It’s been a while since I’ve been shopping with two teenage girls. The ones who grew up under our roof now have teenagers of their own. And two of them went shopping last week to celebrate their birthdays. I was with them.
One granddaughter, Abigail, is 13; Jessica turns 15 this week. The other two grand-kids were at home.
Well, it was déjà vu all over again. The girls, including my wife, would find a store they like and spend an hour looking around. I would find a bench out in the mall and watch people walk by. If I got bored, I’d visit Starbucks and pay $4 for a cup of coffee I could have gotten for 75 cents at the Texaco station.
I know this is a generalization—a stereotype, you might say—but most men don’t understand shopping. If I need something, I go to the store, buy it and go home. There is no shopping to it.
But shopping must be therapeutic for the girls I love. They all seem to be in great moods after they’ve shopped—especially if they’re going home with a bargain that fits really well. (In fairness, my wife says she doesn’t like to shop. That’s all I’ll say about that.) They’re all excellent shoppers.
The best, however, is Ansley, 17, who will not buy anything that’s not a bargain. Unlike her grandfather, she’s a whiz at math and can figure total costs, including taxes, before the cashier can turn on his register. She’d be a good adviser to the president.
Ten-year-old Alex, the only grandson, is much like his grandfather. He doesn’t shop. He’d rather sit with me. If shopping involves Legos, however, he might yield.
So what’s your point, Hudgins? Well, the point is there are certain gender differences that may never been resolved, if resolution is needed. Men buy clothing because, as Mark Twain said, naked people have little or no influence on society. Women buy clothing because, like Mount Everest, it’s there.
I wouldn’t have said that 40 years ago, lest I infuriate a rabid feminist of the ERA movement who might wrap her intimate apparel around my face and set it on fire. For the record, I supported the reworked version of the Equal Rights Amendment. I also told my daughters they could be anything they wanted to be. It’s time we paid women the same as men for doing the same work. It’s time to stop discriminating.
But, come on, folks, it’s OK for men and women to be different. Women like dishes washed almost immediately after they’re dirtied; men believe it’s best to have them soak for a while. Women like beds made; men say, “What’s the point? You’re going to crawl back in it.”
I know I’ve generalized a lot here, but I base my arguments on empirical evidence—my empirical evidence. If I’m wrong, I apologize.
But after shopping with three females last week, I just want to say one thing: Vive la difference.