Shopping fanatics used to annoy me. How materialistic does one have to be to scour department store ads, line up at pre-dawn sales and continually glean through endless clothing racks just to bring home a bargain? No matter how beautiful, discounted, or name-branded an item, it isn’t worth my time. Or so I thought.
Now I see that from an evolutionary viewpoint, today’s shopper can be compared to the successful gatherer in our prehistoric hunter-gatherer days. Those who traversed farthest retrieved the choicest nuts, berries, shellfish, and other life-sustaining vittles for their tribes. If I lived in those days, my tribe would have been malnourished as we ate whatever crawled within a twelve-foot radius of our cave. We would have become extinct long before the Ice Age. I now admire and envy the endurance of today’s savvy shopper.
My sister is a prime example. She and her family look marvelous. We, on the other hand, look like we dressed ourselves with the picked over scraps on the fashion carrion. My disdain for shopping forces me to wear whatever crosses my path. I buy something new only when I need it for an upcoming occasion. I don’t mind looking less than stylish but somehow my husband’s complete lack of fashion decorum bugs the Prada out of me.
Forget last year’s clearance items; he’s content to wear Stone Age coverings—too tattered and too small to clothe only but the bare necessities.
“You’re such a caveman,” I said. “You’d rather wear a loin cloth than shop for clothes.”
“To cover my manhood, I’d need to hunt a Wooly Mammoth.” He grinned at his own immodest joke. Yet, last night proved that I’m getting better at helping him evolve.
“Are you wearing that shirt to dinner?” I asked. Translation: “Don’t wear that shirt to dinner.”
“Yes, I am wearing it,” he said curtly. His eyes didn’t move from the televised replay.
“It’ll straighten out in a few minutes.” He must be confusing this shirt with the new self-ironing type he saw in a Sci-Fi movie.
“It has a stain and a hole in it, too.”
He looked down. “Rats.” His eyes returned to glowing screen. Clearly identifying the offensive stain and hole was not enough to convince him to change.
“And it’s too small. It doesn’t cover your stomach.” I poked the sliver of pale flesh that protruded below the shrunken cotton tee. He batted away my hand, shouting out at a bad call by the ref.
The front door banged open and extended family rattled in with foil-covered dishes, boxed fruit pies and bagged ice while clamoring, “Where do you want this?” “Is it okay if I parked in the driveway?” “Can I use your oven to reheat this?” “Is mom here yet?” “Hey, don’t let the dog out!”
“Hurry up and change your shirt!” I begged. “Everyone is here.”
“It’s fine,” he insisted, slightly annoyed. In desperation, I went for the jugular: public humiliation.
“Doesn’t Uncle Scott look like Gus Gus in Cinderella?” I asked my young nephew, referring to the rotund Disney mouse whose gut ballooned out from a tight shirt. My sister’s kid eyed my spouse’s midsection, giggled and nodded. My husband went upstairs and changed his shirt.
Cruel but effective. Hey, if I were a cave woman, I would have used a spear.