Women's handbags: The truth told!


The mystery surrounding a woman's handbag is as impenetrable as the obscure nature of black holes. In fact, scientists have probably done a better job of explaining black holes than anybody can hope to achieve with the mystery of a woman's handbag.


Handle with care: Mysteries within!
Handle with care: Mysteries within!

Scientific evidence

Handbags may well be a new type of black hole, for all we know about what women carry in them. Scientific surveys fail to come up with trustworthy conclusions on what's in a girl's handbag.

Some studies indicate handbags carry Only essential items, while others are adamant regarding the contents holding All that's necessary. What scientists have more or less derived after many years of research is that both conclusions may well be one and the same thing in most women's minds. Indeed!

Top Secret!

Another important finding in these studies is that a woman's handbag is her absolute domain, territory, private property, call it what you will. In short and to sum it up, the only decent way to peek inside a woman's handbag without danger of getting your hand cut off (or worse, if you know what I mean) is by stealing it and running off to parts unknown.

And that only applies to real thieves, ladies and gents, a girl would never, ever dare "borrow" a lady friend's handbag to see what's within, not even if the lady friend in question had previously stolen *GASP* one's boyfriend!

So, the mystery perpetuates itself.

Enter the handbag black hole

Is this a black hole? Nope! It's a woman's handbag, as seen by the Hubble!
Is this a black hole? Nope! It's a woman's handbag, as seen by the Hubble!

...or only essential items?

Credit: http://chicbuying.com
Credit: http://chicbuying.com

All that's necessary...

So let's take a look at what may be necessary, as found in the above mentioned surveys. You've got to open your mind now, don't set yourself up to read "lipstick", "hanky", "wallet", "pen" and that sort of, well, essential item. You were getting ready for that, weren't you?

Yes, you were, and no, that's not the only kind of necessity women carry in their handbags. They do carry those, plus a number of other, errrr, essential items that will prove women's handbags are mysterious business.

Normal items (as opposed to "odd" items)

Essential Item #1: Makeup Kit

Essential Item #2: Pantyhose

Essential Item #3: Sewing Kit

We can argue about these being essential items. I can see the need for a lipstick or some eye shadow or mascara, but a whole makeup kit? Evidently I don't know what I'm talking about as a very high percentage of women carry one in their handbags.

The same goes for nylons, ladies. I mean, it's cool and all to be well prepared, but then why not carry a little overnight bag with you at all times? No, don't answer, you probably do, too!

And what to say of the sewing kit... I suppose I'll just take my hat off and bow to general woman preparedness to face any eventualities in every day life.

Odd items (as opposed to "outright peculiar" items)

Credit: http://fashionablygeek.com
Credit: http://fashionablygeek.com

Essential Item #1: Family Photo Album

It has been found that some women carry an entire photo album, displaying not only their children in all ages from birth to graduation and beyond, but also photos of themselves in various rites of passage such as their engagement, wedding, pregnancy, and the family pets, the in-laws, the nice folks they met in their last family vacation, and god forbid if they have grandchildren too, as then the album may be as thick as the New York City Yellow Pages! Not as heavy, though, apparently, because women carry this with grace and style as if it didn't weight an ounce.

Essential Item #2: Assortment of pens, paperclips, pencils, highlighters...

Some women carry more office supplies in their handbag than your regular Office Depot. I wonder, are these supplies just thrown in there and then forgotten, or are they carried on purpose? I'm afraid this is like the the chicken or the egg discussion, kind of impossible to answer...

If it were a matter of forgetting you have a collection of highlighters keeping company to your pantyhose and sewing kit, then I'd guess these items would be unloaded periodically, say, for example, when you'd be looking for the family photo album and would pick a yellow highlighter plus a bunch of paperclips instead. But it doesn't seem to work that way, these items are promptly returned to the handbag's deep end in case they may be necessary at some point!

Essential Item #3: Hair Iron

Stop smirking. This is one of the most carried items in the "odd" category. It goes without saying that a hair brush will also be found in a woman's handbag, but 99.9% of the female population will scream and shout that a hair brush is a must, a really essential item, so it doesn't even make it to this well researched (cough) list.

Now, my question here is not really why is this carried at all (I mean, plenty of women think this is a necessity, so be it), my question is how often this is used to be considered a necessity? I'll bet my earnings that the answer may well be "never, but what if I need it?"

