On Women, Shoes and Shopping

It matters not a jot if you been coerced or volunteered every man knows the sinking feeling when you have agreed to go shopping with your wife, girlfriend or partner. You may be there to show your love; you may be there as a penance that allows you to watch a football match or have a night out with your mates, but shared clothes shopping is feared by every man. Every man knows what to expect and it is never great.

There can be fun in shared grocery shopping as I get to push the trolley, and can both drop in things I want to cook and remove the items I don’t like. If Sainsburys, Asda or the Kiev supermarkets wonder why there is a packet of pork pies resting among the washing powder, now they know.

When I shop, I know what I want, and I know where I will buy it. I used to drive into London for the New Year’s Day, Jermyn Street shirt sales. The whole trip could take less than two hours and I would have bought all the shirts I needed for the next year. That is efficient and financially effective shopping.

Men, as a generality, know what they want to buy and go to the one shop that sells it.

It is different for women but before continuing I need a variant of a common legal disclaimer. There it might read: Unless the context otherwise clearly indicates, words used in the singular include the plural, the plural includes the singular, and the neuter gender includes the masculine and the feminine.

Modified mine says: Unless the context otherwise clearly indicates, words used in the singular include all women and Sasha means Sasha, Annie, Lucinda and any woman I have known, and the neuter gender excludes the masculine.

Sasha knows I hate shopping. Don’t get me wrong, I love being with her, but I can’t stand walking aimlessly from shop to shop, standing there, often draped in her coat and handbag while she picks up and holds dresses and coats. I can’t explain why. Maybe it is the apparent aimlessness or the fear of the later discussion I will have to have with the bank.

I know it is perverse because being asked to be the arbiter, even if I am finally overlooked, between the red and the beige trousers is touching.

But, I am not alone, and I can see the look on the face of other men and occasionally we nod to each other in that knowing way before being pulled back to the reason Sasha has me there.

If shopping for clothes is painful it is nothing compared to shopping for shoes.

I have never understood the fascination women have for shoes. Imelda Marcos was reputed to have owned 3,000 pairs although she always said it was only 1,060. If you exclude trainers and rugby boots, which together comprise a significant part of my all-time shoe collection, I doubt I have ever owned more than 100 pairs of shoes.

There is no satisfaction any man can gain from shopping with a woman for shoes. All you can do is sit there dreaming of all the other places you could be. It is just a process of sitting,  nodding occasionally and find the credit card when demanded.

Never try saying anything like but you have a pair like that already. It doesn’t matter and won’t change anything but only lead to a public rebuke. There is never a distinction between AND or OR. It is always AND.

You may not remember this from 2012 when Daniel Shak, sued his ex-wife Beth, for 35 per cent of her $1 million collection of footwear comprising a gobsmacking 1,200 pairs – including 700 Christian Louboutins, with their distinctive red soles. (That last bit was in the article I read. I had no idea that any shoes had distinctive red soles.)

So, who will tell me what it is about women and shoes?

It is a universal desire and love affair that few men will ever understand. I was going to say that Sasha, Annie or Lucinda will no doubt tell me if I ask, but they won’t. As always, as if we were out shopping, I will get that disdainful look and be told to suffer it.