Exiled to the 'Man Chair'
March 1, 2016 9:29 AM   Subscribe

 
God bless the stores that put comfy chairs near the women's dressing rooms.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:37 AM on March 1, 2016 [35 favorites]


When I worked at a small natural food's store in a small rural town, we had a couple chairs outside the store, on the sidewalk. This was because health food is apparently such an emasculating substance that many men would refuse to enter the store at all with their female companions. Every now and then one would need to tell their partner something and stand in the threshold and yell into the store rather than coming inside.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:38 AM on March 1, 2016 [32 favorites]


"Miserable men"? On the contrary. A lot of these men look quite happy to have found a chair.
posted by monospace at 9:39 AM on March 1, 2016 [23 favorites]


I regard it as capitalism's greatest failure, that there's nothing available on the market that these men could happily shop for.
posted by mittens at 9:46 AM on March 1, 2016 [29 favorites]


This was because health food is apparently such an emasculating substance that many men would refuse to enter the store at all with their female companions.

With Paleo, healthy eating can now be manly! All sorts of exotic meats from rare animals are paleo-compatible.
posted by theorique at 9:48 AM on March 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


Huh...it's almost as though women are encouraged to buy clothing that is difficult to fit and are required to have clothes for a wide variety of styles and occasions, while men are able to wear standard, comparatively uniformly sized clothes that are suitable for multiple occasions, and are discouraged from buying trendy or variety clothing.

And it's almost as though....wait for it....women (?) are usually held responsible for making sure that the household is properly stocked with dry goods.

Maybe...sometimes....I almost think there might be some kind of stereotype based on socially enforced gender norms lurking in this kind of thing. Makes you wonder.
posted by Frowner at 9:48 AM on March 1, 2016 [191 favorites]


When I was younger, I didn't mind as much traipsing around behind my wife when we went shopping, but let me add my resounding FUCK YEAH to Thorzdad's remark above. Comfy "hubby seats" in women's clothing shops are a godsend, and our nearest mall even has entire seating areas of recliners and plush sofas (with device charging stations even!) in central locations, which I am more than glad to occupy while she and our teenage daughter hit up their favorite shops.
posted by briank at 9:49 AM on March 1, 2016 [6 favorites]


These guys are doing it wrong. There is almost certainly a bar nearby.
posted by COD at 9:49 AM on March 1, 2016 [37 favorites]


But, seriously, what would I do in a health food store if I came in with somebody who was going to go shopping there? I'd just find a chair and would sit. Health food isn't "emasculating". It's just that standing around in a store waiting when you're not going to buy anything is just boring. I'd rather sit outside too.
posted by I-baLL at 9:50 AM on March 1, 2016 [6 favorites]


God bless the stores that put comfy chairs near the women's dressing rooms.

and if they have good magazines? HEAVEN!
posted by srboisvert at 9:51 AM on March 1, 2016


Because of the erratic sizing of women's clothes (my understanding is), they have to try everything on to know if it fits. Men's pants come with waist and inseam measurements for a greater degree of flexibility and consistency. Those men are sitting down because of privilege.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 9:51 AM on March 1, 2016 [61 favorites]


What mittens says. After you've been through the Apple Store and Tesla Store there's basically nothing left in the mall for a red-blooded man. But boy are those sports bars that the rare mall has on the inside busy. Beer and ESPN at the Yardhouse are the solution to this problem.
posted by MattD at 9:52 AM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's just that standing around in a store waiting when you're not going to buy anything is just boring.

But...but...the free cheese samples? Looking at products you'll never buy but that have pretty packaging? Sniffing cantaloupes? There is SO MUCH to do at any given grocery store, even health oriented ones, that I can't imagine standing around doing nothing.
posted by mittens at 9:52 AM on March 1, 2016 [11 favorites]


Also the "men are bored by shopping lulz" conceit is just rubbing me the wrong way. Like, note the presence of actual children in some of those photos engaging in the same behavior as the grownass men. Buck up, dudes. Get a cup of coffee.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:52 AM on March 1, 2016 [20 favorites]


These guys are doing it wrong. There is almost certainly a bar nearby.

We almost never go shopping together, but last month we had dropped the sprog with my in-laws and my wife needed to exchange a sweater or somesuch, so we drove into town. It was about 11:30, so I figured the bars would just be opening. They were. I sat and enjoyed a Zoe. mrsozzy came and collected me when she was finished. It was fucking wonderful.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:53 AM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Consume!
posted by hubs at 9:54 AM on March 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


"But...but...the free cheese samples? Looking at products you'll never buy but that have pretty packaging? Sniffing cantaloupes? "

Oh, yeah, ofcourse, but those don't look like those type of stores and a lot of the people in the photos look like they might also have health problems and need to rest as they may not have the energy to walk around a lot.
posted by I-baLL at 9:54 AM on March 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


One word: kindle!
posted by sammyo at 9:55 AM on March 1, 2016 [6 favorites]


I regard it as capitalism's greatest failure, that there's nothing available on the market that these men could happily shop for.

The flaw in this is that a lot of men actually, honestly do not like to go shopping at all. I mean, I think I'd rather pull my nails out than go shopping.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:55 AM on March 1, 2016 [6 favorites]


Finally a thread about the emotional labor that men do (needs more purse holding, though)
posted by Mchelly at 9:55 AM on March 1, 2016 [27 favorites]


I love Christmas shopping with my Dad because he pretends he's William Powell or some such. We go into the shop; he politely asks the staff to show him some things and sits comfortably while they do so. Then he makes a purchase, has it wrapped. Then we go to the nearest Manhattan (Dad does not drink martinis). Then we go into the next shop.

Eventually, you have finished shopping.
posted by crush-onastick at 9:56 AM on March 1, 2016 [26 favorites]


I usually like shopping with my wife for clothes for her, and I don't mind waiting while she tries stuff on (and I like to be available to give feedback if requested), but I don't like standing to do that. Standing is boring and tiring and makes the experience worse. The site definitely encourages the lulz gender stereotypes, but you don't have to be the dad in a bad sitcom to be happy to have found a chair.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:57 AM on March 1, 2016 [7 favorites]


After you've been through the Apple Store and Tesla Store there's basically nothing left in the mall for a red-blooded man.

i wonder what color my blood is
posted by shakespeherian at 9:57 AM on March 1, 2016 [27 favorites]


I only wish I could do this.

Never, ever, ever, ever turn down the opportunity for a nap. It is life's most precious gift.
posted by clawsoon at 9:57 AM on March 1, 2016 [11 favorites]


I mean, I think I'd rather pull my nails out than go shopping.

Me too (I'm a woman). But... things do need to be purchased sometimes. Someone's got to do it. I think a lot of women don't actually like shopping but... new items do not mystically materialize in homes to be consumed or given as gifts to others.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:58 AM on March 1, 2016 [71 favorites]


This was because health food is apparently such an emasculating substance that many men would refuse to enter the store at all with their female companions.

not true, nature is amazing.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:59 AM on March 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


This was because health food is apparently such an emasculating substance that many men would refuse to enter the store at all with their female companions.

I don't know if it's emasculating, but I refuse to go into the co-op because of the smell.
That particular blend of essential oils/homemade soap/natural remedies and produce just turns my stomach.

I feel the same way about the candle/body lotion stores.
posted by madajb at 10:00 AM on March 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


mittens: But...but...the free cheese samples? Looking at products you'll never buy but that have pretty packaging? Sniffing cantaloupes? There is SO MUCH to do at any given grocery store, even health oriented ones, that I can't imagine standing around doing nothing.

Food is fuel.
posted by clawsoon at 10:00 AM on March 1, 2016


This is a gendered thing I kinda miss since I became pretty much exclusively an online shopper. My Bear has a great eye, often spotting clothing I wouldn't have checked out, and he likes shopping and ogling me, though I can't explain the latter predilection. So we spent lots of time earlier in our relationship with him in The Chair and me showing him what I'd tried on. He'd be the happy alert guy in the chair, the one that isn't pictured.

These days, he has to settle for seeing me open boxes and hold up the clothes I already bought.
posted by bearwife at 10:00 AM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Why would I want to be sitting around on a chair waiting while my wife is clothes shopping? Back before cellphones were a thing when it was a pain to track each other down in the mall, maybe. Even then, we very rarely go clothes shopping together. I find it much more relaxing when I don't have someone else hanging around waiting for me to get done trying on stuff, as does she.
posted by fimbulvetr at 10:01 AM on March 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


On the rare occasions I go to the mall with my male significant other, I help him shop for his clothes/direct the endeavor and then, when I need stuff, he sits on the nearest couch and waits until I'm done.

I think thanks to this post, I have finally found the bit of unequal gendered emotional labor in our otherwise egalitarian (in reality fairly unequal since he does more chores than me and is generally a nicer person) relationship...
posted by loquacious crouton at 10:04 AM on March 1, 2016 [6 favorites]


But... things do need to be purchased sometimes. Someone's got to do it. I think a lot of women don't actually like shopping but... new items do not mystically materialize in homes to be consumed or given as gifts to others.

There's a huge difference between going to a store to get necessary items. That's sort of a given. My impression is that, in the case of these pictures, these are more the "shopping to go shopping" type of trips, where there's nothing specific that needs purchased.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:08 AM on March 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


I don't understand this. We go somewhere, I look at what I want to look at, he doesn't wait for me, he looks at what he wants to look at, I don't wait for him. This concept of sitting, being miserable, just... it's like, I don't know. These guys can't find anything to look at? This is alien to me. This is wanting to be miserable.
posted by sageleaf at 10:10 AM on March 1, 2016 [11 favorites]


We have two very active and rambunctious young boys. You betcha Mrs. Fimbulvetr and I vie to be the one who gets to go shopping on the weekend. Even better, on a weeknight and avoid the bedtime routine (my job, I usually lose).
posted by fimbulvetr at 10:10 AM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


My wife and I have arrived at this novel solution where, if she is doing something I don't enjoy doing*, she does it by herself.

Maybe all these people live 3 hours from the nearest mall, and heading "into town" is a once a month event?
Was there the promise of appetizers at Flingers after the trek to the mall?