Outright peculiar items (as opposed to "where no woman has gone before" items)

Credit: http://echostains.files.wordpress.com. Very odd handbag to host very peculiar items! It all goes hand in hand!
Credit: http://echostains.files.wordpress.com. Very odd handbag to host very peculiar items! It all goes hand in hand!

Essential Item #1: Screwdriver Kit

You think I lie. You think I deceive. You think again, please. There's no better way for me to tell the story of this peculiar item than with a real life anecdote:

I once got stuck in an elevator with five other poor souls, and the emergency button didn't seem to work. Before anyone had time to panic, here's this nice lady asking us to please stand back and let her have a go at the button. There were a couple of raised eyebrows, but she looked like she meant business, so we made room for her in front of the control panel.

And what did she produce from her considerably sized handbag? Yes, you got it, a screwdriver kit! She had the panel unscrewed in no time... though that didn't do any good to the button in question. Never mind that, I say, we all got an invaluable lesson on the mysteries of women's handbags!

I know, it's really peculiar!

Essential Item #2: Brown Tape

What, for the life of me, can brown tape be needed for that some women carry it, permanently, in their handbags? Initially I thought tape may be good if, say, your pantyhose run, but of course a woman that carries brown tape will also be carrying pantyhose, will she not? So the question remains, what on earth can brown tape be needed for? I realize it's a fairly useful item indeed, but to carry it in one's handbag... Women are the most surprising creatures, the most original thinkers!

Essential Item #3: Lubricant Spray

We all know how some doors are noisy, and how the car hood may need a little help to open, and how that handle in the office filing cabinet is a bit too stiff.... Right? Well, apparently, yes, right! Unless the lubricant is used to maintain the hair iron and keep the screwdrivers tidy! I mean, that's also a possibility!

Where no woman has gone before item

Credit: http://bagbunch.com. Is this handbag really very odd, or what?
Credit: http://bagbunch.com. Is this handbag really very odd, or what?

Essential Item #1: Gas Mask

As I said, you can stop smirking. If you think about it, considering the list of items you've read so far, and considering what women deem a necessity to carry, this is at least probably a sensible item, if not an essential one. I mean, it could save a woman's life! So, if a girl's going to find herself in the middle of war-like chaos, what would she rather be carrying, fresh pantyhose, a screwdriver kit, a makeup kit or a gas mask? NO! Don't answer that!

Boy Scout with Oath, Norman Rockwell
Boy Scout with Oath, Norman Rockwell

The handbag theory

I have a fairly good suspicion that you don't believe a word you've read in this scientific dissertation, but what do you know, it is a scientific dissertation based on observation! All the items I listed above, believe it or not, I've seen appearing out of women's handbags at one time or another.

The frequency with which I've seen these items come out of a handbag helped me categorize as normal, odd, outright peculiar, and where no woman has gone before. Swear to god and hope to die!

More by this Author

Comments 24 comments

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 6 years ago from North America

This is an amazingly inventive Hub. I think Monty Hall on the old Let's make a Deal show used to give money to women in the audiences that had certain items in their handbags.

I don't carry a handbag. If an item can't fit in a small pocket, I don't carry it. I do have a tool box in the car. That wouldn't fit in my pocket, but can carry all the supplies. I must get a gas mask...

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 6 years ago from California Gold Country

The boy scout was a nice touch, as their motto is "Be Prepared".

Are you supposed to handcuff that giant doughnut to both wrists? How do you shop that way?

I am also a purseless person, for many years now, partly because I got tired of carrying my husband's stuff.

You made this very entertaining and did an amazing job of getting a lot of products in the hub at the same time.

Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 6 years ago from Canada's 'California'

What an amazing hub! I absolutely loved it. I needed a good laugh today, and you definitely delivered! I carry a bag, and I fall under the be prepared category, although I do try to trim it down - the damn thing gets too heavy to heave around LOL...Thumbs up for this, and thank you!

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 6 years ago from Hither and Yonder

I believe I have carried everything you mentioned, except the brown tape and the gas mask... the gas masks have their own bag and I prefer duct tape! Of course, you forgot diapers, wipes, hand sanitisers, disposable bags for trash and books. Lately, though, I have been paring down. :0

Buffoon profile image

Buffoon 6 years ago Author

Patty, we meet again! I guess some women would have made a lot of money on that show, if they were anything like my research (cough) shows! And yes, by all means, do get a gas mask, they are fairly cheap and can save your life better than lipstick.... I think! Last but not least, I appreciate the compliment on inventive-ty :)

Rochelle, that's right, boy scouts are supposedly prepared for anything, I'm pleased that you caught that bit of buffoonery :) The doughnut, I haven't the first clue how one is supposed to carry that. Maybe it's meant for police women, as they would be familiar with eating doughnuts and carrying handcuffs in one go? What you say about getting tired of carrying your husband's stuff... that also came up in my research (cough cough), some women say they need a big purse to hold their essential items AND the hubby's :)

Buffoon profile image

Buffoon 6 years ago Author

Thank you Enelle! Do You fall under the prepared "odd" category, or under the prepared "normal" or...? :) I just ask for statisticar purposes, of course!

