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Shopping with a spouse is fun

The Baltimore Sun

I rarely go shopping with my husband, primarily because of the genetic differences in our shopping styles.

My method: Browse, try on, ask the woman in the dressing room next to me what she thinks of what I'm trying on, find stuff I didn't come for and head to the register with several items.

His method: Enter store, look for specific item, if not immediately apparent, leave. Don't go back for several months, if possible.

There are only two stores where anything close to a browse has occurred in his case: The Home Depot and Costco. Please excuse me for gender stereotyping, but these are big, manly stores. Stores that activate the hunting instinct, I suppose. Or perhaps it is the lure of the primarily concrete-themed decor. If only Jos. A. Bank had a bit more of a warehouse look, there might be more men inclined to browse.

Although, to be fair, Jos. A. Bank seems to know the shopping habits of the Baltimore male. They assign a personal sales associate, who calls you periodically at the office and says what you should buy. All you have to do is walk over to the store during lunch hour and pay. You may not even have to try anything on!

Why, the only thing better would be the "Executive Drive-By," wherein you cruise slowly by the Jos. A. Bank store, and your assigned salesperson tosses a suit onto the roof of your passing vehicle. Naturally, you would have the "Executive Drive-By E-Z Pass" affixed to your windshield, which would debit the cost from your bank account. Now that's shopping excitement!

But I digress.

I recently went shopping with my husband, and it was really fun. And by "fun," I mean it reminded me of back-to-school shopping with my mom and brothers when I was a kid. My brothers would trudge reluctantly into the boys' dressing room with armfuls of jeans and emerge minutes later with the verdict: "Naaaah. Nothing fit."

But that was OK because that meant there was more time for me to twirl around in the girls' dressing room, striking dramatic poses and imagining I was Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins. Meanwhile, the boys were sent to "look for their sizes," which meant they 1) played tag on the escalator, 2) evaluated the dressing room mirrors to see if they were "two-way" and, 3) had a contest on who could collect the most straight pins from the floor.

It is no wonder my mother enrolled us in Catholic school - she could order uniforms out of a catalog.

And so, my friends, because it is back-to-school week, let us prepare for standard examinations with the following reading comprehension question: Which title most accurately fits with the paragraphs you have read so far?

1) Janet's husband doesn't like to shop

2) Janet had fun shopping with her husband

3) Janet estimates that Costco has more school supplies than The Gambia.

Read on for the answer.

There I was, standing outside the dressing room of a nice local store, waiting for my spouse to try on an armload of slacks and emerge with the disappointing yet classic, "Naaaah. Nothing fit."

There was a woman next to me. I couldn't help overhearing her say to her husband, "Those are not the slacks I picked out!" She rolled her eyes conspiratorially at me. I whispered to her, "Hey, I just asked my husband if he would come out to show me the slacks he was trying on, and he said, 'No.' So you're doing great!"

"Arrgh," she said. "They need supervision."

That's politically incorrect. Probably sexist. But it's darn funny. I couldn't help but laugh.

Which means I had a lot of fun shopping with my husband. I'm looking forward to doing it again - in 2012.

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