Yeah so like the title said, yesterday, I stole a woman’s handbag.

She was walking along the street where I work; well, I say walking, she was wearing high heels clearly far higher than she had been trained to walk in. She was clamouring hurriedly along the street like a midget on stilts, or a drunk man who had trod on a nail, clearly unaware that all the effort she had put in to applying several centimetres of make-up and wearing a short skirt was being completely undermined by a basic inability to walk. And she was in a hurry which didn’t help.

Her shit was flapping around all over the place, probably a metaphor for later that evening, as she desperately tried to keep a ludicrously oversized handbag over her shoulder. It was like she had thought to herself “I love shoes and I love handbags, so I should probably get the biggest ones of each…” Her stripper-esque coat was blowing in the wind – you could see her coming for miles, this huge mass of hair, legs and accessories.

She was still quite far away, walking towards me, when The Mutton Alarm went off in my head. The Mutton Alarm is a key cognitive function which I have developed out of necessity over the years. Named after the “mutton dressed as lamb” idiom, where something less appealing is dolled up to look more attractive. Now, I find cute things about most women so I am by no means a Beauty Nazi, but this kind of woman has been the cause of much annoyance for me in the past.

Picture the scene, you are walking along and you see a woman who has taken great pains to tart herself up beyond all recognition. In that second that you look at her, she makes eye contact, then swishes her hair to look away as if to say “oh I see you’ve noticed how great I look, but sorry I’m not interested, I get this all the time looking the way I do.” Wait a minute. Um, no. I was noticing you, not “looking” or giving you the eye, or imagining us together, or thinking “phwoar”. If anything I saw you and said “Oh good Lord no!” or “Yikes, that is a convincing transvestite but a transvestite all the same.”

Sometimes I’ve felt like stopping and going back and saying “Excuse me, you um, you sort of acted just then like you caught me checking you out. Trust me I wasn’t. I was looking at you the way I’d look at someone in the circus. Or how I’d look at someone who’d accidentally left the house wearing her granddaughter’s boobtube.”

I have no problem with women dressing up to look nice – I generally prefer the natural just-got-out-of-bed look but it’s fine. But the arrogance of some people to assume that just because they copy their make-up tips from Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert, that somehow I must be lusting after them, just really winds me up. Get over yourself, just like I would notice a dead horse caked in Max Factor walking down the street, or a tramp in high heels with his cock out, that’s how I noticed you. Save your egotistical self-adoration for the nightclub you’re going to. It’ll be dark in there and people will be drunk, you might get away with it.

Anyway the Mutton Alarm rang. She was quite far away so I snoozed it. She got a bit closer. Mutton Alarm again, bit louder, had to be very careful from this point not to look at her too much, because if she if she gave me that “I know, aren’t I just” reaction, it’s still not socially acceptable even in London to say the things I wrote above to someone’s face.

So after the initial from-a-distance, driving-past-a-car-crash curiosity look, I completely averted my eyes as she bounded past me.

I felt something catch on my arm, but ignored it, I assumed she had just bumped into me while trying to keep her balance in her ludicrous shoes. But immediately after the whole left side of my body hunched right over, and I heard “Oh my God!”

I momentarily ignored my own predicament, and assumed either a) she was yelling “Oh my God” because she had fallen down a manhole. Or b) it was the opening to “Oh my God, will you please stop staring at me, I KNOW I’m beautiful I can’t help it, I was just born this way.”

But as I looked down I realised what had brought me almost to me knees. Her handbag, flapping around the place as she staggered past me, had become hooked on my arm. I had somehow done a better job of having her handbag strap on my shoulder than she had.

She looked at me at first like I’d done something wrong. I just looked at her silently like she was something wrong. She came up and took her bag back, completely unapologetically, and said “Stupid bag!” Funnily enough “stupid bag” was exactly what I was thinking too…

I did manage to get an apology out of her as she took a second to properly secure the bag back onto her man-shoulders. She said “ha, lucky for me you weren’t a bag thief!” Hmmm, yes. I can just imagine a petty thief walking past her, getting his arm snagged in her bagstrap then thinking “whoops, what’s happened here, how did I get… Oh wait, as luck would have it I’m a bag thief! Woo-hoo!”

I did wonder what she had in there, it was incredibly heavy. Probably a pair of normal shoes. And maybe her original breasts and pieces of her original face.

A bag's a bag.
A bag’s a bag.

 

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