* While I appreciate the result, watching my wife try on clothes for 3 hours is not something I enjoy.
posted by madajb at 10:11 AM on March 1, 2016 [7 favorites]


(also, i mean, everyone knows you can join someone in the dressing room, right? you can sit in there and chit-chat and offer sage advice on clothes and be part of the process, if you want to.)
posted by mittens at 10:11 AM on March 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


I posted this because I thought it was a funny gallery of a common sight at malls- of course MetaFilter would enlighten me to how this is a gendered thing connected to emotional labor. Next time I'm at the mall with my mom or sister, I'll make sure to get out of the chair (oh yes, I love the chair) and see if I can help them out any.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 10:11 AM on March 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


Seriously, bring a book. Nothing I hate more than this sad-sack "oh woe I am so put-upon by the person I love asking for company and maybe advice" act. Take a nap or enjoy a snack or get some reading done. Don't mope around and be a burden.
posted by witchen at 10:13 AM on March 1, 2016 [31 favorites]


This is me at any mall, for any reason, anywhere, ever.
posted by JohnFromGR at 10:13 AM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


A store that does not provide a husband chair is no store I want to patronize.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:15 AM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Wikipedia entry for Männergarten.
posted by Hypatia at 10:16 AM on March 1, 2016 [8 favorites]


(also, i mean, everyone knows you can join someone in the dressing room, right? you can sit in there and chit-chat and offer sage advice on clothes and be part of the process, if you want to.)

My husband and I were recently told in no uncertain terms by an employee at Macy's that my husband must leave the dressing room we were sharing right away because men are in no way allowed in the fitting rooms in the women's section. As he was in the room to give me opinions on the things I was trying on so that I didn't have to leave the room every 30-90 seconds and parade myself in front of the store so he could see them, we left and bought clothes at Penny's instead.
posted by skycrashesdown at 10:17 AM on March 1, 2016 [24 favorites]


Not sure if I ever told this story before here. When I was between high school / college, I worked at a Maidenform outlet. This was before Victoria's Secret had stores (and I think before the catalogs were nationally available as well). If you didn't want to go to a department store for fancy stuff, this was the only option in town.

There were two types of menfolk who would come in.*

1) The guys who would sit on the chairs at the front and look bored and miserable

2) The guys who would follow their female SO around the store, pulling out everything bright red and lacy or black and lacy and say "How about this?" to the point where it stopped being cute anymore.

* presumably there was also a third type who would shop on their own somewhere else, but I never saw them, obviously

My favorite conversation would have to be this one:
Man holding fire-engine red lace teddy: How about this? Do you need this?
Woman holding a bunch of nude-colored bras to try on: How would I need that? When would I even wear that?
Man: You could wear that... in the house. You could cook eggs in it!

I don't know if she bought the teddy. I hope they are still together.
posted by Mchelly at 10:17 AM on March 1, 2016 [16 favorites]


Ho boy a new thing to hate
posted by craven_morhead at 10:17 AM on March 1, 2016


Mainly, what I'm confused about is why dudes go to the mall to sit in the chair. Either the shopping is household shopping, in which case you should get up and do your share, or it's your partner's personal shopping, in which case you should stay home if you don't like it.

It seems like it's part of this whole narrative of masculinity where it's all "women and marriage are so boring and limiting to the free spirits of men, women have all these boring priorities" and I keep asking myself "well, why did these guys get married?" If you don't like the price of the ticket, don't stand in line.
posted by Frowner at 10:19 AM on March 1, 2016 [51 favorites]


My wife and I call these "bored boyfriend benches." The gender-flipped equivalent can often be found in record stores.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:21 AM on March 1, 2016 [6 favorites]


A store that does not provide a husband chair is no store I want to patronize.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:15 PM on March 1 [+] [!]

Not a fainting couch?
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:23 AM on March 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Daily reminder: everything men do is wrong, including sitting.
posted by rr at 10:23 AM on March 1, 2016 [32 favorites]


The flaw in this is that a lot of men actually, honestly do not like to go shopping at all. I mean, I think I'd rather pull my nails out than go shopping.

I also feel this way, but I need to buy stuff because I can't go to work in a makeshift toga and women's sizes are fucked up so I have to try shit on and I often cry when I go shopping because it makes me feel so terrible so I'm not feeling a whole lot of sympathy for the "it's so booooooooooring" crowd. Yup, it's super boring! It's boring and terrible! It's worse when you have to do it than when you can sit and read!

I'm very fortunate to have the amazing, supportive husband I have who makes me feel better about shopping but it would make me feel very, very hurt and frustrated if I had to do an unpleasant chore and someone who just had to accompany me and didn't have to do any work spent the whole time talking about how awful it was for them.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:23 AM on March 1, 2016 [64 favorites]


When my wife was first pregnant we took a trip to New York that included a visit to a huge maternity wear store. The only place for the men to sit was an aggressively uncomfortable bench made of rough, knotty wood. We both decided that this was the "it's your fault" seat and that an hour of its tortures was only a hint of what she was about to spend months going through. I felt this was a fair trade-off.
posted by YoungStencil at 10:24 AM on March 1, 2016 [16 favorites]


Mainly, what I'm confused about is why dudes go to the mall to sit in the chair. Either the shopping is household shopping, in which case you should get up and do your share, or it's your partner's personal shopping, in which case you should stay home if you don't like it.

You come to help with what you can (offering advice or suggestions or holding everything but six items or whatever). You're not going to go into the dressing room, because the dressing room is cramped, your wife doesn't want you to see stuff that fits really badly, they won't let you, and/or you're holding the n-6 things your wife wants to try on. You sit because standing and holding stuff is tiring, but you want to be close by. I'm not sure how this is confusing.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:25 AM on March 1, 2016 [24 favorites]


Mainly, what I'm confused about is why dudes go to the mall to sit in the chair. Either the shopping is household shopping, in which case you should get up and do your share, or it's your partner's personal shopping, in which case you should stay home if you don't like it.

That's why I think this actually is an example of (maybe not 100% successful) emotional labor. Some women (/people) don't drive. Sometimes you only have one car, or both have to be somewhere immediately afterwards. Or you're on your way from somewhere and suddenly pass a store and she wants to go in. Maybe she wants opinions on whatever she's trying on. All of those things are a PIA if you don't want to do them, and the guy is showing up. I hate the trope, but I can't hate the guys for doing it.
posted by Mchelly at 10:25 AM on March 1, 2016 [13 favorites]


Finally a thread about the emotional labor that men do (needs more purse holding, though)

AMA: My wife asked me to hold her purse and I successfully maintained my masculinity while doing it (I had to punch some trees with my bare fists on the way home though)
posted by theorique at 10:25 AM on March 1, 2016 [9 favorites]


But... things do need to be purchased sometimes.

Prior to the internet making this brainlessly easy, there were/are enough clothing stores (not department stores) where it was possible to go in, get three shirts, or a pack of socks or whatever and be out again in less than 15 minutes. Mostly that works because you know exactly what you're looking for, you just need more of them.

It's not necessarily a particularly gendered thing either. A number of women in my family also prefer this approach for most of their clothes, particularly for their office uniforms. But none of them try to play in the fashion games either.
posted by bonehead at 10:26 AM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


My life is so rich without this in it.
posted by humboldt32 at 10:26 AM on March 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


The flaw in this is that a lot of men people actually, honestly do not like to go shopping at all. I mean, I think I'd rather pull my nails out than go shopping.

FTFY.

That is me everytime I go out with my mom. I am a woman. Some people like shopping. Some people don't like shopping. (Oh, and yes, I have to buy erratically-sized clothes, etc. etc., but I have the minimal-shopping solution to this: I find a pair of pants/sweater/whatever that fits and I buy it in three or four colours: Shopping done.)
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:27 AM on March 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Okay, I get that this can be really a supportive thing, with the driving, or the companionship.

In that case, I wish the framing wasn't always "lol, women like shopping but men recognize that it's just so boring unless it's for records and tools, so they nap in the chair!"
posted by Frowner at 10:27 AM on March 1, 2016 [18 favorites]


This concept of sitting, being miserable, just... it's like, I don't know. These guys can't find anything to look at? This is alien to me. This is wanting to be miserable.

HUSBAND: OK, I'm gonna go to Apple.
WIFE: No, I need you to tell me if it looks good on me.
HUSBAND: OK.

(HUSBAND sits in chair. 10 minutes pass in silence.)

WIFE (modeling new clothing): So what do you think?
HUSBAND: Uh, it's, like, nice, I guess.

fin

(I'd probably be on my phone though, and my resting face is more neutral, less miserable.)
posted by theorique at 10:29 AM on March 1, 2016 [7 favorites]


This is why I have a strict solo-shopping policy. I want to enjoy my time at Sephora without getting eyerolls and dramatic sighs from the vicinity of a lumpen easy chair. Also, I don't care what he thinks about fashion, he wears cargo shorts.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 10:31 AM on March 1, 2016 [15 favorites]


The last time I encountered one of these benches, I was the bored spouse on the awkward Macy's couch while my husband tried on all the pants in the store for a new job. I brought a book. I don't see why people are so indignant about someone waiting in the waiting chair, though. I kept an eye on the...I think it was shirts or ties or cufflinks or something we'd picked up in another area, provided pants opinions when relevant, and then afterwards we went together to the bookstore and got dinner in the other part of the mall.

I mean, going to the mall (around here at least) is AWFUL, so it's a given that it's a team sport.
posted by bowtiesarecool at 10:33 AM on March 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


Y'know, some of these guys might be waiting for their kids and their kids' friends.
posted by hydrophonic at 10:36 AM on March 1, 2016 [8 favorites]


My husband is happy enough to come clothes shopping with me and offer opinions from the husband chair - he has a bad back so standing while I try on a few things would be painful after a while. If I know I'm going to be a while, I tell him and he may wander off to go look at other stores.

I'm afraid that my terminally bored face is far worse when he's looking at every guitar amp on offer at the music store. Thank goodness for phones. Otherwise I'd be poking at random musical instruments to see what noises they make.
posted by PussKillian at 10:41 AM on March 1, 2016


Why can't the man and woman be discussing the movie they're waiting for? Why can't that purse belong to the person who's holding it? Why can't that gentleman be waiting for the sales person to bring him some shoes to try on? Why can't any of them have been on a whirlwind shopping trip—with or without a significant other (male or female)—and took a moment to rest their feet?

I think the global epidemic at play here is, to put it as kindly as I can, gender stereotyping.
posted by spacely_sprocket at 10:41 AM on March 1, 2016 [18 favorites]


These guys are doing it wrong. There is almost certainly a bar nearby.

