I never imagined, when I began this blog back in 2007, that my imaginings and scribblings would actually influence marriages and romantic relationships. I kinda hoped that might be the case, mainly by leading more husbands and boyfriends into the path of perpetual courtship and wife worship. I have been especially delighted, for instance, to learn, via several emails and comments, that there are wives who have their husbands read aloud to them at night from my books.
But the notion that girlfriends and wives would take “male management” ideas shared here and implement them verbatim in their own budding FLR relationships… well, as the title above says, Who Knew? With Elise Sutton, perhaps, but moi? It seemed farfetched and fantastical. But exactly that has been occurring.
For instance, my favorite guest blogger Beckie Sue took the blog post of Au876 on Financial Control, Part 1 (and yes, there is a Part 2) and applied several ideas from it more or less as written to her own marriage. As a result, her husband was instructed to surrender his debit card, had his his paycheck direct-deposited to his wife’s private checking account (just like me), and was restricted to $10 pocket money, with instructions to inform her promptly if he spent any part of it, so she could “replenish it.” “He had questions and doubts,” Beckie Sue writes, “but I told him the decision is final and permanent.” Moreover, she forwarded the Au876 posting (about husbands surrendering complete financial control to their wives) to “a couple of my friends to read and consider implementing some of the ideas.”
Whew! And as you are about to read, from the anonymous and adventurous young man whose postings I featured in “Starting Early on an FLR,” my blog on female-led shopping inspired his girlfriend to design mall outings for him in which he was basically the beast of burden for her and a girlfriend and… well, I’ll let him tell it.
But let me say first that no, I do not feel like a traitor to my gender for inspiring these women (and perhaps many others) to exert such increasing and sometimes capricious control over their husbands and boyfriends. I suspect these dudes are actually reveling in their new female-led constraints, despite discomfort, reduced status, etc. Please let me know, guys, if I’m wrong in this.
Now, to Anonymous and his experience in "Girlfriend Led Shopping"*:
My girlfriend and I had gone shopping a couple times early in our relationship. This was before it even started developing into what it is now. Those trips were the typical co-ed shopping trip; she would spend forever looking at stuff while I would wander off and either sit and wait somewhere or find a more interesting store to shop in (think video games).
It ended up being equally miserable for each of us, so we both sort of came up with an unwritten rule that shopping would be something that we'd each do on our own. Neither of us had reason to reconsider this unwritten rule.
That is until we worked our way back to your set of blog entries. She decided a trip to the mall (or “mauling” as I normally referred to it) would be a good way to evaluate my progress. She called her best friend and made arrangements for the following Saturday.
Prior to our departure on Saturday, she went over the rules. From the time we get there until we leave, I don't get to sit down. I carry all the bags and I'm not allowed to set them down. When they want me to, I also carry their purses. I am not allowed to fidget or appear to be bored. I have to stay three paces behind, yet still keep up with them.
Even though there was reasonably close parking, I dropped them off curbside in front of one of the big department stores, parked the car, and then caught up with them inside. They were sampling some of the perfumes. Without a word, they hand me their purses and go back to exploring the merchandise. I began my day as an obedient valet.
The first hour or so was actually easy and I would have to admit kind of fun. It's weird how it feels to be a good servant; it kind of gives a sense of pride. I diligently followed them around carrying their bags for them, carrying their purses when they wanted me to (which was actually most of the time), doing the holding all of the garments they wanted to try on, retrieving other sizes, and returning stuff they weren't interested in.
There was one incident where she gave me a dress to put back on the rack. The saleslady that was helping them tried to grab it saying that she could take care of it. My girlfriend chimed in and told her not to worry about it because I love doing stuff like that. The saleslady gave me a quizzical look. I just smiled and said, “I live for this” as I put the dress back on the hanger and headed to the rack to put it back up. My girlfriend's friend watched the exchange and got a good kick out of it. I didn't hear the comment the saleslady made after I walked away, but I bet it would have been interesting.
After they picked out the stuff they wanted, they'd retrieve their purses, and my girlfriend would give me the debit card and tell me where they were headed for next, leaving me to take the stuff to the register and pay for it.
For the most part, this wasn't a problem. However, one store we visited sold accessory type stuff and was fairly busy. One of my standing rules is that if I am in line and a woman gets in line behind me, I have to let her go in front of me. I was the only guy in the store. I ended up letting about 10 women go in front of me. The only exception to the rule is I don't have to let them go in front of me if they are displaying insignia from a sorority different from my girlfriend's. Luckily, I spotted Greek lettering on one lady's necklace that allowed me to secure my position in line.
