LET’S GO SHOPPING!

Please take a moment to read this disclaimer:

My wife has informed me, in no uncertain terms, that the following post is an unfair depiction of women in general. As a man, I have no idea what she is talking about. However, I resolutely promise that, over time, I will attempt to be equally offensive to both sexes. But, apparently, this time, it’s your turn, ladies……

There is a treasure trove of wonderful benefits to being retired, but, unfortunately, I can’t think of a single one right now……On the other hand, there are also countless pitfalls, many of which, for some reason, come to mind easily.

At the top of that list is the horrifying reality that because, according to my wife, I now have “unlimited free time”, I am supposed to perform cartwheels of joy at the prospect of being allowed to accompany her, at every possible opportunity, as she goes shopping for items we don’t need, items we can’t afford, and most importantly, items I couldn’t care less about.

Oh, God.

If there is one thing on earth that my wife and I will never agree on, it is shopping. But I don’t think that is unique to us as a couple. I believe, it is safe to say, that most women love shopping and most men despise it.

And yet, wives continue to operate under the delusion that husbands are more than willing to miss the big game on TV so they can accompany their lovely bride to the mall.

Once they arrive at the massive, climate-controlled shrine to western civilization, the woman’s eyes become twin beacons of intensity as she surveys her surroundings and attempts to zero in on that ever-elusive sale item that she just can’t live without.

Meanwhile, the man in her life follows dutifully as his eyes slowly glaze over from the sheer boredom of endlessly purchasing items that are of no interest to him whatsoever.

It is a pathetic sight to go to the mall and see a woman briskly on the move being trailed by a man listlessly shuffling along as he struggles to carry the many packages his beloved has carefully draped over every available limb.

But it must be said that men are not completely innocent when it comes to the shopping experience. As any woman can tell you, her man has a tendency to wander off when he should be giving her his undivided attention.

And where do the men all wander off to? The electronics department. It literally draws males like a moth to a flame.

A bigger TV with a more powerful sound system is so seductive that a normal man is incapable of resisting the lure of pixels and wattage. Step into any large store and you will find the men lined up staring in rapture at gigantic TV screens blasting through multi-speaker systems that can destroy brain cells with the flick of a remote. 

But, of course, the most commonly shared shopping trip is to the supermarket. What a delightful experience that can be.

Women have managed to convince themselves that there is nothing else on earth a man would rather do than push the cart for her. The absolute misery that is painted all over his face, the slumping body language showing complete despair and the obvious fact that he has lost the will to live all escape her notice as she chatters away about the outrageous prices and lack of selection.

Nothing destroys marital bliss quite like arguing over which breakfast cereal to buy. She wants something with less than 125 calories per serving, packed with lots of healthy fiber while he prefers all the sugar he can get from a brand of cereal shaped like funny animals, packaged in a colorful cartoon themed box that contains a cool prize that any four-year-old would want. To him the choice is obvious.

But what does he know? His wife patiently explains just how wrong he is, as usual, and that they are getting the low-calorie cereal and that if he wants to ruin his health he can dump as much sugar on that as he wants.

After pouting for a brief time, the man brightens considerably when they round the corner and come face to face with the meat counter. Hands down, this is his favorite spot in the store.

Nothing makes a man happier than seeing huge slabs of animal flesh just waiting to be grilled to perfection as only he can do it. While the woman carefully considers some boney chicken, from which she will remove the skin to increase its healthiness, the man drools over the thought of sausage and spare ribs dripping with fat and grease. T-bone and ribeye steaks for which the cows will exact sweet revenge when the man’s arteries start to clog. But, alas, his carnivorous dreams are not to be.

Later that evening, over a thoroughly disgusting dinner of boiled skinless chicken and brussels sprouts, the woman will innocently ask why he has no appetite. The man will mumble something that would dissolve their blessed union if she was able to make out what he was saying, and then he will head for the kitchen to have a bowl of low-cal, high fiber cereal drowned in sugar, poured from a box that does not contain a cool prize.

However, when it comes to shopping with the woman he loves, the most important thing a man can learn, if he desires longevity, is that when she is trying on clothing, his opinion is actually the last thing on earth she wants to hear. The response she is actually looking for is his confirmation of her opinion.

A grown man literally freezes in terror when a woman somehow manages to squeeze into a neon blue dress covered in pink dayglo daises that is at least two sizes too small and then, in a tone of voice that would strike fear into the heart of a battle-tested U.S. Marine, demands to know what he thinks of her fashion choice.  

Beads of fear-induced perspiration pop out on his forehead as he frantically fumbles for the appropriate answer that will prevent her from lining the pockets of a divorce attorney. Out of instinct, he gulps and stalls. The woman’s eyes narrow as she waits impatiently for him to spit out the right answer. The answer that matches hers.

As the seconds tick by, the man desperately tries to come up with the response that he knows his waiting partner is eager to hear. Finally, after considering every possible option, he weakly croaks out, “It doesn’t matter to me, Sweetie. You are a vision of loveliness no matter what you are wearing.”

Upon hearing the words that melt her heart and touch her soul, the woman’s suspicion lifts, and for one brief moment, she remembers why she married the trembling man in front of her. She can’t help but feel fortunate to have found such a considerate and thoughtful person who always seems to know exactly what to say.

Meanwhile, the man, who has been holding his breath the entire time, finally exhales and thinks, Holy Mother of Pearl! I just dodged another bullet!

As the woman turns back to the mirror and admires the way the subtle neon and dayglo flow through the dress accentuating the graceful contours that nature has blessed her mother’s side of the family with, it suddenly dawns on her that it is the low-calorie, high roughage breakfast cereal that has transformed her into a goddess – and she immediately decides that, in the future, she will purchase it in bulk!

My apologies ladies.

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