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Tuesday, January 22 , 2019, 8:02 pm | Fair 50º


Tim Durnin: Shopping Is Fun? Nah, I’m Not Buying It

An outing with the family proves nothing short of excruciating

I’m not a shopper. This should not be construed to suggest I don’t like to buy things. I do. I just don’t like to go out in the world with no particular objective.

When I shop, I know what I want. I get into my car, drive, walk into the store and buy it. It takes me 20 minutes on a bad day.

My wife isn’t much of a shopper either, but when she does go, she wants me to go, too. She loves to ask my least favorite question, “How does this look?” She then ignores my response, no matter how sincerely it is offered.

There is something that goes on in her mind that I can’t understand. She has a need to be absolutely certain in advance of a purchase. In contrast, my rules are simple. If you like it, need it, it fits and you have the money, buy it. If any of these are absent, don’t.

This straight-forward formula serves me well. I can’t say the same for my wife and daughters. A shopping expedition with them is nothing short of excruciating.

They forced me out shopping a few Saturdays ago and things didn’t go well.

The first obstacle is the parking meter. We find a great parking spot only to spend the next 20 minutes buying trinkets to get change for the meter.

On this meter a quarter buys eight minutes. We purchase an unneeded pack of gum, an unwanted muffin and coffee before the requisite coins are secured.

We then wander into Abercrombie & Fitch. Let me start by saying that for 90 percent of men, walking into Abercrombie is like walking into a self-help session designed to break down any ego illusions about body image and looks. Standing there, I feel like I’m the poster child for what could happen to you if you don’t buy their clothes.

My wife and daughters are shopping. I am trying not to be noticed. Cologne strikes me as a fairly innocuous distraction. I pick up a sample and like the smell. I notice I am being watched by one of the many “too beautiful” sales people.

I boldly take the cologne and spray some on my neck. The scent is heavy as it saturates my skin. My wife arrives to check on me and informs me that I have just doused myself in women’s perfume.

I protest and tell her there is a man on the packaging. She points out the woman pressed tightly against him. I look up in time to see the sales associate giving me a superior smile, shaking his head and turning away to leave me in my shame.

Departing Abercrombie, we return to the car, me smelling like a 100-pound anorexic model, my children laden with bags that will mock me for the rest of the day. They clearly display what is possible for the male physique. We are off to Forever 21.

There should be a warning sign outside Forever 21. In my world it would read: “Attention husbands, fathers, brothers, sons and others who resist shopping! Forever 21 offers the largest selection of women’s clothing you have probably ever seen. It will take several hours for you and your loved ones to peruse our fine, quality merchandise. Please note, this estimate does not include time spent in fitting rooms or check out.”

One hour into this adventure, my wife and oldest daughter have been separated from me and my youngest, Camryn. I am trying to keep up with Camryn at nearly a full sprint.

I text my wife the following three lines in succession. “Find a gun. Find me. Kill me.”

She texts back, “Huh?” I reply, “Now!” She texts, “What’s going on?” I reply with, “I’m in he’ll (sic).” (Three times my phone auto corrects to he’ll.) I am ready to throw the phone and scream for help.

It is at this point I realize I have been texting a buddy of mine and not my wife. I sheepishly text him back to explain. I am not convinced my response, “lol, I thought I was texting my wife,” completely settled the matter in his mind.

I would like to say this particular trip is an exception. It is not. Every time I venture out to shop with my wife and children, some ancient but effective curse clouds and complicates my good will and pure intentions. After this last debacle I have told them, “From now on, you are on your own. I am sticking to my shopping rules.”

— Tim Durnin is a father, husband and writer. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for ideas, comments, discussion and criticism.

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