This was going to be a guide for men on how to survive a shopping expedition with a woman, but on reflection, that idea was scrapped. The bottom line is men and women just should not shop together. Ever.
This is not a product of the failings of the interrelationship between men and women in modern society â€“ far from it. In fact, it has its roots in the Stone Age and the evolutionary adaptation of gender roles. Men are biologically programmed to be the hunters; women are the gatherers. Thatâ€™s why when we enter a shopping centre â€“ todayâ€™s incarnation of the prehistoric jungle â€“ men sniff out their prey and go straight for the kill, while women are driven to ensure that every stone has been turned and every branch rattled to procure the finest fruits.
Our divergent primal instincts are only the beginning when it comes to reasons why men and women are hardwired to be incompatible shopping buddies. Here are some others.
Our mental calculators conflict
Mathematically, we are wired differently. Take, for example, methods for calculating â€˜savingsâ€™. While a woman is high-fiving herself for saving $400 off the price of a Louis Vuitton handbag, her other half is reaching for the smelling salts after looking at the receipt. Only in a womenâ€™s clothing store could the concept of the â€˜spend and saveâ€™ promotion possibly be considered anything but a misguided attempt at humour.
Our triggers are different
Men and women might both consider a change of season to be a reason to go shopping, but for vastly different reasons. For women, a change of season presents an ultimatum: hit the shops or risk having to be seen wearing last yearâ€™s fashion. For men, itâ€™s about the fact that the jeans that held themselves together by a thread over summer are just not going to cut it in sub-arctic temperatures.
Our purposes donâ€™t align
â€˜Retail therapyâ€™ â€“ in the sense of shopping as a form of stress relief â€“ is a term that applies pretty much exclusively to women. To men, therapy is generally what comes after the ordeal of shopping.
Women donâ€™t share menâ€™s â€˜pack mentalityâ€™
In the wild, male animals hunt in packs. Human males, by contrast, hunt for packs. Unlike his female counterpart, the human male seeks his prey in bulk. If he finds a shirt that fits, he buys it in every colour of the rainbow. Women, on the other hand, will go to extensive lengths to avoid being spotted in the same outfit at two social events in a calendar year.
Itâ€™s fraught with danger
Shopping is to a relationship what white walls are to a toddler â€“ a canvas for disaster. It gives rise to lethal man-traps like â€œDoes my butt look big in this?â€ The truth is, there really is no carnage-free way out of this perilous query for the targeted male, especially if the answer is anything other than a genuine â€œnoâ€. The only safe option for the man in question is to say â€œnoâ€ to the question he was asked before he left the house â€“ i.e. Do you want to come shopping with me?
In short: don’t go there, boyfriend!
When we try to mess with the natural order of things, nature has a way of coming back to bite us. Shopping is no exception. Men hunt, women gather â€“ and if you try to force the two to align, what you end up with is an unwinnable game of relationship roulette. So blokes, spare your sanity and the cost of couples counselling and just say NO!
*Adapted from image of unknown origin: ‘Mission: Go to Gap, Buy A Pair of Pants’.