Marian Keyes: Why I now believe a small, cross-body bag is your only man

Sudden Wild Enthusiasms: Small bags

Red cross-body bag from Aldo.

Red cross-body bag from Aldo.

 

The ebbing and flowing of fashion is a funny thing. About 10 years ago, a spate of women began showing up at doctors’ surgeries with peculiar back, neck or head pain. In most of the cases, the cause turned out to be the extremely heavy handbags they (we) were lugging around on one shoulder.

The bags at the time tended to be fine hefty ones, made of weighty leather and adorned with mucho metal-work – buckles and whatnot. In addition, the bags themselves were big and the thing is, if you give me something big and empty I’ll fill it, whether it’s a wardrobe, my stomach or – yes – a handbag.

I brought my entire make-up collection everywhere with me simply because I could. Water, snacks, books, they were all fecked into my giant bag with gay abandon. Then I’d hoist the huge big heavy bundle onto my right shoulder and carry it for miles.

Now for some medical speak: “A heavy bag causes muscles in the spine to work to offset the weight, which leads to pressure on the lower back. The more asymmetric the load, the more everything below the shoulder will have to work. The trapezius muscle at the top of the shoulders will spasm and tighten. This then travels to the base of the neck, which can cause pain in the back of the skull that radiates around to the front. If a headache is located mainly on one side of the head, it’s likely due to the weight of the bag.”

Fendi purse

See? Bad, right? But I was so addicted to having everything I needed with me at all times that I couldn’t contemplate a smaller bag. About two years ago, I had drinks with a fashion type who had a beautiful Fendi purse as a handbag. I don’t mean a purse like our American cousins do. I mean a purse purse, a zippy yoke for keeping your change in. In it, she had her phone, her key and a credit card. And that was all.

She tried to convince me that this was the future but, nervously, I crouched at the knees, kept my back straight, then hoicked my giant bag up onto my aching shoulder, as the ‘Correct Way to Lift Heavy Loads’ diagram had shown me. Quickly and fearfully, I made my excuses and lumbered, lopsided, off into the night.

Truly though, we are all suggestible pawns because here I am, two years on, insisting to anyone who will listen that a small cross-body is your only man.

I’m currently devoted to this red mini from Aldo. In it I have my phone, my key, a zippy change purse and eight lipsticks – everything the modern woman needs!

Paring things down feels virtuous and liberating and I love that everything is there at my hip, instantly accessible.

Funnily enough, my shoulder hasn’t been giving me much gyp lately.

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