THE SHOPPING BUDDY
People, especially men, think shopping is as easy as buying an aftershave, how hard can it be? Choose you color, choose your size, in and out!
For me, shopping is about so many things that sometimes it's no longer just about what I shop for. From self expression and body image (especially on those horrible days of the month) to money and mood (again, especially on those horrible days of the month); it's a mixture of emotions!
When we see a couple come in, we can never know how the shopping experience will play out. Some men are perfect companions, some unhelpful (or worse annoying), and others make us want to scream. Today, we bring you the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.
THE UGLY is the partner you should leave at home when you go shopping, take your dog instead, seriously.
I don't know if these men are coming in a bad mood or if the couple just had a fight (who goes shopping after a fight??) but we see too many of them, and they are not happy with their lady -- about her weight, how much she spends, her standing position, and even her style. Every time we think we've seen it all, someone worse comes along.
Recently, a couple came in; the woman was tiny, size 2 at most, really tiny, the man was 6 at most, overall grade. She tried on a tight dress. One of those I could not fit an arm in, and looked at him for a confirmation, maybe a compliment. He met her look with a face, like a turtle. I wasn't sure what it meant, but obviously she knew.
He got up and circled her and said that the dress didn't look great on her -- it "showed" too much. She asked if it was her thighs, had she gained weight? “Yes, but it's nothing that two weeks in the gym couldn't resolve,” he replied, patting her on the butt.
These moments puts me in such an awkward situation, I am in my own house, so I can't leave, but in these times, I would very much like my guests to leave.
I don't know which is worse, men commenting on their partner's physical appearance ("you better wear something with sleeves to cover your arms"), on their style ("when are you going to wear that? Are we going to a party I don't know about?"), on their judgment ("don't you have one just like it at home?") or being plain mean ("why do you go in? You are not going to buy anything anyway").
For the bullies, we are never going to be be good enough, thin enough, "anything" enough. I would have leave them at home, or just leave them all together.
These guys, they want to tell us what to wear, like they are the boss of us.
The other day, a couple with a teenage daughter came in. The man kept pushing her to try a skirt, no matter how many times she said "I just don't like that skirt; it's not me. I like to wear something comfortable, not tight." He didn't seem to hear her. Instead, he kept trying to talk her into it. Unfortunately, this happens a lot. Some women eventually give up and try the item on just to make the man shut up. Others choose to just ignore the guy. I think it's a completely different thing to try on something my husband doesn't really like (and I do consider his opinion, sometimes...) than it is to try on something I don't like -- the latter should not happen.
I stay out of it as much as I can; other than rolling my eyes, what can I really do? I sometimes imagine yelling at them, "would you please look at her? Would you look at what she is wearing? This oversized dress is a big hint that this woman is not going to wear a skin tight strapless top!"
If they can't even let us choose our own clothing, how can they let us make more important decisions? Do they not understand, it's our bodies, our decision!
THE GOOD just needs a charger and a chair and he can spend the whole afternoon with us, and actually enjoy it.
He understands that he is there to support his lady in her shopping adventures; unless something is totally wrong (side boob for example is a hard concept for some... ) he is game!
It reminds me of a couple who came in on a Sunday afternoon after lunch (usually a bad idea -- the women feel heavier, while the men need their baby sleep). But this couple was cool, the guy took his place on the red couch, while the woman was in the fitting room.
When she came out to show off (by the way, I noticed that women won't come out to show something they already thought was a no-go, smart, huh?) it took him couple of seconds to get re-oriented from the football game to a sexy summer dress, but he did so without complaining. He liked how she looked in the dress and more importantly he made sure she liked how she looked in the dress.
He was happy to participate in the back-and-forth game we women like to play -- "when am I going to wear it? Do I really need another dress? Doesn't it cost too much? Are you sure you like it?"This man made her shopping experience much more enjoyable; and she walked out with beautiful new items.
A different couple came in told me they've been married for 57 years. He engaged in a conversation with us, while she chose clothing to try on her own. Every time she came out of the fitting room he looked at her like he was seeing her for the first time. He encouraged her when he felt she needed a little push and agreed with her when she was not sure, he was there for her.
I don't think these men are ignoring what we are trying on, but for the most part, they take their cues from us. Maybe they know something that other men don't -- when we are happy they are happy. It really is a win win situation!