Last summer, as I sat at a baseball game, my daughter-in-law nodded at someone she knew, leaned in and whispered, “He loves to shop”. It brought me up short. The “loves to shop” part I get. It was the “he” that threw me for a loop. The whole notion of a man loving to shop was so far outside my own experience that I was left speechless. I stared at him to see if he was wearing a skirt.
You see, I have very closely held notions about the consuming habits of men and women. Many of my friends and family members have heard me spout, “Men buy, women shop.” What’s the difference you ask? Let me do some ‘splainin.
The world is full of creative people whose work astonishes me. Artists, designers, engineers, and innovators provide the rest of us with the goods to improve our lives. That improvement can range from the itty bitty to the ginormous. Why, just yesterday as I waltzed through the aisles in the Christmas Tree Shop I found one of the itty bittys. Plastic cup thingys that attach to the side of your chip bowl to hold your favorite dip. Genius! Somebody’s kid probably did up the prototype for the school science fair and while touting it’s virtues an innovator who happened to stop by. His kid’s exhibit was going nowhere, but the dip cups held promise. He was so impressed it’s now in stores. I bought two boxes.
Anyway, these brilliant people should be honored and recognized by the rest of us. As a true American shopper, I do just that. And it takes a long time. The shelves in stores are crammed with these beautiful works of art and creativity, industriousness and profit motive. And they need me.
Now, consider the men, one of whom is my husband.
“What do you need?”
“Um, I’m not sure.”
“No, what are you going to buy?”
“I need some new sneakers and a summer tablecloth.”
“Well, that shouldn’t take long. I’ll wait in the car.”
The “takes a long time” part is what he doesn’t understand. Sometimes I’m not sure he’s even American. Has he no regard for the gross national product, a good deal of which can be found in the Christmas Tree Shop. Does he expect me to just walk by the bin full of pretty napkins – each package only a buck? And there are dozens of patterns! Picking through them could take five or ten minutes and that’s well before I get to the tablecloths. Yeesh.
So what I have to do is calculate carefully whether or not he should even have come along with me in the first place. Probably not. I don’t go with him to the hardware store where he zooms right to the aisle with the sheetrock nails, grabs a box, pays for them and leaves. Good grief. What fun is that? And no honor for the wrench and lawn chair designers either. See? His citizenship is suspect.
Okay, so my daughter-in-law knows a man who loves to shop. But he’s an anomaly, I’m sure. On the other hand I might just sidle up to him one day and ask if he knows where to get the prettiest summer tablecloths. That would be okay, wouldn’t it?
Image: Free Digital Photos