man chairHubs hates clothes shopping. Hates. It. His entire closet is full of “gently worn” t-shirts he buys in bulk 3-4 times a year on eBay, preferably with college team logos emblazoned across the front and free shipping. Jeans are purchased during random trips to the local Wal-Mart simply by checking out the size tag (34 x 34? Yeah, they fit) and casually tossing three pair into the cart with the milk, Comet Cleaning Powder, and a container of shampoo/body wash that would last the average family three years.

Some days, I’m a little bit jealous.

So when I told him I was headed to the city to buy some new clothes, and he replied, “I’ll go with you,” I swear the earth stopped turning on its axis for the brief moment as it registered this aberration in the natural order of things.

“This is shopping,” I said, speaking slowly. “You did get that, right? And it’s girl shopping. You know, where we take several items in various sizes into a dressing room to try them each on, sometimes more than once for comparison’s sake, then repeat the process as necessary over the next several hours. Seriously?? You want to go with me?” He grinned, “Sure. How bad can it be?” Let me count the ways.

An hour’s drive later, we pulled into the mall parking lot and headed inside, as I pulled out my list. “You have a list?”  Hubs looked surprised and a little dismayed. “How many things are you buying??”

“We’re not even inside the first store,” I sighed. “And yes, I have a list. You wanted to come, remember?”

For the next 45 minutes, I shopped while he followed six inches behind me the entire time (qualifying as stalking in 39 states). He was picking up anything and everything he thought looked cute or sexy, regardless of the discrepancy between said item and my body. Repeated reminders to put back any item in a size zero and that I wasn’t shopping for date clothes didn’t seem to diminish his enthusiasm for my new porno wardrobe.

At one point, I actually considered trying on the wispy, size 2 pantie-bra set that he was clinging to with a hopeful look on his face. I figured one quick peek would put an end to that particular fantasy once and for all. I knew Odds were that I’d look more like a overstuffed wienie wrap than a hot pole dancer, instantly destroying his mental delusions, and ultimately requiring couples’ therapy because some things can’t be unseen.

The next hour was spent explaining why it was necessary to take three different sizes of the same jeans into the dressing room. “You’re 60. How can you not know what size you wear?” he grumbled. “Every brand is cut differently,” I said, trying hard to be patient. “Well, that’s just stupid,” he replied. I decided it was time to solicit his help, if for no other reason than to keep him busy.

“Will you see if they have these jeans in an 8?” I asked, tossing a pair over the dressing room door. “Who am I supposed to ask?” “Anybody that works here.” “How will I know?” “She won’t be carrying a purse.” Ten minutes later, he returned with my size 8 jeans. He was also carrying three midriff-baring cropped tops that I’m quite sure I’d seen Miley Cyrus twerking in on national television. I’m flattered that in his imaginary world, I’d be smokin’ in teenage tube tops, but reality insisted I stuff them at the bottom of the “That ship has sailed” pile and slip on the jeans instead.

Hubs poked his head in the dressing room, “Those make your butt look great. Get those.” “But they give muffin top,” I said. “What the hell is ‘muffin top’??” “It’s when your belly fat rolls up and over the waistband of your jeans, making you look like a banana muffin at Starbucks.” I pulled my shirt up for an up-close-and-personal visual, sending Hubs into a fit of snort-laughing, choking out, “I got it. Wow. Nope, those jeans are definitely not for you.” And that’s the last time you’ll see that from me, buddy.

As we walked around the store, me in front and him stalking me from behind, he entertained himself by looking for women whose jeans were too tight or too low-riding. He spotted a large women with a Harley vest on over her tank top and seriously tight jeans. He leaned over and whispered loudly enough for me (and anyone within 15 feet) to hear, “I’ll bet she’s got one of those muffin tops.” Yes, I think she probably does. She’s also got a “Screw with me and I’ll hurt you” tattoo going up her arm. I think if she heard that, she’s going to kick your ass all the way to your car.

The rest of the afternoon was spent explaining (“I know I already have a red sweater, but that one is a blue-red, and I need a cherry-red), justifying (“Yes, this denim jacket is $150, but I’ll wear it with everything), or flat-out denying (“I know the tag says $80, but that’s before the discount, which they’ll take off at the sales counter”).

An hour or so later, I was assuring him that we were really, truly almost done.  I just needed to do a quick run through the fragrance department for anything new and delicious. That was before I knew we’d have to pass by the shoe department to get to the fragrances. I immediately got waylaid by an uber fabulous pair of leopard-print boots.

“Shoes??” he wailed. “You didn’t say anything about shoes.” “Well, how could I?” I asked, “I didn’t know about them this morning. And if I don’t get the jeans, I can buy the boots.” “You mean, not buy the jeans we spent two hours trying to find? The ones that gave you a great butt, with no muffin top? Those jeans?” “You know what?” I said, “Let’s go back and try the jeans on one more time, to see if they’re cooler than the boots.” “I know I’m being set up,” he replied, “But not a chance. Just get whatever you want and let’s get the hell out of here. There’s a sports bar across the street and I need a beer.”

Some things are just too easy.


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