Most folks who have addictions are messed up with drugs (street or prescription) or alcohol — or even sex. So they tell me. I wouldn’t know anything about that last part. You do believe me, don’t you?

I do have an addiction though. It has nothing to do with any of this. My name is Dale and I’m a purse-a-holic. 

Well, on second thought, I’m a handbag aficionado.  Yeah! That doesn’t sound nearly as bad as the cracked egg that I really am.

Y’all, when it gets to the point that you can’t close your closet door because bags are falling out, it’s time to get help. My lady friends and family always look forward to the day I pack up my car with black garbage bags full of handbags and let them fight over who wants what. 

This is not an effort to break my addiction. This is merely a last-ditch move to make more room — for more bags.

I may have on “holey drawers,” but I’m carrying a handbag to die for.

My love affair with handbags started when I “had” to have just the right bag to carry all my essentials. Such as: wallets, credit cards, keys, makeup, pills, receipts all the way back from 1990, a small flashlight, screwdriver and a Swiss army knife. Well, emergencies can happen. I should know, I’m an accident magnet. You never know what or when you’ll need to unscrew a screw or slice off a hunk of cheese because as you know, life is unpredictable. You need to be ready for all contingencies.

I want my bags to be functional, but not quirky. To carry all my “stuff,” it has got to be a good size.

OK, to my credit, I don’t buy, rent or steal the very expensive bags. But I have found some very high-end name brands in second-hand shops.

Now, when I say expensive, here’s an example: The Mouawad 1001 Nights Diamond Purse, which is made up of 18 karat gold and encrusted with more than 4,500 diamonds ranks second in the edition. This bejeweled purse, which is just one of the most expensive and best designer handbags that the brand makes, costs $3.8 million, thereby earning a place in Guinness World Records for being the most valuable handbag in the world.

I’m weird and occasionally a she-grump — but not crazy — even if I did have that sort of money…that is just absurd.

So, if you’ve got a big bag, you know you’re ‘gonna’ fill it up to the top. You have to, it’s a rule.

The downside of this purse aspiring to be a suitcase is that it puts a strain on your neck, shoulder and back. Pain is the result.

An oversized bag makes us walk lopsided. This distorts our posture and plagues us with various pains and kinks.

New York chiropractor, Isis Medina, advises us on how to buy a handbag that won’t hurt your back or other body parts. She says to avoid long straps and chain handles and is a critic of slouchy canvas bags. (Not cool, Medina. Medically sound, but not cool). She likes structure in her bags, noting that, “when items shift around and aren’t well distributed, your balance is thrown off.”

The American Chiropractic Association advises that women lug around no more than 10 percent of their body weight. That’s a big swing if you weigh 89 pounds — or maybe 389. 

A report last December in The New York Times suggests that, at the very least, a woman who doesn’t want to give up a big handbag should regularly switch it to the opposite side of her body, or try to position the purse in front of her body. The best option is a so-called “fanny pack,” because it distributes the weight burden on your hips, instead of your back and shoulders. However, the Oprah pundits conceded that most women would rather suffer for fashion than be seen in a fanny pack. 

Since I’m as old as I am — 39 and holding (am, too!), the prospect of my recovering from this harrowing addiction is quite slim. Don’t try to change me. I’m a dyed in the wool BAG LADY.

DALE LILLY  is The Gilded Lilly and Lifestyles Editor. You can reach her at 662-429-6397, Ext. 248. 

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