A Spinster’s Arsenal-in-a-Bag


Aside from the requisite lip gloss, wallet, and keys, there are a few other must-haves in my handbag.  Dating is serious business y’all.  It’s critical I keep a well-stocked arsenal on hand.


No, I don’t pluck my eyebrows on a date (or ever actually… are you picturing me with a Kahlo-esque unibrow right now?).  But when it’s patio season in Texas, you can bet every date will suggest drinks outside.  Just when I’m feeling confident that I’ve arranged myself to my best advantage on the sticky plastic chair that causes my thighs to sweat more than is seemly, I notice that errant hair twisting up near my ankle.  Y’all, it’s like a Sasquatch hair.  I swear it’s way thicker than any other leg hair I’ve ever grown and it has somehow evaded the razor for what must be weeks on end.  How the hell did I miss it?!  And so, bathroom break, tweezers.  I wish I could tell you this had only happened to me one time in the past…

A Compact Mirror

You might never meet another person who touches their nose more than I do.  And it’s because of this:  I fear a visible… crusty.  A bat in the cave, if you will.  When I get really paranoid, I can’t focus on anything else.  There was that time I dated someone for a month and couldn’t recall why he had joint custody of his dog.  There was a story he’d recounted on our way to a play, but my mind was otherwise engaged.  Surely, a bat was hanging out, and I’d been debating just how ginormous that bat must be.  Was it a dangler?  Was it lodged on the side, waiting to fling itself out of my schnoz the moment I laughed?  Perhaps it was only a fluttery little thing, but moving enough that it would distract my date?  Gone from my memory were the 15 minutes of conversation wherein the presence of the little white fluffball of a dog was explained.  This, spinster friends, is why I take a compact mirror.  Screw powdering my nose or touching up my lip gloss.  One must be able to confirm an empty cavity, and a compact mirror ensures I become a deeper listener.

An Extra Pair of Underwear

I’m not entirely sure why these are needed.  It’s not like I’ve ever crapped my pants, but maybe this is all those years of Girl Scout training, telling me you can never be too prepared.

My Cell Phone

…with Grace’s number on speed dial and text messages to my mother, sister, grandmother, best friend, coworker, supermarket bagger, and bank teller, detailing  key identifiers of my date.  You know.  Just in case he turns out to be an axe* murderer.

6:03 P.M.  His name is Michael. He’s returning from the pistol range, which means he probably owns a gun.

6:24 P.M.  Full name is Michael William Throckmorton IV.  He drives a 7-series BMW.  I’m not sure what that says about him, other than the fact that he has money, but you should probably be on alert.  He could do away with me and nobody would suspect the successful dude.

6:26 P.M.  For the record, I don’t care that he has money.  I’m successful enough on my own.  But you know this.  But I had to clarify.  Right.

7:08 P.M.  We made it to the restaurant.  No signs of zip ties or plastic bags.

9:55 P.M.  He wants to show me the “art” in his apartment.  Should I be concerned?  Is this a euphemism for something else?  What if he keeps hooks o’torture in his closet?

10:02 P.M.  Earth to Grace!  I have to make a decision here!

10:16 P.M. Ok, executive decision made.  We’re on the way to his apartment.

10:37 P.M.  Damn it, I forgot to check his apartment number.  We’re in the middle of the complex, down one of the halls.  3rd floor.  His door faces someone who has a Hello Kitty wreath.

10:38 P.M.  Also, why does he live in an apartment if he drives a 7-series?

12:11 A.M.  So… he really did just show me his art.  OMG.  What does that say about me?!  Shouldn’t he have tried to get my pants off?  I wore mesh panties! That should count for something!

12:14 A.M.  The panties are really cute.  Remind me to send you the link.

12:31: A.M.  OK I’m home.  Damn it.  The cats say hello.

Speaking of cats…

An Industrial Lint Roller

If I’ve dressed in anything nice or dark-colored, it’s like a homing beacon for the cats.  Is that a black sweater?  Why no, it’s now a white cat hair blend!  I might as well throw on my cat necklace and keep a stash of kitty treats sticking out the top of my bag.

If you’ve been counting, this makes no less than 12 trips to the restroom.  The guy must think have a bladder the size of a pea or that the shrimp scampi isn’t settling well.

What other key items do I need to add to my list?


*I like to contemplate what an Axe murderer might be like in the men’s fragrance sense of the word.

27 thoughts on “A Spinster’s Arsenal-in-a-Bag

  1. aspirin!, pen ALWAYS :), tissues, hand sanitiser (coconut scent), my friend is shouting: solution for contact lenses, lip balm (you don’t want your lips to be all dry do you??)

    • Ugh, my eyes are ALWAYS dry – so I can relate to the contact lens solution for sure. Oh yes, lip balm of course! I’m marrying up the pen and pad of paper suggestions from these comments. Yes and yes! As a writer this is a must. You know!

    • The 3M Scotch brand rollers… fantastic. Let me know if you have any other preferred brand. I also bought a couple of those reusable lint brush things which also work wonders. 🙂

  2. haha! I carry around spare pants too, not sure why! I am also rather attached to my handbag body spray and I can’t live without my ‘4head’ headache stuff!

