Every now and then we’ll be out shopping for another 50 pound bag of fertilizer or attending a lecture on sustainable indifference to the neighbor’s wealth, when Katherine will say something like “Hold my bag for a second.” Yesterday it was “Will you go back to the car and get my polka dot handbag?”
She doesn’t do this out of malice. Katherine is the most malice-free person I know. She does it because she keeps presuming, after years of marriage, that I am a normal person. But, really, your normal woman’s handbag fetcher would never be in danger of passing out from holding his breath along with the bag. Normal people do not suffer from handbag apnea.
Quite simply, carrying Katherine’s handbag bag across the merciless marketplace makes me breathlessly fearful of mean men out of touch with their feminine side. These men walk past me and whatever handbag I’m holding (hopefully one that doesn’t clash with my color scheme). They are trying so hard to mask their mocking smirk that it appears to all but the paranoid that they haven’t noticed me at all. But I notice them and I’m not even paranoid.
Their hands are free of female kaboodle and they stand ready to fly into the sky at a moment’s notice to kick some serious Solomon Grundy butt. Supermanly stuff. And there I am, dizzy from oxygen deprivation, stumbling, dying, pushing on with a ridiculous polka dot handbag while bravely offering it up to the souls in purgatory.
Look, if you are dating someone and she asks you to hold her bag the rules are very clear that you don’t have to if you don’t want to. (Sometimes, though, depending on your immediate hopes and dreams for the evening, it’s better just to do it.)
When you’re married there is no option. You have to do it under the “better or worse” clause. In fact, nowadays some clergy will add a rider to the marriage vows listing specific “worsers,” as they are known on the street. Handbag retrieval is always near the top. The next time you hear about a couple divorcing for irreconcilable differences, read between the lines. Nine times out of ten you’ll be able to follow a trail of polka dots.
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013, all rights reserved.