Mt. Vernon Register-News

October 19, 2013

Drop him before you shop


The Register-News

---- — We have to go to a wedding in a month or so. Sue needs something to wear and a gift for the lucky couple, so she’s out shopping. Even though I have plenty of free time, she said she wanted to go by herself.

Now, I’m not one of those clingy, needy men who have to be attached to their spouse with Velcro. I’ve got plenty of my own stuff to do, so fine, go shop by yourself. It won’t hurt my feelings, though I don’t know how she’ll find anything without my help. I’m always pointing out things she should buy or try on, and making helpful suggestions about the wonderful outfits she’s passing up. I dread to see what she’ll come back with without my constant advice.

She’s always complaining that the stuff in the stores is all made for teenagers, and I’m thinking, what’s the problem with that? Maybe she should start showing a little midriff. Alone, she’ll probably come back with something she got on sale.

And without me, there’s no telling what present she’s going to buy for the newlyweds. She might pass up the multiplayer video game section entirely and buy them something like a coffeemaker, a toaster or a place setting. That doesn’t mean you have to buy it for them. They’re just young kids, what do they know? I think surprise is a big part of any gift. Who would expect to get a giant birdcage? Not my niece, I can tell you that. Or a shop vac? These are the kind of things that newlyweds forget to ask for, but that really stop traffic on the gift table. Now Sue insists that we just give them a check. “Let them buy their own shop vac.” What a buzz-kill that is.

So now I go shopping alone, too, which is turning out better than I expected. I never hear, “You don’t need that” or “We already have seven of those,” and when I see other guys pushing carts full of on-sale hominy and bacon mayonnaise and oddly flavored cheeses, I feel their kindred spirit. Laugh, and the world laughs with you; shop, and you shop alone.

Contact Jim Mullen at JimMullenBooks.com.