Don’t dream of ever making anything resembling a suggestion

I hate going shopping with Wendy for anything other than groceries, and even that can be a bit wearing..

Don’t get me wrong about this. I love and and cherish doing most things with her, but shopping isn’t one of them. I assure you she feels the same way about shopping with me. For, if ever the differences between women and men could be more pronounced, other than by our genitals, it would be in gender-specific shopping habits.

Well, there is that as well as the average males pathological resistance to ever reading instructions (Ikea was invented for women) for anything. “Well, this is my first baby delivery, Mrs. Jones. I suppose I should have gotten around to reading the ob-gyn manual, but I think I’ll just wing it and it’ll be OK.) But, back to shopping, now.

You see, if I should fall into some sort of lapse and actually enter a store with Wendy because she’s looking for, say, a blouse, I should at the very least bring the NYT weekend crossword with me, or perhaps a Dostoevsky novel. She’s going to be a while. She will take a literal armload of garments into a change room, spend ¾ of an hour trying them on, and then come out and return them to the clerk. She will then go back to the racks and select 20 or 30 more. I continue to work on my crosswords and contemplate the most painless mode of suicide, ponder why I am part of this process.

Or else I wander around amongst the garments and perhaps voyeuristically peruse the spicy’ lingerie section in order to ease my boredom. A little fantasy trip sometimes helps.

But, God help me as a hapless male should I ever, in a vain hope of speeding up process, make anything resembling a suggestion like: “This one looks nice.” I will receive a look that should be reserved for tracking dogshit across the living room carpet. It’s just a no win. Oh, and I guarantee that my suggestion will never, ever be purchased. Should it be a lingerie items multiply that unlikelihood by a thousand.

Shopping, as we have come to know it, was invented not only by women but also almost exclusively for women. They are the consumers. From ages 8 to 98 they buy most of the stuff. That’s not an indictment it’s a reflection of reality. Scope out the numbers of women’s and teen girl oriented stores in any mall, as opposed to any that might cater to men’s ‘furnishings’, as they once said. Men’s clothing departments in department stores are limited in size and often choice, and in a smaller community like this it is really difficult to find a decent men’s clothing store. Can’t blame the businesses owners for they know that sales of dudes’ duds are minuscule when compared with female garb flogging.

Men, you see, are impulse-buyers. The majority of males go in with an idea of what they want, and when they see it, they buy it. It’s a simple act. “Aren’t you going to try it on?” asks dutiful wife who is just trying to be helpful. She’s trying because she’s utterly confused. “Why?” he asks. “I know my size, and it’s my size, and it’s the color I want.”

Comic Rita Rudner once said, considering the purchasing habits of males, that they should have drive-thru men’s clothing stores where the guy could lean out, snag the shirt he wants, and then get it rung up without ever having to leave his car. There is wisdom in that.

Now, I like to look nice, and I have some fine clothes. But, I bought them because I knew what I wanted beforehand, and that was what I bought.

This is not to say I haven’t made mistakes via impulse-buying. I have the odd garment about which I’ve later said: “Why the hell did I buy that?” But such instances have been rare. I mean, I even bought my current car by impulse, and Wendy and I bought our current house by impulse. In both cases they offered what I was looking for. In terms of the house, Wendy had actually toured it at an open-house a few years earlier and had decided then she wanted it should it every be put up for sale. It was, and we sold our souls to arrange our mortgage. There have been no regrets.

Sometimes I have vainly pointed out those big purchases to her, but any such entreaties have been in vain. She has 45 more blouses to try on before she finally leaves the store empty-handed because she could not find anything that felt “just right.”

I did buy four new tires the other day and didn’t peruse the racks to see what was offered. I am content with my purchase.




3 responses to “Don’t dream of ever making anything resembling a suggestion

  1. My husband knows what he wants and when he finds it he buys six of it to save having to go ut to buy it again.
    Has not so far applied this method to cars…..

  2. I mostly shop like a guy: I know what I want, then it’s a simple hunt-and-gather expedition to get it. Once in a while, though, I do the try-on-fifty-similar-versions-of-pretty-much-the-same-thing-and-leave-with-nothing-anyway dance. And I prefer to shop alone. Only occasionally will DD be with me, but never PG – not unless I need car stuff or home reno stuff. Then he basically chooses whatever it is and I pay for it. To each their strengths, right?

  3. I used to love shopping. LOVE. And then I hit middle age and nothing fit anymore so it’s just depressing. So, like a guy when I find something that fits, I buy it in multiples and get the hell out of the store.

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