I don’t have a girlfriend but I do know someone who would make me sleep on the couch if she heard me say that. This past weekend, I was put through the ultimate relationship test. I didn’t get down on one knee or meet her parents or protect her from a mugger; this was something much more tenuous, taunting, and trepidatious. This past Saturday, (queue the drum roll) we went clothes shopping.
She said she wanted to spend the entire day with me (good), but she had to go clothes shopping (bad). I knew this was a test and one I could not possibly pass it would take me about twenty minutes to replace everything I own; and that includes a stop at Aunt Annie’s for a pretzel and lemonade.
I thought I’d be able to talk my way out of it and I’m not sure how she hooked me or what spell I was under but before I could say “You don’t need me. If the shoe fits, buy it,” I found myself knee deep in camisoles saying things like “that color has a slimming effect,” “you can so pull that look off,” and “that is so last year honey.”
I took martial arts classes and ran a marathon or two, but nothing could have prepared me for a full day of shopping. I’m convinced that clothes shopping with women could be an Olympic event that would make my marathons seem like a sprint. As the final leg of their training, Navy Seals are sent to shopping malls for a weekend of survival testing in women’s clothing stores. They’re frequently found under racks of clothes shivering, dehydrated, and disoriented.
I drove to the mall but I didn’t realize that would be the last decision I would make that day. The first challenge was to find the women’s section she wanted in the multiple myriad of women’s departments. The women’s clothes seemed to go on forever like an ocean of clothes; they were called, but not limited to: Modern Sportswear, Petites, Misses, Juniors, Maternity, Better Sportswear, Casual Sportswear, I-don’t-play-but-I-like-to-watch-Sports-wear, Active Wear, Plus Size, Contemporary, Colonial, French Tudor, Shape Wear, Tall, Grande, and Venti.
She really did need my help but not in the way you’d think. She held up two shirts and said ‘red or black?’ I’d said the red one and she’d say ‘really’? Then she’d put the red one back on the rack and she made me hold the black one. I tried reverse psychology and I switched to black but then she’d keep the black knowing I meant she should get the red.
After spending the day as a clothes rack, I realized that women’s clothes are amazingly light and thin. This is why women’s fashions change every year; that’s how long the clothes last. One day when they check the clothes dryer and there’s nothing left except big balls of lint, it’s time to go clothes shopping.
And because they’re so thin, when she picked a shirt, we had to get a shirt to go under the shirt. And the button down shirts she bought had the buttons in awkward places so she’d either be buttoned up to her neck like the flying nun or she’d undo one button and look like a Hooter’s waitress. So we had to get camisoles and carves.
And with women’s clothes, you not only have to get shirts and pants, but you also have to accessorize. François Accessory, the famed French fashion designer was once quoted “Why sell them one shirt when they’ll buy two, and then make them all kinds of crap to go with it. We suck at war and we don’t bathe, so we might as well dress well.”
We moved from shirts to pants. Men pants come in logical sizes. I wear a size 34x32 which is a 34 inch waist and a 32 inch inseam. Women’s clothes have sizes like 0,2,4,6 etc. She told me to grab her pants in her size and I brought back a size 2. “These aren’t right. They’ll be too short.” I came back with a size 4. “These are the right length but they’re too baggy.”
I went through a dozen or so pair of pants and passed them over the dressing room door. The women in the store gave me sideways smiles as if to say “I don’t know how she got him here but I have to find out.”
You know she was on the phone with her mother that night: “You’re not going to believe it. You’ll be so proud. I actually got him to go clothes shopping with me.”
In the end, she got her clothes and I survived, at least until the next test. Just don’t tell her I have more clothes than she does.