The Mysteries of a Woman’s Purse

Have you ever wondered what’s inside a woman’s purse?

I address this to all the guys out there because come on, what kind of guy isn’t even a little bit scared of a woman’s purse? And I say purse even though I mean all the different kinds of bags and things that women usually carry around, because (1) I have no idea what each of them are called so I’m going to use a catch-all rubric that is a ‘purse’ and (2) they all share the same mysterious and scary qualities.

This post was inspired by a few things that happened this morning. First, a friend of mine and fellow blogger, Sarah, made a post about her new Chanel purse.

The second thing is that I was watching Jeff Dunham‘s Very Special Christmas Special this morning and he mentioned the purse. If you don’t recall Jeff Dunham, he’s the guy that made Achmed the Dead Terrorist a household name a few years back. In the Very Special Christmas Special, Jeff Dunham said:

“The purse. The purse! The woman’s purse! That is an evil accessory thing that women have that guys just don’t get, we don’t wanna get anywhere freaking near a woman’s purse. We carry everything we need in life in a piece of leather, folded over, as big as a deflated hamburger. My wife would say, ‘Get my keys out of my purse’, and I’ll go, ‘Oh no no no, I ain’t touching that thing! I’ve heard noises coming out of there! It’s evil! I’ve seen you pull farm tools out of that!’  She can turn her purse upside down and shake it, nothing comes out. Turn it back over, reach in, ‘Look a bowling ball!'”

Jeff Dunham’s statements reflect a fear that a lot of guys share. A 2012 survey conducted by Cadbury reduced this fear to understandable numbers when it found out that 20% of men felt too scared to even touch a woman’s purse, let alone open it and take a peek inside. This is compounded by the fact that 40% of women, according to the same survey, consider people checking their handbag as intrusive as someone looking through the messages on their phone or checking their mail.

Seriously, what is in that thing?

Even pop culture has jumped on the bandwagon and tried to capitalize on this fear. Who can forget that scene that we grew up with, of Mary Poppins pulling out a lamp and a fully-grown plant from her weirdly-decorated handbag?

This scene was later parodied by How I Met Your Motherwith Robin playing the role of Mary Poppins. During the funeral of Marshall’s father, Robin became an instant celebrity among the people in the funeral because she became known as ‘a woman who can get things’. Ted said that she was ‘like Mary Poppins, if her magic purse was also filled with drugs’.

And, for Harry Potter fans, who could forget that moment after Bill and Fleur’s wedding when the golden trio had to get away from the wizard world fast and Hermione was the only one who thought to pack?

Hermione’s beaded handbag had everything three wizards could ever need, which is really rather helpful especially if you’re planning on camping all over England or toppling a despotic regime headed by a bald wizard with no nose. It had Harry and Ron’s clothes, the Invisibility Cloak, spell books, as well as other things that Harry and Ron felt no desire to know about. Talk about being prepared.

Over the years, men (maybe unconsciously) have tried to incorporate the purse into their own clothing choices. The most memorable would have to be Zach Galifianakis, from The Hangover franchise, and his man-purse.

However, a study conducted by the British Chiropractic Association revealed that when men try to incorporate the man-bag as the shining symbol of the modern metrosexual, a lot of problems might arise–including but not limited to serious back injuries.

Anyway, back to the woman’s purse. I’ve always been fascinated by the sheer amount of things that women can cram into their purse. My mom’s is a great example. She has a whole closet filled with different kinds of bags, and different bags go with different outfits. But all these bags are bottomless. My dad would never ever touch my mom’s bags. Ever.

When I was in college, my fascination turned into outright horror when a friend of mine, Dora, pulled out a huge umbrella out of her tiny purse. And I mean this purse was tiny. My friend was small, so she wouldn’t really carry a large bag–but this particular bag was no larger than my hand. And it managed to hold a freaking umbrella. What is this sorcery?

One time, I managed to take a peek at my then-girlfriend’s purse and what’s inside scared the hell out of me. It’s like standing in front of the TARDIS with the door open. The inside is bigger than the outside. It’s a separate dimension. The bag is a wormhole. As I stared (and it felt like the dark inside of the bag was staring right back at me) my brain kept telling me to look again. My eyes kept saying, “we’re looking!” I still couldn’t believe it though.

The topmost layer had what you’d normally expect to find in a person’s bag–wallet, lipstick, Kleenex, and cellphone. Under that, I found a whole host of things I didn’t expect. There was a paperback book with some half-naked guy on the cover and a title like Temptation Island or something. There was a sewing kit. A small umbrella. Panty-hose. Hair iron. A Swiss knife. Mace.

The third layer was an odd assortment of pens and things you put in your hair to keep it in place–you know, those little pins that you can use to pick a lock, as well as tiny and colorful rubber bands. I also found paperclips, a box of stapler refills (I didn’t see a stapler, but who knew what else was in the bag), and one of those flavor packets that you add to water for an instant flavored drink. What the hell?

I stopped looking after the third layer because, believe me when I say this, I could not see the bottom of the bag. I had a sneaking suspicion that if I stuck my head into the bag, I’ll end up having tea with a mad hatter and a hare with a pocket watch. I also had the urge to stick my arm into the bag, just to see how far it would go, but it was coupled with the fear that something inside might bite my arm off. You never know.

I’m going to end this post with two questions. To all the women out there, can you please enlighten us men–what do you have in your handbags? To all the men, on a scale of 1-10, how scared are you of women’s purses?


10 thoughts on “The Mysteries of a Woman’s Purse


  2. Women seem to be required to carry the entire contents of Kmart with them wherever they go. According to an article in the Daily Mail, the average woman has 40 items in her handbag. I have quizzed my girlfriend on the contents of her handbag and her answer is that she needs to be “prepared for any situation”.

    Well, why not chuck a jackhammer in there because there is a small possibility that you could be trapped in a rockslide. Or maybe a rocket launcher so that if an elephant falls from the sky you can blow it up before it lands on you.

    Read more


  4. First off, I have to say that I loved this post!

    Dental floss, lighters, forks and spoons…. These may seem like ordinary items but if you find yourself having to warp speed to survival mode, we’re the ones who are prepared.

    At various points in my particular life, My purse has contained things to fix your car, staple someone’s mouth shut, do your gardening, paint a picture, and sparring gear to, you know, dance with someone.

    You’re right, you should be afraid of a woman’s purse.

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