I find UK malls don't often have bars, and I suspect it's something they've arrived at to keep the tills ringing. They have restaurants instead, and the family is supposed to pause together for a high-spending hour in one of those for sustenance instead, and those in the family that really like shopping can feel that the whole day out is not purely focused on acquiring stuff. If men peeled off to a bar every time, it would soon kill off this part of the mall visit and break up a massively lucrative Saturday format that many families follow.
posted by colie at 10:41 AM on March 1, 2016


new items do not mystically materialize in homes to be consumed

I just ordered a replacement faucet part on Amazon same-day delivery.
posted by stevis23 at 10:41 AM on March 1, 2016 [11 favorites]


I end up sitting on the floor outside the changing room when I take my daughter shopping. She gets her clothes at the thrift store, so I suppose it's my own fault -- I should drag over a chair (or a sofa or a piano).
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:42 AM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have an iPhone and access to the biggest repository of information human kind has ever known.

Waiting? I'm getting me an edumacation.
posted by Talez at 10:45 AM on March 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


Why isn't there a (non-high end) clothing store with dressing cubicles and an iPad catalog? Check off the items you want to try on, and they're delivered to the room. When you're done, the staff puts them back or processes your purchase. Spouses can hang out and watch you try things on. As someone who likes both shopping and big comfy chairs, but still needs to try on everything due to a non-standard body shape, this would really be the ideal situation for everyone involved.
posted by theraflu at 10:46 AM on March 1, 2016


Isn't that what Bonobos is?
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:48 AM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Male here. Here's some data points:
-I recognize myself in these pictures, but there are no malls within an hour of me [worth going to], so I don't have to do this sort of thing. And I would probably rather wait in the car than in a mall.
-I hate going to Home Depot and Lowe's in addition to the clothing stores.
-I love the smell of the co-op, and I do almost all the grocery shopping.
-I prefer to shop alone, because I like to do it quickly.
posted by MtDewd at 10:49 AM on March 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Those men are sitting down because of privilege.

Some of them are sitting down because they're not shopping. And a number of them are old dudes, who you'll find sitting on benches just about anywhere because they get tired sometimes. Maybe they're waiting for someone, or for a bus, or a ride somewhere and have some time to kill. Maybe they brought their teenagers to the mall and they don't want to be seen with their dorky dad. What a bunch of assholes, right?

Sometimes I sit if I'm out with my wife while she's in a store because she's trying things on and I'm not allowed to go in the change rooms without looking like a weird perv and make everyone really uncomfortable. Also I am not really up on women's fashion trends and won't be terribly helpful finding things on the racks. Sometimes, if there's something interesting in the mall for me, I will go there while she's in a store she likes. Now that record stores don't exist, that's less likely. I used to spend hours in those and for that exact reason I would go alone, because it's boring as fuck if you don't get your kicks by looking at records and CDs. I am a terrible person.

Like, note the presence of actual children in some of those photos engaging in the same behavior as the grownass men

I don't even know what this is supposed to mean; these men are sitting and looking at phones and in some cases looking bored or napping. None of these things strike me as particularly childish. This is exactly what riding city transit looks like, or an airport departure lounge, or anything else where you're waiting for people in public. Are you saying they need to be more proactive or something? We're literally calling them "burdens"?
posted by Hoopo at 11:00 AM on March 1, 2016 [22 favorites]


Perhaps these men are trusted friends, there to do nothing but give their opinion to their significant-other?
posted by blue_beetle at 11:01 AM on March 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Maybe they've got resting miserable face.
posted by nom de poop at 11:04 AM on March 1, 2016 [24 favorites]


These are the same guys that pour into the library at 10 am after their wives kick them out of the house for the day.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:04 AM on March 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


There is a secret to being a man out shopping with his wife: being involved and fun and enjoying your time together. Sorry if that sounds weird.

I actually had to close that window and quit looking at those pictures of those guys. Such sad.
posted by vverse23 at 11:09 AM on March 1, 2016 [9 favorites]


I have little problem with men sitting in chairs waiting for their significant others to finish shopping. What I have a problem with:

1. Labelling it the man-chair or husband-bench. I'm just as likely the one to be sitting down in a clothing store as my boyfriend, and I do think even those jokey names perpetuate gender stereotypes and contribute to confirmation-bias observations by/from all of us.

2. Men who act like put-upon martyrs who get "dragged" to the mall by their wives. Negotiate a better way to manage the chore so it doesn't have to be a group outing, or if you really do have to go, find a way to be positive and not complainy about it. Sometimes that means splitting up, sometimes it means alternating between stores where both have to endure the drudgery of trying clothes on (trust me it's no more fun for me than for anyone waiting) and stores where you can both look around and, idk, have fun?

3. Making statements that imply that women don't buy tech gadgets or records (!!!!) or want to have a fucking drink after wandering around a place as awful as a mall.

4. Calling shopping for clothes "fashion games" as if women aren't policed within an inch of their lives about what they wear.
posted by misskaz at 11:12 AM on March 1, 2016 [67 favorites]


My favorite local women's clothing store that caters to middle-aged matrons such as myself has a little preschooler-sized table and chairs, and a bucket of crayons and coloring pages, in the dressing room area. I BUY A LOT MORE CLOTHES when I can occupy my small shopping buddies while I try stuff on! It's an excellent example of knowing and catering to your market's specific needs.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:13 AM on March 1, 2016 [12 favorites]


Honestly, looking at these is just a reminder to me that mall shopping is a ludicrously terrible experience that's probably on its way out. I actually really like browsing in stores but you'll never catch me in a Best Buy without a gun to my head.
posted by selfnoise at 11:16 AM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ho boy a new thing to hate

In fact, this concept has got to be 70 years old at least.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:17 AM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Me too (I'm a woman). But... things do need to be purchased sometimes. Someone's got to do it. I think a lot of women don't actually like shopping but... new items do not mystically materialize in homes to be consumed or given as gifts to others.

I online shop only, and am totally the girl in the chair when my husband drags me out shopping.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:25 AM on March 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


I never guessed I'd be reading people agreeing with the whole "men hate waiting for women, women be shoppin! bleh!" stuff, but I supposed I haven't paid enough attention the past few years.

Secondly, I know a lot of men love to feel this way and take it as some kind of sign of their manliness that they do. They're dumb, but I guess if that's what floats your boat, go for it. Maybe it's the byproduct of shopping with my mom and going to stores with siblings, but I love shopping, even if the women's clothing section is like a vast unclaimed wilderness where often times no two things are alike. I get to evaluate fashion, note places where garments compliment, detract or fit poorly, and I also get to have that moment where going in I thought it was going to be a disaster of a combination but somehow that set of navy paisley pants works with that faded creamsicle top with the weird ruffles. I don't know how, but it does. Get it! Some dressing rooms have no problem with me being in there, others do. Either way, I don't care. I just wait like it's the 18 minutes between when they say the game comes on, and when the tipoff actually happens. Or the 8 minutes while we look at multiple camera angles of if his foot was in or out of bounds. Or I shazam that Little Dragon song that sounds really good and I wonder how I slept on it since I've listened to the whole CD before. Or I hit up retailmenot to see if there are any good in-store coupons. Sit there and pout like a dummy if you want to, fellow men. Your loss.

Lastly, I can't believe someone dedicated a whole IG account to these pictures and ultimately the promotion of that whole sentiment that annoys me to no end. But when I got to this picture of theirs, where it looks like the guy is on a makeshift guillotine, the answer became clear. Just need some facial recognition software, a bucket, and a timer. C'est la guerre.
posted by cashman at 11:27 AM on March 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


Wait, yes, what if this is just the male version of "resting bitch face"?

I see these photos, and I'm like, geez, these guys should read a book or look interested or something.
But maybe they're actually really happy to have found their place, and are perfectly contented to wait, and we're just judging their expressions inaccurately because they're not performing for us.
posted by redsparkler at 11:27 AM on March 1, 2016 [18 favorites]


There is a difference between "sitting in the waiting chair" and "not interested in shopping". This seems to be playing up the latter, but I'm a guy and I love shopping, including going with female friends shopping for clothing (for them and me).

But even then, there is that "waiting time" and having someplace to sit when you're out shopping for 6 hours or whatever is nice. Its good when mens stores have a place for women to wait too! I'm sure if you caught me at the right moment I might look bored --- because I'm literally sitting there waiting for my friend to come back out and show me the outfit she's trying on... I probably am temporarily bored, but it has no relation to my feelings on shopping.

Those men are sitting down because of privilege.

I end up spending plenty of time in changing rooms as well on such trips, lots of men's clothing doesn't have exact size measurements and I have to try on several as well. Plus the point of trying on is not just size but how it looks on you. I probably spend a little less time doing so than most of the women I know, but it's not dramatically less.

But shopping has lots of forms, usually for me clothing shopping is a social outing that also involves shopping (as is stereotypically the case for groups of women), not a goal-oriented get-in/get-out kind of thing.
posted by thefoxgod at 11:29 AM on March 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


Because, I guess, someone knew that "Men Taking Naps or Playing on their Phones" wasn't clickbaity enough. Seriously, in the smartphone age, if I were paired at the moment, she'd be the one waiting impatiently while I'm going "just one more level, I swear".
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:30 AM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


I grew up in the 50's and 60's, WAY before gender fluidity was an option, and the construction of a masculine persona was a torturous and tortuous process.

Hating shopping (especially in fabric stores) is the ONE masculine trait that comes naturally to me. Don't take that away from me! (Of course now, with cell phones, I can always go wandering off somewhere. Plus I usually have a magazine with me. But, yes, I've made use of those Man Chairs before. Not so miserably as these men, though.)
posted by kozad at 11:39 AM on March 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Mainly, what I'm confused about is why dudes go to the mall to sit in the chair. Either the shopping is household shopping, in which case you should get up and do your share, or it's your partner's personal shopping, in which case you should stay home if you don't like it.

My ex more or less insisted. She enjoyed shopping for clothes and shoes so it was important to her that I go and share in that with her, and she was consistently annoyed that I didn't in fact enjoy it. One of those "What I want is for you to want to do this!" things, but we were both young and stupid.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:40 AM on March 1, 2016 [9 favorites]


They'd be a lot more handsome if they smiled.
posted by ODiV at 11:52 AM on March 1, 2016 [74 favorites]


when I can occupy my small shopping buddies while I try stuff on!

Oh, is finding stray pins on the floor and poking your sibling with them no longer the done thing?
posted by phunniemee at 12:10 PM on March 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


Those men are sitting down because of privilege.
What a bunch of assholes, right?

Hoopo, saying that someone has privilege is not saying that they're an asshole. Your reaction to this statement--as if it was a personal attack upon all men who sit down at malls--is a really good example of what makes it hard to discuss privilege.

