I recognized the look on my boyfriend's face instantly: it was panic, and it was being caused by exposure to the Macy's shoe department:
Let me just state for the record that I am not a shoe person. I am also not a shopping person, and when I do shop, I do it alone, with headphones on, so as to scare away salespeople who might try to talk me out of buying 8 t-shirts in the same color, like I always do. However, last night, after dinner with my boyfriend, I remembered that I still needed a pair of shoes for my sister's upcoming wedding, and told him I had to stop at Macy's for 2.5 seconds to pick up a pair before we went home. And that's when things got weird.
We entered the store as a pair. However, as soon as I stepped from the linoleum pathway into the shoe section, my boyfriend froze, and remained on the linoleum, as if he were caught in a forcefield created by the Chanel perfume display directly to his left. "There are chairs over there," I said, knowing he was uncomfortable and bored and trying to be as quick as I could to make the experience as painless as possible for the both of us. He said nothing. He just kind of stared helplessly, then took out his iPhone and started to wander. I ended up not even trying on any shoes after doing a walk-through that lasted, I swear, a minute, tops, and when I stepped back on to the linoleum, my boyfriend was completely M.I.A. I found him a few minutes later, standing outsideof Macy's, playing with his phone. He couldn't handle it, you guys! Couldn't take it! He had been defeated by Macy's. Macy's is his Doomsday. We will not be registering there.
Do I blame him? Fuck no. I hate shopping too. I hate the shoe department and the overbearing smell of the perfume counter and waiting in line and all of that crap. And I certainly didn't expect him or want him to rush right over to the shoe displays and help me pick out a pair. But I also didn't expect him to flee the building, you know? Still, he had my sympathies, as I'd been there myself at times.
It reminded me a bit of this UbyKotex ad that we posted last week, wherein a woman unsuccessfully tried to convince men to buy her a pack of tampons:
The men are all horrified by the idea, and seem almost frozen at the thought of entering the store, picking up a box of tampons, and purchasing them. The ad is meant to point out how silly it is that 40% of people are uncomfortable buying tampons. Matt Van Hoven at Agency Spy, however, has a different take:
When you boil it down, there is nothing gross or weird about it. At all. In fact, buying your lady (or, "a" lady") tampons might get you laid, in a week or so*. But that don't matter sista, because there are some products that will always be awkward to buy. Like hemorrhoid cream, condoms, and any other product designed for the anus, penis, testicles or vagina. And boobs, sometimes, like lingerie or breast pump parts.
I'm not exactly on board with his entire argument, though I do agree that there are some products that are (and perhaps shouldn't be) always a bit embarrassing to buy. The internet, I suppose, has made it a bit easier to avoid awkward drugstore counter moments by allowing us to have "embarrassing" products delivered directly to our homes, but there are times when you can't wait for said deliveries and you just need to suck it up and go to the pharmacy. For me, those times involve yeast infections. There's no graceful way to buy a pack of Monistat. There just isn't. It is pretty clear, when you hand the box to the clerk, that you are currently dealing with one. Should I be embarrassed about dealing with a condition that occurs in my body once in a while? Of course not. But I still find it a bit embarrassing at times.
Anyway, what I always end up doing is filling my pharmacy basket with the dumbest shit possible in an attempt to distract both the clerk and myself from the issue at hand, as if the entire pharmacy cares (they don't) and will stop and say, "Yeah, she has a yeast infection, but she also has a king size bag of Kit-Kats, two boxes of Play-Doh, a pack of Bumpits, and a big straw hat! Look at her go!" It's a dumb method, but it makes me laugh (and gives me Kit Kats) and makes the process a bit easier. Like my boyfriend running away from Macy's, or the Kotex dudes being terrified of tampons, I've found myself frozen in the aisles (or even circling them) at times when it comes to buying "embarrassing" things (see also: pregnancy tests) until I've finally been able to just buy the dumb things like an adult. Of course, after you purchase said things, you realize that the only one who has been judging and mocking is yourself: nobody in the CVS actually gives a damn about your yeast infection, or hemorrhoids, or diarrhea, and they're probably carrying similarly "embarrassing" things in their own baskets, hoping you won't peek in and find out that they've been unable to poop for 5 days.
So what say you commenters? Do you ever freeze up in certain shopping situations? And do you have a method for buying "embarrassing" things?