Friday, June 4, 2010

Shopping: Men vs. Women

When I was a little girl, every December my dad would take my sister and me Christmas shopping for Mom’s gifts, and then my mom would take us shopping for Dad’s gifts. The trip with Dad would go something like this: “First we’ll go to Lechmere and get her a new clock radio, then we’ll go to Service Merchandise and get her a silver heart locket, then we'll go to Sears and get her a navy turtleneck, size medium, and then we’ll stop at CVS on the way home and get her a bottle of Jean Naté.” The trip with Mom would go something like this: “We’ll start at the Mall.” That pretty much summarizes the difference between the way men shop and the way women shop.

The difference is especially pronounced when it comes to clothes shopping. This point was really driven home for me yesterday when H took a long lunch break and went clothes shopping with me. Forgive the tangent, but I need to throw in this explanation. I weigh exactly the same as I did before I got pregnant with my son, yet many of my pre-pregnancy clothes no longer fit. This seems to defy the laws of physics, because I still have the fabulous baby boobs, plus I seem to have a good deal more “junk in the trunk” than I used to (apparently contents settle during childbirth as well as shipping), not to mention a somewhat rounder belly than I remember. Something on my body must be thinner than it used to be, but I’m not sure what. But the bottom line is that most of my summer clothes from two years ago are going back into the attic and I need to get some new summer clothes!

H was mystified the first time I went into the dressing room with the exact same pair of jeans in two different sizes. He was even more mystified when I came out and announced that they didn’t fit. He simply couldn’t comprehend that there was not a size of that style of jeans that would fit me. It didn’t occur to him that one size could be too small in the thighs and the next size up could be too big in the waist. This is not surprising considering that 75% of his wardrobe comes from Costco. For those of you unfamiliar with Costco, it is one of those “big box” stores where you can buy anything from snow tires to a wedding cake to a chainsaw to suntan lotion. They also sell clothes – but they don’t have dressing rooms. This is not a problem for H (nor for most men), because he knows what size he is. He can pick out a pair of pants in any style at any store in the country and if they’re a 38 long, they will fit him. I, however, have pants in my closet in sizes 6, 8, and 10, and they all fit me. And I’ve tried on other pants in those exact same sizes that absolutely do not fit me.

So of course women shop differently. We have to! We don’t have the option of planning out a trip ahead of time and deciding to buy a pair of khaki pants from store A and a red cocktail dress from store B. We may have to go to stores C, D, E and F before finding khaki pants that fit right, and we might end up with a green cocktail dress from store B but then have to return it after finding an even better purple cocktail dress at store G. Women have to be more open-minded about these things, or else we’d end up walking around in ratty old jeans and white T-shirts every day.

Actually, that doesn’t sound like such a bad idea. If only I could find a pair of jeans that fits…

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