Sheila is a temptress. She is gorgeous and has the most chocolaty soft and supple skin. In fact, her color is rather hard to describe for in certain lights, she appears to be a very rich brown and in others, she seems the color of eggplant-perhaps the French translation “aubergine” would be a more glamorous way to describe the color of her skin.
Sheila isn’t cheap---there is not one thing sleazy about her and she is without a doubt the finest handbag in my collection. Her price tag was approximately one week’s salary for me (before her tax and after mine).
On a shopping spree with MBF (who is a wicked enabler) last September, I fell in love with Sheila. I heard her siren call from across the shoe department at Nordstrom’s. There she was in the bright spotlight across the aisle. It was as though the clouds had parted, the sun shone down and the angels were singing to beckon me to the handbag department. In the past, shoes were my downfall. Shoes don’t really speak to me so much now that I have horrific plantar fasciitis and wear only surgical scrubs and Dansko Professional shoes to work. (I sort of miss my days as a nurse in a private practice where I was able to glam it up for work. My budget likes the scrub job way more though).
Handbags are my new downfall. I own a few. I have a couple of Coach bags, a Hobo slouch, a beautiful handmade bag from a Montreal leather artisan, some Nine West bags, one Perla, one Fossil and quite a few inexpensive non-descript purses. With Coach or any other common designer bags, it isn’t uncommon to see yourself coming and going. Everyone has one these days, and if they don’t have a real one, then they have a knockoff. This was not the case with Sheila. In fact, I had never seen any bag quite like her and I was smitten.
Now, I told you she was expensive. She was so pricey, I needed convincing. I had the clerk hand her to me from the display. I touched her (really I fondled her), I smelled her and I tried her on. I unzipped every zipper to look at her insides closely. The sales girl began to look very smug at this point and I should have been leery of this. OMG! Her insides were HOT PINK!! Oh, I told MBF, I LOVE HER!!! Yes the best friend at this point jumps in to help the salesgirl out: “oh she is beautiful, you work so hard and you really deserve something special like this.” At about this point, I was feeling a bit pressured for I had seen the price tag nestled in the zippered compartment. Holy S#!T I thought. There is no way on earth I can explain this purchase to my husband but especially, myself. I played with Sheila a bit more, listened to the salesgirl's spiel about how she was crafted by a local Detroit artisan Tracy Reese and how they only had a limited supply of her work and only one exactly like this. It was at this point I did the only thing I felt I could: I placed the bag down, thanked the clerk and walked away.
Like a pouting child, I kept looking back across the aisle. It was then I noticed her: it was another woman eyeing my bag. "Damn", I told my best friend. "Look at her. LOOK. AT. HER. She is going to buy it!" She had been pacing around the counter watching me while I had been looking at the bag. At the time, I thought nothing of it. In reflection, I think she was stalking the bag. "Look. Oh. Oh. Oh good. She left. Quick, lets go." I was across that aisle in a heartbeat, my Nordies card already out (and beginning to smoke in anticipation) and just like that, I bought the bag I would later name Sheila (more on her naming in my next installment). In the end, it was the "other woman" who made me lay down my card for her. As MBF and I left the store with Sheila safe in my hands, we ran into the other woman in the parking lot. She asked if I had bought the bag afterall. When I told her I did, she looked so sad. She had just run out to her car to get her credit card (???) to go back in and buy the bag herself. (NO LIE). Sheesh, that was close.
I haven't completely tired of Sheila yet, but she was beginning to bore me. After all, it has been 5 months of carrying her everywhere. I didn't want to put her away, so I swapped her for one of the bags in my daughter's collection and thus here begins the chronicles of The Adventures of Sheila the Seductress. Stay tuned and buckle up; it is sure to be a bumpy ride.