Obvs, this is a fairly minor example.

But women get old and tired too. But we're expected to put more work into our appearance, to wear clothing that is more varied, that follows rules that change by situation more drastically, that is more closely tailored and so is harder to fit. It makes shopping more time intensive (and probably more nerve-wracking on average). As a reward, we get jokes about how we just love shopping so much, lolz women amirite.

So, yes, the fact that men sitting in chairs in malls is a trope is a reflection of male privilege. That does not mean sitting down in a chair in a mall makes you a bad person, man or woman.

The difference between saying someone has privilege and someone is an asshole really shouldn't have to be explained at this point, honestly.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 12:16 PM on March 1, 2016 [36 favorites]


So happy that my wife buys all her clothes online.
posted by octothorpe at 12:19 PM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


There is a secret to being a man out shopping with his wife: being involved and fun and enjoying your time together. Sorry if that sounds weird.

Enjoying the mall sounds weird to me, yes. The mall is generally not a fun time for me, no. Like every other crowded place, I get a lot of anxiety at malls; the crowds and the brightness are exhausting to me, and I start to get angry with the pace of the place, and how no one seems to watch where they're going , and how people walk 6 abreast down the hall, and how there seems to be melted ice cream puddles and ketchup streaks everywhere, and the bathrooms are disgusting, etc. But believe it or not, there are hundreds of other things we both like and do together that are fun, and we can both be involved with, and enjoy time together! Actually letting each other know what we do and don't like is more helpful to a fostering a happy life together than faking it on the principle that looking bored when we're bored is a terrible thing!

Mainly, what I'm confused about is why dudes go to the mall to sit in the chair.

Lots of reasons. Or maybe they don't go there to do that. Maybe they go there and are participating for a while and then get tired or bored later on and sit in a chair for a while. Maybe, like my dad used to from time to time and I probably will do myself in 10 years, they brought their kids and some of their friends to the mall so they could hang out and pretend to be big shot independent 13-year-olds who can buy baseball hats and french fries and say bad words like grownups do and totally don't have their lame parents waiting downstairs to give them a ride home after. Maybe their legs are tired. Maybe they're part of the 10% of Americans that are diabetic and need a break. Maybe they just go to the mall because they're lonely and have little money and they can get a coffee at the food court for a buck fifty and get out of the house for a while. There are so many reasons why someone with a penis might sit on a bench at a mall.
posted by Hoopo at 12:24 PM on March 1, 2016 [7 favorites]


two husbands: both liked shopping better than me
posted by mumimor at 12:25 PM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


We always call this "Schmuck's Row".
posted by VeniceGlass at 12:27 PM on March 1, 2016


and how there seems to be melted ice cream puddles and ketchup streaks everywhere

I mean I generally get your complaints about going to the mall, but dude, something's seriously wrong with your local mall. I'm just picturing rivers of ice cream streaked with ketchup EVERYWHERE, radiating out from the food court to the farthest reaches of the department store.
posted by zachlipton at 12:29 PM on March 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


Oooh, there's nothing I hate more than gender policing! Turn in your man card! Don't you hate shopping with the ol' ball and chain! Holdin' her purse cuz she's got yer balls in it! wheee
posted by Existential Dread at 12:31 PM on March 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


two husbands: both liked shopping better than me

In fair Verona where we lay our scene
posted by shakespeherian at 12:31 PM on March 1, 2016 [69 favorites]


When I worked at a small natural food's store in a small rural town, we had a couple chairs outside the store, on the sidewalk. This was because health food is apparently such an emasculating substance that many men would refuse to enter the store at all with their female companions.

This is very strange to me because I find a well-appointed natural food store, with its typical profusion of beautiful unfinished wood surfaces; its wealth of ravishingly primary-colored produce punctuated by the endlessly subtle beiges of the root vegetables and the amazingly broad spectrum of leaf greens; and its astonishing array of hues, shapes and complex textures held behind the plexiglass columns of the bulk section to be altogether the most profoundly appealing visual experience on offer in any retail environment.

There's a big natural food store right on the route of what used to be one of my favorite long bicycling loops only a few miles from the end, and I somehow got into the habit of stopping just to take a few turns around the place gorging myself on all those incredible sights. In particular, they had a big produce island underneath a huge skylight supplemented by hanging and shaded halogens, that I used to circulate around peering at stacks and stacks of fruit and vegetables that seemed to be glowing with a light of their own -- until I looked up one day to meet the eyes of the produce person in the center of the island, and realized that he was clearly a little uneasy about the roughly-dressed big guy with lit and bulging eyes who was spending minutes at a time staring at stacks of Valencias and red peppers, or gazing into the infinite depths of heads of broccoli, without so much as a basket on his arm.

So I learned to dissemble a bit, by carrying a basket or pushing a cart, and by only going around twice and then going off to tour the rest of the store for awhile before coming back -- and I always bought something, too.

But I also learned to avoid Saturday evenings, because on that night during spring and summer there were, more than occasionally, very attractive women shopping in sandals and caftans with nothing obvious underneath, say, or body stockings, or tube tops and short shorts, or not necessarily anything clearly significant at all (which made them more difficult to avoid), and I had a few uncomfortable encounters also apparently stemming from confusion about what I was doing there.
posted by jamjam at 12:39 PM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


I assume they're all waiting for their husbands.
posted by Segundus at 12:39 PM on March 1, 2016 [8 favorites]


Natural food stores do often have a peculiar smell. I blame it on carob.

I held out against getting a cell phone for the longest time but the single reason that persuaded me to get one was being able to text with my husband while we each did whatever we wanted while out shopping. He's in Target and I'm cooing over cute rescue dogs at Petsmart across the parking lot? Great! We can still arrange to meet at the car when done.
posted by Squeak Attack at 12:45 PM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


There are indeed men who love two things equally: 1, going shopping with their wives, and 2, acting put upon and annoyed and telling the story of his retail martyrdom a million times (despite secretly loving going shopping with their wives).

There is not a lot of crossover between men who have those two loves and the MF crowd, but boy do they exist. BOY DO THEY.

(Why do they love going shopping with their wives? For some of them, they really and truly just love spending time with their wives, no matter what the task. They just tend to be socialized that they aren’t supposed to love it, so they play the “my wife dragged me out shopping!!” game after the fact, or even with the cashiers in the store.

For some of them, they clearly get a rush out of controlling the household money. She’s the one “shopping”, but he’s the one who handles the credit cards.

For some of them, it is a way of controlling their wives, an uglier version of the last one. He has the final say on whether or not she buys that top, those shoes. It can become another way for her to dance/beg for his approval.)

I have also 100% known men who play the whole “ugh my wife and her SHOPPING!!!” schtick, but who would also freak out and take it as an insult to his status as ~provider~ if said wife just started buying cheap, off-brand clothes at Kmart and Goodwill. "My wife and her shopping...SHE'S ALWAYS AT NORDSTROM THAT ONE" becomes a way for that kind to brag about his own ability to pay for things. It's a way of outsourcing conspicuous consumption.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 12:50 PM on March 1, 2016 [18 favorites]


I love my husband. He does most of the emotional labor, nearly all the shopping, more than half of the cleaning, and about 2/3 of the cooking. He also does a ton of stuff for me that I should do for myself, but I have some weird hangup about ... but one thing he can't do for me is buy my clothes. So on those rare occasions I force myself to go clothes shopping, he comes along for general moral support, and I settle him at a nice nearby wifi-enabled cafe while I go and suffer the thousand humiliations that clothes-shopping flesh is heir to. And when I'm done, I rush out to find him so he can take me directly to the nearest cocktail. And I am inexpressibly grateful to be done with that, and that he's there patiently waiting, and all is right with the world.
posted by taz at 12:58 PM on March 1, 2016 [16 favorites]


nonshoppers i know LOVE shopping with me because no one on earth loathes shopping more than i do, and i refuse to go into a store without knowing where inside the store the one item i need is and then going directly to that item and then to the cash register. it is a COVERT MISSION INTO ENEMY TERRITORY and it will be done as quickly and quietly as possible. otherwise i do the vast majority of my shopping online.

shoppers i know don't go shopping with me and i don't go with them because it leads to fisticuffs in the housewares section.

also one time i went into the BB&B near the limelight to get a toilet brush and they had changed the entire store around in such a shocking and confusing way that i had to make myself a small nest in the towel section to hyperventilate.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:59 PM on March 1, 2016 [15 favorites]


I used to be a cook in a health food store. Because I was downstairs in the kitchen I never got to see who the clientele were, but dudes are missing out if they're waiting out front. We had delicious knishes and mac and cheese and cheese bagels and aloo saag and rebaked potatoes and so much good food... Half of it isn't even "healthy" if that's what they're worried about (God forbid!); it's just not pre-packaged or it's made with organic ingredients or whatever.
posted by Hoopo at 1:01 PM on March 1, 2016




who


 
posted by Herodios at 1:03 PM on March 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


A young man in my sons' Scout troop did his Eagle service project by creating a nice sitting area outside the local food bank, including the design & construction of folding Aldo Leopold-style benches. He shared some pictures last week of the first nice day that they could be used, and I believe it was a mix of people -- because sometimes you just want to sit down, you know?
posted by wenestvedt at 1:09 PM on March 1, 2016 [6 favorites]


My guy is a gem who is happy to come shopping with me (I dislike it), will help pick items out (he's got a better eye than I do), and then will happily sit down in the man chair with his phone and read while I try things on, amused until his opinion is solicited. More than one sales associate has commented on how rare this is, and he just shakes his head that the bar for being a decent man is set So Low that he comes off looking golden.
posted by ldthomps at 1:14 PM on March 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


My dad purchased a pair of black levis in 1960, and has then purchased the same style number, the same size, the same wash colour for the next 56 years. And he just wears literally any tshirt. He doesn't shop.

But that being said, my dad will weirdly HAPPILY go to the mall with you and do exactly as the men in these pictures do. He doesn't even want to help you with clothes trying on opinions. He just wants to go to the mall, sit in a series of chairs, do some people watching, and maybe have a few brief naps and eat at Opa Souvlaki.

