by David Jones
I know this is dangerous, and well-trodden, ground, but I have to say it: The shopping habits of our other halves, the ladies that is, never cease to amaze and baffle me.
My wife works hard and the occasional bit of retail therapy is her way of relaxing. Last week, she set off at 9am for a shopping trip with a friend.
Nearly nine hours later, she had still not returned, or called me and I began to wonder if something had happened.
Maybe she had found someone with more money than me (not hard) or someone better looking than me (also not hard, do I hear you say). After 41 years of being married to me, she might have thought it was time for a change.
But, no, at around 5.15pm, the phone rang and it was my wife. “We haven’t finished yet,” she said.
“Surely you’ve had enough after eight hours,” I said. “No, we’ve still got a few more shops to do. I’ve bought a jacket but I may take it back.”
“What do you mean, you may take it back – you’re still in the town where you bought it. Either you like it or you don’t like it. If you don’t like it, why did you buy it?”
Silly of me, I know, but her response was that she wanted time to think about it. Think about it she did, and a week later she took it back. It turned out that the jacket wasn’t “her.”
I am still puzzled by the logic of it all. I cannot conceive how it is possible to spend good money on something you only like slightly, thus lumbering yourself with the hassle of a 20-mile drive to take it back.
One day, perhaps, I will understand.
It’s also a mystery to me why I am ever asked for my opinion on whether a dress, coat, or whatever, looks good.
There will never be a situation in which my wife doesn’t buy an item after I say I don’t like it but she says she does. Conversely, if I say I like it but she says she doesn’t, she’s never going to buy it.
So the whole “What do you think?” conversation is a charade which husbands/boyfriends etc are obliged to go through.
For my own part, I hate shopping for clothes, and I find it a chore, rather than a day out. I know what I want, I go straight to the shop, and I either buy it, or I don’t buy it. There is no in-between.
Therein lies the difference. Men, in general, hate shopping – shopping for anything, that is, unless it’s a boys’ toy of some kind.
For most women, I suspect, it’s an experience to be savoured, a day’s outing, if you like.
And how naive of me not to realise that I laid myself open to the possibility of more shopping trips when I decided to retire a couple of years early.
Mind you, Bluewater’s not all bad. Even if I don’t buy anything, which is usually the case, on the few occasions I allow myself to be dragged up there, half a dozen circuits of the malls at a fast pace is a wonderful way to get some exercise, without getting wet and windswept or, more importantly, without even opening my wallet.