I’ve been in some kind of journalism ever since I sat at a manual typewriter in a college classroom in Cardiff reading about libel law, learning shorthand and writing news stories about made-up events in a made-up place called Newtown that suffered from far more of its fair share of fires, murders and motorway pile-ups.
Doing anything else was never really an option although I had previously considered other ideas – then written them off as I wasn’t qualified and wasn’t likely to become so.
Working with animals – no, not clever enough to be a vet, not tough enough to deal with ill-treated animals.
Advertising – no, didn’t want to encourage consumerism and corporate greed.
Being a film director – no, cos I don’t know how to use a video camera.
Law – no, cos I can’t retain facts for more than five minutes.
A while back I did discover a bit of a knack for analysing people’s personalities and lifestyles from the contents of their wallets or handbags. It’s great fun in pubs and an ice-breaker at parties – get someone to empty their handbag on the table and tell them all about themselves. It’s a skill akin in some ways to palm-reading or phrenology except that you don’t need any esoteric knowledge. It’s interesting to see how comprehensive a knowledge of someone you can gain from analyzing their bags – for women especially, the bag is an extension of their personality.
As I say, it was a bit of a laugh for an idle hour in the pub – no-one told me the art of handbag-gazing had a name, or that you could make a career out of it!
So I was captivated by a press release issued today about a life coach called Debbie Percy, who is billed as “the UK’s leading Bagologist”. Leading? So there’s more than one? No-one told me it was possible to make a living out of three-pint party tricks – I’d have thought twice about journalism had I known!
Debbie has apparently “developed an extremely accurate means of understanding someone’s personality and lifestyle just by analysing the contents of their bag. This then enables Debbie to identify and address particular issues in someone’s lifestyle.”
The Bentall shopping centre in London is offering free “bagology” readings from Debbie to winners of a draw being run on Facebook. www.facebook.com/TheBentallCentre.
It got me wondering how I’d fare in such a reading, so for a laugh, I thought I’d analyse myself from the current contents of my bag and purse.
Notebook Forgetful, needs to write everything down.
Five pens Obsessive, hoarder.
Camera Anti-social – always taking pictures instead of talking to whoever she’s with.
Calculator Can’t add up.
£5 off book voucher Thinks she’s intellectual.
0.02p off Sainsbury’s voucher Obsessed with saving money, however minuscule the amount – can’t see the bigger picture.
Instructions for colleague in an local group I belong to, explaining how to update the website Lazy, tries to palm work off on others.
Handwritten list of long words uttered by friend who’s gone to uni, collated for amusement of mutual friends Bully, intellectually inadequate.
Hand mirror Vain.
Tweezers Has a mono-brow.
Comb (broken) Unkempt.
Two lipsticks – one red, one brown Split personality – slut and frump.
Emery board (worn out) Needs a manicure.
Two eyeshadow brushes, no eyeshadow Disorganised.
Press card Perpetually hoping to blag her way into something exciting.
WeightWatchers membership card Eats too much.
Collection of coupons to get 70% off wine glasses at Tesco Cheapskate. Drinks like a fish.
Collection of own business cards Egotistical.
Collection of other people’s business cards Aspires to popularity.
National Trust membership card Aspires to be middle class. Likes drinking tea.
Filofax Out of touch. Probably wears shoulder pads.
Mobile phone (bottom of the range) Technophobe. Cheapskate.
London tube map and street map No sense of direction.
Southern Railway penalty charge notice Fare dodger.
Leaflet about Shut Guantanamo protest Trouble-maker.
Appointment card for blood donation session Do-gooder. Probably hasn’t got HIV or syphilis.
Well, that was fun. If anyone enters the Bentalls competition and doesn’t win a handbag analysis from a proper bagologist, send me a list of your handbag contents and I’ll see what I can do!