By Todd Genuit
a child growing up in Dallas, I did all the usual things that kids my age
did. Playing football down the street was one of my favorites. I couldn’t
wait for Saturdays to roll around so I could jump out of bed, throw on my
clothes, grab the football, and head out the door for the weekly pick-up
game down the street. Yes, life was great as long as I got up early enough
to sneak out without hearing the four dreaded words from Mom : “Todd, We’re
Going Shopping!” Now as a kid, shopping was the one thing I hated more than
anything else, unless, of course, I was getting something in return. Then
and only then, was it somewhat bearable. I said I hated it, but I
have to say that Mom wasn’t exactly thrilled about it either and I didn’t
blame her. In fact, I’ve yet to meet a mother who does enjoy taking
her kids shopping. Have you checked out some of the mothers in the mall with
their kids lately? Have you ever seen both parties smiling at the same time?
No, it just doesn’t happen. Hey, my Dad secretly hated shopping, too,
although he would never tell Mom - even today. Of course, he’s going to hear
about it now. Sorry, Dad.
Not much has changed over the years. Women still love
to shop and men hate going, regardless of what they say. Now, if you’re just
beginning the relationship with your potential mate, it’s the man who
has to play the part. We say things like, “Sure, Honey, I’d LOVE to go
shopping with you! I’ll just tape that silly ole’ Super Bowl!” as we
robotically succumb to the mating dance. But as time goes by, we become
tolerant to the pressure and learn to “Just Say No”, which is then what we
hear from her later in the evening when we want something (if
you know what I mean). The smart guys are the single ones who do go
to the mall during big sporting events for this very reason. They want to
meet your girlfriend who’s angry with you for not being more like HIM! Yes -
shrewd but admirable.
We also feel the pressure of having to buy women
something when shopping together, even though most women don’t expect it.
But even if they don’t, you know they’re thinking in the back of their
minds, “Gosh, I wonder if Bill is going to buy me something or at least
offer to pay for something I want. John always did.” Hey, John, keep your
damn hands in your pockets. You’re killing us, man!
See, there’s a huge difference between men and women
when it comes to shopping. Men know what they want before they go
because we plan ahead of time. In fact, some might even go so far as to call
first, make sure the product is in stock, and then get the exact location of
the store, area, and aisle. Our ultimate goal is to get in and out in 20
minutes. That is, unless the checkout girl is attractive, then add another
Women, however, don’t know what they want until
they get there. Sometimes they will spend hours and hours “just looking”
unless, of course, they see the 4-letter word, “SALE”. This is when all hell
breaks loose. I’ve had female friends tell me they’ve bought things they
already had just because the price was so cheap. This is ludicrous,
but stores like it because they know you like it, so they just keep
on doing it.
The ultimate pressure, though, is the “vacation”
shopping spree. If you’re a guy in this scenario, you’re really sunk
now because it’s just you and her with no means of escape. You have
to go. Of course, no need to worry, she only wants to buy a “few things” to
remember the trip by. The only problem here is that most women on vacation
will buy something for no other reason than the fact that it is a
vacation. Oh, and it’s NEVER just a few things. The funny thing is that most
of the same items purchased on vacation can also be found at your
neighborhood dollar store. I remember my own mother doing this on her
Hawaiian trip last year. In fact, the only thing she didn’t bring
back was the storeowner himself. One of the items was a little animal statue
(which I think was made in China) that looked exactly like one I later saw
in a Hallmark store. (My gift, by the way, was a t-shirt that said “HAWAII”
on it. I immediately knew how Charlie Brown felt when he got all those rocks
on Halloween.) But I started thinking that, sure, Hawaii would be nice but I
could save so much money by just buying my girlfriend a t-shirt, slapping my
own “HAWAII” on it, and watching a travel video about the state. We
don’t actually have to be there, do we? Then again, this is probably
why I’m not married. Dad played it smart, though. He just gave Mom some
money and she went with her friend. Forty-seven years of marriage will do
that. Most of us aren’t that lucky, however. We have to go and we
will have fun - whether we like it or not.
To be honest, I really have nothing against buying
something for someone I date while shopping, at home or on vacation. In
fact, I actually enjoy it. I just don’t want the pressure of feeling I
have to buy something for her because we’re together. Most women
don’t expect it every time, but those who do make the argument that if we
really care about them, we should be “happy” to do it. Besides, “all the
other guys did it”. Well, then I’ve got a solution; let the other guys do it
and you can have the best of both worlds. You can still date people like us,
but just not during shopping hours and he can buy you anything you want. In
fact, as long as you’re there, have him buy you some new golf clubs, too.
Oh, and throw in a toolbox, riding mower, and an outdoor grill. No one even
has to know.
It’ll just be our little secret!