5 Rules for Shopping with Your Husband.


March 13, 2012 by jooshanoosh

I have worked in retail for more than 10 years now, and over these years I have come to be very judgmental of people who shop…everyone. But I am the most über critical of one shopping situation: The Husband and Wife Duo. So, as our readership is growing, and most of our readers are lovely and married women, and I feel it is my responsibility to use this blog to correct the most offensive of social faux pas, I have put together this list of…

5 Rules to Shopping with Your Husband.
{Listed in order of importance}

#1: Do Not Shop Like He is One of Your Girlfriends.

Here’s the scenario: Man and wife are shopping. Man is trudging behind while wife is streaming a trail of sentences about Kim Vanderbelt telling Deborah Ashworth that her cankles were spilling over the edges of her espadrilles while she was putting a ramekin out to cool on a trivet. He is either glossy-eyed in agreement or feverishly trying to use the smaller words in the sentence to give him a clue as to the meaning of the larger ones. She goes on laughing, like he’s just contributed, even though he had only just coughed, and he continues to follow in her wake. Here’s the thing, I get it. You hardly ever get to go out and shop and finding a night these days when the ladies can all ditch their husbands and head out is tough. But this, my friend, it not the same thing. Even in a woman’s clothing store your husband wants to be treated like your husband–maybe especially in a woman’s clothing store. And even though he is now the reason that your girl’s-nights-out are few and far between, well, that was the choice you made when you got married. And while it sounds like I am asking you not to include him, it is actually quite the opposite. He should feel included. After all, this is his night out too. And believe it or not, he has opinions.

# 2: Give It a Try.

True story: Man and wife shopping. She’s looking for a dress. My store has lots of great dresses. I am taking the dresses she’s chosen out of her hands so I can start a fitting room (we are a real classy store) and the Husband shows up with


{Not exactly this dress, but it was electric blue, full length, and had much bigger, puffier sleeves than this one has}

The wife and I were a bit shocked. But then she remembered, she was not out with her ladies tonight, but her husband.

I can’t tell you how many times I have seen an unwitting husband take that huge leap into the unknown and suggest something for his wife to wear only to have her shriek with disgust mingled with laughter, “Are you kidding?!” “What IS that?!” “My hips would look ridiculous in those pants!” “What is that a pumpkin?!” “Those stripes would make me look HUGE!” “I just puked in my mouth and some of the puke went up my nose at the thought… of me… in those… shoes.” “Eww, you know that yellow washes me out, go sit on that chair over there.” Well, believe me he LOVES that chair. He WANTS to be in that chair over there. He is only out there picking out things because he wants to contribute or, at the very least, he knows you want him to contribute. Your girlfriends love to hate things, they see it as all part of shopping, hating things. Your husband doesn’t know this rule. He thinks you hate him.

Back to the blue dress: We all three stood there for a moment, taking in the dress. If I was at work I would tell you that it was a very fashion-forward dress that needed some super high and violent heels and a towering swath of a messy bun to pull it off, but this was not that customer. This was a husband. To my surprise, the wife asked the golden question: “Okay, what is it that you like about it?”

Then he said, “I don’t know, it’s blue.” And he was right about that.

“It is blue.” She said.

Then he said, “I just like when you wear blue stuff. It makes your eyes look all bluer.”

There. Right there in front of me and without any fan fare or buildup, he told his wife he loved her blue eyes. Did she try on the dress? You bet! Did she buy it? Good Heavens, no. But she came out of the fitting room and showed him what his creation looked like on, with out one complaint of all the things that were wrong (for her) with that dress.

Post Script: I also saw a mother shopping with her 10 year old boy and they had a deal she could try on whatever she wanted and she would also try on whatever he wanted her to. They had a blast!

#3: You Brought It, YOU Hold It.

I can never figure this out: at what moment do women decide to just hand their purses off to their husbands? I don’t get it! What if he wasn’t there? Would you just hurl your belongings off into street? “That was it! I just couldn’t carry it any longer.” A purse was designed for you to hold it. You paid money for something you can take anywhere you need to go. That’s the very point! He, on the other hand, has managed to get out of that house with everything he needs in his back left pocket. And, sure, he’s glad you have some gum when he asks, and sometimes a pen. But if you don’t want to hold it, don’t bring it. And yet, there they sit. Everyday. The saddest picture of American capitalism. Some guy sitting with his owner’s purse in his lap. And just so you know, he is being judged. And no, we are not thinking, “What a great husband, to sit there and hold his wife’s purse for her. She’s sure lucky to have him!” Oh, no. We are thinking “What the heck would that woman do if he wasn’t here, throw her stuff out into the street?! You poor, poor man. You fell for it again.” What? Oh, please, you judge him too.

