Mindy, We Are So Over

Turns out most of my blog traffic lately has been due to my post on Mindy Kaling and the Hermès Birkin bag sighting on her show. I find it rather amusing, but also interesting that people are trying to find out more about the bag.

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen my rants about the second Birkin bag Mindy was carting around. (I’ve posted the tweets below, since it’s been a while.)


The second Birkin was a lovely shade of geranium pink (not a true red, as it were) and it goes for 16,999 here.

Then there were three.

The third Hermès Birkin bag, according to the folks over at Createurs de Luxe, is valued at over $22,750.

Photo courtesy Hermes Purse Forum

It was after this third bag that I decided to stop watching this show. I couldn’t even make it to the season finale this past week, which according to a couple TV pundits & bloggers was quite good.

But I have tapped out. All because of three expensive handbags.

Now, to be clear, I don’t have a problem with Hermès, or the Birkin bag. I think they are gorgeous and lovely, and if I had the income that allowed me to purchase one without having to live in my car for a year three years, I would totally do it. My problem is with the production team for “The Mindy Project” and Mindy herself for having this character lug around $56,748 (according to my math) in purses. It requires a major suspension of disbelief that I’m unwilling to do.

If you watched “Sex and the City” you may remember the Season 4 episode “Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda” where Samantha (Kim Cattrall) uses client Lucy Liu’s name as a way to get herself bumped up on the waiting list at Hermès for a Birkin. That was believable. And I’m willing to give Mindy the luxury of one Birkin bag – the initial Bleu Jean Leather Birkin, to be exact. I can find it believable that a female OB-GYN in Manhattan would have one mega-expensive handbag in her accessory repertoire. But for a character to lug around three different Birkin bags in the course of one season, without any other female character making a comment or wisecrack about the purses, is highly suspect to me.

What’s interesting is that the folks over at Hermès Purse Forum don’t know if the bags belong to Mindy or if they are on loan from a production company. Not sure if the company would tell them, or anyone else for that matter, if the bags belong to Mindy. And if they do belong to Ms. Kaling, it’s time to keep the bags off the show and on her arm in tabloid photos, where they belong. From what I’ve read, Dr. Mindy Lahiri, her character on the show, is supposedly going to Haiti, where, for the cost of just one Birkin bag, you could feed the entire country for a month.

So that’s it for us, Mindy. We’re over. Maybe, in time, we’ll look back on this period in our lives and laugh about how silly it was for me to get hung up on some expensive purse. But for now, it’s best we part. And when I sell my novel and can buy a Birkin of my very own, I promise to consult you first.


You Can’t Fool Me, Mindy Kaling

Last week I was catching up on my stories, by which I mean going through the shows in my Hulu queue and watching them. One of those stories shows is “The Mindy Project”, starring the fabulously funny Mindy Kaling. I was the one person in America who did not watch “The Office” (TV is supposed to be an escape from reality and “The Office” was never that for me), but I liked her. I may be biased because my cousin Susie* looks like her. So much like Mindy, in fact, that people have called her Mindy on the street and had their picture taken with her and asked for her autograph. I could be making that last part up. But I think she told me that once. In any event it’s a good story. (Update: Susie confirms this has actually happened on several occasions.)

Back to my point. I was watching Episode 2, titled “Hiring and Firing.” It starts with Mindy riding the New York subway with her colleague. She’s carrying a beautiful blue handbag, which in and of itself wouldn’t have been a problem if I hadn’t known what kind of bag it was.

It was a Hermes Birkin bag.

Some of you savvy fashionista types will not need to read the next two paragraphs, because you know all about this handbag. For those of you who are unaware of the value or significance of this bag, please continue.

Now I’ve only seen a Birkin once before in the wild, and it was a long time ago. (Oddly enough, it’s been almost exactly 7 years.) You don’t see these bags on the arm of just anyone, mind you. That’s because they are expensive. And when I say expensive, I mean you could buy a 2012 Honda Civic LX with a few nice options for just about the same price. I know this because I just went on Honda’s website and priced a 2012 Honda Civic Coupe LX.

Honda, Civic, car
The car I could buy for the same price as Mindy Kaling’s handbag. Nice, isn’t it?

The same bag Mindy’s carrying on the show is sold here for $19,999.00.

I’ll give you a minute to pick up your jaw, which should have dropped at least twice by now. The fashionistas can keep sipping their lattes while they wait for us to catch up.

The character Mindy plays on the show is a OB/GYN. And she’s based in New York. Okay, based on those two facts alone, it’s conceivable that the character could afford a Birkin. Or that she’d have a gang of wealthy friends who all chipped in to buy her a Birkin once she graduated from med school. It’s possible.

But where my disbelief refused to be suspended, and where the title of this blog post comes from, is the fact that she is carrying a $20,000 handbag on the subway.


