We have all heard the stereotypes at some point or another over the courses of our lives – men love sports and women? Well, to paraphrase Jane Austen: it is a truth universally acknowledged that a woman in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a store to shop at. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. I am not one to generalize and am certain there are many, MANY women in the world who cringe at the very idea of a visit to Forever 21 (although I am not one of them!).
However, there can never be smoke without a fire. A majority of women DO enjoy shopping, more so than their male counterparts. I am not simply making random, unsubstantiated claims here. When a total of 50 men and women (25 of each) were asked to rate their love for shopping on a scale of 1-10, the percentage of males who rated above 5 was a mere 44, while that of women was a whopping 96. So yes, we females look forward to the prospect of spending our (or our parents) hard-earned money on that cute dress, that gorgeous pair of earrings. The question is, WHY?
“I spend all day thinking of shopping. I love the thrill of finding that wonderful, perfect thing, the feeling of your heart racing because it’s so right.”-Mindy Grossman
And why wouldn’t it be? We go out, armed with cash and creativity, vigor and vitality; for the sole purpose of picking out an object that would bring us happiness. Whatever it may be – perhaps a best-selling murder mystery to curl up with on a rainy Sunday afternoon, or a shade of lipstick you KNOW would make you look like Aphrodite incarnated – it is ALWAYS enjoyable to witness a few strips of precious paper being exchanged for something you covet.
- Because it’s therapeutic.
“I always say shopping is cheaper than a psychiatrist.” – Tammy Faye Backer
The power of shopping to brighten up one’s mood after a long, hard day at school, college, work or home must never be underestimated. There is something utterly peaceful about walking around through the crowded chaos of Tulsi Baug or Sarojini Nagar, which makes you forget all your worries as you attempt to strike a deal with a vendor with all the dedication of a lawyer conferring with the DA’s office. For those who haven’t tried this form of catharsis, trust me, it’ll turn your day right around.
- Because it’s a bonding experience.
“The quickest way to know a woman is to go shopping with her.” – Marcelene Cox
Most people will tell you that having a friend along for any task makes everything more enjoyable. For a lot of women, shopping (especially for clothes) with a friend is an exercise in strengthening one’s friendship. Perhaps it is like fighting side-by-side in a battle, as comrades – the struggle to find the right design with the right price without exceeding your budget is in some ways a war with yourself, after all. Picking out outfits together, offering advice and constructive criticism, complimenting the other person when they find that which all their efforts have led up to; it is something that will serve to bring you and your bestie closer than ever before.
- Because you’re pampering yourself.
“Nourishing yourself is attainable, and you are worth the effort.” – Deborah Day
This one is pretty much self-explanatory. One of my fondest childhood memories is waking up to find a wrapped present by my bedside on my birthday and tearing off the wrapping to see what treasure lay within. When you’re shopping, you’re showering yourself with gifts. Your very aim is making purchases that are going to be a delight to use. And when you shop, there’s no danger of you ever disliking these particular gifts – you pick them out yourself!
- Because it’s a self-esteem booster.
“The right clothes, the right shoes, the right makeup, it hides the flaws we think we have, and make us look beautiful to ourselves. That’s what makes us look beautiful to others.” – Martha Rodgers, Castle
Shopping for things to wear makes a girl feel as pretty as a princess. When we try on a dress, look into the changing room mirror and see a beautiful woman looking back at us, the spaces left behind by our insecurities, body image issues and unkind words get filled with confidence and contentment. Shopping has the power of making a woman feel like a goddess that she truly is.
- Because it gives you a sense of accomplishment.
“Bargaining makes you come up with the best ideas.” – Trey Parker
Have you ever pushed your way through a market place chock-full of busy shoppers with all your senses on high alert for zeroing in on your dream item? Have you ever found something you desperately wanted to buy, only to have it cost a LITTLE more than your spending limit? And then, the bargaining and haggling and pleading with the owner for just a TINY discount until finally, miraculously, you succeed. That feeling is like no other. You feel vindicated, you feel like you have conquered a kingdom. If you have had a day of defeats, a small victory like this makes you feel invincible.
- Because it’s beautiful.
“A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” – John Keats
When I asked my mother what she really liked about shopping, she told me that she loved the colours and textures and patterns. When you shop for clothes or jewelry, it’s visually stimulating and somehow soothing at the same time. You get to see beautiful creations, pieces that have sprung from the imaginations of designers into bright, silky actuality. For a few hours, you can escape grimy reality and dive into a world of glamour and fashion.
So ladies, next time you get the urge to go to the mall and splurge, don’t fight it – you have good reasons!