Sunday, November 25, 2012
Mr. Beth commented favorably on the last post, “Taking Over the Shopping Chores, “ describing how it works in his wife-led marriage, and adding, “I guess every dominate Woman as a different way of doing it!”
As I particularly enjoy this topic, I’m going to respond to Mr. Beth at somewhat greater length in this post:
However your wife wants to handle shopping is appropriate, Mr. Beth. It's always up to the woman to determine what she does or doesn't want to do. In my case Nancy doesn't care to do the routine grocery shopping and delegates that task to me. She and her mother do enjoy looking for clothes and, of course, they love shopping for shoes -- what woman doesn't?
When she allows, I accompany Nancy and her mother on their shopping excursions and am just as excited about discovering new styles as are the women. I justify my presence by driving, carrying bags, standing in checkout lines while the women move onto the next department, and by being the patient husband/son-in-law who provides comments – always positive! -- on the things the women try on.
Going shopping with them teaches me a lot. I'm able to pull together a credible looking outfit, so much so that Nancy has long since trusted me with packing her bags for an out-of-town business trip and with laying out her next day outfit for work. This acquired skill has some benefits during the holiday season as I will discuss in another post.
As a submissive man I am compelled to better understand women and their tastes; I routinely scan the pages of the fashion magazines. Harper's Bazaar, Elle, and Glamour are required reading for me; I enjoy perusing their pages and routinely point out styles – particularly shoes – that I feel might interest the women. They are never dismissive of my suggestions but may not be as excited about them as was I.
Indulging an interest in fashion is indeed a woman's right, one that men should recognize, accommodate and, yes, fund. While narrow-minded men of the dying patriarchy dismiss women's fashion as trivial or frivolous, progressive gentlemen see it as a celebration of women. There are ritualistic overtones to women shopping; something your typical male can't understand but something that a progressive gentleman appreciates and may, in fact, envy. To be invited to shop with women is to be given a privileged insight into the world of women, to figuratively walk in her shoes. I can sit for hours while Nancy and her mother get a makeover at the beauty counter. Make-up is magic, taking an already beautiful creature and transforming her into an absolute Goddess. Men have no parallel activity; that women do is a testament to their superiority.
Similarly I love accompanying the women to the shoe store; Nancy and Sue love shoes and frequent a wonderful boutique owned by a woman, Margie, who, like us, is in a Female-Led Relationship. Her shop is for women only, but men accompanying them are welcome, provided they sit quietly and patiently while shoes are tried on – her average customer tries seven pairs. Margie doesn't tolerate anything other than good behavior from men, and those who behave otherwise are firmly told to leave.
I find the shop fascinating and love wandering through the displays. Seeing the endless variety of colors, styles, and heel heights is intoxicating; even the most jaded male has to realize why women want – no absolutely need – so many pairs of shoes! Women's shoes are an absolute work of art. Black pumps say, “I'm powerful!” The taupe peek-toe pumps say that the wearer is not just an accountant. The four-inch red sandals shout, “Party time!”
Nancy and her mother always find and buy at least one pair of shoes at this shop. Nancy says she is spending my money on shoes; she is, and I can't think of a better thing to do with it or a better way to worship her. I even worked at this shoe boutique for a few weekends when one of Margie's regular employees was off sick. It was a great experience--and a great opportunity to serve Margie as well as a few of her customers. As a token of her appreciation for my helping her, she gave me a shoe calendar that is on my desk at work. It's 365 shoes, some traditional and others definitely avant-garde; all a celebration of women and a reminder of their superiority.
I have a reputation for knowing women's fashion, and a few months back was asked by a man at work for some help in selecting a gift for his wife, a friend of Nancy who knows of our lifestyle. This husband decided, or more likely his wife suggested, a nice outfit for work. At a local mall I steered him into the women's department at Macy's and started pulling together options. As we moved through the racks, it was obvious that the guy didn't have a clue, so I matched a plaid skirt with a black jacket, and picked a feminine blouse. Thinking we were done, he was taking me to the checkout, but I steered him to hosiery where I picked pantyhose appropriate to a business outfit – and I made him carry the pantyhose. Then to accessories for a nice necklace and finally to jewelry for a “chunky” watch. Not done yet, we went to fragrances and bought her a small bottle of Chanel.
We finally checked out. The outfit and accessories cost him more than $800. He met his objective of getting a gift for his wife and I met mine. I wanted to get her a great outfit that cost the husband as much money as I could. I met these goals, plus I enjoyed the shopping experience. On the way home Mr. Macho, obviously irritated by my shopping directives, told me, “If I didn't know you were married, I'd think you were a queer. You shop like a girl.”
I thanked him for the compliment. A few weeks later I ran into this guy's wife. She told me she'd heard that I'd helped Tom shop for her birthday gift and she said it was perfect -- “right down to the perfume and pantyhose.” I told her that, had I known her shoe size, she would have gotten a nice pair of pumps out of the deal,
“Size 7 medium for next time,” she told me with a chuckle.
Monday, November 12, 2012
NANCY WRITES: Women love to shop! We love visiting trendy boutiques, getting a makeover at our favorite beauty counter, and, of course, looking for a perfect pair of shoes. Or two or three perfect pairs of shoes! I love taking my husband shopping – sometimes, anyway! I love him watching me spend his money! But this kind of fun shopping is for later discussion.
