Monday, June 3, 2013

Confession: I Find Men Lingering in the Women's Clothing Department Creepy

Act #154:  Try shopping alone.  It's quite liberating.

You see them everywhere you go - men of all different ages, shapes, and races walking just a few steps behind their girlfriends and wives looking bored out of their minds, occasionally muttering That's a good color on you! and Yes, dear, I like it.  Their eyes wander aimlessly AWAY from the spring clearance rack, AWAY from the mannequin with the hottest new bathing suit, AWAY from the slews of females eagerly pacing up and down the women's clothing aisles hunting for a good fashion bargain.  They look anxious and awkward, and out of place, but I'm sure that at least some are genuinely enjoying this time with their girlfriend/wife, right?  Or are they?  Some of you are going to think I'm a horrible person, but it physically pains me to witness this tragedy as it so often unfolds before my very eyes at my local department store. 

Yes, it is absolutely none of my business, but there's just something about the way the women nonchalantly float through the aisles, completely immersed in the fashion options in front of them, unaware of their greater surroundings.......while a completely uninterested dude creepily follows them around from rack to rack.  The creepiest of all is when there is a man sitting outside the women's fitting room waiting to judge an impromptu fashion show for their girlfriend/wife that the rest of us are just so thrilled to partake in.

Wouldn't he have more fun looking at tube socks and neck ties in the men's section?  Maybe meeting up at the store's front at a designated time?  Maybe reading his Nook in the car?  Better yet, maybe there's something more entertaining for him that he'd rather spend his time doing on his own?  If the goal of this joint experience is to spend quality time together, news flash #1: It ain't happening.  When shopping, we are understandably in a state of mind that is pretty self-centered and vain - because that's exactly what we are doing - trying to find material items that make us feel good about ourselves.   How "quality" can this time with your partner be, when one of you is completely absorbed in nothing but themselves?  If the goal is support - you know, you need someone to give your feedback about your clothing options, news flash #2:  How smart is it to take fashion advice from someone who's never been in a skirt or worn high heels?  Wouldn't it be like asking for parenting advice from someone without kids?

I'm not here to judge why couples do what they do.  I'm far from perfect, so whatever works, people.  But personally, it creeps me out to have my husband follow me around in the women's clothing department.  It feels stifling and oppressive - like I can't complete a simple task, like pick out a pair of shoes, without a man's approval.  It feels like I'm not respecting and valuing my partner's time by expecting him to aimlessly follow me around while I'm halfway ignoring him for something way more enticing at that moment................the 50% off rack.



  1. Hi, I've read several of your blog posts but this will be my first comment. I am a woman and I do enjoy clothing shopping and sometimes I ask my boyfriend to come with me. It took me aback a bit, to read that you feel like men waiting outside the dressing rooms or following girlfriends/wives through stores is creepy/oppressive-seeming. However, I think part of the problem might be the attitudes of those involved. When I ask my boyfriend to come with me, I have a specific goal, I.e. a dress for an event, an interview suit, a winter coat. It is something important to me and I ask him along because I genuinely want his feedback. Why do I want his feedback? He is (this sounds super corny but oh well) my best friend and I know he will make the effort to give honest opinions. True, he's never worn a dress, but that doesn't make him incapable of giving an opinion anymore than me being a woman means I cannot help to choose a tie. Style wise, we actually share a more similar aesthetic than I have with many of my female friends. He also asks for my opinions - recently I helped him choose a pair of sneakers, not because I was trying to dress him, but because he came to me asking for my opinion because, according to him, I have great taste. Choosing between 10 pairs of mens Nikes wasn't what I'd do alone at the mall, and I'm sure checking out dresses isn't something he'd do for his own amusement, either. But we do these things with a good attitude and, I think, are pleased that our partner thinks enough of our personal style to value our input. Wandering aimlessly through a department store for hours with a disengaged partner does seem weird, I agree, but I think a lot of couples really do value the other's input and appreciate them taking the time to help in something that may seem a bit frivolous but that matters to us. :)

    1. "But we do these things with a good attitude and, I think, are pleased that our partner thinks enough of our personal style to value our input." Kate, thank you for reminding me of this. :-)

  2. Confession: I Find Men Lingering in the Women's Clothing ...