At my boutique job, I see a lot of guys shopping with their wives and girlfriends. Some of them are amazing shopping partners, helping their ladies pick out cute dresses and offering helpful feedback in the dressing room. Some of them are completely disengaged, plopping down on a chair immediately upon entering the store and grunting one-syllable responses when prompted, never looking up from their iPhones. And the rest are … less than pleasant: sighing dramatically, making snide comments, complaining constantly. Listen, you don’t have to love going shopping (lord knows we hate it half the time), but if you do agree to accompany your lady to the mall, you might as well try to make the best of it.
Here are a few dos and don’ts to help you be the best shopping partner you can be…
1. DO offer genuine feedback. When she asks you if you like a certain dress, and you mutter, “sure, whatever,” or “It looks just like the last 20 dresses you tried on,” well, that’s not helpful. Ostensibly she brought you shopping because she values your opinion and actually wants to know what you think (be gentle, of course). And even if the last 20 dresses did look pretty similar, just find somethingto comment on (“I like the collar on that one”).
2. DON’T pout. Remember that time she drove around with you for 3 hours so you could track down that obscure special edition of Kid A on vinyl? Now it’s her turn to drag you around for a bit. Being in a relationship means sometimes you have to do really boring things that the other wants to do (note to self: must embroider that on a throw pillow). Just accept the reality that you’re going to spend the next couple hours of your life at the mall, treat yourself to an Orange Julius, and try to stay positive.
3. DO pick out something for her to try on. I don’t ask my boyfriend to shop with me very often, but when we are out together, I looove it when he picks out things he thinks I might like, or pieces he wants to see me try on. I don’t even care if it’s sexy lingerie or a cute winter coat or a pair of shoes — it’s just nice to know he notices what I wear and is eager to help out. Your girlfriend probably feels the same way.
4. DO utilize the “bored boyfriend chairs” outside the dressing room. Take a load off! Rest your feet! Get comfy! Catch up on Words With Friends while she tackles that massive pile of jeans she needs to try on. That’s what those chairs are there for! With one caveat…
5. DON’T make dramatic sound effects to indicate how bored you are. The sighing? The impatient huffing? The loud foot tapping? So rude. So immature.
6. DO hold bags or help with zippers if necessary. These are very important jobs, trust us.
7. DON’T agree to go unless you can do it without acting like a jerk. Seriously, it’s so much better to politely opt out than agree to go and be super negative the whole time. It’s OK if you need to set a couple conditions for the outing (“Can we please try to limit our shopping time to two hours, and not go in that one store that has Nicki Minaj remixes blaring nonstop?”), but know your limits, and if you know you’re not up to it, feel free to sit this one out. You’ll have another chance.