Friday, August 04, 2006

Malled To Death*

One of the features of living in suburban areas is the myriad amount of malls and shopping centers scattered everywhere. Shopping can be a blessing and a curse to men, depending on how they handle the whole affair. I really don't think too many people, male and female alike, would argue with this simple little fact that breaks all cultural barriers: WOMEN LIKE TO SHOP.

"Look at this one."

"Uh huh."

"You're not paying attention to me."

"Yes I am."

I can't begin to tell you how many hours I've spent in clothing stores staring at rack after rack before settling into a chair or sofa by the dressing rooms, obviously placed there for the benefit of men while our ladies are trying on articles of clothing. Over the years, I've probably spent as much time relaxing or fidgeting away the hours perusing Vogue, Elle and other female oriented literature, as I have been stuck in rush hour traffic. I've learned a lot about butt cheek exercises, how to get (and keep!) that healthy glow, and what men really want. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out what men really want, does it? I've often wondered why, since the seating arrangements are there for men to while away their time, they don't have Sports Illustrated, Field & Stream and other manly magazines laying around to read. It's a pretty boring experience and excrutiatingly painful since they also make us hold their purse the whole time. The only redeemingly pleasant aspect of having to live through this ordeal is that you get to eye the candy competition as they model their dresses, too, oblivious to your girl because she is focused on two things at the moment, shopping and spending money.

Here's a rule I would stringently follow at all costs, no matter what. Almost all women will walk out of the dressing room and fish for compliments. When she sashays out of there modeling that new, beautiful dress (and it must be or she never would have chosen to try it on) do not, I repeat, DO NOT, as she asks you "Does this dress make me look fat?" respond with, "No, it's all the cake and ice cream you eat that makes you look fat." I've never done that, but I've secretly wanted to on more than one occasion. Not that she's really fat or anything. I mean, just for kicks, but as we men folk know, living room sofas are not as comfortable to sleep on as beds - and I wish to retain my manhood.

While walking through the mall, there's a fine art involved in learning how to stare at other women without yours finding out. Wrap-around sunglasses just don't cut it and they make you look like a perv. Subsequently, we men have developed strong muscles in our faces and necks that snap back into a straight and forward stance, staring blankly ahead, before our ladies and the unsuspecting marks have any kind of clue of what we just did. Peripheral vision is of the utmost importance. It takes years to refine it into an art form and a finely honed skill. In that split second time, we already know more about those babes than you would ever suspect. Nice hair. Small feet. Dainty waist. I could go on, but I won't. Ooh, baby, a solid 8 on the 1-10 scale. In our minds, we've already gone out on some pretty heavy dates. I'm sure women do the same thing. It's human nature, right?

Women, no matter how old they are, can spend hours shopping, especially in malls. Men, on the other hand, just don't seem to have the same kind of energy as they age. They need more rest. That's why there are benches located everywhere, for geezers to park their tired rear ends so they can stare at all the women while their wives take the grandchildren shopping. I remember a chain of swimwear stores where the all-female staff of late teen and early twenty somethings wore a unique uniform called a bathing suit. One piece, two piece, whatever, but they sure were built. The girls, that is. Invariably, there was a bench out front filled with old men staring innocently into that store. There were other men hanging around. It was like a club. They probably got along great as long as they didn't block each other's views. They acted like pigeons, all cooing and clustering around that bench like there was some sort of feeding frenzy going on. Good thing Grandma loved to shop. Good thing for grandchildren. Unfortunately, I never had the chance to do that. For some unexplained reason, we always moved to the other side and picked up the pace when approaching that store.

There's the old saying that the secret to a man's heart is through his stomach. That's pretty much true. Do you know what it is for a woman? Try this sometime when you're feeling romantic or whatever. Just whisper these two simple words in her ear... NINE WEST. See what happens. For some reason, and I don't know how far back in human ancestry it goes, all women have DNA from the prehistoric past, when shoes were first introduced, that links them all to what I call IMS, the Imelda Marcos Syndrome. I guarantee you can walk all corners of the earth, into secluded regions where they still walk around naked and don't know a word of English, and if you scream "Nine West!" women and young girls will come running. Try yelling "Hush Puppies!" and see what happens.

Once you return from your exciting shopping experience, things must be put away. I've been with women who are willing to share closet space. Those were the more fair ones. I'd get 25% and she'd get 75%. I got two square feet of floor space for my 3 pairs of shoes, she got the rest for her 80. I've also been with women who never have enough space. I've had to share the spare bedroom closet with the kids. Well, at least I got to keep my shoes under the bed. After I complained about how hard it is to find shoes with toys piled on top.

After all this shopping and putting things away, I guess it's time to go out for dinner. I'm too tired to cook. Oh yeah, my treat. Later on, I'm going to ask for a neck massage. For some strange reason, it feels a little stiff and sore. But, I'd better take all those empty boxes and bags out to the trash first.

*Disclaimer: This was all written with humor in mind. I would never want to be accused of gender profiling. Ahem.


  1. Hi Dave, it's been a while...just got out of rehab.

    Anyway, great read! It looks like you're got us pegged.

    WoW! Can't believe there's a Marinade Dave's in the mall. Is there one in the St Louis area?


  2. Well, Stephanie, I'll be darned! How have you been? I'm glad the doctors finally released you.

    Funny you ask. That store is in St. Louis! At Union Station.

    Great to here from you and please keep in touch!