We went shopping yesterday. Or, should I say, C went shopping yesterday and I went with her. We went to John Lewis’. We went shopping for knickers. For her of course. I only ever wear very manly underpants. Even in private and when no one is looking…
We went shopping for nickers and cosmetics – some kind of “mask thing” which never sees the light of day when I am home and comes complete with a “tool”. Don’t ask. A mask which, and I quote, “literally concentrates on absolutely everything”. That must be one very troubled mask. Just Donald Trump alone must be sapping most of its concentration…. But I am confident that my wife’s ever youthful and wrinkle free appearance (and the product’s exorbitant price tag) must mean that the said mask is doing what it is supposed to.
I really don’t mind shopping. I normally get a reward at the end, such as a pizza and a Peroni. So, I don’t normally mind shopping. Unless it is shoe shopping. I hate shoe shopping. Men get taken shoe shopping by their partners when they have done something really bad and need to be punished.
The author (for strangely it was a man) of Men Are From Mars, Women Are from Venus could have had a very successful sequel just analysing the different sexes’ approaches to the procurement of footwear.
When men buy shoes they go to the nearest shoe shop; select the pair of shoes which most closely resembles the pair they have been wearing for the last five years until they became so creased, scuffed and worn that the repair man who doubles as a key cutter refuses to go near them; try on said shoes; and, as long as the customary walk to the poorly located foot mirror doesn’t cripple you, buy said shoes. In and out in less than five minutes.
Unlike the female of the species…..
When women buy shoes they start at the shop furthest away from where we parked the car and then proceed to visit every shoe shop in town, selecting shoes which are an almost exact facsimile of at least three pairs that have been living under the bed at home without seeing sunlight for the last six months, getting distracted by handbags and scarves, before insisting that the first pair they tried on five hours earlier in the shop furthest away from the carpark was the pair that they absolutely must have.
But, thankfully we were shopping for knickers not shoes.
In C’s defence this was a very efficient shop. Apart from the brief detour to acquire the mask with tool we went straight to the underwear department. As with every other husband in the store I adopted the position – walking just two steps behind my good lady.
This slight lagging behind has significant advantages – your partner remains oblivious to the increasing look of despair on your face (it has been proved that 20 minutes of shopping drives men to the point of total boredom); you can sneak peeks at your phone to check out the latest football score; and, it provides just sufficient distance to perform a body swerve when your partner makes a random, unexpected change of direction when distracted by a handbag or the ubiquitous scarf.
I have even heard say that some men hang back so as to be able check out other women without their partner being aware. Well, I don’t know about that but I often give a smug look followed by a stern stare when I catch other men checking out my own lovely….
Upon arrival at the underwear section C suggested that I might like to choose a pair of knickers I would like to see her in and I was duly dispatched to make my choice.
Not only would I now be expected to make a fashion choice but one with sexual undertones (perhaps even overtones!). And, I had been let loose unaccompanied in the underwear department, where most men (note most….) only go to watch sexy women shopping for underwear, allegedly….. So I would have to make a stress purchase under the gaze of women who assumed I was a pervert. Thankfully Heidi Klum came to my rescue…..
Another male v female shopping difference – women try on underwear before buying! How is that hygienic? And so, while C took several pairs of smalls to the changing room, I went and sat in the chair of shame.
This particular seating area was quite different to most of the seating areas outside of non-sexy undergarment changing rooms. Normally men laden down with children, shopping bags and trolleys sit, avoiding eye contact, staring at their phones, with some, apparently, trying not to get caught checking out the prettier shop assistants or the wives of their fellow recliners, until their own wife surfaces at the entrance and asks “what do you think?” . Just watch the colour drain and be replaced by the look of terror as every man tries to guess what the appropriate answer to that most leading question might be…….
No, this seating area was in the corner, straddled by John Lewis’ own range of lacey undies, bras, basques, night attire and thongs. They were so close that they were almost flapping in my face as the shop assistants wafted in and out. The chair was strategically positioned so that I would have to squirm and shift my feet to allow every woman shopping for lingerie to pass by me. And they all did so with a look of “pervert” shot in my direction before I averted my attention back to my phone and the football.
But at least I got a pizza and a Peroni….