Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Shopping Ugh

This may come as a surprise to you, but I pretty much hate shopping. It's not just clothes shopping I despise (though it holds a special place in my heart), it's all kinds of shopping. The worst is window shopping. I already feel aimless when shopping. To actually go and look at things with the purpose of not buying anything drives me crazy. I shop with purpose. I shop to buy. I actually start to feel hot and trapped in a store looking at trinkets or clothes I'll never buy. If I know I'll never buy, why stir up feelings of longing for them? Why look at all?

This characteristic has actually led to several arguments with friends. My friend Jenn and I got into a fight in Sedona about this, because she is my opposite and is a very content shopper. We finally agreed that I would circle each store twice to make her feel less pressured, and she would cherish trinkets a little faster.

I recently had a similar experience with my friend Alfredo. The poor guy had no idea that I was not a shopper. He kept wanting to show me stores he liked (I think to make a really nice day last a little longer), but I was going crazy. I swear I had circled the same store three times. I just never know what I'm supposed to do. I just think, "They're nice things but if I'm not buying and you're not buying, why are we here?" This led to me behaving like a spoiled brat, and him wondering what the heck was wrong with me. I imagined him shaking his head and mumbling, "Women..."

I have tried to figure out why I feel this way about something that most women adore. Maybe I just don't want to look at something I can't have. Maybe it's because I don't feel the same urgency to possess things as I do to capture moments in words and photos. Maybe it's because I don't want to spend money on things that will collect dust.

Don't get me wrong. I shop. I window shop too when I see there's no way to avoid it. My purpose in these instances is merely to bond with my women friends, and try, desperately to enjoy shopping the way they do. I actually copy how they look at things, trying to imitate their rapture. When they touch something, so do I. When they point, I then point. "Oh it's so...beautiful...look, isn't this fabric...um...soft?"

And don't even get me started on clothes shopping. Can't a size be that size every time? I have always envied men who buy pants by measurments. I'm pretty sure that a 32 is always a 32.

But alas, that's not how it is for women. For example, in my closet right now, I have pants in three different sizes and they all fit. Same goes for tops. This pretty much means I have no clue where to begin when I shop, and by the time I narrow down the size, I'm too tired to care. I plan on never going to the beach this summer to avoid having to shop for a bikini.

This is why I was just kicking myself for not packing my shorts (how much room would a pair of shorts really have taken!). It kills me because I had thought about packing them, and I opted to leave them out. I actually thought, I'll just buy more when I get there. Who was I thinking would be going shopping?

This oversight meant that I would need to go shopping...in Spanish...with European sizes. I wasn't thrilled.

Luckily, Connie, my good friend, volunteered to come with me. Connie is one of my favorite Chilenas. She's only 21 but she's just got things figured out. I felt I could rely on her to help me wade through the Spanish/size challenge.

It turns out that Santiago sizes are very similar to the U.S., and I fit well in three different sized pants in different stores (I of course chose to believe that the smallest of sizes was the correct one).

But this shopping trip was different than most. Instead of a mall, we were in Barrio Patronato, well-known in the city for two things: really cheap clothes and getting robbed. Sweet! Now this is the kind of shopping I could get into--adventure shopping!

So, with a sense of purpose (yes!) and a tight grip on my purse, Connie and I shopped, and I successfully bought the summer clothes I needed.

Perhaps this will be the way to motivate me to shop in the future. Maybe I need to approach shopping as an adventure and pretend like I'm a spy on a mission to retrieve magic pants (this might also be a good way to get kicked out of a clothing store).

Or maybe it's time I accept and be proud of my non-shopper status. Next time my friends suggest shopping, I will offer some alternatives:

THEM: Let's go shop.
ME: How about white water rafting? Sky diving? Anyone up for swimming with sharks? Doesn't that sound fun?
THEM: Um, no. Let's go shopping.
ME: Okay. But let's pretend we're spies on a mission to capture the magic pants from evil goblin.
THEM: Are you feeling okay? Why don't you stay home on this trip?

Sounds perfect to me!

Que te vaya bien (y comprar bien tambien),
C in C

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