When I pitched this idea of writing about men and shopping to my husband, he sounded very upbeat and said “Go for it!” He even came up with this title! “You do know I’ll be poking some fun at you, right?” I asked. “Can’t wait to read it”, he replied with what seemed like 100% genuine, honest-to-goodness, absolutely-not-fake enthusiasm. No really. Here’s a guy who would gladly go to his own roast and not mind any of the jabs. His sangfroid is admirable like that. But tell him we have to go to the mall and he looks at me like I’m going to drink his blood.
We go anyway because yours truly is skilled at the art of persuasion (read sulking). Once we’re there, I’m by myself. I’ll admit, I’ve come to like it this way. I flit around the new arrivals and the clearance sales, while he waits in a corner, his tall frame resting against a wall and one leg crossed against the other, engrossed in his phone. Seriously, how can you come into a store and not want to check the men’s section?
He then waits patiently outside the changing rooms and since I value his opinion, I make it a point to show him every. single. thing that I try on. My expectant eyes search his face for clues. But he responds with either “It’s good” or “Meh”. Nothing more. He’s a man of a few words. Only two privileged pieces of clothing have got a “wow” from him so far. I want to ask, “What specifically is meh about this dress?” But I stop myself and buy the meh dress anyway because I love it.
Grocery shopping is no less of an adventure. The moment he enters Costco, Dr.Jekyll transforms into Mr.Hyde on a mission. With the grocery list in hand, he mentally maps the aisles we need to go though and comes up with a nifty plan which will help us finish shopping in the least amount of time. I can almost see the gears in his brain grinding. “You, go to produce, milk and diapers, I’ll go pick up juice, eggs and oats”. I resist the urge to shout “Yes, Drill Sergeant!!”(think Forrest Gump). Meandering aimlessly between aisles is just not tolerated.
We then spend many tiresome minutes texting each other to figure out where we are in that mammoth maze of aisles, before we head to the perpetually serpentine checkout lines. All this while trying to manage my toddler who is trying to pull out every single jam bottle she can get her tiny hands on. Phew, I’m getting tired just writing this. We finally walk out after an eternity and the spell is broken. He smiles.
I am not one to generalize, but apparently our ancestors are to blame for the aversion of shopping in most men. I was reading an article on Psychology Today which got me thinking. Men were typically the hunters, they went out, hunted down the first animal they found and brought it home. Women, on the other hand were typically the gatherers. They had to browse for vegetables and fruit making sure to pick only those which were fit to eat. That explains so much, doesn’t it?
When we were newly married, I remember getting so annoyed that I wanted to shake him by his shoulders and ask “What is so amazing on your phone? Why aren’t you as excited as I am to be in this retail heaven?” But 8 years later, I’ve made peace with it. The mall or any kind of place where you shop is not his natural element and I respect that.
And after having our baby, it dawned upon us that I can go shopping by myself while he looks after our toddler. Eureka! He’s happy to stay away from the mall and as for me, I feel like I’m walking on a cloud. Every time I enter the cool confines of Target by myself, without a little person attached to me, I feel like Gene Kelly “I’m seeeenging in the rain..”
Image Source : Jninophotos on Flickr