This, my friends, is a Hermes Birkin bag. Photo courtesy Hermes Purse Forum and mindy-kaling.com

Sorry, Mindy. You can’t fool me into thinking this character is willing to carry her Birkin on the subway. Not just because of the possibility of theft. But also because someone might breathe on it, or touch it without wearing cotton gloves. That is how I would be if I had a Birkin. Maybe I’m weird like that.

Because I have nothing else to do except avoid deadlines, I presented this inconsistency to Giles and Ms. Chick for their feedback. Giles was understanding but does not have the Expensive Handbag gene which tells you taxis are the only way to travel if you are carrying a handbag that could be traded for a kidney on the black market. Ms. Chick was unaware of the Hermes Birkin’s significance, but once I educated her, she was just as horrified as I was.

Since I figure I can’t get access to Mindy Kaling to question her on the handbag choice for her character on “The Mindy Project”, I called my cousin Susie, the one who looks like Mindy Kaling, to ask her what she had to say about all of this.

“I would definitely not take it on the subway,” said Susie. “She may have not even known what it was, as the character.”

“Oh, I think she knows,” I said.

“I could see her character thinking ‘Oh it’s so cool!’ but not have any idea how much the purse is. So she just carries it everywhere. I do that. One time I got a Coach purse as a gift and I was blown away at how much it cost,” said Susie.

“Did they get it from the Coach Outlet?” I asked.

“I have no idea.”

“Okay, well, the point is, you wouldn’t take a $20,000 bag on the subway,” I said.

“Right. Love you!” she said, and hung up. Susie is a very busy woman and does not have time for long rambling phone interviews with bloggers who only blog when they are avoiding deadlines.

So Mindy, you can’t fool me and you can’t fool your doppelganger, either. We are on to your Birkin-loving ways.

*Name changed to protect her identity, though if you see a woman who looks a LOT like Mindy Kaling it’s either Mindy or my cousin.


Repost If You Agree: Why Your Facebook Status Is Not Activism

A week ago a friend on a social network I use often (no, it’s not Facebook or Twitter) posted the following, prefaced by “Oh Lord, here we go again”:

“Okay pretty ladies,it’s that time of the year again….Support of Breast Cancer Awareness!!So we all remember last year’s game of writing your bra color as your status or the way we like to have our handbag handy?Last year,So many people took part that it made national news and the Constant Updating vstatus reminded everyone why were doing this and helped raised Awareness!!Do not tell any males….what thestatus mean…keep them guessing!!and please Copy and Paste (in a message)this to all your females friends. It’s time to confuse the men again (Its not really that hard to do)the idea is to choose the month you were born and the day you were born.(Pass this on the GIRLS ONLY!!and lets see how it reaches around.The last one about the bra went around all over the world.Your status should say “I am going to_________for__________months”. The day you were born should be for how many months you are going. Janauary-mexico February-London March-miami April-Dominican Republic May-france June-St.Petersburg July-Austria August-Germany September-New York October-Amster Dam November-Las Vegas December-Columbia”

I groaned as well when I read this, because I knew eventually this meme would hit someone within my group of Facebook friends and I’d be seeing this in my Messages. So far I haven’t seen it – but it’s only a matter of time.

I understand why these awareness memes started: it’s very easy to support a cause when all you have to do is copy and paste, or use an arbitrary algorithm (and I’m using the word “algorithm” very loosely here) to figure out what city you’re going to and for how many months. For me, this particular meme suggests I’ll be in London for 8 months, which sounds pretty fabulous, to be honest.

But the reality is that a cryptic, cutesy status update – or even a tweet – is not activism. Telling people what color your bra is or where you like to leave your purse doesn’t raise awareness of breast cancer. It merely confuses people. Social media confusion does not equal awareness; it equals irritation and unfriending and unfollowing.

Righteous – or even non-righteous – indignation over a dreaded disease, the poor and downtrodden masses, or even an abused puppy is common on the Internet. I get it. I get indignant too and I will share stories that particularly piss me off. What I’ve discovered, however, is that spreading those stories doesn’t make much of a difference in the grand scheme of things. What does make a difference is actively doing something to show my feelings about the issue.

So ladies, rather than tell me you’re going to France for 16 months, why not give a few bucks to the American Cancer Society or Susan G. Komen? Or if you’re low on funds, how about going to your local hospital and reading or playing games in the pediatric cancer ward? Or call the nearest hospice and volunteer to deliver a meal to the family of a woman with breast cancer, or babysit her kids while she’s at chemo? It doesn’t have to be complicated or costly. It just needs to come from your heart.

I can’t stop these silly memes or trends with one blog post, I know. But that doesn’t stop me from hoping we’ll move from passive support of issues and causes to more active support.

Chicken bag

Aunt Gigi showed me this great bag she found. It’s not Coach or Louis Vuitton by a long shot, but it’s perfect for lunch at Chick-Fil-A.