Are you channelling Edith Evans yet?
Having spent years shaking her head as if in grief, asking: “When are you going to grow up” as I walked through the door in a football shirt, my mother is now aghast to hear of my lecherous adoration of handbags.
In my early teens, she forced me to carry a suede creation (this was the 1970s) to church (and put some slap on every Sunday morning). But I complied under protest. I wanted to be a boy – or at least to be allowed to play football and not have to worry about matters girlie.
And once I was free of the every-day authority of my mother, I dumped handbags.
Well into my 30s, a battered men’s tweed jacket, bought in a charity shop, remained preferable, blessed as it was with countless pockets. Who needed handbags?
And that was the situation as it existed when I met The Other Half.
But in the last decade, I have changed. And the changes have included the discovery of handbags.
The Other Half is only just coming to terms with this. I’ve spent the last few years arranging for female colleagues to explain to him, slowly and patiently, that there really is no such thing as too many handbags.
He has worked out that the correct answer to: ‘I need a new handbag’ is not: ‘you need no such thing’, but simply: ‘yes dear’. A quiet life is worth some adjustments to one’s thinking on matters materialistic.
Indeed, Miss Piggy had the right approach: "I find that it is vital to have at least one handbag for each of the 10 types of social occasion: very formal, not so formal, just a teensy bit formal, informal but not that informal, every day, every other day, day travel, night travel, theatre and fling."
Three years ago, I was able to afford my first designer bag – an Osprey, purchased in Liberty after a number of reconnaissance missions to a number of rather upmarket stores.
It was with me when I joined The Other Half in his staff bar a short while later to take part in a quiz night. The rest of the team he was on was female. All the women drooled over the bag and, when realising it was an Osprey, nearly wet their collective knickers.
The Other Half said later that it was only then that he had realised exactly what status symbols handbags are – like cars for men.
Well, I have quite a few these days, including a couple in the BMW class. But one day, when I have the money, I shall step up to the Ferrari class – and I shall buy a Dior bag. Until then, the glossies provide handbag porn for lusting over.
In the meantime, my current day-to-day bag is looking rather tired, so I’ll just have to brave the West End crowds and head for the shops. Russell & Bromley have a nice one in their new spring collection.
Now what was it dear old Oscar said about dealing with such a situation?
Ah yes: “The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.”
And just think – I’ll be doing the economy a favour too.