There’s another side of shopping that women despise, and that’s the weekly shopping routine that comes with running a home. Women aren’t excited about the drudgery of the grocery store and pharmacy. There’s no fun in buying meat, paper towels, and veggies. We don’t have the time! We have better things to do! That’s why progressive women have their husbands do the shopping. As with anything we give our husbands to do, there’s an investment involved in training him to do the task the right way. What harm can he do shopping? Well, a lot! He can waste time and money, bring home the wrong things, too much of one thing or too little of another, or something he shouldn’t be bringing home at all, unless he is properly trained and managed. And shopping is a lot more than a weekly trip to the grocery store or stopping for milk on the way home from work. To shop properly he has to prepare properly and understand the rules you set out – you will set out rules! That’s where training and your oversight come in. So, how do we make all this happen? How do we turn hubby into a shopping demon? Let’s look at what’s involved.
You want him to be efficient – I prefer my husband be at home taking care of the house and looking after Mom and me. I want him to get everything in as little time and for as little money as possible. He understands it’s important for him to be efficient and to know that there could be consequences if he’s not.
Step One: Go Shopping – Take him shopping with the idea that he has to pay attention and not just aimlessly push the cart. He has to understand how and what to pick and choose. Have him take notes. Have him carry your coupon clutch. Let him do some of the choosing and selecting and correct him as needed. He has to understand that you expect him to do it the right way, and, while he’s allowed a mistake here and there, too many mistakes will result in consequences he won’t like. Take him shopping a few times until he gets comfortable with the routine and then turn the task over to him.
Tell him where to shop – He should only shop at stores of your choosing.
Tell him when to shop – My husband shops early in the week, in the evening because he’ll have completed what he needs to have done at home and the store where he's told to shop is not crowded at these hours. I’ve decided that Tuesday is shopping day and that an hour and a half is adequate for shopping; he agrees. Even though we have established shopping hours, he doesn't just leave; he's in the habit of asking permission to leave the house, and it's usually granted, but for no more than two hours at a time. More than two hours and he's wasting time and that means things aren't getting done at home. His being efficient is in both my and his interest.
A list is mandatory! – He should be in the habit of making a list of needed items. Making a list is an ongoing task if he’s going to do the job right. Keeping track of things should be a part of his routine; he should always know when things are getting low and plan to buy them on his next shopping trip. He shouldn't have to be told. In our case he inventories all of the food, personal care and grocery items, and refreshments and determines when he has to buy something. He buys and inventories it all, food items, cleaning products, liquor, wine, bubble bath, even pantyhose. It all gets on his list. He's not allowed out the door without a list! You might check his list before he leaves for the store. No harm in checking on him or even having him add or remove items; it’s a small way of showing him who the boss is and a way to keep him on his toes.
Ask the Ladies! – We expect him to find out whether we need anything special or out of the ordinary. I don’t write down things I need for him; it’s his job to find out what I need by checking or asking. If there’s something on our social schedule - hosting a “girls’ night out” at our home, for example - he has to make sure we have what’s needed – desserts, wine, cigarettes, he should be getting what's needed. We don’t like sending him back to the store to get something he should have bought the first time if he did his job right. If we make a mistake, it’s his privilege to go back to the store for that item; if he makes a mistake, there may be consequences.
Ask the chef – Mom enjoys cooking and prepares most of our meals. He makes it a point to ask her if she needs anything special for her cooking. If he doesn’t ask and she needs something, he goes right back out to get it!
Cutting coupons – Have him cut coupons as a way of saving money and being a more efficient shopper. Buy him a coupon clutch to store and organize coupons and to take with him when he shops. He should be pairing as many items on his list with coupons as possible. Periodically check that he does. Cutting coupons is a good use of his time, it saves money, and he'll come to enjoy it. Have him share coupons with others. In our case, he shares coupons with my aunts and with a domesticated man at his office.
Paying for it all – I am a strict money manager, and my husband does not carry debit or credit cards. Men are so irresponsible with money in any form; the only way to stop them spending is to limit what they have access to. He has to ask permission to use a debit card for grocery shopping or for other things I approve of— gas, for example. What he charges to the card should be exactly what he spent on groceries; make sure it is! He has to hand the card and receipt back to me as soon as he gets home. Money management is something every woman should be doing. Very powerful indeed! But that's another topic for another day.
Make him stick to the list – At first he should only be buying things on his list, and, as I said, you should be checking his list before he leaves. And check again to see that items on the list are all he comes home with. Initially any extra items should, as a lesson, be returned or discarded. As my husband became a more efficient shopper he was given leeway to make extra purchases – a bottle of wine, an interesting dessert, or a bouquet of flowers, for example. We’ve come to look forward to some of the extras he brings home.
Brand names – He should always be buying the brands that you prefer; money is not a consideration when you have a preference. My body lotion is a specific department store item that he picks up when I run low, as are the pantyhose that he keeps me supplied with. He, on the other hand, is quite happy with store brands and generics as his personal items.
Make sure he’s saving – Check his receipt and how much he saved using coupons. If you think he can do better (he can always do better), tell him so. Too many misses on savings and there are consequences. For example, if on occasion I feel he has overpaid, he'll get a reprimand and be reminded of what I think he should have paid. If it occurs too often, then what I think the difference is will come out of his allowance.
Forgetting – If he forgets to pick up something, he is usually sent out to get it immediately. But we’ve varied this on occasion. He forgot cigarettes for Mom and had to go to a store on the other side of town to pick them up instead of going to the same store a mile away. Mom was inconvenienced so it was only right that he was, too. On another occasion he forgot an item, and I told him he could get it later. And later it was; I woke him up at 3:00 a.m. to go to the 24-hour pharmacy across town to get it. When he returned an hour later with the item, I told him I changed my mind and had him return the item right then. Message delivered! He’s gotten much less forgetful!