As a husband (and if you're one already, you'll know what I'm talking about), there are a lot of duties you are expected to perform. These are not always made clear to you before you actually tie the matrimonial knot, although they are buried deeply in the fine print at the bottom of the marriage license, easy to overlook in your eagerness to get to the Opening Night Special.
One of those duties is the dreaded "Accompany Your Wife/Significant Other While She Buys Clothes" ...
Pay attention, men, because I am going to impart some hard-won knowledge to you.
When you are unable to provide a convincing excuse for not accompanying your lady on a clothes-buying expedition*, it is important for you to understand why your presence is required. There are two primary reasons: (1) watch over her 87-pound purse and (2) respond to questions that have no good answer. We will address each of these in due course. Here are Bilbo's Tips for Surviving a Shopping Expedition with Your Wife/Significant OtherTM.
First, prepare yourself in advance. Ensure you have had enough to eat and drink, and be sure to have made a proper bathroom stop before departing on the expedition. You will not be able to find sustenance or relieve yourself while on duty unless there is a brief transition period between stores.
Second, seek out the most comfortable available seat in the Husbands' Corral. Most purveyors of ladies' garments have such a place, which usually has an insufficient number of uncomfortable seats for the number of glassy-eyed men patiently waiting and wishing they were almost anyplace else. The Husbands' Corral is generally well-stocked with tattered, four-year-old copies of Elle, Vogue, and similar magazines, and so ...
Take a book along. Or two. Better yet, take your Kindle, iPad, or similar device and ensure it is well-stocked with unread titles. You'll have plenty of time to read.
Next, understand that there is no safe answer to many ... if not most ... questions you will be asked. For instance, if you are asked "Does this make me look fat?", the appropriate answer is "No, dear," unless the garment in question prominently features the Goodyear logo. Also, beware the Endless Loop query, which usually goes something like this:
Lady: "Which one of these do you like better - this one" (holds up a garment) "or this one?" (holds up another garment).
You (pointing): "That one."
Lady: "Why don't you like this one?" (holds up the garment you didn't select).
You: "I do like it, but you asked which one I liked better."
Lady: "Yes, but why don't you like it?"
You: "I do like it, I just like the other one more."
Lady: "Yes, but why don't you like it?"
Do not make the mistake of evaluating, whether verbally or visually, the potential purchases being modeled by nubile young ladies with whom you did not arrive at the store. Your insurance** will not cover any injuries that result. Corollary: avoid making any disapproving noises or rolling your eyes when you see a woman proudly modeling a garment so hideously inappropriate for her that it makes your gorge rise. It's her boyfriend/husband/significant other who will have to live with it, not you, and he won't appreciate being reminded of it.
Finally, ensure you are in superb physical condition before setting out on a Shopping Expedition, because you will end up loaded like a rented mule, and may be weak from hunger after many hours in the Husbands' Corral.
And those, friends, are the basic elements of Bilbo's Tips for Surviving a Shopping Expedition with Your Wife/Significant OtherTM. There are other minor rules and corollaries, but if you observe the ones I've shared with you today, you will have an even chance of returning home safely. Be strong. Other men have survived the experience, and so will you.
Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.
* A note signed by the coroner is usually, but not always, sufficient.
** Assuming you are lucky enough to have any.