A husband’s burden – Shopping with your wife

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Marriage is one of the most wonderful experiences in the world, second only, some would argue, to not being married. All marriages have their ups and downs. If you ask me, the key to a long, happy marriage is to be patient, keep the lines of communication open, and at all costs, not to get sucked into shopping with your wife. However, shopping with her before she became your wife is totally concept altogether. It was shopping with love for love.

Nowhere are the fundamental differences between men and women more pronounced than by how we shop. There are two ways of going about this: the way women do it and the correct way. When men enter a retail store, the purchasing experience usually goes something like this:

Man: Do you have these shoes in size 11?
Store clerk: Yes, we do.
Man: Great. Here’s my credit card.

The entire transaction lasts roughly the length of an Old Spice “Smell like a Man, Man” commercial.

For women, on the other hand, shopping involves a complex journey through countless retail stores on a quest for the elusive H&M of outfits. If you’re obliging enough to tag along, buckle up, buddy. You’re in for a long, exhausting ride.

Let’s back up. If your wife asks if you’d like to accompany her to the mall ‘to check out some sales’, there is, of course, only one correct answer: “…Over my dead body. I’d rather have a root canal!”. Now, to be clear, I don’t actually suggest you utter the aforementioned phrase verbatim. You might want to say it in code, such as, “…Oh, I would hate to get in the way of your fun afternoon. How about you call your friend Mimi and have a girls’ day out.” If that fails, follow up with, “…Here’s my credit card. This day is on me. I love you, Sayang.”

If she persists – and trust me, she will – you need to be armed with a convincing excuse to get out of serving your sentence, I mean, accompanying her to the outlet stores. Here are a few possible examples:

“I’d love to, sayang, but today is the day I was going to work on the garden.” (Translation: the Hindi blockbuster is on TV).

“A friend of mine is very ill. I promised to go cheer him up.” (She is going to ask, Oh? Who? So be sure to add, Oh, you don’t know him.)

I strongly advise rehearsing your excuse several times in front of a mirror, because if you stumble, it could come off sounding like you’re lying, as in: A friend of mine makes me ill. I promised to go beer him up. Oh, I don’t know him.

In that case, dude, you’re totally busted. Hope you like shopping for purses.

Now that we’ve established you can’t lie your way out of carrying a paper bag, you may as well try to decipher how long your ordeal is likely to last. Casually ask your wife for a time estimate – and multiple it by four, just to be conservative. If she says, Oh, no more than three hours, you might want to book a reservation at a nearby Sun Inns Motel. You’re not making it home tonight.

Once you arrive at the mall, you still have a way to soften the blow of having your day completely shot to Hell. Drop her at the entrance of the 1st store and ask if she minds if you chill in at the nearest Starbucks while she shops. That way, you can at least catch the Netflix movies on your phone with the Wi-Fi at Starbucks.

When that fails, tell her, you know, I have some shopping of my own I’d like to do. How about we meet up at the Machines in two hours? If she agrees, then stay in Starbucks and catch the movie.

If she convinces you to accompany her because you foolishly believed her lie that ‘it will be fun’, and ‘it’ll be like our courting days’, then briefly turn away to inspect your trousers for any remnants of your genitals. If they’re missing, proceed to the mall entrance. You might as well ask if you can carry her purse while you’re at it.

Say your wife is on a mission to buy shoes. She’s in luck. There are no less than sixteen shoe stores in this complex. And she will undoubtedly want to check out every last one of them – including Timberland which only sells hiking boots – an apparel she’s never worn for as long as you’ve known her.

When entering a store, immediately survey the premises for a place to sit down. Don’t hesitate for a nano-second because another husband is determined to grab the only spare seat before you do.

When your wife starts trying on outfits, make sure to tell her she looks great – even if she looks like she’s wrapped in a gunny sack. Respond with, “Wow! That’s incredible! You look so skinny in it. You have found the perfect dress! Looks like we’re done here!” But trust me, you’re not. Not by a long shot. Because you just implied that she is fat.

Marriage Pointer: When your wife points out what she has in fact found the perfect dress and raves that it’s on sale for only RM350, bite your tongue. Do not protest. Just nod and say, I agree. You should buy it! – anything to get this punishment over with faster.

After an exhausting day at the outlets, if you’re lucky, you might be able to relax on the couch when you get home. You might even get back in time for a repeat of “Who want’s to be a millionaire”. Uh Oh. I see you’ve caved to your wife’s TV choice of those Korean K-Dramas. Clearly, you’re a complete pushover – and, according to your wife, a wonderful husband.

That’s the view from my self banishment in our bedroom . Perhaps I’m off base.

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