I grew up in a small town, so maybe it's just the people watching in a bigger city that's kind of a novel thing about going to a mall, but he always comes by choice, and then proceeds to look as miserable as all these guys, and then tells you a bunch of amusing stories about the people he saw, and declares it a good day.
posted by euphoria066 at 1:23 PM on March 1, 2016 [25 favorites]


i don't know if this has been addressed or not but it is also kind of shitty to take photos of people without their knowledge or consent and put them on a website for this kind of consumption but you know *shrug*
posted by suddenly, and without warning, at 1:31 PM on March 1, 2016 [23 favorites]


Eponysterical.
posted by fedup at 1:35 PM on March 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: pants opinions when relevant
posted by chavenet at 1:45 PM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Why do they love going shopping with their wives? For some of them, they really and truly just love spending time with their wives, no matter what the task. They just tend to be socialized that they aren’t supposed to love it, so they play the “my wife dragged me out shopping!!” game after the fact, or even with the cashiers in the store.

Enjoy spending time with my wife: check.

Enjoy shopping: check [1].

Enjoy clothing shopping: [silence]

Enjoy spending time in women's clothing stores waiting for my wife to try things on: [silence]

I certainly like spending time with my wife, but waiting for her outside the change room isn't "spending time with her". Time to meditate or stare at an ebook, maybe.

[1] At certain stores and certain times only.
posted by theorique at 1:49 PM on March 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


After you've been through the Apple Store and Tesla Store there's basically nothing left in the mall for a red-blooded man.

williams fucking sonoma, bro
posted by escabeche at 2:02 PM on March 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


anyway, this thread reminds me I have an erma bombeck book out from the library I need to reread
posted by escabeche at 2:04 PM on March 1, 2016 [9 favorites]


(also, i mean, everyone knows you can join someone in the dressing room, right? you can sit in there and chit-chat and offer sage advice on clothes and be part of the process, if you want to.)

I guess this depends who you're shopping with. I would feel pretty weird going into the dressing room with my women friends, and I suspect they would also not be very happy with that...
posted by thefoxgod at 2:07 PM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


"Its good when mens stores have a place for women to wait too! "

Men's stores often have REALLY COMFORTABLE places for women to sit just outside the dressing room because they know a lot of men are going to have their female partners issuing final judgment on purchases and they want to keep you comfortable. If you're shopping for suits, they'll often even bring you a soda and they spend fully as much time selling to you as to the man who will be wearing the suit.

(Also if you're going to any place that's Talbot's level or above, you know you can call ahead and have them pull stuff for you so you can just go right to the dressing room without even having to browse? "I need work-appropriate pants, size 12 or 14, kinda hippy, no pleats, can you pull a few things for me to start with? I'll be in at 1 or so." When my husband goes suit shopping I call ahead with copious instructions because he is easily overwhelmed by choosing from "the entire universe of suits" and gives up.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:20 PM on March 1, 2016 [7 favorites]


without even having to browse

Is that supposed to be a feature? Browsing is like 90% of the fun...

But then again, I guess I'm unusual in that I like shopping for hours whether I buy anything or not. Shopping is a social/browsing experience where occasionally I might buy something.
posted by thefoxgod at 2:25 PM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Hoopo, saying that someone has privilege is not saying that they're an asshole. Your reaction to this statement--as if it was a personal attack upon all men who sit down at malls--is a really good example of what makes it hard to discuss privilege.

It seemed to me we got to "the men in these pictures are exhibiting privilege because they are waiting on their wives who need to try on many pairs of pants today because of bullshit sizing standards" pretty quick, and from there we saw comments either stating or implying that these men are being a burden on someone, that they're childish, that they should do something else and shouldn't look bored because it's annoying, etc. We got people wondering why anyone would go to the mall if they're going to wind up looking miserable in a chair or bench. We've got anecdata of men that do it just for show and are secretly bragging about their money. We don't even know if half the men in these pictures are accompanying anyone, they're just sitting on benches or chairs.

I am totally comfortable with the idea that shopping for clothes will sometimes be easier and quicker for me than for my wife because of my gender, and that's fine to call male privilege, and I could have picked a better pull quote to express why a lot of the thread is so irritating to me. But when there's an implication that if I'm sitting on a bench I ought to be doing something else that's more pleasant to people who like being at the mall? I get annoyed. I probably look as miserable as most of these guys do sometimes because malls are exhausting to me.
posted by Hoopo at 2:28 PM on March 1, 2016 [9 favorites]


This is why I always shop alone.
posted by louche mustachio at 2:36 PM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


I often see bored looking men waiting around in women's clothing stores, and I never fail to wonder WHY? Why bring someone who isn't interested, and will be miserable the whole time, on your shopping trip? I mean if it's a kid and you just can't get a sitter, well I get that, but why would one grown ass adult ask this of another and why would that other agree? Total mystery to me, always has been.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 2:45 PM on March 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


PS I don't blame the guys (or girls) who don't want to accompany their mate on a clothes shopping trip. Life is WAY to short to spend any of it sitting on your butt, bored out of your mind.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 2:57 PM on March 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


...and by "gender stereotyping" I mean hetero-normative bigotry.
posted by spacely_sprocket at 3:03 PM on March 1, 2016


I think it's worth considering that the issue shouldn't be the act of sitting, or speculating on the exact motives of total strangers in a photo - the issue is the framing, the old hat idea that women are so boring with their shopping obsession, amirite? It's the same type of narrative as the Lockhorns - women are always ruining men's fun for stupid reasons, men are always immiserated but also loutish and lazy, women are naturally materialistic whereas men care about important things like tools. Also, of course, men and women are all straight. Also, women care about clothes for mysterious reasons, but never care about beer, whereas men are all yearning to get away from clothes shopping in order to go to the bar.

The issue is the story we tell ourselves about our lives, not beanplating whether you individually were being a terrible person because you got a coffee while your partner was at the Talbot's spring sale.
posted by Frowner at 3:25 PM on March 1, 2016 [13 favorites]


We don't often go to the mall, but the last time we did, one fashion store had 'The Art of Vogue Photography' by the waiting chair. It was fascinating. "I'm not done yet, so try on some more things if you like."
posted by ovvl at 3:27 PM on March 1, 2016


My mom was the last person I enjoyed shopping with. I think I've lost whatever knack I had for doing it as a social thing; it's too fraught. Never once occurred to me to bring along the husband. And not just because he's colorblind.
posted by emjaybee at 3:29 PM on March 1, 2016


Why bring someone who isn't interested, and will be miserable the whole time, on your shopping trip?

Well we don't go out shopping often but when we do, I have to go because my wife doesn't drive and taking a bus to the mall might be theoretically possible but not really practical.
posted by octothorpe at 3:38 PM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


There are a lot of strange assumptions going on in this thread. Namely that because women's sizes are irregular and weird, somehow men's clothes aren't? This man almost always have to try on clothes in the dressing room, too, because that one time I take a chance, that shirt or those pants won't fit when I get home. Each brand seems to have its own size standard. So I reject the notion that "only women have to use the dressing room"; men do as well.
posted by zardoz at 4:08 PM on March 1, 2016 [9 favorites]


Eyebrows McGee: "My favorite local women's clothing store that caters to middle-aged matrons such as myself has a little preschooler-sized table and chairs, and a bucket of crayons and coloring pages, in the dressing room area. I BUY A LOT MORE CLOTHES when I can occupy my small shopping buddies while I try stuff on! It's an excellent example of knowing and catering to your market's specific needs."

The "man chairs" are a godsend when you're doing some shopping as part of a family trip to the mall. Whoever isn't doing the shopping can park themselves with the kids and an iPad and the other person gets to try clothes on without a constant refrain of "Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom." or "Dad. Dad. Dad. Dad. Dad."
posted by scrump at 4:17 PM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


My wife and a friend of mine were having a spirited discussion about feminism one hot summer day while I was in a clothing store trying on shorts. The friend, a dude, was trying to mansplain to my wife how the patriarchy was oppressing her, and how he because of his maleness was capable of oppressing her. She strongly disagreed. He brought up body issues, to which my wife replied that I had far more problems in that department than she did. He proclaimed that this was inconceivable.

At that moment I emerged from the store, devoid of shorts, loudly complaining about how nothing in the store fit me and everything made me feel fat.

My friend had no reply.
posted by grumpybear69 at 4:41 PM on March 1, 2016 [6 favorites]


I often see bored looking men waiting around in women's clothing stores, and I never fail to wonder WHY?

My wife likes my opinion when she buys clothing - she tends to buy things in the same three colours, and she's encouraged me to challenge her to experiment with new colours or things she would not normally buy. I have over time started to learn a little bit about what a cluster fuck shopping and sizing is for women.

So I sit in the chair. The part where she's there is interesting and I am engaged - we go back and forth on an item and it's great. That might be 5/20 minutes in that store, though.

When she's in the change room, I just feel awkward. You don't want to look at anyone else, in part because change rooms are where people are in varying degrees of undress, and it's also this weird moment for people where they're often feeling vulnerable and looking for a private show of support from their person in a chair - and you're there.

I don't feel comfortable pulling out my phone because I feel like phones in change areas make people nervous.

Occasionally there's a TV somewhere, or a magazine, and that situation is great. But most places - it's a chair facing a bunch of stuff you're trying not to look at. But I want to be there for my wife, so I do it.

So, in conclusion - I am not miserable and I want to be there doing exactly what I am, but like playing golf, everything but the part where you're doing the thing is boring as hell. Bored and happy are not mutually exclusive.

I had never considered taking a book with me, and I will the next time, because that seems like it would solve all of my problems. Metafilter always comes through.

Also - a lot of these people look like my grandfather, and he fell asleep doing EVERYTHING he loved (watching baseball, seeing family, whatever.) I don't think anyone looks that happy sleeping slumped in a chair.
posted by scrittore at 4:43 PM on March 1, 2016 [6 favorites]


So I reject the notion that "only women have to use the dressing room"; men do as well.

YMMV, but in my experience a lot of guys buy clothing that is built to last a long time, is a staple and simply designed item, is in a consistent sizing scheme for which there may be 2 or 3 options you choose from, and the selection of stores is smaller, therefore limiting how much "guessing" you need to do.

Women's clothing is this cluster fuck where the numbers are essentially useless, sometimes they're letters, even if the rough outline fits there may be small details that are weird and/or you're not sure if they look good, are designed to fall apart quickly, and oh by the way the second you find something you like, the season's changed and they've burned every remaining pair and murdered the designer to ensure you never find it again.
posted by scrittore at 4:51 PM on March 1, 2016 [8 favorites]


Men still have to go into change rooms and try things on though. I have never - to my knowledge - bought a piece of clothing without having to go into a change room and try it on.

