Guest blog – Of Shopping and Men – a tentative

Having been silent for many weeks now, I have decided to rekindle my relationship with you by letting a guest blogger express his opinion. This is what Andreas wrote when I asked him to tell me something about his relationship to shopping. What do you think?

Spending a few days in New York has always been a very special experience. Great food in elegant, mythical, superlative restaurants, walks – sometimes even jogs – on the High Line, museums and comedy clubs – are a few elements of the ever-exciting journey. But a few days in New York also mean intensive Shopping.

For instance at Barneys. Owning over 350 pairs of shoes is still not enough for my girlfriend and she will always need something new, because exactly this model is still missing in her collection. So I got to know all the floors at Barneys by heart. Needless to say that I have used each and every sitting opportunity – and I would like to thank the people at Barneys who have understood that a male individual does not need to formulate an opinion about each and every hanging dress and that he sometimes needs a short break from perusing the endless racks throughout the many floors. And let’s not forget that without me too close, the sales associate can communicate freely with one of their favorite customers – aka my girlfriend – , because the sitting opportunities are always a bit far from the clothes racks.

But there are also floors that I very much like. The shoe floor, for instance. There a few things as fascinating as watching a woman getting transformed into someone totally different simply by putting on a pair of shoes. How she suddenly is perceived differently because she moves in a straighter, sexier manner, thanks to a pair of high heels. There a very few places where one can admire so many beautiful women on such a small surface and get a glimpse of what can be a really intimate moment.

But I also cannot help wondering why those women willingly and gladly impose on themselves the whole stress of trying on, putting on and off clothes and shoes so many times. In my opinion,  women do this solely because they always want to reinvent themselves, because they never want to become boring and just want to stay desirable – to the others but also to themselves.  And this is a reason enough for me to play along and be interested. And when my interest is true, it is often impatient and very enlightening. Which guy who has grown up solely wearing jeans and t-shirts and who works in very technical field mostly with other guys can say that he is able to recognize a Dior dress, a pair of Louboutin shoes, a Moschino, Lanvin, Comme des Garçons or Marni piece of clothing just by looking at a rack? And believe me that this knowledge can really be useful in better understanding my female counterparts and their relationship to shoes, clothes, hair and makeup and this understanding is even very useful in my professional life because it gives me clues about how interesting a personality someone can have.

Don’t get me wrong – I often need to overcome my natural instincts especially when all I want to do is check out the latest gadgets at Best Buy or cameras at Adorama. And interestingly enough, in spite of all my Shopping tolerance (and sometimes – let’s be honest – huge efforts), when I ask her to come along, I just hit a granite wall and have to go alone. Arguments and pleas – e.g. that I have already been 4 times to Barneys in less than a week  - are unfortunately useless – I have unfortunately come to realize.

And this is when I ask myself: are women simply intransigent beings that only want to do what they want to do? And from the time I got my answer I go along shopping with the self-control and patience of a Zen master, because yes, they are. But the crazy thing is that they don’t just do it for themselves. They also do it for us men. Unlike us.



  • Allie says:

    Cool post, andreas. Love your viewpoint and the philosophy behind your shopping tolerance. Your girlfriend is one lucky shopper…

  • Andreas,

    What you hint at here is relatively profound. Shopping isn’t just about making purchases, of course. There is a deeper psychology at play here and retailers like Barney’s know this – hence their success.

    I admire your willingness to even spend much time in the shoe or clothing dept when you would rather be at Best Buy. I also appreciate that you see how important and gratifying the whole process is for your girlfriend. Now, if only they could get some snack machines in Barney’s…

    Happy New Year!
    Heather :)

  • Maya,

    Miss you!
    And wanted to let you in on an important update: the Retail Design Diva blog has moved to a new URL:

    We hope you’ll come by and visit us soon (and let us know what you think of our new look!).

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