Shopping isn’t rocket science, or is it?
By Shonali Muthalaly & Sudhish Kamath
(For a change, we let the lady fire the first salvo, instead of just responding every time, we decided we would take turns every week in going first because the person answering always seems to have an unfair advantage of just replying.
Also, people may be reminded that this is just a humour column. Not to be taken seriously or emotionally. But then, many women do not have a sense of humour… ha ha! And the intention has never been to be politically correct, it is purely to be irreverent and get a good fight out of manipulating existing stereotypes! So it basically means, I do (sometimes) pay for my food, and even open doors and so does Shonali!)
I suppose they think it’s macho. As they stand around, idly tossing back beers and burping, somebody or the other will bring up the topic of ‘women and shopping.’ And then, it’s like the floodgates have opened. One guy will make smart cracks about his wife’s shoe collection, the other will discuss a girlfriend who stocks up on soaps. Someone knows a girl who has… gasp… six pairs of jeans. And someone else has it on good authority that no woman is satisfied unless she owns at least 12 different types of daily wear hair products – each of which need about an hour of intensive pre-purchase research.
What the guys don’t reveal, or perhaps even realise, is the fact that men shop too. And, in many ways, are far more obsessive, extravagant and indecisive shoppers than their female counterparts.
For every woman with a shoe addiction, there’s a guy with a, well, shoe addiction. (At least women need to match their shoes with outfits, colours and occasions: sneakers for a barbecue, low heels for the day, stilettos for dining out. But why in the world do men need twelve pairs? Brown from breakfast, black for lunch, brown for dinner, black for brunch?) For every woman with a soap, or scarf, or ear ring collection, there’s a man, who collects CDs, or belts, or, um, ear rings. Or maybe, if he’s really ‘macho’, whiskeys, cigars or electronic non-essentials. For every woman who buys 12 hair products there’s a guy who buys an equal number of aftershaves. And trendy ‘metrosexual’ hair gels.
And if you think women take a long time to decide on which outfit to buy, ask a male friend to take you shopping for a cell phone, or laptop. Besides the fact that you’ll have to listen to lengthy lectures on tough concepts like ‘battery life’ and ‘blue tooth technology’ (because, of course, we women operate computers with will power and lipstick alone), you’ll be lucky if you get home before your hair turns grey and you’re forced to borrow some of his spiffy new hair colour.
A man with 12 pairs of shoes must be gay. Or an actor/VJ/model/someone in showbiz/someone who wants to get there.
Well, most women have a wrong notion of men probably because they hang out with only those kind of men who remind them of themselves. Most men I know just have formal shoes and/or casual shoes and then, they have chappals – one for the bathroom and one for the road. Because, they do not feel the need to colour co-ordinate shoes with their clothes like women do.
As women often allege, men are colour blind indeed. Because, men believe it is adequate to know that coffee, cocoa, chocolate, beige, khakhi, auburn, hazelnut are all just brown. It helps decision-making easy. You walk to the rack and it doesn’t take rocket science or research to figure out what’s best. You don’t need to know what colour it is when you can simply point it to the salesman and say: “I want that one.”
Men have very basic needs. We are simple people. And if they read up on gizmos, it’s because these are expensive investments. Research not only makes for a wise investment, it also helps you make a wise choice much ahead of your actual purchase and thus, helps you save valuable shopping time that can be used for wiser purposes.
Like, checking out an interesting, definitive book or magazine or movie on women, or just the real thing: people-watching in a mall. Who says men don’t like women for the time they take at the store? Men do like checking out anything remotely interesting at the malls. Let them make their choice while you make yours.
(Men could do with a mental note: There’s a price to pay for anything you pick up at the mall and it’s directly proportional to her purchase.)