Shirts may come in S, M, L and XL but what kind of fit is it? I'm a M sometimes and a L other times. Is it skinny hipster fit? Is it a loose M? I can't know these things unless I try them on.

And I hate it - personally - because I'm lazy and hate taking my shoes off to try on pants. I wish I could just pick up a pair of pantaloons and just walk out of the store.

We all have to try clothes on.
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 4:57 PM on March 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


And seconding the idea that taking these photos secretly and posting them online and then coming up with descriptions on what these men must be thinking/feeling is shitty. I have resting worried/cranky face. My partner says I look like Carl from Up when I'm just walking around and I'm generally a fairly happy guy. It wasn't until recently when some friends took some secret pictures of me for my buck's party (long, long story) that I realised how bad my resting worried face is. I looked 'depressed' Yet the photo was taken when I was out getting my wedding outfit altered and it was a great day.

I could easily be on this site. I don't hate shopping, but I don't love it. I'm my wife's fashion advisor so I like seeing what she gets. But when I'm waiting I'm sure I look as bored and depressed as all get out. Doesn't mean I am.

A lot of assumptions in here. Any excuse to extrapolate on the menz. We can't even just sit without it being coded.
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 5:01 PM on March 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


It is my experience that some men would rather buy the clothes and return them later if they wind up being unwearable than go in a fitting room. By "return them later," I really mean ignore the problem until it's been so long that the only option is to donate them to Goodwill.
posted by zachlipton at 5:03 PM on March 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


I have never heard of that being a thing. How is that possible? How do they ever have any clothes that fit? What do they wear?
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 5:07 PM on March 1, 2016


Shopping wasn't horrible when I had a bit of disposable income and could buy fun things for the hell of it. (And when my shoes weren't mostly medical and medical-looking - endlessly sad because of this...). I shopped alone, though, other people got in the way. Exes' opinions, laughable (tulle, lace, really, NO). Still wouldn't dream of dragging anyone into it, now that all the calculations are careful. (Capsule wardrobe + pick 1-2 stores with pants with known & good fits + pre-selection online & calling if necessary + burner email account for coupons FTW. Would do it all online if 1) there were good information on material & good pics of representative models - because there are a million cotton blends and weaves and they alllll hang differently and 2) I didn't live in Canada i.e. the 90s afa online shopping's concerned.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 5:11 PM on March 1, 2016


YMMV, but in my experience a lot of guys buy clothing that is built to last a long time, is a staple and simply designed item, is in a consistent sizing scheme for which there may be 2 or 3 options you choose from, and the selection of stores is smaller, therefore limiting how much "guessing" you need to do.

I think thats true in a "guys do it more than women" sense. Obviously there are plenty of exceptions on both sides.

I went through a time when I did a lot of shopping and wore "fashionable" clothes which meant that I was buying less-durable clothing and replacing it more often, as a guy. This ended when I got married, not because I didn't have to try anymore or anything but because my wife thought it was a waste of money (which, fair enough... although it is fun in the same way shopping for a new cellphone every couple years is).
posted by thefoxgod at 5:17 PM on March 1, 2016


I am a big believer in not dragging along someone who can't buy anything in that store and will be bored out of their minds, whining, "Can we leave yet?" They'd ruin my fun. So I don't really want to bring along a dude while I shop (not that this is an option these days), but I do remember the boring, boring days where I got dragged along while a dude was shopping. Whoop-te-fucking-do, you bought a bunch of pants size 34 long in brown, WHO CARES, I can muster no interest in whether or not you buy the maroon, navy blue, or black sweater because they're all BORING MAN COLORS. No wonder guys hate shopping most of the time, if my style and color palette were that limited, fuck yeah you might as well grab the first thing that fits and leave and be done with it.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:43 PM on March 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Men's pants come with waist and inseam measurements for a greater degree of flexibility and consistency.

Heh. Ha. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

God, that's one of the stupidest things I have heard this week, and I do telephone technical support for realtors.

I ordered from Amazon, due to a coupon, three pairs of pants. All the same measurements, same company, just different kinds (slacks, black jeans, blue jeans). The slacks fit, the blue jeans just barely did not fit, and the black jeans had four inches to go between button and buttonhole. There's no goddamn consistency at all for men's clothing, especially in the big and tall sizes. They're all on drugs out there.
posted by mephron at 6:16 PM on March 1, 2016 [6 favorites]


That was rather strongly worded, mephron. Anyway: women's clothing has all the fucked up sizing that men's does, plus there are higher standards for how our clothing is supposed to fit. Men's fashion is much more forgiving for shirts that are a little unflattering here, or pants that are a little baggy there, than women's fashion is.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:20 PM on March 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


But the point still stands that we have to use dressing rooms as well.
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 6:29 PM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Kanye West?
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 6:31 PM on March 1, 2016


And if that isn't Kanye West then I apologize for being a racist.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 6:33 PM on March 1, 2016


Dude, that's Oprah.
posted by grumpybear69 at 6:39 PM on March 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


I have never heard of that being a thing. How is that possible? How do they ever have any clothes that fit? What do they wear?

Jeans, T-shirts, cargo shorts, hoodies. None of which fit like a suit that's been tailored/altered to fit me fit me, but they don't have to. For those kind of clothes, "fits" more or less means "protects me from the elements and does not inadvertently show my naked flesh to strangers." Sure, the waist and inseam measurements on men's clothing is . . . . . highly variable in practice, but it's generally close enough within brand & model - if one pair of Whatever-brand Relaxed Straight leg fits at xx" by xx", then they all will. Same with khakis/chinos and polos and casual button-downs.

I have absolutely done what zachlipton describes above, although it's less "ignores the problem" and more "Eh, so I spent $20 on a pair of jeans that don't fit, it's not worth the hassle of going back to the store."
posted by soundguy99 at 7:11 PM on March 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Although, y'know, I do work a job where it's mostly acceptable to wear clothes until there's almost more hole than fabric, so getting the wrong size every so often doesn't blow a hole in my clothing budget. For "better" clothing I do hit the dressing rooms. But I have gone years without seeing the inside of one.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:17 PM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


mephron, as a dude, you were buying three completely different types of pants. Thats on you. You were buying three totally different styles, Sucks Bro!

Anecdote: I bought two pairs of jeans, same size and cut, roughly 2 years ago with a coupon and tried to do the same a year later. Went to the same exact display at the same store. Same cut and style. Same color. Thought I'd stock up, right, on the right jeans for me, for my lazy man outfits. Turns out the cut had completely changed in the year since I bought the 2 pairs I like. I still have 4 pairs, but the later ones are barely used and I put new zippers in the original 2 pairs. JEANS MAN.

I love shopping. Mostly at thrift stores and record stores, but also quick stops at dept. stores. My GF likes hippie stores, hipster jewelry, all kinds of weird boutiques I never knew existed. They're pretty awesome! I learned to like essential oils and I have begrudgingly used expensive soap, which I love, but I WORRY so much about the cost as I lather up.

I think the lesson is fuck malls. Give me a bench or a bus stop or a local cafe or, indeed, a bar with a porch.
posted by kittensofthenight at 7:22 PM on March 1, 2016


The reverse lesson is bookstores. Bookstores with cafes that serve wine and beer.
posted by kittensofthenight at 7:24 PM on March 1, 2016


(also, i mean, everyone knows you can join someone in the dressing room, right? you can sit in there and chit-chat and offer sage advice on clothes and be part of the process, if you want to.)

It's been said a few times, but it's worth repeating. Some places welcome bringing a person along to assist and hang out, and other places make it very clear not to do this.

I have also 100% known men who play the whole “ugh my wife and her SHOPPING!!!” schtick, but who would also freak out and take it as an insult to his status as ~provider~ if said wife just started buying cheap, off-brand clothes at Kmart and Goodwill. "My wife and her shopping...SHE'S ALWAYS AT NORDSTROM THAT ONE" becomes a way for that kind to brag about his own ability to pay for things. It's a way of outsourcing conspicuous consumption.

I see this a lot with men my age and older. I wouldn't call it "outsourcing conspicuous consumption" as much as it is the woman herself being the conspicuous consumption. You demonstrate your wealth by being able to keep her -- the woman performs the consumption, but is herself the key symbol of it.

When she's in the change room, I just feel awkward. You don't want to look at anyone else, in part because change rooms are where people are in varying degrees of undress, and it's also this weird moment for people where they're often feeling vulnerable and looking for a private show of support from their person in a chair - and you're there.

Worse are the places with no chairs and nowhere to stand that is fully out of the way.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:25 PM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


mephron, as a dude, you were buying three completely different types of pants. Thats on you. You were buying three totally different styles, Sucks Bro!

Right, and those measurements must have been in three different styles of inches.
posted by grumpybear69 at 7:28 PM on March 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm a woman who hates malls and shopping and so can totally relate to the dudes in these photos. I don't understand my women friends who go shopping in packs and take forever and think it's fun, and they don't understand me. That's why when I shop, I shop by myself and get it done as quickly as possible. Thank fucking god for online shopping.
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 8:08 PM on March 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


The gender-flipped equivalent can often be found in record stores.

Um my ovaries and I went to the record store two days ago and bought five records. There were tons of couples and also unattached women there, all shopping for vinyl. I would say genders are evenly distributed, except for my neighbor's punk record store, which does seem to get more male customers than female on the days I have helped at the register. No martyr wives sitting on a bench, though.
posted by Tarumba at 8:10 PM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


How do we even know these men aren't enjoying themselves? Maybe they all have some sort of old-dude RBF.
posted by GuyZero at 8:37 PM on March 1, 2016


Datapoint: hate malls. Will speed walk in and out. I am the one sighing loudly in the dressing room. Most of what I own is black or dark blue. The last time I tried on a top, I bought five of it, in the same color.
posted by kinoeye at 12:08 AM on March 2, 2016


It is my experience that some men would rather buy the clothes and return them later if they wind up being unwearable than go in a fitting room. By "return them later," I really mean ignore the problem until it's been so long that the only option is to donate them to Goodwill.

I've never understood the "buy speculatively and return later" model. I assumed (incorrectly I guess) that it was a female thing, since the only people I've ever seen do that were girlfriends or female friends.

