My Michael Kors tote fucking hates me.  

I am one of those women who covets a Michael Kors tote but could never stroll into an actual Michael Kors store and purchase one, even an “inexpensive” one designers claim to make for the every woman. You know what I am talking about – the less expensive line that targets the everyday woman, because every woman deserves to feel special. It is really important to look good in your Michael Kors shit when schlepping the kids to summer camp, running to the grocery store, and pumping gas into your crumb infested Subaru.

Regardless, I have always wanted a lovely little MK tote, preferably in a bright color, to spruce up my averageness.

My desire for a Michael Kors tote soared to epic proportions on a recent trip to NYC. Much like a Kors tote, NYC is way too fucking cool for us average, middle aged moms. I am in absolute love with New York City, and would probably give my left tit to live there, but at the same time I realize that I am in no way cool enough to be an actual New Yorker.

Except, I am an actual New Yorker, born and raised upstate, but that doesn’t count, right?

Anyway, it all began when exiting Port Authority, after a bus ride from Baltimore. Yes, I said bus, I am not cool enough to hire a car. As soon as I emerged onto the glorious streets of Manhattan my eyes were accosted by a never-ending parade of chic women carrying their MK totes in all colors, shapes, and sizes: The classic black tote with a gold MK logo dangling from the perfect length shoulder straps, the supple, saddle brown totes with little MK nameplates, the bright yellows and kelly greens and black and white stripes, all perfect for a summer day of shopping and sipping tragically hip cocktails at cafes boasting master mixologists behind their bars.

There were also the MK satchels, slung carelessly over the extended forearms of women in huge black sunglasses, the MK cross-bodies in snakeskin or studded leather, the MK quilted leather shoulder bags with chain detailing on the straps, even tiny MK clutches, some with wrist bands, so small they could easily fit inside a Michael Kors tote but instead were worn as a statement, dangling from the delicate wrists of women refusing to be burdened by the weight of a tote on their toned shoulders.

Seeing all these MK bags made me wonder if there was some sort of NYC ordinance that requires all women within the borough of Manhattan to carry something, ANYTHING, Michael Kors if she is to be seen outside of her overpriced (but fabulous) apartment.

I looked down at my cheap Steve Madden cross-body, purchased specifically for this trip, and immediately felt as if I should load back up on the crappy bus with the rest of the losers and hightail it back to Loserville.

I reflected on the people I had traveled with and wondered if maybe I was the only un-cool one in the bunch. Then I remembered that the lady next to me on the bus was wearing a ratty Museum of Natural History dinosaur t-shirt, sweat-stained sunhat, and what I am pretty sure were men’s pleated khaki shorts. She told me she was returning home to Manhattan’s upper west side after a visit to family in Maryland. Wait…what?  I could not be that out of place in Manhattan if this woman was a permanent resident of the upper west side, Michael Kors tote or not. Puh-lease.  

After four glorious days staying with a friend in her fabulous upper west side apartment, jogging through Central Park (I think I saw Marky Mark), catching a show, having dinner at the NYC Athletic Club, and even helping her move furniture at her old apartment downtown, I decided that, average middle aged mom or not, I deserved a Michael Kors tote. I mean, yes it is shallow, and yes, even the “affordable” stuff these designers make is not really affordable for anyone living in the real world, and yes, I had about a bazillion cheap handbags at home that were perfectly fine and dandy.

But who the fuck cares.

I wanted a Kors.

Upon my return to the fabulously chic Tucson, Arizona, I decided to go on the hunt. I did what every non-celeb middle aged mom does  – hit the closest TJ Maxx to find my very own pretentiously logoed, deeply discounted Michael Kors creation.

And there, amongst the rows and rows of fake leather was the perfect size, perfect shape, Michael Kors tote just waiting to be taken home by a nobody like me. It was light gray, with the darker gray MK logo all over it. ALL OVER IT! Just screaming to the world, “Look world, I AM A MICHAEL KORS!” It had silver shoulder straps of the perfect length. And it was only $99. Amazing, because, ya know, EVERY woman on the planet, no matter how poor, can afford to look fantastic with a bag that costs just $99.

I bought that fucking tote and made it my bitch.

But here’s the rub – that bag hates my fucking guts. Why? Because even though it is a deep discounted MK tote, it is still fucking Michael Kors, and it was meant to be carried by a cool girl with glossy hair and big fucking sunglasses wearing sky high heels and tossing tubes of Chanel lipstick and an iPhone fucking 6 in there.

You want to know what’s in my MK tote? Goldfish crackers. Juice boxes. Anti-bacterial hand wipes. Yesterday, it had crickets in it. Yes, a bag of fucking live crickets for my son to feed to his tarantula. A half-eaten chocolate croissant. The controller for a remote controlled car. My balled up socks that I wore bowling with my boys (P.S. a Michael Kors tote goes brilliantly with rented bowling shoes). SPF 15 lip balm (not by Chanel). The inside of my MK tote is a fucking shit show, and that tote isn’t happy.

No matter what is in that tote, I will continue to carry it proudly through the streets of Tucson, among the hallowed halls of the educational institution where I work, and even to pick up my boys from sports camp while my arm pit drips sweat down onto it. Why? Because I want to, and I don’t give a shit if I am not cool enough for that tote.  

That tote can suck it.


Jess Kapp is a writer and geologist, living in Tucson, Arizona with her mountain man husband and two precocious sons.  She is the associate department head of the department of geosciences at the University of Arizona, where she is also a senior lecturer, teaching introductory geology to hundreds of less than impressed non-science majors.   She writes about everything from women in science to motherhood to the manifestation of her midlife crisis on her website  She has written a soon-to-be published memoir about her transformation from sheltered suburban girl to bona fide adventurer while roughing it in the middle of nowhere, Tibet.  She also writes short stories.  You can find her on the Huffington Post, Facebook, and Twitter.

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  1. Danielle Gauthier Reply

    Too funny and so real! Jess you are awesome!!! Keep writing!

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