Who doesn’t love to shop? If you’re a lady, chances are your man doesn’t love to shop. If you are a man, there is a possibility your lady doesn’t enjoy the hustle and bustle of the mall either (surprised?). Some in the counseling field would suggest shopping together as a way to bond and spend quality time; however, I must disagree.
Eric and I have found that shopping together is typically (though, not for all couples) not a great way to enjoy each other’s company. Here are a handful reasons why:
- The majority of men (certainly not all) do not enjoy the process of shopping.
- The majority of women (again, certainly not all) do enjoy the process of shopping.
- Typically, men and women shop differently. Most women view shopping as an experience. Women want to experience the store and to examine the items, their quality, and their prices.
- Most men view shopping as a task. They know what they want and they want to know the most efficient route to get to the item(s) and leave.
- Men are not typically as concerned as women about whether or not something is on sale. It’s been said that men will pay $2 for a $1 item that they need (so they can end the shopping journey as quickly as possible), while women will pay $1 for a $2 item that they don’t need because it was “on sale.”
- Men and women are generally not going to be interested in shopping for the same types of merchandise.
Though the list above is not exhaustive, I think it gives a glimpse into why shopping may not bring a couple together as much as some experts would hope.
When it comes to shopping, I am not the typical woman. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the process of shopping; I just have a lower tolerance level for the activity, so I generally can only shop for about an hour at a time. After an hour has elapsed, I’m ready to move on to something else.
Eric is not the typical man when it comes to shopping either. He is not crazy about the process of shopping, but he engages most activities he commits to with investigation and enthusiasm.
Even though Eric and I are not typical male/female shoppers, we still generally avoid shopping together. During my hour-long shopping experience, I don’t want to answer a lot of questions. I just want to look around and maybe try on a few shirts. Eric has plenty of questions, such as “Do we really need this? Oh, that looks like something we could use! Why don’t you like this shirt? No, really, why don’t you like it?”
At the end of my hour, I typically leave with little or nothing. You can imagine what a waste of time it must feel like to my efficient male counterpart. Shopping for an hour and buying nothing seems like a great waste of time to a lot of men (and especially my husband). Often when I leave a store with no bags, it is because I could not find anything I liked that was on sale enough for me to justify buying it. Even as money-conscious as Eric is, he would say, “If you have the money saved in your clothing envelope, and you like it, you don’t need to wait for the sale (unless you *know* it’s coming) – buy the shirt!”
If a less than typical female shopper and a less than typical male shopper have this much trouble in the mall, imagine what it must be like for a typical male and female shopper. Envision a day o’ fun with a lady frolicking in one store after another, leaving with little or nothing, while her sweetheart, becoming more desperate with each passing minute, follows her with aching feet and his mind on the big game he’s missing. (My Dad would just find a store with a TV display and stay there while Mom shopped.)
Here’s my suggestion: if you are a woman who enjoys shopping and your man doesn’t, don’t guilt him into going shopping with you. Find some girlfriends and go have a blast. There are other activities (e.g., eating out at a favorite restaurant) you can do together after your shopping excursion is complete.
On the other hand… gentlemen, once in a while, offer to go shopping with your lady. Let her know beforehand how much time you think you can handle. While you’re with her, don’t complain about your feet hurting or being bored. And ladies, if your man seeks out a bench, let him sit and rest. ~smile~
Once in a blue moon, Eric and I will go shopping together; but, we have found that keeping such trips few and short has worked best for us!
What have shopping trips with your sweetheart been like in the past?