Ivorwen, I didn't really forget diapers and the rest of the items you mention, these are the same as hair brushes, lipsticks and such, women simply scream and shout that diapers and the likes are absolutely essential and can't make it to any such list. And who am I but a poor Buffoon to contradict them? :)

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 6 years ago from California Gold Country

You can find my "purseless" hub by putting the term in the search box.

Buffoon profile image

Buffoon 6 years ago Author

Your hub was a great read Rochelle, thanks for pointing me in that direction!

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

What a clever hub! You've covered it all and so well. I've never seen the likes of these bags and the story behind them - great satire here. That animal one speaks volumes.

Women carry so much in their bags that it has caused shoulder damage and brain fog - time to stop.

Thanks for such a well put together hub! So clever.

Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

Maybe that's why women's handbags are so huge! How about a nice knife, like a Swiss Army knife. They come in handy for lots of things, checking for rotten wood on used furniture; taking plant cuttings; scraping loose paint off old furniture to see what's underneath; cutting string to hold the trunk closed when you buy large items at yard sales; etc.

Buffoon profile image

Buffoon 6 years ago Author

BkCreative, I'm pleased that you were entertained! You're right, some women carry so much in those handbags that I can't help be reminded of the famous Mary Poppins magic bag, kind of a bottomless pit where anything fits :)

Dolores, research (ahem) shows Swiss Army knifes can be found in 80% of women's handbags, it doesn't even make it to the "normal item" category (cough) *G*

Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 6 years ago from Canada's 'California'

I'm sure my family would place me in the 'odd' category, however normal I appear on the outside :P

Petra Vlah profile image

Petra Vlah 6 years ago from Los Angeles

It is funny, it is awsome, it is useful, it is true, it is beautiful and well written. Can you fit all of this in just one bag? Loved it!

Buffoon profile image

Buffoon 6 years ago Author

Greetings, Petra! I don't know that all of this can fit in one bag, but studies seem to prove it's possible :-) Very happy that you enjoyed!

Jamiehousehusband profile image

Jamiehousehusband 6 years ago from Derbyshire, UK

Hi Buffoon, well you certainly got to the bottom of that bag in the pic but the mystery still eludes us men and obviously continues to baffle eminent scientists. My lady used to carry her westie dog as a pup in her tote, just peeking out the top! She even went to business meetings with him! Probably best we don't rummage too deep into these secret places...

Buffoon profile image

Buffoon 6 years ago Author

Jamie, OMG, I FORGOT to include the very important PET category in my study (cough). You're so right that some women carry their pups in there, too! I wonder if that would be considered a necessary item or ... what?! LOL

You're right that it's best not to dig too deep into this particular black hole... some mysteries are best left uncovered :)

hmm ..  5 years ago

lol I have carried brown tape before. My reason ... to get fluff and lint off my coat. I guess I'm odd then :/ ... :)

Buffoon profile image

Buffoon 5 years ago Author

hmm .. thanks for shedding light into one great reason for a lady to carry brown tape *g* and glad that you got a laugh out of this :)

toddwertz profile image

toddwertz 5 years ago

Beautiful hub! I had fun reading this! The pics are so cool!

Buffoon profile image

Buffoon 5 years ago Author

Cheers, tood! Glad you enjoyed :)

handbag oem 5 years ago

hmm .. thanks

Buffoon profile image

Buffoon 5 years ago Author

hmmmm .. you're welcome :)

Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

Very funny! But true...I think I´m one in the normal category although everytime I changed my handbag, I changed the contains. It depends where I´m going to. But carrying a hair straightener is to much, isn´t it? Thanks for this enjoyable read. Have a great day!

Buffoon profile image

Buffoon 4 years ago Author

Yoo Thelma! I like funny, I like true, as well. Mind you, this buffoon has seen hair ... stuff... in handbags -- HONEST :) Glad you had a fun read!

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