Clothes Make The Man (want to die)

Fri, Aug 4, 2000

By Joe Gerardi

Alright, I'm a guy, I admit it: I HATE shopping for clothes.

I especially hate shopping for clothes when The Amazon accompanies me. There is a fundamental, perhaps genetic difference in the way men and women shop.

First off, she feels she has to accompany me because as a man, there's no way I can have taste, and she truly believes that I'll end up wearing striped pants with a polka dot shirt. Now, this is the part I don't get: Why is it that women will say things like "You're not wearing that are you?" and "Choose a different tie, that one is wrong for that suit." And "Don't even THINK of wearing that!" and then, when they're dressed, come out and ask, "How do I look?". I learned very early on that when they ask, "Does my ass look big in this?" never, repeat NEVER answer "What? This room?"

But I digress.

So, knowing that as a lowly man I have to take her, we venture to the store. This in and of itself is an odyssey fraught with perils. As a man, we get in our car, wearing something comfortable, and, well, just go. With women, there's a plan (there's always a plan. To paraphrase from the movie "The Hunt For Red October": "A woman doesn't take a dump, son, without a plan.") that would make the D-Day invasion look like someone deciding to reorganize their bathroom. We had to do this list of what I needed. "Clothes," I answered. Not good enough by half. See, we guys just need "clothes." We leave it up to the stores to dictate what we get. We walk through the place, we see what we need and we grab it. Doesn't matter what it is, there's people stocking shelves with varieties, colors, and styles, and we'll eventually see it there and remember that we need some of "that." But with women, you have to categorize, itemize, and organize all the required items, and all of a sudden, I feel like I'm doing my taxes again. But, because we men DON'T have a say in life, we do it.

OK. Plan is in place. List is done. Off to the mall, right? Wrong. First, you have to make sure that you're dressed properly. Hell, if I could dress properly I wouldn't need to go clothes shopping in the first place, dammit! Then you've gotta go eat. Why is that? I think it's because women "stoke up" for the day. This brings me to the second major difference between the genders when it comes to shopping. Most guys can be in and out of a store, with every little thing they need in about 20-30 minutes, depending on the line at the cashier. This little adventure took 3.5 hours, and I still need to go back for more. Herein lies the major difference between men and women.

A guy will need pants, go to the first rack he sees, find his size, and grab all the colors he needs, and consider it a job well done. Not with a woman. They have to look at every pair, (even though they're the same brand, same size, same model) make sure they're "right," (whatever the hell THAT means) and only THEN will they tell a man that he can't own the same type of pant for everything. Why not? If the tan pair look good, why won't the blue?

So, we are forced to hit every damn rack, look at all the clearance stuff in order to get a better deal, take back the full-priced ones that are the same color and (because she found them on the clearance rack) better looking, and only then am I allowed to go to the shirts.

A guy will need shirts, go to the first rack he sees, find his size, and grab all the colors he needs, and consider it a job well done. Not with a woman. They have to look at every shirt, (even though they're the same brand, same size, same model) make sure they're "right," (whatever the hell THAT means) and only THEN will they tell a man that he can't own the same type of shirt for everything. Why not? If the tan shirt looks good, why won't the blue?

So, we are forced to hit every damn rack, look at all the clearance stuff in order to get a better deal, take back the full-priced ones that are the same color and (because she found them on the clearance rack) better-looking, and only then am I allowed to go to the socks.

A guy will need socks, go to the first rack he sees, find his size, and grab all the colors he needs, and consider it a job well done. Not with a woman. They have to look at every sock, (even though they're the same brand, same size, same model) make sure they're "right," (whatever the hell THAT means) and only THEN will they tell a man that he can't own the same type of sock for everything. Why not? If the tan socks looks good, why won't the blue?

So, we are forced to hit every damn rack, look at all the clearance stuff in order to get a better deal, take back the full-priced ones that are the same color and (because she found them on the clearance rack) better-looking, and only then am I allowed to go to the

This goes on for hours.

And hours.

And friggin' HOURS!

By now, I'm a whimpering, muttering puddle of Jell-O, but I have all I need. I start walking to the checkout. I'm drawn up short, and redirected towards the fitting room. Huh? Look: I've been the same size since time immemorial. 32-30 pants, medium or a 15-32 shirt. It never changes. Why try all this stuff on? If for some strange reason something doesn't fit, I'll just come back, and exchange it for one that does. Right? I mean is there a single guy out there that disagrees with me here? But no, I have to try it all on, with specific instructions that I have to come out and show her every "outfit." WAIT! I haven't had to do this since I was 12 years old, and my mother was checking to make sure there was "room to grow" in the clothes she bought. As I go into the fitting room, I can see other men in there that came shopping with their ladies: the same vacant stare, the same look of desperation and sad resignation in their eyes.

I come out several times, and I now know what a runway model feels like. I have to turn, walk, unbutton this button, button that button, wait whilst she runs back to a rack and exchanges one color for another, one style for another, etc. and go back in and change again, while other men are doing the same thing. I wonder if models feel the same level of degradation the we do? Probably not. They at least get PAID for all this. This goes on for what only seems like an eternity.

By this time my blood sugar has dropped, I feel more fatigued than the night that I spent with the Simpson triplets, (DON'T ask!) and I'm about ready for a dirt nap. Finally, finally, finally, I get to pay for all this, while she watches the register and makes sure that every sale item is truly rung up at the proper sale price. Why is it that she can't remember my birthday, of which the date hasn't changed in 43 years, but she can remember what percent off each item was, mentally do the calculation, and check it, all in the time it takes for the barcode scanner to read it into the system? Everything is paid, I don't even look at the total, I just sign the charge slip, and as I glimpse the exit, as thoughts of "freedom" rush through my befuddled mind, the magic announcement is made, those mystic words which carry a little more relief that a 11th hour pardon from the governor: "Well, I guess that's about the best we're going to be able to do at this store..." My mind is so muddled that at first I don't really understand, I can't grasp the words or their true meaning. Then slowly, comprehension dawns on me, and with that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, with a helplessness that can only be experienced to fully and truly understand, with a hopelessness that you must endure to fully realize, I remember we're at a mall. I finally get the full picture.

THIS store?
 
 

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