Take this guy:

At least your husband isn’t holding your purse on the internet for any creep to pluck out of a line-up of “men holding purses” and post on his blog…unless this is your husband.

I secretly think that woman do it to stake a claim on their men. “You see that ring on his finger? No? Well how ’bout my hot pink Coach knock off…yeah?! That’s right, that one, yeah, I got it at a purse party! Yup, and he paid for it so KEEP WALKING, HONEY!” So, unless your purse is made out of an iPad, you go ahead and hang on to it.

#4: This Does Not Count as “Time Spent Together.”

Going to dinner is “time spent together.” The Movie? Bowling? Driving? Sure, all of these can qualify as “time spent together.” Watching you pick out a skirt for your cousins wedding? Well, that’s just for you. Picking out shoes at Foot Locker? That’s just for him. So, when it’s your turn, be gracious. Be a good host. Make sure you are aware that you and your husband are not on the same trip. You could get lost in my store, spend an hour just looking at the new stuff coming out or the old stuff that’s now on sale or the new cuts of denim or the whole color story we are pushing for spring. To him, it’s all clothes. And girl clothes at that. It’s fine. If you two have decided to get this shopping done together, that’s just fine, but don’t let that fool you into thinking he’s having as much fun as you are. He’s there cause he loves you, and you’re taking advantage of it.

#5: There’s Only One Reason He’s In This Store.

And that’s you. And, probably, it’s cause he loves you and loves to see you happy. So he’s willing to walk in to a place where he knows he knows nothing, but you’re there, and so, if you ask, he will hold your purse… just don’t ask him to.

9 thoughts on “5 Rules for Shopping with Your Husband.

  1. Casey says:

    "I just puked in my mouth and some of the puke went up my nose at the thought…" LOL! oh man, classic. I worked at a store that was next to Victoria Secret and we often got men who's wife went to VS and we just happened to be whatever store was next to it. To these saps that opted not to follow his wife, wanted to say "Man! you wander all over creation holding your wife's purse.. and you missed out on a free, innocent trip to Victoria Secret? That's a secret payment for today"2nd of all, I'm shocked women dont make the husband's outfit match her purse also.Hilarious.

  2. Chris Liv says:

    Thank you!!I know that my lovely wife is going to read this so it will definitely be in my quiver the next time I find myself wandering down the face moisturizer isle at Ulta or trying to find the right hue of base at the makeup kiosk at Nordstroms (RIP University Mall Nordstroms, I hope you rot in hell).I'm always looking for ammo to fire at her during that third hour of wandering and this will be perfect. I'm going to have a mini printout of this article in my wallet that I can shove in her face whenever I don't feel appreciated on our outings. Thanks again!

  3. Momma says:

    You are amazing, blunt, a little harsh on what I like to think of sharing the carrying of the purse, (remember the heavy purse in NYC, only the strapping young son could really carry?), but all in all dad-gum amazing!

  4. Momma says:

    you can laminate so it will last longer, just a tip!

  5. Josh says:

    Genius. Genius.

  6. I echo Josh's comment. Each writer makes this site one of my favorite places.

  7. La Yen says:

    My sweet husband is ALWAYS trying to help by offering to holding my purse and for fifteen years I have been trying to explain to him why it is NOT cool for him to be holding it–thank you for showing him what I see when I see a man holding his wife's purse.

  8. DeNae / SHP says:

    Don't EVEN get me started on the purse thing. Wait. Too late. When we lived in Seattle, my husband would – unbeknownst to me – slip his GUN into my purse any time we spent the day at the waterfront. The damned thing weighed forty pounds if it weighed an ounce, and I would cart it (with no carry permit, by the way) all over the place, along with the kids' bottles, snacks, spare diapers, and YES, the gum he was always asking for and the PEN he always needed and the CHECKBOOK he simply couldn't live without but really didn't feel like carrying because it 'made his hand sweaty.' His ankle holster saved our marriage.(Any time you'd like the "Home Depot" version of this post, say the word, boys. Say. The. Word.)

  9. Mallory says:

    This article coming from a man who regularly carries his own Petunia Pickle Bottom bag? I picked a blue baby bag JUST so Casey doesn't feel too feminine carrying it around! JK JK…I will say that our dear Momma up there wore my dear Casey out during his childhood when it comes to shopping, or should I say trained him well???? I like to think that it was you, Patch, who also contributed to his training so that when I head to the fitting rooms, he doesn't bring me a blue puff-sleeved frock, but instead something like a hounds-tooth pencil skirt and a matching blouse. Yes, he is an awesome shopper. I think it is also because I don't make him hold my purse.

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