Yesterday I had the joys of going dress shopping with my girlfriend to find something for tonight’s New Year celebrations. To be honest, I didn’t really mind as I needed to buy a shirt for myself, or at least something smarter than a t-shirt and jeans.
Fortunately for us the entire town and surrounded villages had decided to do the same thing. This made the experience all the more exciting and enjoyable. Oh how we adore shopping with hundreds and hundreds of people.
There were a few things I observed whilst swimming through the crowds and punching my way through chavs, children and slow walking couples…
1. The January sales were most definitely on, with posters promising ‘Up To 70% off’, but in reality nothing seemed to be discounted more than 20%. I know that legally these stores have to sell some items at 70% off, but I failed to find them. Maybe I wasn’t looking in the right places, like maternity clothing or guns and ammo.
2. The sales areas seem to take up half the floor space of every clothes shop; festooned with posters and hanging boards offering massive discounts. It’s only to be expected. In fact, this is the reason why you couldn’t slide a credit card between people as they jostle and fight for discounted items you wouldn’t be seen dead in at regular prices. That said, the menswear departments in these stores have a sale area as large as one rail.
In H&M the sales posters and livery stopped at the menswear section! How is that fair? To be honest, New Look did have two full rails of sale clothing, but there are only so many peach coloured paisley shirts and green jumpers with leather elbow patches a man can take. And forget looking for a shirt in these stores; it’s all jumpers, jackets and t-shirts. If you want a shirt you have go to somewhere like Burtons and buy a shirt at full price.
Which I did.
3. Finding a dress that my girlfriend liked was an undertaking as she isn’t built like a skinny 12 year old boy. This means that 90% of dresses don’t fit. She is in no way fat or unsightly, but instead is cursed with lovely curves and things called ‘boobs’ (which seems alien to most high street designers). This meant that finding a dress that suited her figure was difficult. Thankfully when she found a dress she liked it was in every size except hers. Oh how we laughed each and every time that happened. In fact, we were pretty much laughing all day long.
On the rare occasion we did find a dress she liked, AND it was the right size, we then ventured to the fitting rooms. This in itself should be an easy affair, but the queues are longer than the Post Office on pension day and the location of these curtained cubicles are questionable.
You see, the fitting rooms are always located right next to the lingerie section of the store. This means that, whilst my girlfriend is trying on her potential purchases, I’m stood amongst the bras and panties looking like some kind of dribbling pervert. There’s nothing more awkward than having a woman say “excuse me” because I’m obscuring the intimate lingerie she’d like to look at, or getting those looks from women who clearly want to peruse the underwear I’m sat next to. I suppose they feel a bit self conscious about looking through the thongs and g-strings that are inches from my face.
Maybe I should’ve started thumbing through the bras, occasionally holding one up against me as if I’m buying them for myself. Then again, I’d rather not be arrested this close to new year.
So instead I do the only thing I can do to disassociate myself from the whole debacle; pretend to be texting.
Which leads me to my next point…
4. It’s interesting to see what blokes do outside the fitting rooms whilst waiting for their other halves to appear wearing something they don’t want to be told their bum looks big in. The activity of choice is play with their phones, be it Angry Birds, texting, surfing the web for Blu-rays or blogging about shopping with the missus. A lot of us share that knowing look of camaraderie whilst stood there holding several shopping bags, a coat, scarf and a handbag; none of which belongs to us. On one occasion I saw a guy sitting there, between the bras and the shoes, reading a Wolverine comic book. Here’s a bloke who knows he’s there for the long haul.
5. Lastly, the in-store music. It seems there is an agreement to play the same CD or radio station throughout every single shop in town. No comedy comment here or smarmy quip. Just stop it.
Stop it now.
So all in all, a long afternoon spent traipsing around hot and stuffy shops full of idiots and pushchairs.
Oh, and she didn’t buy anything; instead deciding to put something together with what she already has at home. And then, upon returning home, remembering she’d bought a dress the week before that would be perfect.
C’est la vie.
I’m sure whatever she wears she’ll look fabulous in it. And if she doesn’t, I’ll be too drunk tonight to care.
Have a great New Year people!!