An Instagram account called “miserable_men” documents the silent suffering that is the scourge of all men: Shadowing their wives or girlfriends as they go shopping.
You know the scene I am talking about, or perhaps you have lived this nightmare yourself.
Your significant other wants you to go shopping at the mall, which means you sit at the edge of a raised display stand, sharing what little space you have with a mannequin, as she peruses the racks of clothes.
If you are really, really lucky, there is a bench somewhere you can park yourself and people-watch to kill time.
But to complete the humiliation, you are asked to hold the purse or handbag of your wife/girlfriend/partner while she ducks into a dressing room to “just try on a few things.”
Time passes as slowly as a turtle on Quaaludes. All the while you are trying not to make eye contact with your fellow man.
But members of our tribe will not judge you harshly. They will look at you and silently say a prayer of thanksgiving: “Dude, better you than me.”
I am relieved to say that my wife has not once ever asked me to go shopping with her for clothes. She is content to make a marathon solo bid for what she is looking for. She will make a strategic strike at a particular department store, scoop up dozens of outfits to try in one swoop and then get out.
And in further proof that she is a candidate for the Nobel Prize for Patience, she has gone shopping for clothes not only with me but with my two sons as well.
My late fiancée, on the other hand, was a shopper extraordinaire. A visit to the mall was like a hobby to her. She would eye the latest styles, check the feel of fabrics, look for sales and then bring an envelope full of coupons to the register.
I recall one time we were at the mall for eight straight hours. Yes, eight hours. Elephant pregnancies take less time.
Too many men are afflicted with SAD, Shopping Adjustment Disorder, as captured in the miserable_men Instagram account.
A report in The New York Daily News summed it up: “The feed features miserable men of all shapes and sizes — despondent dads, bummed-out boyfriends and even a couple of gloomy granddads — painstakingly waiting to escape from the insufferable purgatory that is the mall.”
This is why today I am founding an organization called CRITICAL MASS: Coalition of Responsible Individuals Taking Into Consideration Always Leading Men Against Superfluous Shopping.
We need to demand that outlet malls truly have outlets for men: Wet bars. Big TVs. Arcade games. Nap rooms.
Think of it as a daddy daycare where men could be dropped off for hours at a time.
Join with me and together we can raise our voices to ask the question that is burning on the lips of all men who are made to endure trips to the mall:
“Does this handbag I have to hold make me look fat?”
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