Shopping: The Gender Divide

My husband is in a store and sees a shirt that he likes. He thinks…

  1. Does it fit?
  2. Is it a good price?

I am in a store and see a blouse that I like. I think…

  1. Does it look too “young” for me? Too “old” for me?
  2. Does it make my arms look fat? (yes… that’s a thing)
  3. Does it make me look too booby? Not booby enough? (yes… this is also a thing)
  4. What does it look like from the side? (many an outfit looks fine from the front, but from the side…)
  5. Does it make me feel pretty? Wealthy? Smart? (Does it basically re-define my sense of self?)
  6. Do I already have something just like this?
  7. Does it look like something one of my daughters already has? (Because this can be awkward)
  8. Is it one of those things that has to be dry-cleaned? Ironed? Laid flat to dry? Washed ‘separately’? (Life is too short to own clothing that requires helicopter-style parenting)
  9. Is it on sale?
  10. Does it come in black?
  11. Can I wear it with a normal bra? (I have actually had a 20-something sales girl suggest that I buy “paste-ons” to go with a particular item… Do I look like a woman who is going to start her day by gluing her boobs in place!?!)
  12. Does it go with those expensive pants I bought two years ago? (Because the search for something that matches with those pants has been like the quest for the Holy Grail)
  13. Does it go with anything I currently own?
  14. Where would I be going in this blouse? (Would I really wear this or would I just try it on and then pick something more comfortable that I could wear with a normal bra?)
  15. Is it long enough to cover my ass? Short enough to tuck in?
  16. Is this something my husband’s aunt Sheila would wear? (She is literally the definition of ‘class’ so this is a gold-standard question)
  17. If my husband’s aunt Sheila wore this, what would she wear it with?
  18. Does it need jewellery? (At this point my mind wonders and I ponder why I don’t wear more jewellry… decide to start wearing more jewellry… debate how I would display a bunch of jewellry in my small bedroom… and begin mentally renovating the upstairs floor of my house)
  19. What is the return policy? (Is this one of those places where all you can get back is a store credit? Because that adds a lot of pressure… seems like a big commitment to a single retail establishment)

At this point, I do not actually purchase the blouse.  Instead, I put it on hold while I stagger around the mall for another hour or so, looking for a cheaper/prettier/easier to look after version of the blouse.  THEN I return to the first store and buy the blouse.

When I bring the blouse home, I spend another hour rummaging through my closet, only to discover that (a) it does not go with the expensive black pants I bought two years ago, (b) you can see my bra through it, and (c) I would have liked it better in black!

Meanwhile, hubby put his new shirt on in the washroom at the mall, tossed the tags and the receipt in the trash, and has already got a ketchup stain on the front of it, from the fries he bought in the mall food court. He is now asleep on the sofa.  Sigh.  Womanhood is complicated.

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Author: Kim Scaravelli

Kim Scaravelli is an entrepreneur, marketer, content consultant, and author of “Making Words Work”. The best way to keep in touch is to subscribe to Kim’s popular newsletter. Every second Wednesday, she shares practical writing tips, timely insights, and resources to make your work easier and your content better. To learn more about Kim, visit her website.

13 thoughts

    1. My husband wears food stains as though they are accessories. He never leaves home without at least one!


  1. Yup. I go through ALL of that. Everything on the list, though the “does it need to be dry-cleaned” gets top billing along with “does it go with anything else I own,” and “Where might I actually wear it?” And of course, the classic “Does it make me look fatter than I already look?’


    1. I have a weird sort of amnesia about dry-cleaning. Once I drop something off, it’s like it is dead to me. It may be months before I return.


    1. I stopped buying clothing for my husband many, many years ago when I realized that he was unsure what sizes he wore… no grown man should not know if his t-shirts are medium or large!


  2. Had me laughing all the way through…almost word for word, or thought for thought, those thoughts go through my head every time I buy clothing for myself…I have ended up with many articles still hanging in the closet with tags on them, having discovered that my idea of losing weight to fit in to the lovelier items, never happened, or hasnt happened, yet….but it’s been several years since I bought some of them. Guess it’s time to open a bottle of wine and have friends over so they can go through my closet and adopt some never worn but beautiful clothes and take them away.


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