Things I learned from shopping with women

Now, please do not misconstrue what follows as some passive aggressive stab at scoring points for the fellas. I am abjectly opposed to the battle between the sexes and would really like for us all to get along irrespective of our reproductive organs. That way we can all focus on what is important; race, religion, and of course sexual orientation!

I kid. Or at least, it would be funny if such observations did not stem from the tragic reality. I suppose we should be grateful that we haven’t declared open war on each other. Thank god for sex.

Still, differences between men and women abound. Such differences are the source of much friction, library shelves full of unhelpful literature, and the regretable existence of divorce lawyers.

One of the differences too numerous to count is the way we shop. When a need arises in a man’s life that can be solved by buying something said item is – pending budgetary review – bought immediately. Problem solved.

Women go about this same process in altogether different way. First and foremost it must be made plain that ‘shopping’ is more than a mere verb to a woman; it is a hobby ( and in some cases a compulsion or even addiction. ) That being the case it is easy to understand that women experience a different, emotional response to the exact same activity, and as such – much to the lament and consternation of many a man stuck holding bags – seek to prolong the process beyond the point where even the most self-determined man would throw in the proverbial towel.

Theirs is not just a social mandate to stay contemporary with regards to trending styles, but a very real sense that if a woman were to forsake the act of shopping she would deny herself the joy of the experience men do not know to look for. The reason surely must be that for a woman shopping is about more than simply the acquisition. A man could not imagine trying on two dozen pairs of jeans and gyrating our derriere in front of a mirror to ensure our butt looks just so. (it is worth mentioning that womens’ shops outnumber mens’ some 10 to 1 and as such most of us would be hard pressed to find a dozen different jeans in our size – a topic for another time)

One of my favorite frustrations is the undeniably feminine ability to profess a pair of jeans perfect in every way, put them back, and continue shopping. This is an act of such irrational defiance a man simply cannot be expected to sympathize with a woman on the matter. Ladies, I put it to you here and now in no uncertain terms: it doesn’t matter what he says, it is not dependent on how much he loves you; if he says he understands, he’s lying. He doesn’t understand – cannot begin to understand – he thinks you’re crazy.

Between the advent of the internet and online shopping men have had much reason to rejoice. Not only has the world been opened up to us from the comfort of our own homes, but we are now able to further limit the amount of time we spend in stores by making all the necessary comparisons before actually venturing out to purchace the item we decide upon. Better still, often times said item can be delivered to us. Wonderful, because here is another thing: we despise sales assistants. We loathe the phrase “can I help you find something” on the grounds that it is presumptuous and hollow, incinsere and redundant. No, your “help” is not required nor is it desired. I came here for a specific item, predetermined through careful scrutiny, and all I need you to do is get out of my way so I can get it. Unless there is a massive discount to be had you may stand idly behind the register and await my displeasure with your lowest-common-denominator personality there.

Women on the other hand crave validation. Moreover they are biologically predispositioned to be group-based, social creatures and as such actively seek out and engage sales representatives. The exchange between a woman shopping and the sales representative is a wholly biased one; the sales representative is trying to sell things – things you may not necessarily want or have come in for to say nothing of liking them or not. Alas, a capable sales representative can interact with my girlfriend in a more meaningful way in the first few minutes of meeting her than I could the first few months. This enigmatic bond between women transcends such trivial distinctions as compatible personalities, interests, and political affilliations centering instead on a common love of materialism and looking good – the sacred duty of any self-respecting capitalist.

In the interest of looking good whilst enjoying the shopping experience women will also try on, hold, fondle, and caress items they have no intention of buying under any circumstances barring an unexpected and wholly improbable win in the lottery. Oddly this is the one thing I do understand on a very fundamental level although it must be said I object on moral grounds even to my own admitted understanding of the phenomenon. I like to imagine that if I could walk into the Lamborghini showroom and “try on” the new Aventador to see how cute my butt looked in its hand-stitched, Italian leather seats, I might be tempted to take her for a spin knowing full well I cannot afford the $375,000 price tag of the base model.

What little, if any, conclusions we can draw from the myriad differences between men and women beyond biological purposes are not immediately interesting to me. Each generation and any number of self-professed experts will claim to have the answers to all our problems stemming from regretible interactions with the opposite sex, but – in keeping with my interest in observations rather than conclusions – I have noticed these are the kind of people who have been divorced a few times and have a lot of time on their hands to justify their failures. In the guise of learned men and women they spew their convenient, sugar-coated fortune cookie nonsense and for the bargain sum of $9,99 you too can among the clueless but endlessly willing diciples of abject mediocracy. The discerning (and if you made it this far, that means you) will not be surprised then that I offer no absolution of any kind. No helpful hints or tips to prevent your feet from hurting on a marathon shoppin spree with your significant other, nor advice of any kind regarding how to avoid being dragged along as a glorified shopping cart (or portable ATM for that matter). I think it is enough to spark the discussion and see what comes of it. I do so enjoy my fan mail after all – death threats and emphatic discertations that denounce me as an agent of Satan included.

As always I invite my audience to share their thoughts on the matter acknowledging aforehand that I realize doing so on the internet is like sticking your head through the bars at the zoo with your eyes closed and hoping you picked the enclosure of a pleasant herbivore saying “bring it on!”


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