    • I am not alone! Thank God. It’s the kind of thing you post and then think, “Did I just let people see a little of the crazy?”

  3. I always have a pad of paper or a little notebook and a pen. My friend laughed at me once when I pulled it out, but then I used it to make a drawing and explain something and it turned out to be very helpful. Also, if you do find yourself facing an axe murderer, you might have enough time to scribble a last second note with your last words. Or a map leading to your whereabouts.

    • As a writer, I can’t believe I forgot to list this. We should all carry a pad of paper. And the map…yes, leave it like a bread crumb trail!

  4. I call it a “mouse in the hole” rather than a “bat in the cave,” but I definitely have the same fear. I taught my husband this lingo so he can help me out in these situations, but he keeps calling them “goblins in the hole,” so I think I just need to get a compact mirror for my purse and be done with it. 🙂

    I just cleaned out my purse and for some reason, I had a box of bath soaps in there. Why?!?

    • Crackin’ me up! Maybe we should go with the rhyming troll in the hole? 🙂 Have you figured out where the soaps came from? Maybe you were subconsciously afraid to be out of soap in a public restroom? Lol.

      • I think I got them as a white elephant gift that never made it out of my purse. But, now that you mention it, I do hate when public bathrooms are out of soap and should probably pack some hand sanitizer for just such occasions. 😀 I like the “troll in the hole;” it just rolls off the tounge.

        • Or maybe we should use “troll in the hole” as a euphemism for something else? ::waggleseyebrows:: Tho don’t ask me what, I’m just throwing things out into the universe!

          Also… have you seen those travel toilet paper rolls? They’re super small, but oh-so-awesome when you end up in the stall without TP. This comes in handy when you’re in a festival/fair kind of situation and dealing with port-o-potties. Yes, I speak from experience…it was horrible.

          • Oh dear…. o.O That would be awful. I’ve never seen travel toilet paper rolls, but if I do, I think I might have to invest in such awesomeness.

  5. If I know I’m staying put during dinner, I discretely hide a credit card on my lap. That way if the date is terrible, I can insist that we split the bill and whip my credit card right out (why do I try to pay? I feel guilty if I know there won’t be a second date. Plus, I’ll be damned if any man thinks I’m dating just to get free meals). Or if I know he’s going to fight me on it, hand it right to the waitress when she arrives with the check. I can’t tell you how many times that little trick has come in handy.

    • Brilliant. I’m using this on my next date. I hate that awkward moment where you have to argue with the guy about the check. It’s like dangit, let me pay, I didn’t even enjoy this!

  6. I carry a ginormous purse (mostly because I carry my Notary stuff everywhere with me) so realize that your mileage may vary with what I consider “essentials”.

    Key items… Advil, Midol, Immodium, Tic Tacs (I swear I should have some sort of contract with the makers of Tic Tacs because I buy them in BULK), sticky notes, a Luna Bar (if you do the typical 1st date “order a small salad” thing, you will thank me when you scurry off to the restroom in the wine bar, tipsy from 2 sips of Malbec because you ate your “dinner” 3 hours ago and are now STARVING), floss picks in a snack size ziploc bag and perhaps a small, disposable toothbrush because he wants to go for a long, romantic walk after the wine bar and the last thing you need is aforementioned Malbec staining your teeth. (This will disappoint your dentist, who was hoping to use your teeth whitening funds for funding his new yacht).

    Finally, I know you may protest you are “not that kind of girl” but really, you should probably carry a couple of condoms (don’t count on him to do that) and, in lieu of travel toilet tissue, a couple of freshening wipes (not Clorox Wipes, though… those are not appropriate for the Lady Garden).

    I can tell you all about my adventures with an Axe murderer (in the male fragrance sense of the word… I was married to such a man for over a decade) and we can inventory your purse some time!

  7. Loving this post and these comments! I concur about the floss. Saved my dignity on many occasions. And I’m so glad to read that I’m not the only one so disturbed by a bat in the cave. I also am constantly double checking that my pants are zipped! Really, do men have these sort of quirks too? I’d really like to know…

  8. Dating is serious business I agree. When I go on a date i always have powder, lipgloss, hand lotion and perfume. A woman has to look good. You have to leave your man thinking that you have the best loving left in the world.

  9. You need a current passport (he may whisk you away because he is rich), a well sealed specimen container (he may kidnap you and you should try and grab DNA as u escape) a pair of flat shoes (essential – arrive late and quickly walk up to table/bar and say hi – if he appears short do the old switcharoo while he is checking out other chicks), if he is a douche but you’re bored and have nothing good on Tv to watch, take a prepopulated wedding registry list and see what china he likes.

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  11. Alcohol based pleasant (but not too expensive) perfume, in case the nerves and pheromones get all uppity in the sweating department and need to be handled, and also doubles as a swift deterrent to the more over zealous date – use like mace. Alternatively, carry nice perfume, and mace separately, just be sure of which one it is you’re applying to your pulse points…

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