I have just read the last book in the Shop-a-holic series by Sophie Kinsella, Shopaholic and baby (the best book of the series IMO). While I found Rebecca funny in a “she reminds me of my best friend but not myself” way, which is a peculiar feeling of relief and smugness, there are definitely some things I share with her, which undoubtedly frustrate my husband (or at least leave him perplexed) as much as they did hers. As much as I consider myself fairly gender neutral, I do believe some of these things are specific to women and are a total mystery to most men:
1. That while on a road trip, half the fun is stopping along the way at “curiosity” markets, any kind of little boutique that isn’t part of a chain (hence specific to the area being visited – hello, local culture) and most stores with a “sales” sign on the window. So what if we arrive a bit later? The journey is not just about the destination, you know.
2. The appeal of the following items (and why you must have at least some, and add more to your collection on a regular basis): charm bracelets, bangles, everyday bags, special occasion bags, cute everyday shoes, awesome special occasion shoes.
3. How it can take days, or even weeks, to find the perfect outfit and accessories for a special occasion.
4. Why it’s fun to try on clothes, shoes, jewellery with your best friend, even if neither of you is planning to buy any.
5. How you can have a full closet and still retain the right to say “I have nothing to wear for this!”
6. How hearing the shop assistant call you “ma’am” after an afternoon of great shopping can totally kill your buzz.
7. Why it is totally acceptable to wear killer-but-fabulous heels.
8. How one can spend 45 minutes inside Sephora and still come out and say “I didn’t get to browse properly”.
9. Why on Earth an 8-year old girl could prefer going to Sephora than going to Toys-R-Us.
10. How come that “shop till you drop” sounds like heaven to me but like a nightmare to him, despite the fact that my “dropping point” comes several hours after his. And how doing it in a fabulous outfit (as opposed to tennis shoes and “comfy clothes”) is half the fun. And that combining the above with sales season closely resembles a religious experience.
Now, based on that most of you reading will think that I am a total flake. However I can tell you there are also several points that make me very much unlike Rebecca Brandon (né Bloomwood) on which my husband and I agree:
1. That if the choice is between paying the phone bill and buying that very cute cashmere sweter on sale, the phone bill comes first.
2. That ignoring a problem doesn’t make it disappear (be it credit card bills or a disagreement with your best friend/husband/etc).
3. That it isn’t a good idea to own several different store-specific credit cards.
4. That it’s never a good idea to go to sleep at night while still mad at each other after a fight.
And in closing, something we FINALLY agree on:
5. That while surprises are lovely, it is better to pick a less-surprising but sure-to-be-liked item from someone’s wish list, than risk by gifting something that has never been mentioned.
Yes, I’m aware that one list has 10 points and the other only 5, but hey, balance and relationships are always a work in progress, aren’t they? There’s always room for improvement.