|SHOP PHOBIA: All Men Have It!
I hate shopping. I hate the process. Electronics are cool, but when it comes to clothes and boring appliances, men and women have very different ideologies. The truth is that Men and women shop in very different manners. For starters women actually enjoy shopping, men on the other hand, find shopping to be enjoyable as a chain saw swinging dentist appointment...with the dentist in question being blind; Simply put, men will keep rescheduling for as long as feasibly possible.
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Men require an iron clad reason to shop, usually when their female loved ones reallocate their wardrobe to the trash bin. Women shop on an impulse, albeit of the planned 'lets spend all day at the local stores just looking around' variety or the, I need new clothes because everyone has seen my wardrobe disorder, coupled with an infection of month old, twice worn clothes. Whenever possible, men are perfectly happy to let their female loved ones shop for them.We know you enjoy it, and you know we hate it.
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Men, whose mothers and wives shy away from shopping for them, are drawn to one stop shopping solutions, if there was a mythical store where they could acquire a DVD player, Bare essential Clothes and a Bun Kebab, that would culminate in the perfect shopping experience. A Lassi would be nice too. Women have the tendency to work rather differently, preferring to visit as much shops as possible to evaluate the ware almost as if they fear the shops might suddenly close down.
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If a man skips a store on his shopping spree, he doesn't really care. On the other hand, a woman is devastated due to the minute possibility that the store may have re-stocked some new happening wardrobe since the last time she was in the store (in all likelihood the day before).
For women, shopping is an Olympic sport that combines finesse, debating, charm and the proverbial threat....to leave the store without buying anything. Men consider shopping a sport as well, however it's more akin to the 100 yard dash. The faster you get to the finishing line the better.
|The Kind of Shopping Men are Happy to do with Women
Men will do all that is possible to prolong the use of their clothes to prevent future shopping. Whether it's keeping their clothes well, or simply being ambivalent to the presence of mildew and a healthy dose of patches (we were really excited when tatty clothing was 'in'). Women on the other hand, feel the necessity to discard their clothing with regularity. No self-respecting, straight man feels the urge to replenish his wardrobe on a seasonal basis.
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When men are forced to shop, they tend to select items that will match their current wardrobe, women have the proclivity to buy items that require a whole new array of other items....the cycle is endless. Much to the joy of the consumer industry.
Haggling; Despite putting together complex mergers and acquisitions deals and negotiating multi-year contracts, very few men know how to haggle properly, one can attribute this to their general lack of experience and the general comatose state of mind Men are in while being dragged from store to store by their significant others. Men will very simple look at the price quoted, if it's considered fair they'll pay it.
|An approximation of what a woman looks like when you deny her shopping rights
Across generations and hordes of crying shopkeepers lying in their wake, women have developed haggling into an art form worthy of Sadequain; Mind Boggling. Any layman lucky enough to properly observe a woman indulging in her dark art, the words 'Hostage Negotiator' come to mind.
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In addition women are hardly strangers to manipulation, my own little sister, in her early shopping days, once swooned when a jeweler quoted her a price for an item, proclaiming her poverty, once the gentle shop keeper pointed out that the substantial wad of rupees sticking out from her purse.
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She immediately switched tactics and questioned the man's honor for charging so much from a such a young girl. At which point, the jeweler realized that there was no winning the argument. He reluctantly brought the price down to more acceptable levels.....My sister was 9 years old at the time.
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A guy is far more likely to buy the cheapest possible clothing substitute and brag to his friends how little he paid for it (After adding a 20% discount on what he actually paid). A woman on the other hand, tends to shy away from such indecency but will, to her friends and husband aka financier, typically add 20% to her buying price, not to mention add a brand label.
|The Good Kind of Shopping
Making Clothes: Men don't make clothes; they tend to have an affection with all things ready made. You give a man a chunk of cloth and he'll wonder if the shop keeper mistakenly thought that his customer either asked for new sheets or was preparing to go to hajj. Women on the other hand, like nothing better to get their hands on some kapra (cloth) and go to work on it; apparently 'fashion designer' is embedded in their genetic makeup.
Women, wherever possible will shop in packs, whenever a hostile negotiation over the price of tooth picks is ongoing, their team will either participate or look judgmentally at the said shopkeeper. It's a team effort. It's also a social factor and a way for womenfolk to bond. Men, shop alone, it's not an outing, it's a solo drive-by laden with as few receipts as humanly possible.
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A Version of this article appeared in the Printed Edition of the Dawn