Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It's In The Bag

My husband has been carrying the same briefcase to work since Noah disembarked. To call it a briefcase is actually inaccurate - it's more what would happen if a briefcase and a duffel bag decided to mate. There's nothing wrong with it, if you discount the fact that for a while now, he's had to pin parts of it back together lest the entire thing explode all over the bus he takes to work.

He asked me to help him buy a new bag, and honestly, I don't know why he did that at all. I'll explain.

My husband (and his parents before him) are poster children for reverse elitism. The very presence of a high end label on an item earns his immediate disdain. Should another person be able to ballpark your financial status based on anything you own, you are trite and showy. These are people who come from people who darned socks, back when people actually darned socks, and would still be darning socks if any of the socks manufactured today were worth the effort of darning. The point is not to appear impoverished, it's to appear neutral. Bland. Unnoticeable. Stand in the back of the room in your Land's End khakis and do not call attention to yourself, please.

Then there is me.

There is not a label I do not adore. My parents tended to shun labels, too, for entirely different reasons, chief of which was my mother's mantra of not making rich people richer. Why buy a concert ticket? That singer is already rich enough. Why wear some woman's name on your butt? She's rich enough. No need to make rich people even richer, ever, despite my being pretty sure that someone was made more financially stable by our Sears Toughskins purchases, so the entire point was moot.

This upbringing (you know, the one in which I suffered because my parents insisted if I wanted Jordache jeans enough, I'd work to buy them myself. Whatev) caused me to look upon a designer label the way some women might gaze at their children. The highlight of my shopping life will occur when, one day, I am the owner of what I consider to be one of the holy grails of labels: a Chanel suit. With the weighted chain in the hem. Tailored by some fussy woman with a measuring tape around her neck. It will be beige, I think, and I will have nowhere to wear it, but it will hang in my closet, glorious, magnificent, labeled.

So when my husband asked my opinion on briefcases, I do not for the life of me understand why he would think the word Samsonite would ever trip across my tongue. Or JCPenney. Or, heaven forbid, Target (where I spend as much money as anyone else on reasonably priced items that I use to accent the thrift store designer labels I buy. I do live in reality).  No, I immediately polled a bunch of men until I unearthed what was considered to be one of the best labels in luggage, ever, ever ever, and I went out and bought that.

Yeah, so, the best label in luggage, ever, did not think to put a handle on their briefcase. It sat in the corner of our bedroom, while the duct taped duffel briefcase hybrid went off to work each morning. After a couple of weeks I asked why.

"It doesn't have a handle, what's up with that?" He wanted me to send it back. He wanted me, a bona fide label addict, to pick up that beautiful bag (well, it's rather plain, but the label inside? Is gorgeous) and send it back. Admit defeat. I couldn't do it. I haughtily informed my husband that I would carry the bag myself, thankyouverymuch, and me and my ultra cushioned laptop would enjoy it immensely. So there.

For about a week I floated into work with the bag on my shoulder, label side out, naturally, so pleased with my designer briefcase and the way it knocked against my designer handbag that my head could barely fit through the doorway. And then, well, the second week, the aura wore off, because... doesn't have a handle.

It has a shoulder strap, which is great, but entirely inconvenient. I didn't realize the lack of handle would mean so much. I definitely need another bag altogether. And as soon as I muster up two ounces of humility, I will explain to my husband why I am selling the handle free designer bag on eBay and going out shopping for something more practical.

Which still won't be a Samsonite. I mean, work with me here.

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