What's In A Bag

Carelle - Saint Laurent

This post has taken me a lot of thought on how to discuss the importance of a woman's handbag but it's definitely something to think about and significantly so for me as I was victim to an attempted mugging a couple of weeks ago. So, on a weekend trip out of London, heading towards the train station to make my way home, at approx. 6pm, a hooded man ran behind me and tried to grab my Celine handbag. It wasn't even a dark and deserted street. Less crowded because it was a Sunday evening but I probably was about 40 feet from another pedestrian. What a prick! I mean truly, what an absolute turd! A grown man stealing a ladies handbag just looks like such a little pussy (and I don't like to use that word often but it's very fitting here, don't you think?).

Carelle - YSL

So, no doubt the adrenaline kicked in and I had a choice to make: fight or flight. I irrationally chose fight! I held on to my bag for dear life, thumped my attacker in the face, yelled for help and tried to ride the ordeal out. As luck would have it, I wasn't badly hurt and after a good struggle, my attacker jumped into his accomplice's car and ran off with his tail between his legs. Elvira 1, Dickhead 0. 

Since then, I've reflected on the experience more and more,  trying to pinpoint why I decided to fight for my handbag. I could make a joke about no one EVER touching my Celine bag and in some senses it's true. No one has the right to touch me or my possessions so back off! But in all seriousness, for all I knew, that could have been a life or death situation. Genuinely! You hear horror stories of people being stabbed during a mugging and all the advice available tells you to give up your possessions if approached by a perp.  Your safety is so much more important than the contents of your handbag right?

Carelle - YSL

Yes it is and I am the first one to put my hands up and tell you that in such a situation you need to make sure you are safe first and foremost. But in this instance, I could not predict how I would react. Sometimes it's a judgement call and and at first glance, I did not identify any further risks than a man trying to take my bag. My instincts just kicked in and I gave it my best shot to defend my property. Don't get me wrong, if he had punched me hard or whipped out a weapon, he could take the thing but why was I willing to risk it up until that point? It's not for the Mac lipstick or luxury hand cream - those items are so easily replaced. Even my debit card and driver's license can be set up again, however tedious a process it would be. It's the items that are irreplaceable that I was holding on for. The birthday bracelet from my best friend, my mother's watch, the pictures on my phone of times spent with my boyfriend. It's the meaning these items hold, which cannot be replaced.

We've all heard the saying, never look into a woman's handbag or something along the lines of describing a woman's bag as containing "secrets". To some extent, this is true. The contents of each bag can tell you so much about the individual carrying it. As women, we take a variety of tidbits out with us that we hold dear, on a daily basis. Things that are so individual, it reflects who we are. Men do so as well but of course we can do it on a much larger scale lol. Now, there is advice that suggests you should not carry around the things you are afraid to lose and while this very sound reasoning, I don't want to live my life being overly paranoid, only leaving my home with a Nokia 3310 and my house keys. There's got to be a midpoint. Thus, I've compiled a list of the personal precautions I learnt from my own experience:

  1. Chose well lit and populated routes to walk through.

  2. Be aware of your surroundings and trust your gut - I saw the man walking past me and I thought he looked suspicious. I was right!

  3. Wear your bag around your chest or alternatively, keep it as close to your body as possible. This makes it much harder for the perp to grab and run.

  4. Keep your hand on your bag and keep the bag zipped up (the best decision I made - I had a firm grip on my bag and no contents went flying around).

  5. Keep some belongings in a safe pocket separate from your bag - I had my house keys inside my jacket pocket, so at least I could get home if he had taken my bag. I've now started keeping my phone in my pocket as well.

  6. Decide whether your bag is necessary to take for the trip - I've just bought a cardholder from Whistles and take only that out now, around half of the time. Otherwise, I keep the cardholder separate from my bag.

  7. Photocopy your important documents and keep at home - this allows you to have quick and easy access to the numbers you need to call and inform theft, cancel cards and give document information to relevant authorities. It's also a good idea to backup your phone photos on your laptop or on an online system.

  8. If possible, try and look at individuals' faces, that way if you are confronted, you can identify the person - most times, the individual does not want to be seen so might avoid you if you have a clear visual. Unfortunately, my attacker was wearing a hood and sunglasses (what a mug!).

  9. Report anything suspicious to the police.

  10. Remember, your safety is top priority above anything else.

 

Be safe my beauties. Much love xo