Retail insanity

· culture ·

There's a great article in Thursday's Guardian G2 by Clare Pollard, launching a scathing attack on the idea that 'retail therapy' is the answer to every woman's problems. She reserves particular scorn for shopping for clothes or shoes.

Never mind that most of the world lives in poverty, and probably really "deserves" a bowl of grain, this month's Cosmopolitan gives a 10-step happiness plan that includes such "happy steps" as "Buy those shoes" and "Give yourself treats." No mention of giving other people treats. Or buying other people shoes. You wonder how people in the middle ages didn't just die of misery, with no frappuccinos with which to reward themselves, and nothing to browse through on the high-street but cider and cheese.

How true. I feel like an alien sometimes. I'm not keen on any kind of shopping (except for CDs, HiFi or computers — but I don't get to do them very often), but I particularly detest shopping for clothes.

I would rather be gnawed to death by weasels than go clothes shopping. It wouldn't be so bad if I was the kind of standard-size woman that the high street caters for (if there is such a person). Then I could plan a commando-style operation, diving into the first shop with vaguely reasonable clothes, grabbing a selection of stuff, paying and getting the hell out of there. It would still be painful, but brief — like ripping off a plaster really quickly. Alas, there's no possibility of this kind of thing; I'm short and I have big hips, and most clothes don't fit, or don't fit in the right places.

A couple of years ago I had to buy an outfit for a wedding. Mr. Bsag (who quite likes buying clothes for me, but not himself) managed to cajole me into going shopping, but after a scant 15 minutes, I was completely fed up. We were in Monsoon, and he was trying to coax me into trying something on; "Why don't you just try this on? It will look great on you." I was whining like a little kid, "Oh, can't we just go, I don't want to try anything on." A couple of shop assistants were within earshot, and looked at us as if we had just defied the laws of gravity and floated up to the ceiling.