One Man's Rant: A danger of domestic life

Challenge isn’t new to the American male. During the birth of our nation, the American male stood with George Washington to fervently fight foe, fever and frostbite in the forests and fields of our fatherland. (This sentence would have been longer, but I ran out of clean words starting with the letter “f.”)

We men have persevered through decades of conflict and emerged largely victorious from the many military threats which our country has endured. But even today, veterans return home from Iraq and Afghanistan unprepared for the next major domestic test of their young lives.

You may ask, what could rival the devastation of battle, the terror of facing one’s mortality? In a word, shopping. Yes, when a man settles into domestic life, married or dating, he will inevitably be asked to accompany his lady on a shopping adventure.

I personally have discovered that shopping with a female is one of the most exhausting excursions available to my gender. I will clarify this proclamation by saying that car, major furniture and appliance shopping are the possible exceptions. I don’t know why but there it is.

I struck up a casual conversation the other day at the gym with a fellow named Allen. We’re both about the same age and, therefore, view exercise as a biological imperative despite the pain and stress it inflicts upon us.

As soon as we dispensed with the introductory niceties, Allen went cathartic telling me about the differences in the way men and women shop. By the fifth word of his second sentence, I was totally on board, agreeing with everything he said. The man knew of what he spoke.

It’s an unassailable truism that the two halves of our species enter retail stores with vastly different strategies in mind. Allen and I (and men in general) walk into a store, locate the department we want, identify the product we want, purchase it and exit the store. The average elapsed time of a male shopping event is about eight minutes and 27 seconds. We repeat this process two or three times a year. In the interest of full disclosure, the only time we exceed the eight-and-a-half-minute average is hardware or auto parts store-related. Oh, sporting goods stores, too!

There are several potential battle plans when a female descends upon a retail establishment. Due to space limitations here, I can only offer a simplified example.

If it’s a day for dresses and that department is in the rear of the store, it will take at least 48 minutes to reach that department due to the large number of distractions placed adjacent to the customer travel path such as hand bags, designer skirts, shoes, blouses, jewelry and a variety of lacy and frilly things.

According to, there are at least 41 different types of dresses that demand full fem attention during today’s shopping excursion. Among those types is the sheath, tunic, pencil, asymmetric, trench, empire-waist, bodycon, maxi/long, midi and mini dress categories. By the time our shopper has evaluated the 341 name brands, colors and sizes available, the Arizona Cardinals are half-way through the regular season with a 6 and 2 record.

But we’re not done. Once the momentous dress decision is in the books, we’re on our way to the matching shoe department and the process begins anew.

There are reportedly 47 different styles of shoes. The more colorful categories among them are brothel creepers, driving moccasins and jelly shoes.

Wow, I’m worn out. I think I’ll take a nap.

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