Sunday 8 November 2020

The Fendi Bag

While we were in Rome, a large poster for the Fendi label appeared on a building just off the Piazza Farnese. It featured a beautiful young woman radiating happiness over a Fendi handbag. The handbag is open to show her initials, Z.D., and shortly before we left Rome I finally noticed her name written in smaller letters on the side of the ad: Zoey Deutch.

But I didn't recognise her. To me she was just a very, very happy young woman, and Benedict Ambrose and I pondered whether or not a handbag in itself could make anyone that happy. I soon concluded that it could if it were a gift. My nephew Pirate asked for Kappa gear for Christmas last year, and when his uncles and aunt showered him with it, he was utterly delighted. Then we were happy, too.  

Naturally I then pondered if this conversation was entirely frank and aboveboard, and if I were hinting that B.A. should get me a Fendi bag with my initials on it. However, the perennial thought "Where would I wear it?" intruded.  Indeed, the question more pertinent than ever for, thanks to quarantine, I couldn't even wear it to church. 

Depending on the actual cost of this Fendi bag, it might even separate me on some level from the vast majority of my female friends, surely the only people (besides, possibly, waiters in Roman restaurants) who would notice what handbag I carried. Then there's the ire of chippy class-conscious thugs of all ages on the Rough Bus who, even if they couldn't recognise a Fendi bag, would smell pretensions to privilege as soon as I boarded. In sum, I am probably better off with my little red handbag made in Edinburgh by the Polish wife of a Polish veteran of the Polish victory at the final Battle of Monte Cassino. 

All the same, I have clearly been thinking about that Fendi bag an awful lot. Could it be because the poster was so large? Are women more drawn to luxury goods when they see very big pictures of them? 

New theory: the poster was not meant to attract just women-who-buy-handbags but men and women who love women-who-buy-handbags. Projecting into the future, if I thought my niece Popcorn would look that happy if we bought her a Fendi bag with her initials on it, we would probably buy her one, and make darn sure we were around to see her expression. 

I am now, for the first time, going to search for the cost of this thing-that-used-to-be-a-cow. 

!!!!!!!!! €3,400.00!!!!!!!!!!!

And that's before the initials get added. Sorry, Popcorn: no Fendi bag from me to you.

While I'm still recovering from that, I will record that I met two Seraphic Singles readers when I was in Rome. Interestingly I met them on the same day, just after meeting Cardinal Raymond Burke. One was English, and waylaid us outside the sacristy after we tottered, stunned, from our encounter with the good cardinal, and the other was American and, if I remember correctly, approached me in the street as I was on my way to interview Alexander Tschugguel. 

I was delighted to meet these readers, and it was very pleasant to hear that my Seraphic Singles blogging had helped them. I'm afraid, though, that they may have thought I was slightly dim. In fact, I didn't completely recognise the American one the next time I saw her. She was very nice about it. The fact is, that Saturday had been the most exciting day I had had for a long time, so full of detail and incident that my memory began to overflow. 

At some point I will have to write out the whole story of meeting Cardinal Burke, but suffice it to say that he knew who I was and reads my articles. B.A. and I were amazed and delighted. Then we met my English reader, who knew who I was and praised Seraphic Singles. We were  delighted again. Then we zipped across town to see Alexander Tschugguel, meeting my American reader--more delight--and then I had to interrupt another journalist to ask A. T.  my own questions, and then A.T. and his friends did something newsworthy in St. Peter's Square, and then I got told off by Vatican police for filming it from the wrong side of the perimeter. Then I ran like a lunatic to the Sala Stampa to send my footage to the USA, where it was rapidly published on Twitter, and then B.A. appeared to tell me that Cardinal Pell had stopped in his walk across the Square to talk to A.T.  So I then ran out like a lunatic to photograph Cardinal Pell when I could and to interview A.T. about what they had said together. 

At some point I went back to our rental flat, where I spent the rest of what was left of the day sending films and photos to the U.S. and writing up the A.T. news. 

To bring this back to the Fendi bag, there is no way I could have run about reporting encumbered with a purse that had cost someone I loved €3,400. That is clearly a bag meant for getting out of cabs, and going for lunch, or displaying one's wealth or the wealth of the giver. 


  1. Hello! Your American reader in Rome here... It was a pleasure to meet you! And I do wish I had been able to go to lunch with your crowd on All Saints Day, but you understand, it was my pal's birthday.
    Actually...a confession to make...I've seen you at Mass lots of times, and never said hello before because I'm simply shy about approaching well-known people and saying "I read your stuff." I fear not knowing where to go from there... Although, to be honest, from what you have said in the past about meeting readers I didn't REALLY think you'd glance at me coldly and say "And?" Anyway, when it happily happened that I had a genuine question and you apeared right at that moment, obviously headed for the fun, it was a long-awaited opportunity ;-)

    1. Goodness gracious! I did not realise that you are "Amused". But since you are that means we are old friends, and I didn't know. Yes, I love meeting readers, especially my blog readers. I am not sure I count as "well-known" though. Well, I suppose it depends on the community.

  2. The handbag made by the Polish lady sounds way more interesting to me than the Fendi bag.

    1. It is certainly more comfortable. I cannot imagine how large a family income I would have to have before I could feel at ease with a £3000 handbag.