No, Those Voices In Your Head Aren’t Real; What My Psychologist Tells Me About Shopping.
Posted on November 24, 2014
Okay, sure. I like to shop … a little. Okay, a lot. So I enjoy the hustle and bustle of the mall, the kiosks stocked full with chocolate covered almonds and sour straws. So a good sale makes me feel like all is right in the world. Is that a crime? Let’s say it together, ladies: Retail therapy. Yes, that’s right; the scientific phenomena by which the elevation of spirits coincides with the depletion of bank accounts. No, trust me. It’s a real thing. A psychologist somewhere is documenting the noted positive effects of shopping on the female psyche. Let’s face it. I really can give you any excuse to shop. But when I have a bad day, lose a case, car breaks down, that pull to spend is fierce. Don’t get me wrong, though. I am smart about it. I avoid shelling out dollars for bad deals, but there is something about a clearance or BOGO sign that just screams “come hither.”
When I walk into a retail store, the articles speak to me. That burnt orange cable-knit sweater? Yeah, it’s glowing on the rack in an aura of beauty. That electric blue colored Michael Kors satchel? It’s shining beneath a halo of angelic brilliance. With that said, the level of justification we employ when scouring the racks never ceases to amaze me. No matter what way you slice it, ladies, that size six stiletto will not fit your size seven feet. What is that you say? “Perhaps my feet will shrink, Olivia. Perhaps the shoe will expand.” No, honey, it will not. For years to come, those pumps will remain stagnant, wasting away on the bottom shelf of your walk-in closet, never worn and, most importantly, never loved.
Now, onto the judgment zone (er, the fitting room), the small space where bad lighting and mirrors leads to deep breathing exercises coupled with self-motivating chants: That patch of cellulite isn’t real. This will fit better when I’m not bloated. Huh, weird- everything just runs small in this store. Now, something very magical happens when we try something on that looks good. Like really good. The overhead lights transform into cameras and we almost begin to pose. Right side. Left side. Suck in stomach. Flip hair. Smile. Tippy toes. (Am I the only one does the tippy toes thing, by the way?)
With my definite selections in hand, I bring my purchase to the register. I approach the welcoming cashier, glaring at her intensely with my side eye, well, for she will soon decide my fate. I try not to get sidetracked by the small containers of hair ties, no-show socks and gift size makeup kits stationed beside the register area. I swear that these items are meant for easily distracted shoppers like me. One by one, the pieces begin to total. The running balance blurs into an obscure figure. I contemplate the removal of some articles and then begin to negotiate with myself. “Well, $150.00 looks better than $180.00. Then again, what difference is an extra $30.00 anyway? I can just return it next week if I change my mind. Ah, who am I kidding? I’m not coming back next week.” The swipe of the credit card seals my fate and the rush of feel-good endorphins flood my five foot three self. It’s a beautiful day! The sky opens up and I exclaim “Thank you!” before skipping out of the door, shopping bags flailing back and forth by my side in response.
Okay, sure, we women may be a complex bunch at times. I will admit to that. But there is a simple fact that stands firm over time: shopping equals happiness. So, fellas, if your girlfriend or wife wants to head to the mall, don’t fight it. Don’t question it. Just let her go. Trust me, she will return a much happier version of herself.
And in the end, isn’t that all that matters?