My inner response was something like: "But that means you have to go BACK. You thought your shopping was DONE but it's not. Doesn't that feel AWFUL?" Like you're deliberately creating this open loop / unresolved decision which forces you to head back to the store to return the merchandise and collect your money. Different strokes for different folks, I guess. But then, I hate returning stuff to stores more than shopping. (Though I actually like shopping if it's in the right place and time - e.g. Costco 3 minutes after opening, Home Depot at 9:30 PM, Apple if it's not crowded. As time goes on I grow less and less patient about crowds and lines, it seems.)
posted by theorique at 5:15 AM on March 2, 2016


I have always found shopping centres and department stores to have an extremely draining soporific effect. I would certainly be asleep in a chair if one was provided, even if I was shopping for my own stuff!

Having said that I enjoy shopping for women's clothes rather than men's as they more interesting clothes and more interesting bodies to put them on. There is just a lot more going on.
posted by asok at 5:53 AM on March 2, 2016


I have an insight about men's clothes!

I grew up wearing women's clothes. Gradually, I started wearing men's shoes and sweaters and socks and tees. Then, recently, I started wearing men's button-downs - something I'd always avoided before because until I started lifting weights I really didn't have the shoulders to fill out the shirts that fit me in the chest. Pants are still tricky, although I've managed to make a few pairs work.

Consider me a sort of sartorial Tiresias.

And holy crap, men, your clothing is so much easier to deal with. I actually waaaaay overspent on eBay in the past couple of months from the sheer shock of being able to buy shirts that fit.

In terms of knits and socks and so on, it's mostly a quality difference - you almost never seen men's knits in that sort of nasty, thin, slubby modal-cotton that half the women's stuff is made of now. If you get a crummy fast-fashion men's tee, it will be much better quality than a crummy fast-fashion women's tee.

In terms of pants and button-downs, the difference is staggering. Bear in mind that I was wearing men's-like pants and shirts, but made for women - so I was in fact wearing button-downs and chinos and cords, just made for women.

Men's shirts:
1. Fabric quality is wildly better. Women's shirts are made of thinner material with more synthetic content. Women's shirts are far more often made out of stiff or scratchy material - you can find stiff, scratchy men's shirts, but not nearly as often.

2. Construction - women's shirts are seamed all to bejesus and the seaming is often cheap and crooked, even on nice shirts. The collars on men's shirts are sturdier, finished better and most importantly scaled to the shirt. With fat lady/delts lady shirts, the collars just randomly get sized up a lot of the time, even though the human head does not increase in size as one gets taller/bigger/muscle-ier, so an XXL shirt may have a ginormous collar. Details of finish are better on men's shirts, and men's shirts almost never have cheap, poorly attached ornamentation. (I'm not against ornament; I am against random sequins that are falling off the shirt in the actual store, etc.)

3. And most important: size and fit. What you have to understand is that women's clothes are supposed to make women look small, so they are supposed to fit tightly. However, whereas one woman may stand 5'5" and have a tiny waist, wide hips and narrow shoulders another woman may stand 5'5" and have flat hips, a moderate waist and a large chest - so clothes that fit really tightly on one won't fit tightly on the other, etc.

Men's clothes sometimes fit sort of tightly - fashion shirts, skinny jeans. But I am here to tell you that even the tightest fit on men's shirts is easier to deal with than women's shirts.

To buy a women's button down on the internet, I have to find one that is oversized, since women are not supposed to have wide shoulders as I do. So it's going to be baggy. I also basically have to pray, since fit is so random. To buy a men's button down on the internet, I basically have to read the chest measurement, and I can wear shirts that have about a six inch difference in circumference, depending on the fit I want. It's wild!

Again, I am telling you that I totally overbought on used shirts on ebay because I could not handle how I could literally have 10,000 choices of shirt that would all fit me. I'd set my filters for women's shirts and I'd pull about 2,000 possibilities, mostly totally not what I was looking for. I'd set my filters for men's shirts and I would have 10,000 possibilities of which at least 8000 would fit and better than half those would be something that wasn't cheap and hideous. I have way, way too many shirts now.

I am never going back, honestly.

But my point being - I didn't try any of them on. They almost all fit perfectly.

I had this huge flash of insight as I was getting into this - this is why many men have less complicated relationships with their bodies. Buying women's clothes, I am constantly forced to think of my body as having something wrong with it, because I am constantly failing to fit. (And this happened just as much when I was a size 10/12 as now when I'm old and fat and be-delted and need an 18.) Now I buy men's XL shirts and....they fit. Almost every time.

That's not to say that men have great, happy, easy relationships with their bodies, or that fat or very skinny or short men don't have problems finding clothes. (Of my two male housemates, one is very tall and quite substantial; one is average but extremely skinny; I get a kick out of helping them shop, but I am certainly familiar with non-standard male sizing.)

But if you are, let's say, a medium-to-XL-sized dude, it is way, way easier to find clothes that fit, and the clothes are better. I have been sooooooooo much less conscious of the quirks of my body since I started wearing shirts that are good-quality and that fit.

(But of course, this isn't an option for most women - I have unusually wide shoulders, am a masculine spectrum person and can wear men's business casual to work, plus I like very simple clothes. There's no real reason that women couldn't have the option of well-fitting, simple shirts that didn't fit tightly, though, except the same old gender/market bullshit.)
posted by Frowner at 6:05 AM on March 2, 2016 [16 favorites]


Sorry to be sexist (not really) but I absolutely hate seen men being lugged around by their partners because they just get in the way. It's extremely frustrating. Think about how much space we'd have to shop in if they just stayed at home doing man crap. Let them stay at home if they don't want to go with you!

On an alternative note, having worked in retail for a bit, it was a known thing that women and girls with male partners were much harder to sell to because their partners had no interest and showed no enthusiasm in what they wanted to buy. Women were more likely to leave the store with nothing and sooner than they probably would have if flying solo. I wonder if the male addition doesn't actually help save women a few pennies.
posted by ihaveyourfoot at 6:48 AM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Sorry to be sexist (not really)

Happy and proud to be sexist, then?
posted by Grangousier at 6:54 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Threads like this always end up disappointing me because they just devolve into stereotypes about men which are OK to spread because "facts" and "experiences." It would be nice if we could say, OK, there are lots of guys who fit pattern X, but there are also lots who don't, so let's try to broaden the narrative of masculinity to be more inclusive rather than be all "LOL MENZ AMIRITE" - especially and particularly in threads (like this one) which are about men.
posted by grumpybear69 at 6:59 AM on March 2, 2016 [6 favorites]


Happy and proud to be sexist, then?

On this specific matter, sure.
posted by ihaveyourfoot at 7:00 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


People are talking about two different shopping situations here:

Personal stuff (clothes, make up, shoes, etc.): I think it's irrational to drag a partner and force them to shop for your own personal attire with you, if it's not something they enjoy. I (female) HATE clothes shopping. My husband LOVES clothes and has the body of a male model so everything fits and he looks magazine ready even if he tries on a pair of khakis. I might go with him once in a while and sit while he tries things on, but I would be miserable if he dragged me to the store and made me feel guilty about not participating. I would also hate to force my husband/entertain him or worse RUSH through a makeup store just because of some silly rule that he has to come with me, when being there alone would be much more enjoyable for both of us.

Home needs (Ikea, supermarket): Groceries, house stuff, general necessities- damn right it's a team thing because we both hate doing it but it becomes enjoyable if we do it together, preferably while a little drunk.
posted by Tarumba at 7:19 AM on March 2, 2016 [4 favorites]


it becomes enjoyable if we do it together, preferably while a little drunk.

F YES. See also: laundry.
posted by grumpybear69 at 7:22 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Good lord, if I got a little drunk every time I had to do laundry, I'd need people to hold an intervention.
posted by mittens at 7:26 AM on March 2, 2016 [6 favorites]


It works well when you do it once every 2 weeks at a laundromat.
posted by grumpybear69 at 7:35 AM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Those men are sitting down because of privilege.

What does this mean? Like, literally, I do not understand what this means.
posted by teatime at 9:25 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


teatime, what a life of privilege you yourself must lead if you have not yet read an extensive unpacking of the concept of male shopping mall privilege!

But seriously, as discussed by others above, the idea is that these men are presumed to be sitting at least in part because of differential fashion norms for men and women in society which leave men with extra time at the mall, which they may spend sitting/napping/being bored/whatever. Or because men are allowed to just "check out" of family, relationship, or group activities when they are bored, whereas women are expected - or at least feel that they are expected, having been socialized as such - to "hang in there" and keep others feeling good/happy/positive/whatever (i.e., perform "emotional labour").

This "privilege" of simpler wardrobe standards and more reliable sizing for men (even if men don't notice this privilege) is assumed to benefit these men in various ways, even if the most apparent symptom of that privilege here might be boredom, sleepiness, and looking kind of silly in a public place. Some concrete benefits of "male fashion privilege" (if you like) might include saving money on clothes because you need fewer pieces to follow changing trends/styles, saving time choosing one's outfits from day to day, less likelihood of being judged by others for perceived missteps or ill-fitting garments, and so on. Similar advantages arguably redound to men with regard to make-up, hairstyles, and grooming generally. Cumulatively, various forms of privilege are understood to provide a significant boost certain groups of people over others (most notably straight, cis-gender white men) as they make their way through life.

A crucial point is that people with privilege tend not to realize they have it until it is pointed out to them, because they've always had it, and it's built into their culture in myriad ways. The idea that they have some special advantage rings false, at least at first, because "hey, my life isn't easy! You don't know me! WTF?" This sucks extra hard for people with less privilege who bother to point this stuff out because terse critical analysis of this stuff - presented without tedious concession in advance to everyone's feelings - can sometimes be perceived as an accusation of assholerry (see some posts above for an example of this).

People who are well-versed in this terminology sometimes do wield the term "privilege" in ways that understandably put unfamiliar people in a defensive posture, such as the retort "your privilege is showing!" or "check your privilege!" That can mean anything from "your last statement carries a perhaps-unintended implication likely driven by your personal life-experiences up to this point" to "you just exposed yourself as a big-time bigot, haha!" depending on the speaker and context. Short-forms and assumptions about shared understandings do make sense in communities where everyone agrees and uses the same terminology, but using concepts that were not commonplace until relatively recently and then shaming people for their ignorance about their own ignorance doesn't necessarily help. But now you're (a little more) prepared!
posted by onshi at 1:10 PM on March 2, 2016 [7 favorites]


It isn't really fair to say that men have fashion privilege, or at least more than women: there are many men whose apparel is policed from outside, whether blue collar (uniforms, safety equipment) or white collar (suits, ties). To say nothing of the female privilege to wear brighter colors, the greater variety of colors and patterns in womens' apparel. Both sexes have their respective crosses to bear when it comes to fashion privilege (and its lack).
posted by theorique at 1:31 PM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Some concrete benefits of "male fashion privilege" (if you like) might include saving money on clothes because you need fewer pieces to follow changing trends/styles, saving time choosing one's outfits from day to day, less likelihood of being judged by others for perceived missteps or ill-fitting garments, and so on. Similar advantages arguably redound to men with regard to make-up, hairstyles, and grooming generally.

