Two things guys really hate: Thinking and shopping

Judy Markey

March 20, 1991|By Judy Markey | Judy Markey,United Feature Syndicate

OK. GUY GOES INTO a store (reluctantly). Guy spends maybe 15 minutes wandering the aisles (dazedly). Guy spots blue shirt he actually likes (miraculously). Guy buys 11 (most definitely).

Today we are discussing how guys relate to clothes. Which, as the above scenario indicates, is in multiples. Guys like to buy clothes in multiples, because that way they can avoid two things they really hate to do -- shop and think.

You see, guys feel very different about clothes than girls do. Girls see clothes as a way to be wonderful. Guys see clothes as a way to be warm. Girls see clothes as a way to seduce. Guys see clothes as a way to be warm. Girls see clothes as a way to improve. Guys see clothes as . . . well you get the drift.

Thus, when a woman finds something in a clothing item that is terrific, she is likely to have a feeling bordering on something kind of spiritual. When a guy finds something in a clothing item that is terrific, well he doesn't even feel it's terrific. The most he'll feel is that it's suitable. So if he finds a nice pair of khaki shorts, "emotionally worked up" is not one of his first responses. Relieved is. And he will say to himself, "Self, these khaki shorts are just fine. So fine are they, and so long is it before I ever want to consider the subject of khaki shorts again, that I will buy, oh say, 14 pairs of these khaki shorts." Occasionally, I mean if he's a real whimsical kind of a guy, he might also select a few additional pairs in navy or white. But in one shopping coup, the guy basically gets himself set in the shorts department for life.

Now even if a girl wanted to do this, which is highly unlikely given the inherent ecstasy potential of any given shopping expedition, a girl couldn't risk doing this. That of course is because of the phenomenon scientists call the Wingtip/Patent Leather Pump Discrepancy. What this means in layman's terms is that it has been approximately 50 some years since the wingtip was invented, and in that time the basic design has changed about as much as the recipe for orange Jell-O. Not at all. Thus, when a guy finds a wingtip shoe he likes, he can lay in a wingtip supply to last well into the 21st century, and know for sure that in 2021 when he puts on his 1991 wingtips, bought with 1991 dollars (no small source of guy satisfaction either) those little babies will always be in style.

Unlike a woman's patent leather pump. Which one season may have squat heels, the next year require vampy come-and-get-me heels, and the next be unacceptable unless adorned with a bow. So your average woman would no more buy two or three pairs of the same black patent leather pump than she'd buy two or three of that day's newspaper.

The downside of relating to clothes the girl way is that you are always shopping. But the downside of relating to clothes the guy way is that once your supply runs out, it's shattering. My friend Ron, who ordered 12 pairs of khaki pants from a catalog in the early '80s, is currently in the throes of Severe Pants Panic. They stopped making his pants. Ron is not dealing well with this. He is doing things like calling the catalog company at 3 in the morning, trying to catch them when they are off guard, and saying, "Are you sure you stopped making them?" And then when they tell him, "Yes, we are sure," Ron hangs up with great despair, goes over to his last remaining pair and re-mends the back pocket.

It is both a troubling and a touching sight. Who knew that guys were capable of such a keenly developed sense of fidelity? Now if we could just get them to feel the same toward women.

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