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Woman as Cargo Camel

Women’s clothing, as those of you who are female know, often has no pockets. If pockets exist, they’re more decorative than functional. Yet women, especially mothers, have to carry around piles of junk and debris. If you have kids, you need to haul stuff for them. But even if you don’t: a woman’s wallet is not made to to go into a pocket. Hence, the purse: a pack for a pretty little camel.

Some time ago, I decided to throw over those traces. I wanted to quit lugging a purse around, once and for all. Reasons abound:

  • Hauling a bag over your shoulder or in your hand everyplace you go is a nuisance.
  • It makes you a target for purse-snatchers and muggers.
  • Purses are easy to misplace, easy to forget.
  • Once you’ve lost a purse with your wallet in it, the resulting hassle defies belief:
    • Searching from pillar to post for the thing
    • Calling the bank to disable use of lost bank cards and checks
    • Ordering new bank cards and checks
    • Lost cash, if you carry cash with you (I no longer do so, for exactly this reason)
    • The amazingly time-consuming hassle of replacing a driver’s license
    • More hassle to replace other forms of ID and entry cards
    • Buying a new wallet, which at best rquires an Amazon order, but more likely will require traipsing to a department store
    • Putting someone else up to buying groceries and the like until replacements arrive

On and on and on…

Contemplating these joys, and, after having been chased around an Albertson’s parking lot by a panhandler (thief?), I decided to go into full rebellion: REFUSE to carry a purse around.

This is more difficult than one would think, because of the way women’s clothes are designed — presumably to fit some clothing maker’s idea of “sexy.” About the only clothing item that consistently has pockets is a pair of jeans. And even then, pockets in women’s pants are often shallow and tight, making it difficult to carry even a small wallet. And most women’s wallets are anything but “small” — the maker’s assumption being, reasonably enough, that the thing will be carried in a purse.

So…how to pull it off?

Several strategies, at least one of which entails some risk:

  • Hide your driver’s license in your car, so that you always have it at hand..
  • Get copy of your driver’s license to carry into a store, in case someone demands to see it when you go to write a check or use a charge card.
  • Get a metal card carrier and stash all your ID and credit cards in it.

Obviously, keeping your driver’s license in your car is, in some respects, a bad idea: anyone who steals your car or even just breaks in will be stealing one of your key pieces of identification. However if you’re lugging a purse around, all you have to do is forget it someplace or get it yanked off your shoulder as you’re walking across a parking lot. I’ve come to regard stashing it in the car as worth the risk.

Accepting that risk frees me from having to lug a bag everywhere I go, from trying to find someplace safe to stash it when I get to where I’m going, from having to remember to take it with me when I leave that destination, and from the risk of purse-snatching. It also means I have to look for clothing that has pockets — and pretty much precludes wearing anything very “fashionable.”

Fortunately, because I no longer go into an office, I can live in jeans. With the shift from office to working online from home, this is probably true for more women than it has been in the past.

And I’ve found that it’s very much worth the effort to shed the purse-hauling custom. Without a bag full of identification, cash, phone, bubble gum, and whatnot, the local Albertson’s parking lot — a haven for panhandlers and shady types — becomes a great deal less menacing. The risk that I’ll misplace an indispensable piece of identification almost disappears. No bag hanging off my shoulder means no sagging clothing, which means I can wear lighter, cooler shirts in the summertime. And it’s one fewer thing to have to remember all the time.

6 thoughts on “Woman as Cargo Camel”

  1. I wish I could dump my purse, but I’ve got to carry an inhaler. Then I drive a 21-year-old car, so I must have my phone to call AAA if necessary. I also carry a little bit of cash with me because I never know when I’ll need it. i was able to help another woman last weekend when she needed change for a twenty. We were at the car wash, and she needed ones for the vacuum.
    I also carry a tote with me to hold my water bottle because I don’t trust public water fountains anymore. As a diabetic, I’ve got to have access to water at all times. And I sure need it in the summer months!
    I recently got a cute pair of jeans that fit really well from Goodwill. Guess what? Once home, I discovered they have NO FRONT POCKETS. I must have spent five minutes trying to slide my fingers into fake pockets. Good thing nobody saw me doing this. Ah, the joys of being a woman!

    • Yes. There are some things you just have to carry around. I wear jeans most of the time, which have four pockets. A small flip phone will fit in one of them. A metal card case holds credit cards, ID, and the like. It’s good to carry some cash, but I find it difficult to use ATM’s, so that means either cashing a check at the grocery store or schlepping across the city to the credit union. Both of those entail hassle and driving driving driving, so I try to use credit cards whenever possible.

      Arrrghhh! Jeans with no front pockets? Dayum! That’s hard to imagine…

  2. Lack of pockets in women’s clothing drives me insane!!

    I have started wearing vests everywhere. I have some that are rather like waistcoats, and some that are longer and looser, about hip length.

    They all have inside pockets to hold wallet, phone, keys. The longer ones have outside pockets to hold larger things.

    I bought a couple online, and had a few made by the local tailor. They work with pants or skirts, can be fancy-dress or casual, and are comfortable in any weather. Coats and raincoats easily slide on top. They make my life a lot easier!

    • And how! Totally mystifies me: why on earth do they think women WANT clothes with no pockets?

      Hereabouts, you’d fricassee if you wore a vest everywhere — at least in the summertime, it’s just flat too hot. You need light clothes that will cover your skin to protect from the sun, but anything heavier than that would cook your body, but good!

      • Because! Women’s bodies exist to display clothing! Pockets ruin the lines and silhouettes!

        I have a couple of summer weight vests. I don’t live in the desert, but lightweight fabric, cut loosely. The tailor added horizontal lines of something stronger to keep the pockets from sagging. It’s not any warmer than a regular shirt.

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