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It was some years ago in a dank night club in Christchurch New Zealand. The carpet was a purply swirly shemozzle that luckily had the redeeming feature of being so impregnated with slopped beer that it was as sticky as having Velcro attached to the feet.

This was fantastic as it was very late and if the patterned carpet was not bad enough to cause some balance issues, the volume of wobbly leg medicine that had been consumed was starting to have a marked effect. Perhaps the dosage had been overdone.

The Velcro footings worked a treat so much so that in the light of the next day a vague thought of patenting the idea sprang to mind.

Someone who had some modicum of ability to take charge leapt onto the stage to announce a “How many items do you have in your handbag” competition. The prize it is regretted was not memorable enough to be recounted but after much giggling and fumbling, with table tops mounded with handbag detritus and debris the winner was found.

” Two hundred and forty eight!”

Much cheering, more wobbly leg medicine, “Hooray!”

Being an impressionable young man who felt such information may be useful for later understanding and therefore assistance with sultry sirens, the number was stored away for later reference. It has to be said it has not proved of any use in any way but now may help in the understanding that a woman’s handbag it has been reported, is a cess pit of bacteria and potential disease. Yes, beware the humble handbag!

Overlooking the obvious abundance of seemingly used tissues, it is the makeup to be wary of, who you allow to use it and the place where it is often applied. Sit up, take notes, be afraid, be very afraid!

"Makeup will get full of bacteria over time," according to skin specialist Dr Paul Salmon of the Skin Centre in Tauranga New Zealand as reported in the NZ Herald.

"Handbags are a dangerous cesspit that many people would be scared of dipping into."

So that explains my handbag-o-phobia. I KNEW I was normal.

A British study of one thousand woman found the average woman's makeup bag contains makeup which is of date by four years. Over sixty percent of the women admitted to sharing makeup and therefore multiplying the chance of spreading germs.

The most problematic makeup items are the wet products such as mascara, liquid eyeliner and lip gloss. Particularly if you have the habit of sharing your makeup, these can harbour bacteria or viruses responsible for coldsores and conjunctivitis with cracked or chapped skin leaving an obvious entry point for little devils.

The study suggests throwing out makeup after a years use.

Another study conducted in the United States in a random swab test of handbags at a shopping mall found twenty five percent carried E Coli on the bottom of the bag with some harbouring Hepatitis amongst others. They recommend never placing a hand bag on a table or surface where people may eat or prepare food. Further they suggested cleaning the outside of a handbag every day. They reasoned as many don their makeup in restrooms where the surfaces do contain bacteria as with each flush there is some aerosolisation of bacteria which can carry many feet and not everyone washes up afterwards, this was the likely source.

More science, isn’t it wonderful?

A study in Britain in 2005 found sixty percent of women there own at least ten handbags while three percent boasted a handbag ownership of at least twenty five pieces. The mind (of a man) boggles!

There is some good news. Technology is saving women’s shoulders and backs. The weight of handbags is being reduced, thanks it seems in part to new technology such as the iPhone and Blackberry. The weight of handbags have been reduced by more than fifty per cent in the two years of a study. The weight of an average handbag reduced from about three and a half kilograms to one and a half kilograms over the study years of 2006 and 2007.

What makes up the majority of items in a woman’s handbag? According to the study it is makeup, mirror, purses, tissues, perfumes, sanitary products, brushes, toothpaste, receipts, address books and headache pills . That is eleven items so what would comprise the two hundred and forty eight. More attention should have been paid it is obvious but the swirly carpet was too interesting to pay full attention.


Published: Feb 28, 2010 3:49pm by shaun.

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1 comment


  • Way to heavy

    My wife is always digging around the bottom of her bag but she can never really find what she wants. Seems to me there is nothing useful in it however when I picked it up the think weighed about 8kgs it’s a heath hazard for sure.

    Published Mar 1, 2010 1:53pm by simonvw

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