My husband likes to shop and I do not. I do not mean shop to spend money. I mean that he enjoys wandering through the isles of a store looking to see what he doesn’t know that he needs.
I, on the other hand, hate shopping. I walk in, scan my immediate area, look for a directory, and leave if I do not find what I am looking for. Within thirty minutes I am normally exhausted and within a few hours I have regressed to the state of a small, nap-deprived child.
This means, when I turned and asked him to go shopping with me he stared at me with wide eyes, got up from his desk and came to check my forehead in case I had developed a fever and was delirious. Finding my temperature normal and my general state of being to be cognizant and aware he said, “Uh, sure?”
I felt bad for him and explained that I wanted some dress shirts. I wanted button down dress shirts and I’d need to try them on due to the fact that woman’s sizing makes absolutely no sense to me. The sizes I used to be able to wear I can’t. The problem is the items still say sizes that no longer match what the store says. My normal method to bypass this is to wear men’s shirts. However, I needed dress clothing and my over-sized, graffiti shirts would not do. I was going for the professional gamer look and I wanted long sleeve dress shirts to wear over my jeans and a pair of low heeled pumps.
He asked if I wanted to go to dinner as well. I said sure.
Off we went. I had a general game plan for where to look for shoes. The ‘woman’s shoe stores’ would be my goal. These are vast, labyrinths of footwear that I don’t find attractive. However, normally in the depths I will find one or two items that I find appealing.
The only problem is that it was labor day and a lot of people had off from work. They had two and a half months to prepare their children for a new school year so the day before school was to start seemed to be a right time to prepare their children for the start of the school year which was all the way off into tomorrow.
A torrential downpour was followed by a clear, hot sky leaving the streets steaming and the sun searing ones flesh as we scuttled from the protection of the car to the front of the store. My husband, pale and prone to instant sunburn was quite miserable as we reached our first location and opened the door to the store.
Shoes. Shoes and women. Shoes, women, and children. Somewhere there were also spouses but mostly shoes, women, and children. We entered and slipped into the rows of shoes. My husbands eye was often pulled by high heels and platforms. He made random suggestions that I ignored as I gravitated towards the boots.
I’m a practical creature. I lack feminine frills and ways. I love tall boots and as my hand reached for a lovely, polished black pair my husband appeared as if a vengeful angel and swatted my hand away. “Dress shoes!” he said. “But these are fancy,” I exclaimed as he grabbed my hand and dragged me away from my previous boots. “Those are boots! You said you wanted dress shoes.” he announced and corralled me with the pumps.
What is it with fashion in this current day? Shoes are ether flat or heels so extreme that my calves cramped just looking at them. I padded past the shelves of lovely, tall, sweeping, painful looking products. My feet were soundless on the carpet tucked into my pair of black and day-glow green vibrams. My theory on vibrams is that if you are going to wear them, wear them. People are going to look and ask stupid questions so I might as well give them an actual reason to do so.
However, my years of wearing minimalist shoes have left me ill prepared for heels. I do love them but ugh. Ouch. My feet are wide and large. I didn’t get the fashion designer notice that woman’s feet are to be narrow and small. So, frustrated, I went to the clearance section where I discovered the shoe Apocalypse.
Fall is coming, today is a holiday, sales are in the air, and the clearance shoe section looked as if a hurricane and typhoon got together. I was chaos and disaster and we slowly backed away from the frenzy of shopping and fitting that we found. Defeated we retreated back into the sunlight to make our way to the next store. There we were confronted by even more terrors as the store was a mixture of clothing and shoes. The entire shoe isle looked as if someone had dumped all of the shoes out and rolled around in them while having a fight with a shoe fetishist octopus. My husband looked at me and said, “Someone has to fix that later. I feel bad for them.”
We slipped past the shoppers and again moved down the length of the store fronts. This time we came upon a woman’s store and we slipped inside. More shoes. More clothing. I also learned that button down long sleeve dresses shirts for women were not the fashion this year. I could find short sleeves, layers, slip tows, dips, nips, tucks, stripes, plaids, flowers, floras, and tights, but heaven forbid a dress shirt. It was with dejection that we stared off down the line of shops until we noticed a familiar name in woman’s sensible fashion and gave it a try.
Cool and quiet, I found simple shirts on sale. I tried them on and they fit. This is the one difference that I will admit to when you shop at a store vs picking up stuff at Walmart or Target. Pleased, I even tried them on and let my husband pick out a rich red-purple color that looked quite nice for me to try. Invigorated we left with our shirts and decided to go to one of the larger regional malls which was close to the Japanese Steakhouse that I wanted to have dinner at.
Ahh, the mall. That didn’t work out again. We, magically, got a parking spot right beside the entrance in the parking garage. I thought that it was a good omen but after I stared at the directrory and realized that the shoe stores were not labeled as shoe stores I knew I was in trouble. While daunted, we where there and we had to take advantage of our good parking spot. We grasped each others hands and forged through the milling stream of humanity. As we passed Barnes and Nobel I noticed that the childrens section which faced the mall front was a disaster zone of small children and exhausted looking parents. Perhaps this is what shopping is all of the time? No wonder sales people tire of their clients.
We tried a few stores and saw many, many types of shoes. I have a budget and no interest in spending money on shoes however. The deeper we went the higher the prices went. I put down one two hundred and fifty dollar pair, grabbed my husbands hand and headed out to dinner.
I do love Japanese Steakhouses. I understand they are a totally Americanized thing. I’ve been to the real deal in Japan. Still, it was a nice treat and a quiet meal before we headed back home.
I’m three shirts better off and never did find the perfect pair of shoes. I’ve made it through a shopping venture on a holiday and back home. It was a surprisingly long day but in general, productive. How people can do this every week or even multiple times a week? I will never know.