June 8, 2009
Last summer I took a trip home to Duluth, Minn., and my mom gave me an unusual gift. I thought it was a joke, but soon realized my mother was dead serious.
“It’s a Phoebe purse,” she explained. It lay on the table before me, a white furry thing complete with a shimmery metallic strap, button nose and leopard print lining. The purse’s likeness to our beloved, snaggletoothed mutt, Phoebe, was uncanny — which made my mom, to say the least, very excited.
“Well, aren’t you going to wear it?” she asked. I gave her a confused look.
Mrs. Heinz, an avid clearance sale shopper, is generous with her … err … interesting gifts to people. Somehow, though, the Phoebe purse still caught me off guard. Last week she presented my boyfriend, Mike, with a second-hand Hollister shirt – a gift honoring his recent law school acceptance.
“Lots of college kids wear Hollister,” she told him.
Back in Minneapolis, my roommate Lia got hold of the purse, resurrected my 2007 “Bichon Frise” calendar (another gift from mom) and created a nice little monument for our living room. One summer day before a Twins game and after some wine, I unleashed the purse from the wall and decided to take my fluffly friend for a walk.
It could have been the wine talking, but suddenly I felt like I belonged on the cover of Vogue, or even cooler: NYLON. A dog purse? How trendy!
It was a Thursday afternoon Twins game so grade schoolers abounded. As I made my way through the concourse I found myself on the receiving end of envious stares.
The kids more than acknowledged my fluffy accessory, some even asking questions. Adult passersby had a different take on my terrier tote. Most just stole awkward glances and snickered to their friends.
Suddenly I felt self-conscious and was forced to justify my fashion decision to my child admirers and adult ignorers. Adults: It’s for the kids. Kids: You’re just jealous.
Excuses every fashionista should have ready to pull out of their dog-purse.
As quick as the pet purse industry changes from not to hot, so does my life. I have a new job at Fast Horse and I’m moving out of my college rental house.
To rid ourselves of clutter before moving, my roommate Erin and I hosted a big rummage sale. I’ve done enough rummaging to know that the Phoebe purse would have been a hot item, but I just couldn’t part with it. Besides, it’s for the kids.