The Freudian Shopper



I spent a considerable number of hours a few days ago with a fine person of the female gender engaged in a popular and decidedly feminine pastime…shopping. Malls, box stores, yard sales and thrift shops. She suggested going to look at wool as well, but the line was drawn in the sand at that idea.

Now back in the day I published an item on relational evolution. That men and women have differing primordial designed social behavioural patterning is not news. Shopping is where it reveals its divine plan. Now the mall and its box store cousins are sacred places of worship to the gods of capitalism. Home to rampant debt driven consumerism and soul destroying suburban sprawl. Places for primarily women to engage in what evolution (or God if theologically inclined) bred them to do: browse. Men hunt and women browse. This is not news. Picking blueberries to serve with flame broiled mastodon steak is a time consuming and social act. After all it requires hours of careful analysis of each berry for quality control.

Fast forward from 35,000BC to 2015 AD Speaking for myself I do enjoy supermarkets and prefer to shop there without female company. But this of course is akin to bringing home the kill. A guy job. I treat everything but grocery shopping like a surgical strike mission — in and out as quickly as possible with minimal collateral damage. If I want a shirt (which I did) it starts with a mental image, a logistical plan and with military precision the entire process is over in 5 minutes. Not so in the company of the fairer sex. “Oh no not that one, you look better in this one. That’s tacky, too large/small, tight/loose/ wrong colour or cheap/expensive. Or I saw that exact same one on sale at (wherever) so lets go there.”

But on the way to the dude shirt store, there were pit stops for a flash drive, 48 cans of Pepsi on sale at Costco, a blouse, and a bra. However that needed a trip to the fitting room. I was perplexed. After all I took 2 courses in and taught human anatomy. “The box says 36D, I said trying to be helpful, so let’s go.” I am (insert)______bored,tired, feverish, have to pee, hungry”. However as it turns out,there are obviously different 36Ds varying with the brand. Well I did learn in med school that they (breasts) came in different shapes but the size shouldn’t matter. Wrong.
The next stop was for deluxe elite cat treats at the pet-food warehouse where watching a dog getting groomed seemed fascinating. Three hours for a shirt. A part of my life that can never be retrieved.

Here are some basic stats…

“Eight in ten men hate shopping with their partner, 45% avoid it at all costs. Being hungry, thirsty and wishing they were outside cited as reasons

-One in four men simply go home without their partner when they get bored.
-Half of all couples end up bickering when they go shopping together.
-Men are less likely to ‘act out’ if promised a ‘treat ‘ at the end of shopping trip” (Just like children she says, with regard to the latter.)

Wrong. Civilized men comply because of civilization. And Freud noted that is what causes neurosis in our time eg.
Id: I wish to go fishing and drink beer. It’s a nice day.
Superego: She will be unhappy as you promised her that you would go>>>>guilt. It turns out that you made this pact 2 weeks ago on a Monday at 7pm. We were watching Episode 2 season one of Jack Taylor on Netflix. It was raining that evening.

Women remember. Only cats and elephants have better memory. Love and guilt are the most powerful motivators of human conduct. And along with ethics, mercy, and empathy these noble traits are to be found in the superego, the core of civility. The ego is the brain executor, balancing the demands of the id and controls of the superego, hopefully with minimal neurotic anxiety.

Men who thrive in successful and harmonious relationships learn a basic rule: women are always right. And so when Freud said….”wobei id war,das ego sind.” (where id was, ego shall be), he had just been shopping with Mrs Freud.

If you consider the price paid worth the compensation, then everyone is happy. That’s civilization.

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One Response to “The Freudian Shopper”

  1. Carole Kocian says:

    I have a good female friend who is a shopping fanatic. I try not to go with her but after so many refusals, I cave. We have one of those outlet malls (massive sprawl of cheaper-than-the-mall sister store shops) I it’s an all day excursion when, in fact, I need nothing. Catalogs for me. Two brands of clothing that I know fit and the returns are no brainers if it turns out not to suit me. She, on the other hand, needs to look, feel, try on, go back and forth from the dressing room to the full-length mirror on the shopping floor, ask me what I think, what the shop clerk thinks and anyone other innocent bystander who will interact on that level. After my emotional buy in telling her I love whatever it is, it looks great on her, it’s perfect for the occasion, etc., etc., she finally buys, takes home, changes her mind and the next day is on a mission to return the articles. It’s exhausting and, I don’t mind saying, demeaning for me after I have given my all on the approval. And when the sale is 75% of already marked down 50%, I can see the look on the clerk’s face even though I’m not there.

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