Tag Archives: shopping

Dougie Brimson – The New Gok Wan?

Mutton dressed as er... mutton

In every list or article written by a male about relationships with the opposite sex, there is one issue which will inevitably receive a mention. It is best described as entrapment.

I don’t mean entrapment in the sense of her trying to find out if you’re having an affair or have actually been out with your mates when you’ve told her you’re at work, I’m talking the really serious stuff. Primarily the stuff about HER! Those questions which are designed to trap you into saying the wrong thing and attracting trouble. The most dangerous of which is the dreaded ‘how does this look?’

Now any bloke with half a brain knows that if a woman asks that question, it doesn’t matter what he responds because it will inevitably be wrong. If we pay a compliment it’s ‘you’re only saying that’ and if we say anything negative…. well, best not to do that anyway. And even if it isn’t wrong at that moment in time, it will almost certainly be wrong later on at which point you will get the blame because ‘you should have said something’.

Worst of all is when this question is posed when we’ve been ‘taken’ shopping.  Never mind the fact that most men hate shopping with a passion and being dragged around the underwear department of Marks & Spencers is the single most evil thing a woman can inflict on her man, our reluctance to show any desire to provide comment on anything from ball gowns to handbags means we are considered either useless or boring or both. All of which adds to the ‘fun’ of course. 

I mention this here because the other day, whilst mulling over what would constitute my perfect job, I finally came up with the answer. You see I actually quite like wandering around shopping malls (it’s a people watching thing) and I certainly like women so it seemed reasonable to think of a way to combine the two activities. So in short, I’d like to be employed as the bloke who passes impartial and honest comment on what women are either trying on or already wearing.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not nor ever could be considered, fashionable. I wear clothes which do not suit me, have a body profile which defies any description other than lardy and am as far removed from Gok Wan as it is humanly possible to get (and on that note, if you want to spend all your life dressing women and acting like a woman, why not just get a bloody sex change and have done with it?) but I do have three things going for me. I am a bloke, I know what looks good on women and just as importantly, I know what doesn’t.

Kill me please.

And having sat outside more changing rooms than I care to recall and watched a succession of fashion disasters appear only be told by their long-suffering and bored shitless partners that they look fabulous, would it not be better to have an honest opinion from an impartial male on tap? After all, wouldn’t a woman rather be told that she looks like a pig wrapped in some old pub curtains before she goes to that wedding as opposed to realising it herself when she receives the photo’s afterwards?

But equally, I’d like to be able to tell a woman that she looks beyond awesome. Indeed, I’d encourage any bloke to do that once in a while anyway. I have and trust me, you have no idea of the impact paying a random comment can have, especially at 08.45 on the Piccadilly Line.

The other attraction is that I’d also be able to walk up to a woman and tell that at 50 plus, she shouldn’t have pink hair or a nose piercing because they make her look slightly sad or tell that 25 year-old that men don’t actually find the sight of an exposed KFC fuelled muffin-top particularly attractive.

The more I think about it, the more I think that I’m definitely onto something here. After all, if honesty really is the best policy, let’s apply it where it is most needed, at the proverbial coal face. But equally, think how many cold and frosty nights I could save for my fellow males?

Anyone got a number for John Lewis?

Things That Baffle Me (Shopping)

I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to understand what makes women tick and as I have stated on numerous occasions (and as anyone who knows me will happily testify) I have generally failed miserably. So much so in fact, that in recent years I have all but given up and instead, take whatever flak my ignorance earns with all the humble pie I can consume.

For the most part, adopting this life of bewilderment has turned out to be a good thing. Not least because the older and more childlike I become, the more the mystery seems to deepen and the more interesting women become. However, there are still aspects of female life that bemuse me to such an extent that I have to give them serious thought. One such thing is shopping. And I don’t mean a trip to Tesco’s or even Ikea, I mean a full-on full day clothes shop with the coven.

For years I have struggled to understand why women derive such pleasure from what to most blokes, myself included, is a loathsome activity. I’ve never been able to grasp the idea of spending hours wandering clothes shops or worked out what it is about shoes and handbags that females find so orgasmically fascinating. However, after a recent and extremely illuminating discussion with a female who best remain nameless in the way that ‘whistleblowers’ do, I now think I get it.

You see I suspect we males have been missing a fundamental truth. It’s not that we can’t understand womens fascination with shopping, it’s that they don’t want us to understand it! And the reasons for that are best summed up in three particular words.

The first is occasion. For females of all ages, a trip to the shopping mall with the girls is an event. One where giggling ensues, gossip undertaken and worlds put to rights. More importantly, it is one where men are unwelcome for the sole reason that they inhibit their discussions, behaviour or perish the thought, spending!

The second is escapism. Shopping allows women to step outside the humdrum world of everyday life and become whoever or whatever they want to be for a while. It is, in essence, the same as dressing up when they were a little girl and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

The third word is perhaps the most controversial and perhaps most worrying because it is deception. And I’m not talking the kind of self deception women practice when they convince themselves that they really do need, will wear and can afford those Christian Louboutin shoes when they hand over their Mastercard, I’m talking about the subversive thrill derived from deceiving the old man. Be it by hiding receipts, cutting off labels or even throwing in words such as ‘bargain’ ‘cheap’ or ‘sale.’ 

Thinking about all this has been an interesting experience. Not least because it’s made me understand that shopping is for women what sporting events are for men. And now that I’ve finally woken up to the fact that the old adage ‘what happens on X stays on X’ (insert football, stock car track, stag night, rugby tour as required) which we’ve employed for decades is also being employed by the fairer sex, I am able to look things in an entirely different light. Not least because when I step out of the door and head out with the lads, I won’t ever have to feel guilty again.

A version of this blog previously appeared on www.moanaboutmen.com