As a man’s marriage matures his attitude towards going shopping evolves.
Before Marriage: When a man first dates a woman he tries to hide the fact that they have absolutely nothing in common. Even though the only shopping he likes is for guns, tractors, trucks, tools, horses and bulls, he tries to fake it by saying that, Yes, he’d love to go stand around while she shops in Victoria’s Secret and holds up underwear for his approval. Even though this is one of the most humiliating things he’s ever done and all things considered, he’d rather have a colonoscopy than stand amongst the frilly things holding her purse while she shops for unmentionables. But he grins and bears it, knowing he’s being tested. The woman is basically asking, “Does he love me enough to be embarrassed in the lingerie department?”
Even then, the test is not over. At the department store he has to serve as her pack mule and pretend to be excited by scented soaps, one carat diamond broaches and food processors. He considers shoplifting in hopes of getting caught and being hauled off to jail, which would be preferable to being spotted by his male brethren as the only male in the female apparel section. Then after a long day of shopping the man still has to pretend that, “Yes dear, I’d much prefer dining on quiche and tofu at an expensive restaurant than grabbing a fast food burger and fries at a burger joint.”
Ah, the things we do to impress the women we love.
■ One Year Anniversary: By now when the couple goes shopping she goes her way ... and he goes hers. He stares straight ahead, not looking at frilly things hanging from hangers as he pushes a cart full of clothes. He gives a sympathetic look to other males who are going through the testing stage. And he appreciates the stores who have placed a chair by the changing rooms where he answers loaded questions, such as: “Does this dress make me look fat? Do you like these shoes, they’re only $400?” The husband is torn between honesty and his haste to get the heck out of there.
■ Five Year Anniversary: The husband is starting to display signs of independence by refusing to enter into the world of bras. Instead, he stands in the adjoining aisles with his own little support group of other men who talk about guns and trucks in voices loud enough to be overheard by everyone so they’ll be readily identified as macho men. The male may even go to the restroom for a respite where he’ll find other husbands hiding, but he quickly returns and acts impatiently, as if to say he has shaken off the chains of captivity. Wives ignore this childish behavior and go on about their shopping.
■ 10 Year Anniversary: As the couple enter the department store the wife asks him to grab a cart but he remembers that he badly needs a new chain hoist if he is ever going to do his “Honey-do” list. So they make plans to meet by the big TV sets at an appointed hour. So he goes off to the tool section where he can grunt and scratch freely while looking at the latest in socket sets. At the appointed hour he goes to electronics to wait for his wife for hours. Eventually he starts trolling for his wife and in desperation he even has to go back into the aisles of undergarments where he could be mistaken for a newlywed or fiancé. Finally he places a call to his wife who forgot that he came with her and went to eat with a friend. He’s welcome to join them for hummus and yogurt if he wants.
He gave up a Sunday of watching football for this?
■ 25 Year Anniversary: When asked if he wants to go shopping the husband says, “It’s very important that I wax the lawnmower. Call your sister and go with her.”
■ 50th Anniversary: On what would have been his golden anniversary the man is either dead, or married to his third wife and living in a golf community. His first wife, meanwhile, is at Saks with a new suitor in tow, following her around like a whipped pup, holding her purse and saying things like, “Yes dear, that hoodie sweatshirt does make you look 10 years younger.” ❖
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