Needless to say, my girlfriend was not pleased that it took me so long to catch back up with them. She accepted my excuse when I explained why I was delayed, but said that I would still have to make up for being late.
After what was probably about two hours, they decided it was time for lunch. We headed to the food-court. Before getting there, she reminded me that the rules about carrying the bags and not being able to sit down still apply in the dining area. Then she queried about how much cash I had left over from my allowance. We got to the food-court and they picked out what they wanted. My girlfriend relayed the order to me, added what I was to get for myself, and sent me off. She likes having me eat minimal sized meals when we're with her friends.
She noticeably didn't give me the debit card, so I bought the food with the remains of my weekly allowance, which was barely enough to cover the cost. This was obviously intentional since she had made sure how much money I had to begin with.
Carrying the food along with all the bags was a tricky juggling act, but I managed to complete it without spilling anything. Fortunately, the ladies picked a tall table so it wouldn't look too awkward for me to be standing there while eating.
While walking through the mall, there were other couples attempting to shop together. All of them were where my girlfriend and I were at the start. The guys were moping around looking disinterested, attempting to spot where the nearest seat was, and wishing they could take a detour to one of the electronic stores or something of more interest. My girlfriend would spot such couples and make sure to parade me right in front of them. She would also ask something as we passed such as, “are you able to keep up with us?” I would diligently respond with a smile, “Yes, dear.” She loves showing off and making other women jealous. I will admit it makes me feel good to help her do so.
As time went by, the number of bags grew and grew. While the weight of each bag wasn't a whole lot, the compound effect of multiple bags began to get taxing. While her girlfriend was in the fitting room, I requested to consolidate some of the bags together so that I wouldn't have to juggle so many of them. She merely responded by pressing her finger down on my upper lip, her way of telling me she didn't want me talking.
All that constant walking and standing was starting to really make my legs tired. I had to more and more make a conscious effort to remain well behaved. Even though it's where they would spend the most time just trying stuff on, I came to really like it when they went to the shoe stores. Helping her try on different shoes allowed me to kneel down and rest the bags on the ground.
I could also sense that they were starting to get tired as well (as if women could actually get tired of shopping). They would start doing a tag team at some of the fitting rooms, where one would sit and relax while the other was trying stuff on. Of course, that was not an option for me as I was either running garments back and forth or playing my role as a coat rack near the entrance to the fitting room.
Other women shopping or trying stuff on would seem to always make some comment, either directly to my girlfriend or her friend or open to everyone. The most common one was 'I need to get one of those.” Each time they'd say something, I could see my girlfriend beam a smile, reminding me again what this was all about. She would just tell them that the best thing about it was that I actually enjoyed shopping with her. I think she enjoyed the attention and comments as much as anything else.
The drive back to the house was a relief. It was the first opportunity to sit down that I had since driving to the mall in the morning. When we got back to the house she said that since it took me so long at that accessory store that I owed each of them a half hour of leg and foot massage. This probably would have been expected even if I didn’t have that blemish on my performance. I would give one of the ladies a massage while the other would be trying on all the different outfits and stuff they had bought, then they’d tag team swap. It probably ended up being about two hours.
After they were done, her girlfriend wrote her a check for her portion of the purchases and left. My girlfriend gave me her review of the day. She said I was much better behaved than way back when we first attempted shopping together. However, she added that she thought I was having to consciously work at enjoying it and that our goal should be that we get to the point where I don’t have to work at behaving and that it’s more natural. She summed it up saying, “On the whole, I had a good time. All of us had fun. I got a bunch of new stuff for my wardrobe, and I even made some money at it.” She folded up the check her friend gave her and stuck it in her purse. I do not expect she put it back in my account.
This all happened about six weeks ago and she’s decided that it’s time to make a return trip to the mall. She’s called another one of her friends (she says she has more fun when shopping with friends) and we’re about to head out.
Sorry about this being so long. I sometimes tend to ramble on. I also apologize for taking so long to post, but things have been busy for me and she doesn’t always consent to my internet time.
Do any of my readers wish Anonymous had written shorter? I bet not. As for me, I can’t wait to read his next installment. And, as for his precocious girlfriend, she is welcome to borrow anything she likes to expand her delightful dominion over him.
* You can read his original comments below the post “Wife-Led Shopping: The Ultimate Test, Part 2”.