Sunday, November 28, 2010

Shopping with the Missus

I recently received a private comment (preface your comment with private and I will neither publish it nor have your e-mail address).

She said that when shopping in drab with her wife she's "encouraged [her] wife to buy items (she'd like too) and then later I'd borrow them back."
She went on to ask "how do you handle shopping, if with the wife, and you see a "must" have item. Do you buy? Or sneak back later and get it?"
Oooh. I want to buy, but I don't. My wife (K) doesn't really approve, and it feels like I'm bringing the issue out into the open, in a public place. I'll note what I want and get it later. Three reasons:

* what I just said ~ I don't need to remind her that I like to dress up.
* I don't want to start a discussion of how much money goes to my alternate wardrobe.
* If we're out shopping, we're either shopping for drab clothes for me, or clothes for her. I don't want to divert shopping with a goal into shopping with my goal.

Another issue ~ we're very different sizes. It's unlikely I'd see something on a rack she's looking at that would fit me.

Just before the wedding in New York a couple of weeks ago, K brought the outfit she wanted to wear to the cleaners. They ruined it. The night before we were to head to New York, she said "I need to go shopping. Do you want to come?"

I had a lot to do to get ready, but I figured, women's clothes store AND husband points ~ a good deal all around. So we went together, to a strip mall that has a Dress Barn and a Marshalls. We went to Dress Barn first.

Think about how most guys act when they're shopping with their SO.  I was always a typical shopping-with-SO guy. It's probably been a year or two since we had reason to shop together for clothes for her. This time I was, shall we say, atypical.  Going out does change you.
I offered opinions on whether I thought a smaller size skirt would fit.  When she saw a long skirt she liked, but it was too long for her height, I asked the SA if it came in petite, or if they had something similar but not quite as long. She tried on a jacket; I comfortably held her bag.  I looked around at clothes on other racks that she might like.  I wandered into the misses side (K shops the women's side) to see if there was something I liked (there wasn't). By the checkout there was a rack of "novelty" socks. I like those, so I looked, but for the reasons I mentioned earlier (plus one I didn't ~ I have a LOT of socks), I didn't buy. I may go back.

An aside: the other night, I said to K, "are you wearing my socks?"  They were golden-brown with flowery vines on them.  She said "I ran out of socks."  I said "that's fine.  Feel free."  It's not like I've never borrowed any of her clothes, especially when I first started dressing up with her in my life.

The experience was very different from my old self, and from most civilians.

I can see myself paying more attention at jewelry counters as well, but again, marking items in my mind for a later visit. Shoes and cosmetics, not so much, because she might find it embarrassing. I have decided to not mind what people think. She, I think, hasn't made that leap, and I will respect that. A guy who's overly interested in shoes or cosmetics is looked at oddly.

I'm not sure about lingerie.


  1. Meg- Thanks...! Would still love to shop with the wife some day... (sigh!)

  2. Meg
    I am sure you remember the Bizzaro world from Superman comics as saterized by Seinfeld. Well you have done it again.

    As I guy I am not just a non-shopper I am an anti-shopper. My wife is not much for shopping and much of what she does buy, limited though it may be, is by catalog. Generally very low maintenance.

    Several months ago on a rainy Saturday (read that as no golf) we went up to the Premium outlets to buy me a few needed dress/work shirts and perhaps a suit or two. While there she remembered that we had a few weddings coming up so we used the occasion to look for shoes and a dress for her.

    Of course, she knows of my keen interest in shoes and dresses. First was the shoe store. Of course, I could not wander too far from her and still maintain the 'bored husband' demeanor but she knows me well and knew fully well that I was eye balling the heels and checking the boxes just pining that I would see something that came in my size. She was toying with me the entire time asking my opinion on her choice of dress shoes with the full knowledge that my appreciation of shoes runs to a higher heel height than hers.

    From shoes we hit several dress stores before we finally ended up at the Dress Barn/Dress Barn for Women outlet.

    She knew that I was not faking interest as we prowled the displays in the Dress Barn half of the store. I gave her my candid opinions and since she knows of my interests, yens and desires and tastes (while she remains tepid about my dressing she has often commented on my excellent taste in my woman's wardrobe) and it was an enjoyable experience for both of us.

    Every time she would step into the dressing room to try something on I would drift over to the Dress Barn Women's side of the store checking out things that would be in my size and pining for her to just bite the bullet and pick something for me to buy in a real store.

    She finally settled upon a very pretty and feminine tea length, royal blue, banded empire waist, v-neck, dress. It was almost a $100 dress that with various discounts came to $28.

    While she was debating between this dress and a few others I found the almost exact dress on the woman's side. This was purple (which she has always said was a good color for me) but it had a similar cut with the same material. She kept pulling my leg and joking that if we bought it we could be like twins. She knew I wanted the dress but would have felt too embarassed to buy two very similar dresses (about 6 sizes apart) at the same time from the same sales associate who had spent about an hour with us.

    Upon leaving the store she quipped that I could look for the dress online, which I did but without success.

    All in all we both had a great rainy day out shopping. She came away with a great dress and I spent the day in my female mental state. While I have shopped a thousand times for guy stuff I cannot recall any of those events but I can remember every emotion, verbal inflection, sideways glance, etc.

    In my mind the almost perfect day would have been a repeat of the above but with me en femme looking for dresses and shoes for me. We can dream.



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