Do You Have A Problem?

All of them never match up to that beautiful black bag I found when I was a wee queer.

Hello. My name is Keith and I have an addiction.

It all started when I was about four or five years old. I knew I needed something to help me out but I was unsure where to find it. I never wanted to decide what I had to have at any given time, so I needed options. That was when I found it… My mother’s old purse. And so began my addiction to bags.

How it began

Ok, I admit that was a bizarre opening for this article. Yet, it doesn’t change the fact that I do have this constant need to find the “perfect bag.” And yes, it started when I was a kid.  You may wonder why would I have a need for bags at such a young age. Well, let me tell you.

Like most young kids, I had toys. Out of those toys, I had my favorites. Those would go with me almost anywhere, like my blue blanket. That’s another story. It was hard trying to decide which ones I HAD to take and which ones I left behind for that day. I hated deciding and it led to my mother forcing me to hurry up. Argh, the struggles of it all.

Sure, I have action figure cases, Hot Wheels cases, and the toy box, and you can’t take those things with you. Not easily, anyway. One Saturday afternoon, I was rummaging around in a closet when I came across this amazing vinyl beauty that answered all my prayers. It was black, deep-pocketed, and had enough room to carry my must-have figures and anything else I may need. A discarded purse from my mother.

It dripped in luxury with what I thought was a solid gold buckle. Nothing could say I was carrying important items more than that. The outside, covered in a two texture material, slick matte black vinyl and what looked like black snakeskin. Excitement filled my young mind. I knew my friends would be envious of this amazing carrying device.

I immediately ran to my mother and presented to her my find. I knew she would understand my excitement and would commend me for wanting to use it to carry my important items. As I presented it to her, she asked me why I had her old purse. I explained my plan to her and her only response was “you do know it’s my purse?” I babbled out that I didn’t care, it was perfect. She smiled and said “okay.” Off I ran to start loading my precious treasures into it.

My father spied that I was using her purse and flew into a rage. Telling me I was a girl for carrying a purse, that boys were not supposed to have such things, and on and on. It left me crushed. I could not understand why he did not see my grand design, my perfection for being able to transport the most precious things I owned. My mother tried to convince him it was okay and that no one would know. She somehow talked him down a little. That was, until the first day I took it to school. That was the end of my super sack of superb treasures.

Boy carrying a purse
Not me but similar to how I was

And so it began

This wasn’t the end of my need for the perfect pouch. In fact, it only solidified my desires. I had a taste of what bags can do for me and I only wanted more. I felt like Kirsten Durst playing Claudia in Interview with a Vampire, after her first taste of blood. Even at that young age, I was able to realize that I needed to change my focus and look for something that would not draw the ire of my father. But, I never got over that purse and how perfect it was. I would judge every bag against it, forever.

Being a poor family, I often made do with whatever book bag my mother would buy for us for school. But my love of bags wasn’t unknown to my extended family. When they would visit places like the Great Smoky Mountains, many of them would bring me back small leather pouches to carry things. I added them  to my bag and used them daily. None of them matched up to my memory.

Every bag I got always seemed to be lacking in some way. I never knew what it was missing, only that it was missing something. By the time I entered middle school, I had tried totes, duffel bags, and backpacks. They served their function but never measured up to my needs.  It was around 9th or 10th grade that it dawned on me that what I was missing was more pocket space. The problem was, at the time, bags really didn’t offer much in storage space. Just one large pocket and maybe a smaller one. That is unless it was a purse.

bags, backpacs, sling bags
Picture of various bags

Pockets and storage space became my focus. By 10th grade, I decided that the way I could fix this was to start making the pocket space I needed and sewing them into the bags. The first one I made and attached was that perfect “AH-HA” moment. I felt like Sir Issac Newton discovering the laws of gravity. It changed everything. I sewed two pockets into my bag and used them for three years. My skills weren’t great, so I spent a lot of time stitching it back to the bag. You do what you got to when you are trying to achieve perfection.

The first bag I ever purchased with my own money was the closest I had come to what I was searching for. It was a black leather bag with silver buckles. It opened at the top and had a pocket inside for pencils and such. The outside had a small pocket on each of the sides and another larger pocket on the front. It was as if the clouds had parted and this bright light illuminated me. I had found it, or so I thought. You should not give leather bags to high school kids. I destroyed it in the first year I had it. It left me devastated. The search continued.

Just one more fix

As you can see, my search has been a long one. To this day I have found many bags that seemed perfect at first glance. I have spent over $100 for a bag that I have never used and $15 bucks on a bag I wore completely out. All of them never match up to that beautiful black bag I found when I was a wee queer.

At this very moment, there are probably fifty bags in storage. I continue to look for and buy bags. I have never found what I am looking for and probably never will. I am sure, over my life, I have spent thousands of dollars on bags and I can think of three that I still love, to this day. My boyfriend, sister, and friends all tell me I need help. They are right, I need the help of that perfect bag. I need the help in finding that which will suit all my needs. And honestly, I may have a problem. You decide. Do any of you have a bag fetish? I would love to hear about your search and the bags you have found. Maybe you have found my perfect bag.

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