Persuading a man to spend his weekend picking out new togs for himself is a tricky business. Not for the faint hearted. But in the interests of keeping him warm, and avoiding having a wardrobe that looks like an Oliver Twist production costume rack, you’re going to have to hit the shops. So here’s my seven point guide to taking your gentleman to the high street. I recommend having a good sleep the night before.
1. Give him time to prepare
Whereas waking up on a Saturday morning to the suggestion of an impromptu shopping trip may be the greatest thing that could happen to you, he may look upon it in the same way as you would tickets to an all-day X-Box tournament. Angrily. So it’s best to plant the retail seed early – perhaps one to two weeks in advance – so that he has time to resign himself to his fate.
2. Keep his spirits up
For this trip to be worth your while you’re going to need to be the retail equivalent of Mr Motivator. Constant praise, reminders of how much you’ve achieved so far, and willingness to sport borderline obscene Lycra throughout are all the keys to your success. (Ok, perhaps not the last one but it will make it easier to run back and forth between changing rooms.)
3. Be prepared to be a personal shopper
You’ve spent the last fortnight telling him that you don’t want to be married to a man that doesn’t own a single pair of matching socks and that the jeans he wears with a hole in the crotch are going to get him arrested, and that if he’ll just agree to come shopping, you will help him choose AMAZING new things that will change his life. So now you’ve got to prove it. It’s no use leaving him to wander the shop floor, staring confusedly at something he’ll later learn is a snood; you’ve got to make yourself useful, choose him things, listen when he says he likes something and then find it in every colour. I suggest you wear comfortable shoes; you’re going to be on your feet for some time.
4. Incorporate regular snack stops
The only way you’re going to manage to make a day of it (and survive yourself without passing out) is through the inclusion of regular breaks. And, just as with a toddler or a puppy, food can also be used a reward “Just try on one more t-shirt on for me and then we can go and have a biscuit, ok?”
(For those readers who found this section too patronising to bear, I feel it’s important at this point to remind you that this is a parody. Though, coincidentally, this method does also actually work surprisingly well.)
5. Find a shop he likes and don’t leave until you’ve bought everything in it
Persuading him to go shopping is one thing; getting him to actually buy something is another. In my experience, (which I’ll admit is limited to just the one man so feel free to take this with as little salt as you wish) getting a gent to commit to an item of clothing is very difficult. And particularly so when his wardrobe comes with the following rules:
– No bold colours
– No blue jeans
– No neck lines that make him “look like a knobhead”
He would rather wear the same clothes forever than risk looking a fool (a risk I am personally too happy to take in the interests of spending some cash). After many years and one traumatic trip to Oxford Street, during which he claimed he was leaving not just London but the country if I ever suggested we went there again, we have managed to find a total of four shops he likes. So a couple of times a year, I take him there, order everything in a medium, and get it trucked home.
6. Take no excuses
When you’re both starting to get tired and the lure of the sofa and Cadbury’s Twirl four-pack at home is getting too strong, he’ll start looking for any excuse not to go into a shop. The fact that they’re playing the Black Eyed Peas, that the coat hangers are a bit lurid or that the shop assistant has unkempt sideburns cannot be accepted as valid reasons to walk away.
7. Know when it’s time to go home
Having said that, if you’re not careful, your military approach to this shopping expedition could quickly turn from ‘caring and cute’ to ‘irritating and divorce-inducing’ if overdone. As much as it’s important to get everything you can out of this day because, let’s face it, it won’t happen again until the clocks go forward, it’s more important to leave with your relationship intact and without becoming one of those couples who has a screaming row on the tube because someone didn’t take the pyjamas you lovingly picked out for him seriously. Don’t be those guys; go home, have a shower. That Lycra will be in need of a wash.