Shopping For Clothes

I’m not one who enjoys shopping, especially shopping for clothes. It is a necessary evil, a chore that must be performed when my current wardrobe gets worn and ratty from daily use and repetitive actions such as sitting, scratching my groin and armpit, and wiping potato chip residue on my pant leg or shirt sleeve.

Worse yet is shopping when I do not need articles of clothing, when my wife insists on dragging me to the store to keep her company while she purchases clothes. The absolute worst is when she is shopping for undergarments.

I’m not the kind of guy who looks like he should be in a ladies underwear department. No guy does, but me more so than most. I think it is due to my visible level of disdain and discomfort which magically appears as soon as I am within five feet of any packaged or displayed undergarment, including men’s. It is also due to my physical actions when I’m waiting.

My wife will enter the sea of bras. I’ll wave goodbye to her as if she’s taking an expedition into uncharted waters, telling her to text me when she has returned. To remove myself from the unwelcoming expanse, I’ll walk over to the men’s clothing department and feign interest in the latest men’s fashions. These are grouped into two sections: Clothes for older guys and clothes for younger guys. I wear neither; I don’t want to dress like an old guy, and I don’t want to dress like an old guy trying to look like a young guy. There are no clothes for the guy who just wants to look like a guy, so I move on.

Hey, I think to myself, I could use a new pair of jeans, so I head to the pants wall. I want basic jeans, not distressed, ratted, or hipster. I find only one pair in my size. They are priced “buy one, get one half priced.” I move on.

I go to the shoe department. Hmmm...those look nice, I think to myself, as I find a pair of slip-ons. I find one box in my size but it is the wrong color. I try them on anyway, but cannot get a sense of fit walking around in them because the shoes are tied together by an unbreakable plastic band. I consider buying them. They are priced “buy one, get one half priced.” I laugh, remembering I already have enough shoes to fill three shoe racks at home, only two pairs of which I actually wear.

I check my phone. No text from the missus. I decide to head to the women’s undergarment department anyway. Maybe my wife is done, maybe I can throw in a lifeline, my wife will grab onto it, and I can tow her out. I don’t see her. I text her. She replies she’s in the fitting room. I troll the outside aisles waiting to pick up the undergarment explorer, trying not to look at other women in the ocean of unmentionables.

A worker lady passes by me repeatedly. Is she checking to see if I’m stalking? If I’m some creep that gets his fun surfing around racks of ladies’ underwear? A customer searches through garments on hangers at the corner of the department. I glance over. She makes quick eye contact with me, then looks down as if she didn’t notice me though she’s visibly uncomfortable. I know what she’s thinking. No, lady, I’m not trying to pick up a kinky date or choose a mate based on cup size. I try to look like I’m not a stalker, but apparently that’s the ploy stalkers use, so I attract more inhospitable attention.

Finally, my wife appears from the changing room. She approaches me, justifying my presence in a hostile territory. She has found one bra that fits her. It is marked “buy one, get one half priced.” She hangs it back on the rack and we leave the store.