Scarlett’s Letter June 16, 2013

I’ve made it to New York City and had a lovely time today sharing some of my favorite sites with my daughter who now lives in up state New York. She has joined me for the week. We’re going to have fun! When I’m not working. Which won’t give us much time, so we are cramming everything we can into every free moment we have. We are very well practiced at this.

We were on our way to dinner and I noticed a couple walking down the street. I pointed them out to my daughter. The woman was carrying her purse; the man was carrying his backpack, dragging a suitcase and carrying her enormous Vera Bradley duffel bag. At least I’m fairly certain it was the woman’s Vera Bradley duffel bag, I honestly don’t know many men that choose to carry Vera Bradley duffel bags. In public, unless it’s the wife’s/girlfriend’s/spousal equivalent’s. I see this all the time in my travels. Have you ever tried to carry a duffel bag with all the clothes, make up, shoes, straightening irons and everything else a woman likely to carry a Vera Bradley duffel bag would need to be as lovely as her luggage? It’s frickin’ heavy!

I will admit, I have entertained the idea of acquiring a Vera Bradley piece, or two, but I know for certain I don’t want anything that I have to carry over my shoulder. I already have a purse and a backpack.  I don’t want anything that doesn’t roll. The only luggage I will ever carry I will never actually carry, unless I’m in the backcountry, backpacking. I insist on luggage with caster-style wheels, that will roll in any direction, and four wheels, not just two, so I can push my luggage down narrow passages without having to tip it and drag it.  Or carry it. Second, I can’t imagine the lovely quilted fabric would hold up to the abuse I dish out for very long.

I bought the best purse (very large purse) a little over a year ago. It was designed by a mom who is also a make up artist and who travels a great deal. It is stylish, well thought out, extremely well constructed and absolutely adorable. I get compliments on it every single day. But, in spite of it’s high quality and excellent engineering, superior materials, construction and design, I have worn it out to the point that it is almost embarrassing to carry. And still I carry it. The company has stopped making them for the time being, but I’ve launched a very loud and consistent campaign for a new batch. My point is, if this well engineered, high quality, well constructed super bag is in tatters after sixteen months in my care, no quilted duffel bag or tote is ever going to hold up to the kind of travel and abuse I am responsible for.

I was sharing my thoughts on this with my daughter when we saw another couple walking down Third Avenue, the woman, who by the way, was wearing Under Armor, as in pretty BAMF workout clothes, carrying just her big purse. Her man was carrying his backpack and a Vera Bradley duffel bag. Two different couples within ten minutes, within two blocks! It is an epidemic!

I was nearly apoplectic! So was my daughter! I can’t imagine, and she agrees, ever, ever, ever asking my significant other to tote my stuff around because it’s more than I can handle. Now my gentleman, like my daughter’s hubby, will insist on helping, and sometimes we reluctantly agree, but we both believe that a woman should be responsible for, and capable of, managing her own stuff. If not, we are either packing too much, or we are weak. Perhaps it’s our independent nature, perhaps it’s our love of backpacking, where you could never, ever, every ask someone else to carry your stuff. You just man up and carry your pack! Okay, true, on more than one occasion we did offload an item or two from our pack into my son’s, but, by golly, we packed less the next time. And the stuff we offloaded was “community” stuff, like rainflies or a cook stove or water purifier, not our wardrobe and luxury items (luxury item, we allow ourselves only one when backpacking). And, women backpacking with men have a certain code of honor to maintain, we are already out to prove we can trek as well, as fast, and as strong as the guys, no way are we going to wimp out on carrying our own stuff.

The second thing, here, guys; when your girl begs for a Vera Bradley duffel bag for some gift-worthy occasion, buy jewelry instead. She will be delighted with jewelry, it will cost about the same, maybe even less, and you will never, ever, ever have to carry it. If she just HAS to HAVE Vera, buy a wallet instead and put the jewelry inside as the “big surprise”. Just don’t tell her I told you!

Vera Bradley Guy and Under Armor Girl. What's wrong with this picture?
Vera Bradley Guy and Under Armor Girl. What’s wrong with this picture?

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