Nobody believes me when I say I don’t like shopping. But seriously, it’s true, I don’t. Maybe I got it all out of my system when I was consumer editor for City Limits magazine (a bit of an oxymoron, many people thought but, hey, socialists like to shop too, it seems). I mean, I do shop, of course I do – but only when things are absolutely necessary (which, to be frank, isn’t that often). James grows like a weed and so, yup, he needs gear. But generally he sends me a link via email and I go ‘yeah, I guess you really do need new trainers if your old ones really are two sizes too small’ or ‘nah, not on your nelly, my little mate’ and it’s all done and dusted in a couple of clicks.
I buy food (reluctantly); I buy petrol (even more reluctantly). I buy a few books for research and, once in a blue moon, I will treat myself to a new CD. And that is it. Oh no – I did buy a new sports bra about a month ago when the old one wouldn’t take any more darning. And four pairs of socks from Sports Direct to make it up to the ‘no need to pay postage’ limit.
Aha, I hear you thinking (you know I can do this) – she’s only saying this cos she’s stony broke and can’t afford to go shopping. Well, yeah, I’ll give you the broke bit - but I’m working on that. J But nah, even if I had the dosh, I still wouldn’t make a hobby out of shopping.
I just don’t get it. I just can't be arsed. I don’t see anything fun about floating round a bunch of shops gazing at…stuff. It just doesn’t rock my boat. And I really hate trying on clothes with a vengeance. Seriously, the last time I went shopping for more than ten minutes was two years ago when I heard I was going to Israel. I had literally nothing to wear (my wardrobe is far from extensive and, given I live on Exmoor, there really is no need for summer clothes).
Luckily I had a wodge of vouchers from Next (thanks to you lot) and Monsoon (thanks to friends who’d bought them for a birthday a couple of years previously) and so I did the shopping thing and very tedious it was too. But…job done.
Now then. If there’s anything worse than shopping it’s shopping with friends. Why? WHY? Why on earth would you traipse round shops with other people? Watching them pick up stuff, trying to adjust your facial features so they don’t guess that you’re wincing inside and then trying to say the right things when they try it on and come out of the changing room expecting a dishonest opinion? Is it some kind of masochism? Now you're thinking I'm a bitch, right? But - be honest - you tell me you don't think that? Truly?
But there is, deep below that, a further level of hell which is shopping with men. Actually I do make a bit of an exception here because shopping with gay men (as I recall) can be a hoot. But, back on the straight and narrow (cos, lamentably, I don’t have gay male friends out here – because any gay men on Exmoor sadly have the sense to stay firmly in their closets) - shopping with boyfriends/partners/husbands???? YE BLOODY GODS.
Why do women do it? You see them, these benighted blokes, parked outside the changing rooms, or shifting from one foot to the other, tapping listlessly into their smartphones – clearly bored out of their skulls – while their women flick through the rails. WHY? Is it some power trip (“You will prove your love by enduring… total boredom”) The modern version of courtly romance, holding hangers at Top Shop rather than poking poles in a jousting tourney? Some weird kind of branding (“Hey, bitches, he’s mine – look, he even comes shopping with me!”). Insecurity (“Shit, if I don’t keep him with me at all times, he might cop off with some bird in the hardware shop”)? Or just general ickyness (“We wuv each uvver so we do evveryfing togevver”)? Yuck yuck yuckity yuck. I mean, I'm assuming the women want the men there? Or do the men secretly enjoy it?
Nah. I don’t get it. I really, really really don't. Please explain.
Don’t get me wrong. I like nice things. Not as much as I used to but even so… As I prowl round the Internet I see certain things that make me go …oooh, that’s rather pleasing. But I know myself now. It’s just a bit of a flirt – it doesn’t mean anything. There's no commitment. So I usually stick it on my Pinterest board – and funnily enough that is kind of enough. And, here’s the thingy – when I go back and look at that board (every month or so) the things I posted have often lost their allure. Because, basically, they are just things. And really there ain’t no thing I really want that much. J