I decided this month that I wanted new boots, and toddled off to my local high street to see what I could find
It took three hours and several coffee breaks until I came home with the perfect pair; knee high dark brown leather, a 4 inch block heel and the softest matching handbag you ever did stroke. Perfect.
I appreciate that this is a largely female pastime and that blokes who need shoes (note need, not want) go to a shop, buy the pair they always buy, and are done and dusted inside fifteen minutes. This is, of course, a fine way to purchase footwear. Whatever blows your hair back, as they say. But it’s fair to say that these two shopping styles are not compatible.
And yet in every corner of every shop, I could see clusters of men, dragged on a buying bonanza against their collective will. Heads bowed and backs bent, they lurked in shop corners, crushed by the weight of bags and boxes, and terrified by their partner’s retail excitement. Like a turtle on a pole, they were ill-equipped to deal with their environment, had no idea how they got there, and knew there was no hope of escape. Haunted by the old ghosts of Saturday football and a pint in the local, a lie-in and a fry up, a round of golf and a chat with their mates, they shuffled, with seething resentment, around and around until each shop and each outfit blurred into a grey and meaningless mist.
And all the while they live in fear of The Questions. Are they a trick? Is there a right answer? Will the wrong answer mean that she spends the rest of the day in a mood? Or worse still, refuses the Saturday night bunk up? “Does this top go with my eyes?” “Are my legs too short for this hat?” “Would you ask whether they have this in my ring size?” Poor bastards. The look of panic in their eyes must surely melt the hardest of hearts.
I rarely break ranks with the sisterhood but on this occasion, and for the good of all, I have to say: Stop doing this to the menfolk. For the love of god, just stop.
You know he doesn’t have an opinion. You know that if he does have an opinion and it is at odds with yours then you will tell him that he’s wrong. He doesn’t know what colours go with what, or whether stripes should be horizontal and he sure as hell doesn’t know your ring size. Besides which, nothing on this planet will convince me that you enjoy having this opinion-less resentful zombie dragging himself alongside you with the sole aim of cutting short your fun and your spending as soon as is humanly possible. I honestly don’t know why we do it, but I do know that no one is having fun.
So this weekend, give the poor boy a break. Send him to the pub, and go solo. Apart from this being a great humanitarian act, you will see that he is so grateful that he will not question what you bought or how much it cost.