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January 14, 2015


Alan Portman

We shop SO MUCH better than women it is not even close. I shop for my two girls and me all the time. They love shopping with daddy. They are learning daddy's shopping rules: Does it fit? No, the rest doesn't matter. Will you wear it? No, the rest doesn't matter. How much is it? We will think about it.

I can cover the mall in the same time DW covers two racks at Children's Place.

BTW, I know the sizes I need. One day I walked into Brooks Brothers. The clerk asked, "Can I help you?"

"Do you have this in 18 1/2, 34?"

"Let me see?"

Dude, I don't know how long you have been selling men's clothes, but I know the only thing in this store that fits me are ties and cufflinks.

Storyteller Mary

I decided long ago that I somehow didn't get the shopping gene (or wisdom teeth either). I'm grateful for the lack of both. I have noticed that many women enjoy the pursuit of shopping, but I'd rather read. ;-)
Men's shopping is simplified a bit by the fact that sizes are more consistent in men's clothes. Also, their clothes tend to be more durable. In college several of us bought shoes in the boys' department at Penney's -- they NEVER wore out.


I like what Bill Bryson said about shopping with his wife: he does his in twenty minutes then goes to drink coffee and read the paper while she looks at a thousand more things and touches fifty different textures, then they meet back at the first place and buy the thing she saw there. That "touching textures" thing is so true - do shop assistants hate us for pawing the merchandise?

Elaine Viets

I agree, Mary. A day of shopping is cruel and unusual punishment for me. Men's clothing does tend to be sturdier and many men go for substance rather than style.

Elaine Viets

Only if you have a chocolate candy bar in your hand, Catriona. Seriously, pawing the merchandise is why you find sale blouses with worn yellow lines along the hangers. One person checking the feel is fine. Fifty wear out the garment. I love Bill Bryson. He could make the phone book fun to read.

Allan J. Emerson

I don't know about "better," Elaine, but I think men are certainly faster shoppers. Must be the hunter/gatherer gene in us: we spot the prey, trap it and subdue it. Game over.

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Jonathan is hilarious: we go to the grocery, I send him for, say, light bulbs. During the time he takes to choose the the light bulbs, I will complete the entire rest of the grocery trip.

He will NOT shop for clothes, though. And it's not fair that all men have to do is say 151/2, 33. Or "34." And it's always fine. It takes Jonathan 5 seconds to buy jeans. I am 65 years old, and I still haven't found the right ones.

Elaine Viets

Good explanation, Allan. Too many women make it into am event.

Elaine Viets

It's true, Hank. I buy Don's clothes -- he hates to shop for them. He doesn't wear clothes, so much as he adopts them. Then he hates to part with sweaters when they are worn and shabby. I order his pants online and buy the shirts in the shops.
However, he loves to grocery shop. He knows all the store clerks and they help him find things and talk to him.

Elaine Viets

Alan P., you are the king of shoppers. I've seen how you dress the Princesses -- impeccable. Your shopping rules are excellent -- I need to learn them.

Mario in DC

When my mother reached the age where she could not shop for her own clothes, I got quite an education. I'd come prepared with measurements: waist, inseam etc. The saleswoman looked totally nonplussed: she wanted to know my mother's size, which had nothing at all to do with measurements but was in some code that applied to nothing and apparently varied according to manufacturer and style. No wonder it takes women forever to shop for simple apparel!

As for making things simple through buying X number of the same shirt in different colours -- that's the practical approach, after all. Whenever Marjorie Merriweather Post (socialite, founder of General Foods Inc., and mother of actress Dina Merrill) found a shoe she liked, she had many pairs of that model made up in a whole range of colours and sometimes in different materials. Made sense to her, obviously, and does to me.

Elaine Viets

So right, Mario, about sizes. I wear a size 8 in certain designers and a 10 or 12 in cheaper clothes. There is no stadardization of women's clothes -- or men's either.
When I shop for Don, he can wear a medium shirt or a large, depending on the brand. I have to bring along a shirt that fits him and measure it against the sizes I'm buying.
Props to you for caring for your mother and making sure her clothes fit.

Marcia Talley

I absolutely refuse to shop with my husband; he lurks on the sidelines, frowning, checking his watch. Is he worried I'm actually going to BUY that $10,000 estate diamond ring I'm trying on? Ha ha ha.

Elaine Viets

I used to shop with Don when women's clothing stores served men wine. A few glasses of cheap red and I suddenly looked good in anything I put on.

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