Holiday Shopping And Men

by Jayne A. Hitchcock

Why do women shop for the holiday gifts, or just plain do any kind of shopping?

Because men don't. At least most men. A majority of men. Oh, come on, admit it, it has to be over 90% of men who don't like to shop.

Now, don't take this as an affront to women, because I'm one and these are just some observations I've had over the years.

When was the last time you saw a man eagerly going through the sales racks of clothing at the mall? More than likely you saw them wandering morosely around the mall while the woman with them was checking prices and comparing brand names.

My husband hates shopping with me, but most especially around Christmas. He's not too fond of crowds and the thought of looking for presents for me leaves him in a sweat.

Don't even mention grocery shopping. If he does come along when I'm getting the groceries, he'll zip through and pick up his "goodies," then complain I'm taking too long because I'm using coupons. So, I try to leave him at home with his computer, where he's happy and I'm happy.

After talking with my female friends, we all agree that the only time you'll see men go shopping is when it's for stereo or video equipment, computer gadgets, things for their car or truck, power tools and the like -- arrr, arrr, arrr (thanks to Tim from "Tool Time").

So, just what is this compulsion we women have for shopping? All you women readers, go back in time to when you were small. While Dad and brother were off fishing, at the football game or hunting, where were you and Mom? That's right, shopping. And if you weren't shopping, you were "just looking."

I can remember going to the mall with my Mom and sister. We'd go into every store whether we were there to buy something or not. We'd get a hot dog and an Orange Julius, then take advantage of the free samples at See's Candies, Hickory Farms and whoever else was giving stuff away. And, of course, there was the actual act of shopping -- picking out something, asking the salesperson loads of questions, trying it on, oohing and ahhing in front of each other in the dressing room.

That was the life.

Well, Christmas is almost here once again. My husband won't go shopping for my presents until the last minute or ask a friend to go with him, and I'll just pray it's not a blender. One year, actually the first year we were married, I eagerly reached for a box under the tree. It was from my husband and I was excited. What did he get me? I could only imagine! We were at his parents house and everyone was chatting and laughing. I unwrapped the box, turned it over, and raised my eyebrows. It was a toaster. Chris saw I wasn't too excited.

"It's from Sweden, it's a new style," he said, smiling confidently.

"Uh, gee, thanks, hon," I mumbled as I opened the box and pulled out the toaster.

"But you said you hated the old one," he blurted out.

"That didn't mean get me one for a Christmas present," I said before I stop the words.

He frowned and reached for a smaller box. "You won't want to open this one then."

"Why not?" I asked and snatched it from his hands.

I unwrapped it. It was a hot dog bun warmer for the top of the brand-new Swedish toaster. I burst out laughing.

"I never do anything right," Chris moaned.

Even his mother shook her head and told him you never, ever buy a woman something for the kitchen or house. You always buy something for the WOMAN.

He's never bought me anything like that since, although last year I got a jar of gourmet Orange Marmalade. Why? Because one time we were eating at Denny's and I was going through the little jellies they have on the table and found Orange Marmalade. I exclaimed that I loved the stuff and hadn't eaten it in years. So he bought me a jar for my stocking. How ro-man-tic. NOT!

A hint to you men, don't EVER buy a woman a practical present unless they say, right to your face, that they specifically want it for a Christmas present (or any present). Got it? Good.

For those women who are offended by this little commentary and don't like to go shopping, you really are missing out on some fun. And LIGHTEN UP! But, hey, to each his (or her) own. And to you men who actually enjoy shopping -- do you want to give my husband some lessons?

Just kidding, hon, really.

I do have to let you know that I give my husband very big hints as to what I want now and make up a list of a jillion things I'd like to get. He is much better at shopping now. I just hope I don't get any more jelly or marmalade this year.

An interesting postscript: When I wrote the original of this in 1994 for an Okinawa, Japan military newspaper, a woman sent an angry letter to the editor stating that she thought it was disgusting they published an editorial by someone who stereotyped all women as shoppers. I guess she didn't have a very good sense of humor. I hope you do.

J.A. Hitchcock is a regular contributor to Compute Me. Visit her web site at

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