A woman shoppingI know not all women are into shopping, but I think it’s fair to say that in a broad generalization, most women enjoy the shopping experience. They enjoy the browsing, the comparing of products from different stores and the hunt for a good bargain. My wife Holly is definitely no exception to the rule. That woman can shop like no one I’ve ever seen. From sun up to sun down she can browse and pick through wave after wave of what I perceive as pure crap for days on end. There is no limit to the amount of shopping my wife can do. This past weekend we flew home to Louisiana to visit friends and family. Since our flight brought us into New Orleans, it was only natural that we spend a few hours wandering around the French Quarter before making the drive to Baton Rouge. As I watched Holly shop that afternoon, all became clear as to the how and why’s of shopping for women and why it’s different for men.

Like most guys, I don’t like to shop, I like to buy. I decide that there’s something that I need and I go out and buy it. I might do a little price shopping on-line to make sure I’m not getting ripped off, but when I walk into a store, I’m looking to make a purchase. For example, let’s say that I need a new pair of jeans. I’ll drive over to the mall, go into a store, try a few pairs on and then buy a pair that fits and leave. Holly on the other hand would need to go to three additional stores to make sure that she was getting the best jeans at the best price.

I saw this in action in New Orleans when she decided that she would like a Vieux Carre print on slate tile. She found the one that she liked, but we still went into at least 4 other stores while we were making our way through the Quarter, to make sure that she found the best one at the best price. There were other items that she was browsing for as well and keep in mind that we shopped the entire afternoon, but at the end of the day we were back at the original store, purchasing the first one she picked up. As I watched this process in action, I was reminded of what a friend once told me – “The reason men and women shop the way they do goes back to the cave man days.” – and you know what? It’s true.

Setting aside the whole evolution vs. creation issue, which really has nothing to do with what I’m about to say, there was a point in everyone’s culture where their ancestors were more primitive and tribal. If you recall your elementary social studies classes, the men were the hunters and the women were the gatherers. Women would go out and gather nuts and berries and the men would hunt. So primitive women would check out each bush to find the best berries and bring them back to the hut/cave/teepee. The men would go out find an animal, kill it and bring it back. See any parallels? 😛 So in this context, Holly is simply responding to the programming in her DNA when she goes from store to store browsing and comparing the purchases. Instead of berries, or nuts, she’s gathering ear rings and brick-a-brak. When I go out shopping, I’m going out for the kill. I go out for my jeans, kill it and bring it back to the homestead. Mission accomplished. (arr arr arr).

All this enlightened insight aside, as I stood there on Decateur street, outside of one store after another and watched hour after hour slowly creep by, I had another realization – my ancestors didn’t have to withstand this torture. The men were out hunting and killing things, not holding purses and having to dodge the “Catch 22” question “Does this [insert item here] make me look fat?” Who invented this slow torture? Having to lumber along as Holly shops ranks right up there with watching paint dry, or grass grow. Seriously, I’d rather take a punch to the face than have to go on one of these marathon all-day shopping excursions. Neanderthal Ashby didn’t have to go with his wife to every freakin’ bush in the valley and sample all the berries to find the best ones to bring home. He was out with the guys killing things. I’m not hunting, I’m looking for a way to escape this prison. I’m a man, I should be out there tracking my next kill, to not do so is going against my DNA and disrupting the order of the universe. I need to right this wrong against my people!

Does hunting for the “man chair” count? 😉