Almost every chick-flick or film with a female protagonist would have you believe that women stroll about shopping centres having a whale of a time and end up spending stacks of cash while they’re at it. They float of around with armfuls of huge paper shopping bags (why are they never plastic in films?!), shaking their glossy heads in laughter, an iced coffee cup in hand. They’re willing to be doting advisors to a friend in need, and will sit through dozens of outfits (the punky one/the sophisticated one/the one with a feather boa etc.), until they find THE ONE. That’s what girls do when we go shopping, right?
Perhaps not. See, there are two ways to shop. There’s a) Getting Shit Done or b) Not Really Shopping. Being a ridiculously stingy kind of girl, I need to seriously commit when spending money. That means researching the item on the internet, trying it on in the shop, going away and thinking about it and only THEN committing to buy.
When I hit the shops with friends, I’m Not Really Shopping. I’m gossiping, pointing at things and saying ‘ooh’, and occasionally petting the odd garment. So often I feel pressured into purchasing something I don’t really like that much and will probably never get much wear out of, just to feel like I *went shopping with the girls*, or because someone talked me into it. I am not the only vunerable, easily-influenced shopper out there; my sister would often come home from a shopping trip, arms laden with bags, and rush upstairs shouting ‘I REALLY DON’T KNOW ABOUT THAT DRESS, EMILY TOLD ME IT LOOKED GOOD BUT I THINK I LOOK TOO SLUTTY’, and return everything the next day.
Shopping with my mother is almost as dangerous as shopping with friends because the Bank of Mum is actually willing to spend a little moolah every now and then. Hence the unworn, beautiful strapless evening dress hanging in my wardrobe right now, purchased simply because my mum and auntie thought I ought to. Add this to the fact that my mother tries to make me buy everything in a size twelve because I’m ‘tall’, and I’ve got a bunch of ill-fitting, barely-worn stuff shoved in various draws at home.
I have come to realise that the only way I can truly Get Shit Done is to shop alone. Only I can tell what can successfully slot into my wardrobe. Not that I mind schmoozing around Westfield or Oxford Street every now and then. I’m happy to sit, deliberate and pretend to know about fashion and make note of everything I want to borrow as a friend tries stuff on. Just as long as you don’t let me buy ANOTHER pair of shorts or tacky blouse.