Saturday, March 13, 2010

Does Anyone Understand Women?

Francis Bacon wrote a beautiful line: “There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion. 

Bacon obviously meant that it is the imperfection that makes beauty stand out, but the statement is probably just as true about all beautiful and wonderful things.  And it certainly applies to my wife, the Doc.

I married the Doc for a very simple reason; she was the smartest woman I ever met: A wonderful wife, great mother, talented woman, and about as strange as a purple puppy….With stripes.  I guess the strangeness was the bonus.

Shortly after marriage, I discovered that women and men shop differently.  Most men are hunters.  When we need something, we call the mall, find the store that sells it, go straight there, kill it with a credit card, tie it to our pickup truck, and drive home.  It’s a simple straight forward system that has worked since the mastodon.

This is not even close to the system that women use.  They are gatherers.  Take shopping for shoes, a pair of white high heel dress shoes for example.  I would rather try to kiss the front end of a speeding bus than go shopping for shoes with my wife.  Any man that finds himself in a similar situation should at a minimum take a book, possibly a hip flask.  

Step one in shoe shopping is to go the biggest shoe store in the mall and ask for a pair of white high heel dress shoes.  The clerk will bring a pair of exactly that, the husband will feel briefly hopeful, but the shoes will be rejected for some obscure reason discernable only by the wife.  The poor clerk will then bring almost every shoe, in every available color, that is anywhere close to the appropriate size. 

This act will be repeated at every shoe store in the mall.  If your town has more than one mall, it will be repeated at all of them.  If there is a nearby town within an hour’s driving time, you can take your show on the road.  At the end of the day, no shoes will have been purchased, but your wife will pick up a knitted blouse in blue.  She has two dozen identical blouses, but with clothes, wives try to collect the entire set.

The next day, without you, your wife will go back to the first store and buy the first pair of shoes she tried on.

And while I am on the subject, I do not think any man understands his wife’s shoes.  Why are there so many of them?  Why do they cost twice as much as a good pair of hunting boots when you put three pair of them inside one good hunting boot?  And why do women willingly wear a pair of shoes that would permanently render them lame if they were to walk across 100 feet of open ground?

Men, as a rule, don’t understand the whole used clothes thrift store thing, either.  I neither want to wear someone else’s used clothes or sell any of my old clothes as long as three threads hold together.  

Women seem to go through stages of life that can be defined by luggage.  When I met the Doc, most of her possessions could fit into a grocery bag.  I remember us suddenly driving from Houston to Florida on a whim.  I think she grabbed a poncho and her purse and we were off for a week.  No plans, no reservations, and neither of us had ever been there before.

Now, a weekend in the mountains requires the logistical support of the D-Day invasion.  She has enough luggage to fill an SUV.  If I were a polygamist, I would have to drive a bus.

Men will never understand women: all you can do is try to understand one.  Unfortunately, we rarely succeed.


  1. What annoys me most about the horrible and I mean horrible shopping trips is when the good seats in the mall are taken away by kids and old people. These seats are not made for you, they are made for men being dragged along with their women and forced to sit through the endless parade of shops while they figure out that nothing fits right or it makes their hips or butt look to big. And no matter what you say they don't believe you and go on about their way while you get to sit next the person that smells on the bench instead of another poor sap stuck in the same situation as you.

  2. Absolutely, we need legistlation requiring department stores to provide husband seating.

    And while we are the subject of gripes about women's shoes, why do women make so much noise when they walk? I wear boots, have broken both legs and one knee, yet I can manage to walk without sounding like an army crossing a wooden bridge.