Sunday, March 11, 2012

Unmagnificent Obsession

Obsess: To dominate or excessively preoccupy the thoughts, feelings, or desires of; haunt.

I have this secret obsession, a mad morning dash to grab the Times, not to check the latest Newt-gaffe or Mitt's mixup, or whether Dame Callista's hair has shifted a demi-millimeter, but . . .

To check Page 2 to see what Chanel is selling its latest "handbag" for.

Lots of folks have a private neurosis – sneaking juicy fiction by flashlite under the covers, hoarding Oreos in the freezer, collecting more shoes than that Filipino lady. . . Me, well, read on. . .

I've never called the thing I tote my worldly goods in a handbag. Or a purse. Mine is a pocketbook. (Neither a pocket nor a book.)

Mind you, I'm not about to hail a yellow cab down to the 57th Street Chanel store. Much less take a car service over the GW to the mall at Short Hills! Not for what the VPs at Chez Chanel think is a real bargain at $2,400!

A quilted handbag in calfskin with contrast leather - what the hell is contrast leather?

And what's this quilted cow stuff? You can't make a quilt from the skin of a calf!

These Chanel folks don't play fair - the next week they upped the same quilted calfskin with contrast leather to $3,600!

The gal pals I hang out with don't pay those big bucks for a container to shlep the ton of daily indispensables - like cell phones , smart pads, kindle, comb, brush, gym shoes, mirror, makeup, cough drops, headache pills, a Poland Spring water bottle, not to mention wallet, ID case, change purse and credit card holder.

Nor do I cavort with folks who carry wads of filthy lucre.

If I did carry one of these Chanel bags on Manhattan streets I'd have to keep a beady eye every second on the bag. I'd miss the walk light, run into old ladies with their rollators, or nannies with their strollers, trip over the sidewalk cracks, spend all my energy keeping the Chanel safe from robbers, pickpockets and pan handlers!

And you can bet your britches these little Chanels that cost only 1- or 2 thou are their bargain-basement items.

Up the ante and you can get the "Evening Camelia" for a mere $4,400. Or shoot your wad for the "Boy Chanel" calfskin for $5,100.

If you're into snakes, own the "Natural Beauty Hobo" bag in python. I'd be scared its cousin from the Bronx Zoo would slither up my fire escape and swallow me AND my python-skin bag as I slept!

Who buys this stuff? And where do they carry them?

Any fair-minded Gristedes checkout lady would deny you today's sale on their premier pork chops. And P.C. Richard himself would say you weren't eligible for his TV sale.

I suspect the Chanel CEO assumes we all have weekend digs in Dubai! Or villas on the Black Sea.

Now, my dears, if you don't like the Chanels, Tiffany will let you buy a "sofia minaudiere in satin" for a real bargain – $1,295. ( What the xcq# is a minaudiere?)

Webster says it's a small case for a woman's cosmetics or other personal objects. Hey, Mr. T, you want I should pay almost 1,300 bucks to stash my two-dollar lipstick from Duane-Reade?

WHO are their customers?

Are the young ladies at Spence, Chapin or Brearley required to write their senior term papers on "How to Properly Carry Your Chanel Handbag"?

Would you dare to put your Chanel handbag on the crumbly table at Starbucks? Or nestle it between your feet at a Barking Dog?

Maybe Joe Biden gives a Chanel to Dr. Jill for her birthday. Or the Trump wives donate their castoffs to the Brick Church Fair. Or the ladies-who-lunch-at-private clubs auction them off for charity!

Rumor has it that Q E 2 sneaks a Chanel inside that roomy pocketbook she carries on the Royal Arm. That should satisfy the folks who make book on what Her Majesty really lugs around the United Kingdom. And pretty Kate no doubt carries hers to Mustique.

Have you glimpsed Mrs. Romney with a Chanel? No doubt Newt showers them on Missus 3.

But I sure don't see HC swinging a Chanel chain on her Sec/State travels. Or Diane Feinstein holding one at a Senate hearing!

I bet if you go behind the Liz Arden Red Door you'll see a whole line of them hanging up in the Ladies' Lounge. Alongside the Perrier bottles.

Once I ran into Katie Couric in the Lexington Avenue Gristedes - I coulda sworn I spotted a Chanel bag on top of her Lean Cuisines.

Heard tell Don Imus ordered a bunch for Mrs. I. But she donated them to the Hackensack Women's Shelter!

I reckon if you're a ladywholunches, like at Swifty's or The Four Seasons, it's de rigeur to carry a different Chanel every day.

Gotta run, darlings, I yell, as I fumble in my J.C. Penney faux leather red pocketbook for my subway token. . .

By the way, I must confess I do love my Chanel No. 5 cologne!!!

T. J. Straw

P.S. Thanks for listening. Be sure you leave your comment. . .


  1. Thelma, I once worked with a woman who bought multithousand dollar handbags instead of paying her income tax. Your obsession is a mild case compared to her digging herself into a huge hole so she'd could be seen at Nobu carrying the latest sought-after Fendi!

  2. I wear my handbag on my back, on advice of my chiropractor, Dr. Art, so I guess that makes it a backbag. It's handsome, but it isn't Chanel. What I like to look at pictures of, rather than bags, is dresses. Some online department store sites let you click on the picture of a dress and make the model step out of the dressing room and do a little pirouette, showing you how the fabric falls. Obsession? Time-waster? You know I can't get into those little dresses, even if I could pay for them.

  3. And then there is that woman who stole so much dough from St. Pat's - what a weird world we live in... tjs

  4. there are same amazing knockoffs for sale for under 200 bindies you could always go faux!