There are many for whom these are not privileges but a form of social oppression, it should be noted. Not every man or boy wants to wear a polo and slacks and have a #2 buzzcut.
posted by bonehead at 1:36 PM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


It is undeniably true that both men and women are policed with regard to fashion.

I think the idea here is that there's a "paradox of choice" in effect such that the comparatively narrower bounds of socially acceptable men's fashion generally benefits us by freeing us up to apply time, money, and mental energy elsewhere.
posted by onshi at 1:37 PM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Male dress is also used very strongly as a way of policing socio-economic class and race. See any discussion on which way to wear a baseball cap or how low the crotch on a pair of jeans should be.
posted by bonehead at 1:40 PM on March 2, 2016


There are many for whom these are not privileges but a form of social oppression, it should be noted. Not every man or boy wants to wear a polo and slacks and have a #2 buzzcut.

It's true, I go for the #1A buzzcut myself. That way I can go for a month between $10 haircuts.
posted by octothorpe at 1:46 PM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


[A few comments removed, let's skip the See What I Did There wryness and aim more for just actually discussing stuff.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:51 PM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Male dress is also used very strongly as a way of policing socio-economic class and race. See any discussion on which way to wear a baseball cap or how low the crotch on a pair of jeans should be.

Clothing is also used for the policing of class and race among women. Visit any neighborhood where the cops harass women on the suspicion of being sex workers; or hell, visit any academic institution and compare the pink collar workers with faculty.

Yes, there are restrictions placed on men - men can't generally wear skirts or make-up without facing significant sanction, while women can wear skirts and make-up, and face less sanction for not wearing them than men do for wearing them. Ie, it's bad for my career not to wear make-up, because I'm read as a woman, but it would be worse for a man's career to wear make-up.

However, it is easier to buy the bare minimum socially acceptable outfit for a man than for a women; it is cheaper; it is easier to find clothes in a range of sizes; and the outfit will last longer. From a minimal "I want to be able to go out on the street and I want to be able to hold a job" standpoint, it is easier to buy men's clothes. I know this pretty well right now, since I've worn just about everything from dresses and heels every day (mid-twenties; fun, but always felt like I was in costume) to button-downs, chinos and oxfords.
posted by Frowner at 1:52 PM on March 2, 2016 [4 favorites]


That is, while it's certainly a harm that men are limited in their self-expression through clothes, the prior condition of doing that at all is "I can find minimum adequate clothes". Minimum adequate clothes are the peanut butter sandwich of clothes. It's a harm if you want a salad and all you can have is peanut butter, but it's not the same kind of harm experienced by someone who flat out doesn't have any food.
posted by Frowner at 1:55 PM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


If anything, I think the restrictions placed on men (and on femme gender non-conforming people, and on anyone who wants to wear femme things) are part and parcel of the fact that stuff for women is always lousier. If you're moving toward the feminine, the world makes things harder for you; if you're moving toward the masculine, the world makes things easier.
posted by Frowner at 2:05 PM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Why are we assuming the waiting/sleeping/sitting men are waiting specifically for clothing shoppers?
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 2:53 PM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Exactly! I find it pretty funny that there are claims that these men are sitting because of privilege when we have absolutely no context for the photos other than they are sitting. They may be there by themselves, with male friends, with family. A lot of them are old and tired.
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 2:56 PM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


A lot of them are old and tired.

Yup. See if any of the contributors to this thread are spy and smiling at the mall when they are in their late 60s! And one of them is just a photo of a couple (maybe) going down an escalator with the man holding the purse. The quote is "Come on dude, she can carry her own purse" which a) maybe it is his? and b) maybe she asked him to carry it because she is tired. Who knows? Nobody. I've certainly carried my wife's purse before when she needed me to.

Frowner makes great points about the relative ease of finding appropriate, well-fitting clothing for men vs women, and there is a lot to discuss around the pressure women are under vs men in the outfit department, though male body image issues and related eating disorders have been on the rise in recent decades.

But this link exists solely to poke fun at men under the presumption that they hate shopping, which by proxy reinforces the stereotype that women love shopping. In and of itself it is anodyne, but the kind of comments it engenders here, when not informative like Frowner's, tend towards just complaining about men using tired tropes while at the same time largely writing off the experiences of men who do not fit the mold of loutish layabout who desires only to shirk off domestic responsibility and return to his man-cave. Overall it just serves to propagate the Men-Are-Like-This-And-Women-Are-Like-That dichotomy which I would think MeFi would want to do away with.
posted by grumpybear69 at 3:34 PM on March 2, 2016 [6 favorites]


Seats are great, everyone should have seats.

My clothes shopping experience mostly involves being reminded that I'm too short, my hips are too big, my feet too wide, my arse too large and my arms too thin. So much as I might like the general concept of fashion, I dislike the application. Also apparently the way I tie my scarf is "kinda gay".
posted by lucidium at 7:30 PM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Why are we assuming the waiting/sleeping/sitting men are waiting specifically for clothing shoppers?

Exactly! I find it pretty funny that there are claims that these men are sitting because of privilege when we have absolutely no context for the photos other than they are sitting. They may be there by themselves, with male friends, with family. A lot of them are old and tired.

Because that's essentially how they're being presented. Read the captions of the photos: "That's right, just give her the credit card and tell her to hurry up." "What's wrong, Kanye #miserablemen? @kimkardashian taking too long?" "Just a typical scene outside of the dressing room. Remember #miserablemen, when she asks if it looks good, tell her it looks great." "Look at this poor sap. She's got 'em out buying a bunch of beads on the weekend." "Just tell her it'll look great on her."

Yes, of course neither we nor the original photographers nor whoever runs that Instagram page knows for sure why each specific dude is at each store or mall or why they're sitting. But the Instagram account is absolutely using the pics to make the same old boring "jokes" about how the poor guys are left stranded and bored because their wimmin-folk dragged 'em to the store while the wimmin do frivolous wimmin-shopping things. Best case scenario for the guys (via the various captions) is they get to find a chair in front of a TV so they can watch sports.

It's lowest-common-denominator-level "Airline food, amirite?" humor, it's cliched sexist "humor", it both relies on and reinforces a whole raft of gender stereotypes. No surprise that people are going to look at this and point out the problematic elements and consequences of those cliches and stereotypes.
posted by soundguy99 at 8:59 PM on March 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


The claims about how mens clothing is easier and better make a lot of assumptions about what is desired. Yes, if you want to buy chinos and polo shirts, or medium wash jeans and a tshirt it’s "look how easy it is"!

There’s not a vast clothing social conspiracy, companies produce and stores stock what sells. Everything is made for the majority, if you’re tastes don’t run to the majority you have a harder time. Cheaper women’s clothes sell, that’s why they’re made like that.

There are a lot of strange assumptions going on in this thread. Namely that because women's sizes are irregular and weird, somehow men's clothes aren't?

Yeah, there are a lot of hilarious comments from people who are obviously not men shopping for clothes that amount to "your problems seem so much lesser than my problems".
posted by bongo_x at 12:26 PM on March 3, 2016


Okay, so for you guys who are still sticking around this thread: Coat pockets:

I rarely carry a bag or purse, and in winter I prefer to shove my keys, phone, wallet in my coat whenever possible (not all in the same pocket). By the end of winter at least one coat pocket is always torn, presumably from the keys. Is this common to everyone? Or is this a 'women's clothes are shoddier and they don't use strong fabrics for pocket linings for women's coats anymore' thing?
posted by Mchelly at 1:26 PM on March 3, 2016


I got my current Columbia winter jacket just after my first date with the woman who would become my wife. That was December 1999. It's still in pretty good shape.

I don't know if the women's Columbia winter jackets of the time were significantly different quality, though.
posted by ODiV at 1:48 PM on March 3, 2016


I've been wearing the same Nautica ski jacket every winter for a decade or so and the pockets are still fine.
posted by octothorpe at 1:51 PM on March 3, 2016


I've had jackets where the pockets tore quickly and others that have remained sturdy over time. What will kill pockets, though, is change. Also if you have lots of keys since they are both heavy and slightly pointy.
posted by grumpybear69 at 2:56 PM on March 3, 2016


So, no offense to the guys that accompany their female partners into the changing room, but your presence does indeed make me uncomfortable, and I am not thanking your significant other for bringing you here. Often the larger mirrors are outside the actual changing stalls and I have to basically examine myself in front of you if I want to get an idea of how something fits in a bigger mirror. So if you really must come along, bringing a book is a good idea, and I thank you for that consideration.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 3:21 PM on March 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


As a male often sitting in the man chair - I'm as uncomfortable as you and will make a massive effort to distract myself from anyone who is not my significant other.
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 6:23 PM on March 3, 2016


As a male often sitting in the man chair - I'm as uncomfortable as you and will make a massive effort to distract myself from anyone who is not my significant other.

Seconding that. I'd prefer not to make women uncomfortable as they walk into or out of a fitting room so that usually means conspicuously not looking at them. Thank goodness for smartphones so that I can conspicuously look at something else. Not miserable - just deeply engrossed in an ebook about Navy SEALs or something.
posted by theorique at 2:29 AM on March 4, 2016


I once took my wife lingerie shopping at a little boutique in Brooklyn where I'm friends with the proprietor. While my wife was in one of the dressing rooms, a group of people burst in with cameras. It turned out that Crazy Jewish Mom was doing a reality TV pilot and was using this botique as a location. So there I am, already standing around awkwardly in a shop full of nighties, panties and bras, and Kate Siegel is trying on underwear and her mom is reacting and there are cameras blazing. My wife is, meanwhile, stuck in the dressing room. I didn't know what to do and didn't want to seem like a creeper, so I left the building and hung around outside until the whole scene moved elsewhere. When I came back in, both my wife and proprietor asked me why I hadn't just gone into the dressing room and how could I have left her stranded like that.

YOU JUST CAN'T WIN, GUYS.
posted by grumpybear69 at 6:57 AM on March 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


This thread just got brutally real y'all. I am at the mall as I write this, waiting outside the changing room, and there is NOWHERE to sit. Plz send help.
posted by mittens at 4:40 PM on March 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


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