One of the words which will always strike fear into me, like a finely crafted stiletto, is the word ‘Shopping’.
It’s not like, ‘need to pick something up from the shops’, which means there is an actual purpose to the proceedings, but the word ‘Shopping’, especially when accompanied by the word ‘Sale’, conjures up an entirely different prospective experience. It means that I will be dragged around the mall as a walking talking coat hanger hangerer, my only purpose in life being to stick out an arm with the fingers extending whilst all manner of stuff is hooked on in case some other woman comes along and grabs the only remain size whatever. I walk around the shop aimlessly following in her stead and feeling the weight of yet another article as it is placed along with the masses already drooping off my arm. I get sympathetic glances from my fellow man, maybe a look of horror from some man who has just entered the shop, trailing in the wake of his nearest and dearest and knowing full well that the plight that I am currently suffering will surely soon be his. I clatter into things and people for the simple reason that I can’t bloody well see! I hear the tut-tut’s and see the withering glances from the unaccompanied women who have to make do with their own arms to carry the stuff around, while the pile draped around me only gets bigger. What happens then? Well, I then have to retrace my steps, because in her wisdom she has decided that everything that she has hung off my fingers is either “too long” “too pink” “too short” “too thin” etc, etc, etc. A few minutes later I can then rest my weary and aching arms as the last item is hung back on the rack and she makes an exit, deciding that nothing has come up to her high expectation. Me? I’m ignored as she has that look on her face which means that she is already thinking of the shop next door and what delights that it might have to offer. It’s a look of steely resolve, one of fierce determination as she flexes her elbows (shadow jabbing) in readiness for the next assault. I receive a twitch of the head as she leaves the shop, an indication that I’m too slow and that I’m lagging behind and if I know what’s good for me that perhaps I should hurry up because the particular thing that she is maybe looking for is waiting next door and there is no time to waste in the pursuit of whatever it is that she is after, even though she hasn’t a bloody clue what it is!
Then there’s the other shop, the one that sells absolutely nothing of any use whatsoever, the one that people go in purely because it’s there and that it has a sticker on the window which says, yes, you guessed it, ‘Sale’.
“What are we going in here for?” I ask, a bewildered look on my face.
“Because I want to,” she replies, confused.
“But we don’t need anything here,” I counter.
“I don’t know that yet, I might find something that I want.”
I shake my head to clear the fugginess. “But you already know that you don’t want anything here otherwise you would have said that we had to come in here, so if you know that you don’t want anything, then there is no reason to go in and have a look.”
The look I receive is one that would turn anyone else to stone; I’ve had the inoculations so I am relatively safe, for the moment at least. I sigh, and then follow her in.
Which brings me to my point.
Shopping malls have crèches for children; surely they should also have crèches for men too? You know the sort of place, nice comfy chairs, a telly with the football on, tea and coffee on tap, a few in-date magazines; the sort of place where we can go and sit quietly out of the way while she goes out into mall to do her worst to the bank account. That way there will be no arguing, no accusing looks, no angst, no boredom! The men will high-five each other on entering and sit down with a nice cuppa and a biscuit, we could also have a little remote device connected to a tag that the missus has to take with her so that she can come and claim us when she’s finished. But this device will have a cctv attached so we can see what she’s up to, and then there could be a switch that we can flick that gives her an electric shock (only mild mind you, he,he he!) whenever she looks at something too expensive, as we all know women never ever look at the price tag!
A gentleman’s crèche.....what a boon to shopping that would be!