Last weekend I decided I needed a new handbag. When I announced this to Adam, he sighed and went looking for a piece of leather to bite.
You see, I bought a new bag last year. Last year’s quest lasted over three weeks and included seven visits to various hawkers of handbags in The Hague. It ended with a return trip to the first shop to buy the first bag I had seen. Then another trip a week later to return the first bag I had seen and to buy the second bag I had seen. At the time I was looking for something big that could hold my music folder as well as my flamenco shoes and skirt. I found the answer in a funky Oilily diaper bag. But the first one was too big so it had to go back. This one was just right and complete with laptop pouch – for a modern day yummy mummy:
Adam still wakes up in cold sweats remembering the painful purse-purchasing process.
Not wishing to repeat last year’s test of endurance and psychological fortitude, which almost led to divorce proceedings, I immediately went to the local V & D (Vroom en Dreesman, which is like the Dutch Sears), where I had purchased last year’s bag, and said, “I WILL BUY MY BAG HERE, NO MATTER WHAT”. Adam was skeptical. But I was confident. This time I wanted something less funky and more functional for day-to-day. Most of my bags are either bright colours or covered in sequins. I needed something neutral to go with my purple and gray winter coat. Something in gray or black would do.
Amazingly, within seconds I had spied a handbag one isle over. It was gray and complete with side pockets for bicycle keys. Perfect. Just as I was squealing, “Ooh! There’s one!” the long apelike arm of a Dutch woman reached out and snagged the bag. “Wat leuk! (How pretty!)” She crowed to her friend. I poked my head in behind them to see if there was another one of its kind on the shelf. There was not. She had the last one and proceeded to wander off. With my bag.
“Oh, well”, Adam said reasonably, “Maybe you can find another one.”
“I want that one.”
“Come on! There are about 300 bags here! You only want that one because she has it.”
“I. Want. That. One.”
I began stalking the woman around the shop. Adam bit his piece of leather and followed me grudgingly. The woman had my bag looped around her arm but she and her friend were still looking at others. She clearly hadn’t decided to buy mine yet. I still had a chance. All she had to do was put mine down for one second and I would have it.
Adam was trying to convince me to consider other bags. “This one is nice!” he offered another grey bag to the air. I had ducked behind an isle to follow the pair. He looked like he was talking to himself.
“I want that one,” I whispered from behind the rack.
After following them for a few more minutes I decided Adams tactic was the right one and started loudly oohing and aahing over various bags. “Wat LEUK!” I swooned as I stood an isle away from the pair fondling a random handbag, “Echt MOOI! (Really BEAUTIFUL!). En goedkoop! (And cheap!)” The women looked at me. I pretended to ignore them, but held the bag higher, displaying the silk lining like a woman on a tv shopping channel. I acted as if I was fully enraptured by this bag. “And so stylish!” I desperately squawked in English. They wandered away. I was beginning to feel ashamed of myself. Not that shame has ever stopped me before.
Adam was giggling by this point and had joined in, “Mmm, nice!” I think he was hoping I would actually buy that bag. Good luck. I looked around for the women.
“They’re heading to another section,” he stage whispered. We casually scurried after them.
When we caught up with them, the woman had another bag over her arm and was clearly torn between the two. She kept lifting up one and then the other, comparing sizes, comparing colours. Unconsciously taunting me.
“Just put it down for one second,” I muttered under my breath.
“They’re moving again,” Adam said. He followed behind them more boldly than I. He was confident that they wouldn’t suspect a man to be shadowing them for their handbag. Little did they know that he was probably more determined than I was to get that bag and get his crazy wife the hell out of there. Before the authorities were called to take me away.
“She’s put it down!” He reported back excitedly. Indeed, I caught sight of the woman and she now only had the second bag on her arm. I scanned the racks nearby and spotted MY bag on a different shelf from where it had begun. The woman was two isles away.
I had it!
“ZOINK!”, I said out loud, and laughed the laugh of an evil villain. Adam was just as happy as I as he steered me towards the cashier.
One week on and I still love that bag.