I always thought Black Friday got the "black" in its name because it's such a horrible day that no one actually wants to be involved with it. I was recently enlightened by a woman friend who explained that it's the day companies get out of the red and into the black financially. I've always seen Black Friday from the horror movie angle and not the feel-good business angle.
Someday, I hope to get to that glorious plateau my parents have hit: My mom would rather shoot herself than have my dad tag along on a shopping trip. Alas, most of the girls I date still want me to come along with them on shopping trips.
For those of you who still want to crack that nut for a complaint-free shopping day with your guy, here are a few pointers. Think of it like you're trying to get a dog to go from one point it doesn't want to leave to another point where it doesn't want to go. A little incentive here, a compromise there and a no-surprises approach might get you where you need to go.
Manage your man's expectations. A checklist helps him follow progress throughout the day. You can add overlapping stores that you'll both enjoy, and you can throw him a bone by going to some stores of his.
I have to give Juicy Couture credit: Most of their locations are great places for a guy. Armed with my iPad, I usually find a huge couch (some stores only have one chair that's always occupied by some sad, brooding male) and free Wi-Fi. Free Wi-Fi fixes everything. I live by the mantra, "Even Hell would be bearable with free Wi-Fi." Left alone on the couch to consume content and play games, I almost feel like I'm at home — which is ultimately where I want to be.
If Wi-Fi-equipped stores with opulent seating are the best situation, department stores are the worst. To a guy, the time between stores is a little break: fresh air, walking free of merchandise and a glimmer of hope that the rest of the shopping trip might be canceled. Some evil person invented the department store — it's a maze of different stores wrapped into one, where women can move from station to station with absolutely no break. Over the past few years, I've developed a kind of allergy to department stores: dizziness, headaches and depression. It's a collage of voices, uneven temperatures and perfume-laced air, and there are no windows or natural light — ever.
Most guys' safe haven is the couch, where they're in control of their own time. If it's enough to have your man there in spirit, then set him free upon arrival at the shopping destination. Tell him, "Go do your thing, and we'll meet back at the car at 5 o'clock." This not only sets a time/expectation (see No. 1), but it also allows him to do whatever he wants instead of being directed from store to store.
Tell him if he goes shopping with you, he doesn't have to do it again for six months. Or tell him that in exchange, you will do something with him that you don't like doing. The possibilities are endless!
When it comes to shopping, guys don't want to be surprised. I've been ambushed with shopping trips quite often. She's spontaneously thrown out that we were near a mall, or while on vacation, she's worked it into the schedule upon arrival. Advance warning helps a man mentally prepare for it. (Yes, he needs to mentally prepare.) For a guy, going shopping with his girlfriend is very much like going to the dentist. Wouldn't you feel better knowing about a root canal two weeks in advance versus two hours in advance?
It's nice to know that a woman wants a guy's opinion on what she wears, but please, save certain questions (such as, "Do I look big in this?") for gay friends or your girlfriends, who have a license to share certain criticisms. In fact, while I know she cares what I think, I often give stock answers developed over time (and beers) with my guy friends. A guy's opinion shouldn't carry that much weight anyway, because she should just feel good and happy in what she wears regardless of what he thinks. And I'll admit that my most honest answer would be, "My opinion is whatever opinion will get us out of this store fastest," meaning I'll say, "Yes, you look good," in hopes that no more thinking/trying on will be required. So try not to add stress to an already stressful situation for a guy by asking him tough questions (meaning the kind with no correct answer).
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