vagina.

I had an "Ah ha!" moment; so this is why women find purses so important, and why they have a hard time finding the right one, even when they’ve found one that’s attractive and meets the functional needs. Because carrying around a symbolic vagina, your symbolic vagina, is pretty darn personal.

Paula found my epiphany a reasonable theory. She pointed out the purple satin lining inside her purse, shiny and smooth, and how you wouldn’t want anything sharp in there because it would tear the lining (giving me an icky visual that made me cross my legs and took a good hour to get out of my head).

It suddenly made sense that some women need luxurious, ostentatiously expensive purses to carry around. They are showing that their vaginas are special, perfect, coveted, sweet. Which says something about me perhaps, because while I have a secret passion for purses (and own about six), the most I’ve paid was $90 for a Fossil shoulder bag, and that was only because it was birthday money from my mother and therefore intended for frivolous personal use.

She calls it "mad money."

Otherwise, my purses are from Target and under 30 bucks. Except for that one from Timbuk2 that should have worked fine: it was functional, looked like the other mothers’ bags, and zipped up to protect the interior from rain. But it never felt right. My vagina is apparently not "sporty" and "practical," even if it is a cheap date.

It makes me wonder about those women with their boho bags, all cinched up opening and wrinkly expanse within. And about skinny women with tiny, shiny clutch purses. What is that supposed to say? Have they had their "stuff" done, like a tummy tuck, after the last baby was born? I’ve heard this is popular with husbands. But as someone whose stuff was sewn back together like a crazy quilt after baby number two flew out on the second push, this seems like a major sacrifice on the woman’s part and should require a vasectomy in return.

So do purses without zippers or snaps, the kind you (or a wallet snatcher) can easily reach into mean a relaxed, open-minded sexuality, and the buckled up, zipped up purse mean a prude, reluctantly drawn into action "down there?" Surely there is a PhD in this subject.

I did have to give Paula props for having a nice bag. It didn’t come from Target. It had a tidy zipper along the top, with moulded leather smoothly surrounding the opening. And that purple lining, ooh la la. You go girl.


Blogger Bio: Beren deMotier is a Carol Brady in Levis/tattooed lesbian mama in a mini-van, obsessed with safety, doing the right thing and the amount of dog hair on her wood floors. She is a regular contributor to both Curve and Black Lamb, and has written for Hip Mama, And Baby, Pride Parenting, ehow.com, and for her blog, “That Lesbian Mom Next Door.” Her multi-award-winning book, The Brides of March: Memoir of a Same-Sex Marriage, recounts her giddy leap through a legal window, straight onto the barbeque pit of public debate when she and her partner married in Oregon in 2004, their three children along for the raucous ride. (berendemotier.com)

Photo: Kay Pat