BY DARREN HANDSCHUH
“Why do you even ask?”
I have thought that a lot more than I have said it when it comes to queries from my wife, and it is a question that is as applicable now as the day I got married.
I really noticed it during a pre-Christmas shopping outing. My wife and I were looking for items for her step-mom and my mom and sister.
My wife picked up an item and said, “What do you think of this one?” (for her step mom.)
Examining the sweater I thought, “Ya, that will do,” so I responded accordingly.
“Looks good to me. I think she will like it. The colour is nice.”
“No, I don’t think so. I don’t like it.”
She then puts the item back and keeps on shopping.
This happened with the next two items as well, prompting the question, “Why do you even ask?”
After almost two decades of marriage I have learned not to ask that question out loud.
When I did express such sentiment the answer is always something along the lines of “Because I want you opinion.”
Now that is only part of the answer.
The full answer is, “Because I want your opinion which I will immediately disregard and go with what I think will be best unless I am in agreement of course, but thanks for playing along.”
Which brings me back to, “Why do you even ask?”
I could probably say just about anything with the same results.
“What do you think of this one?”
“I think it is perfect. If you do not get it, you are making a colossal mistake, one that will haunt you for the rest of your life.”
“No I don’t think so.”
“Right, what I meant to say was it is the ugliest piece of rat cloth I have ever seen and even a beggar wouldn’t be caught wearing.”
Either answer would typically get the same response, but at least she includes me in the goings on.
I am typically not offended by her inclination to disregard my advice. We both know my main goal when shopping is to get out as quickly as possible, so my answers may be skewed by the fact I am starting to break out in hives and am being overwhelmed by an urge to run like a madman.
My wife, however, has the shopping tenacity of a pitbull.
When she heads into a store it is with a purpose – until she gets distracted that is.
When men shop, they go in, get what they need and get out.
Browsing? What is the point of that? If I need something all I have to do is find it, buy it and get on with my day.
My wife on the other hand – and I have heard similar tales from my married male friends – will be looking for something and wander off to look at something else.
We can go into a store looking for shoes and she ends up trying on jackets.
“Well, I was heading to the shoe department when I noticed a really nice sweater that was on sale. The colour was similar to my jacket and I got to thinking how ratty it was looking so I decided to check out what other jackets they had……”
This is not her fault, nor is this a criticism of her or any member of the female persuasion. It is just that men think differently. Brain doctors, a.k.a. psychiatrists, have discovered men tend to have a more singular focus than their opposing gender counterparts.
With men, each thought has it’s own little box and being the big, strong guys that we are, we can usually only use one thought box at a time.
Women, on the other hand, can jump from one topic to the other with ease and even integrate topics such as trying on jackets while looking for shoes. A guy would look at shoes, then, if needed, he would head to the jacket area of the store, his single-thought brain happily switching from shoe mode to jacket mode once shoe mission is complete.
Personally, I can only spend so much time in a department store or mall before my eye begins to twitch and I know it is time to leave or I will lapse into a grand mahl seizure. For my wife, shopping can be an all-day affair, and she will keep trudging through the store until she finds what she wants.
If she can’t find the item by closing time, she heads to the camping department to hunker down for the night.
She joins the myriad of other female shoppers who are setting up tents, digging out sleeping bags and preparing meals in what can only be described as shopper’s refugee camp.
In the morning, the mass of die-hard shopping aficionados returns to their mighty quest.
Meanwhile their husbands have fallen into a coma and can be revived only by sitting them in front of a TV – preferably with a hockey game on – and by putting a remote in one hand and a beer in the other.