The other day my husband joined me to run a few errands and do a bit of shopping. This is a fairly rare occurrence. Like many men, my husband’s version of shopping entails taking a quick ride to a hardware or auto parts store to pick up one or two specific items and get the heck out. There is no browsing. There’s no list in hand with flyers and discount offers attached. In his world, if the item is not easily found in less than 15 minutes, or is above the expected price, there ensues some brief cursing and a hasty departure. There is no joy or thrill in the hunt.
So on those occasions when he ventures out with me, I have determined it is not very different than shopping with a young child. A few ground rules must be set before leaving. First, has he had something to eat? The line between hungry and hangry can be crossed quickly and without warning and the results can be very ugly. Next, it is important to detail the expected number of stops, the locations, and the approximate duration. After this quick overview, it is important to pause and allow him to consider an out. If he is still interested in going, the next vital step is to warn him of any potential browsing that will be required. I have found this is most effective if followed by a reward. For example: “I would like to take a look through what they have available for shower curtains. But then we can go to the electronics area and look at TV mounts.”
Again not unlike a child, he follows me with a sense of bewilderment and wonder on his face. After all, the décor, product offerings, and clientele in Home Goods is different than Home Depot. The one big difference from shopping with a child is it is fairly safe to let him out of my eyesight. Which is lucky, as often I will be six aisles away before I realize he’s been distracted by something like an end cap display of kitchen gadgets. I will then receive a text on my phone. “I’ve lost you again. Where are you this time?”
With a sense of humor, these outings can be enjoyable and even educational. His observations often make me see the Real Woman world through his eyes. There’s the befuddlement over 500 different types and brands of cosmetics. There’s the shock that a half-full cart of miscellaneous items from Target rings up to $120. (Clearly he doesn’t know the RW rule that you can’t leave the store without spending at least $100 on “essentials.”). There’s the chaos of check out lines, or the adventure of self-check out. There’s the general confusion over comparison shopping. And sometimes, there are his observations about the other shoppers. Because they aren’t all like the dudes at the automotive store who look like they just climbed out from under a ’57 Chevy.
During this particular outing, I was making a beeline for the bulk tissue packs in the back of the store, when Distracto-Man said “Wow, honey. Every woman wears those…what do you call them, yoga pants?”
That particular day I happened to be wearing jeans. But he has certainly seen me in a variety of what I will loosely call pull-on comfortable relaxed-fit pants, like he apparently was seeing on most of the other female shoppers that day. And he’s right. Virtually all of us have at least a couple of pairs. The reason is simple: Comfort. For some reason, we have the ability to transport humans into outer space, and put technological power literally into the palm of our hands, but we can’t manage to make truly comfortable fitted pants for women. Sure, we may have a pair or two of our favorite jeans that aren’t bad…. But how often do we have to resign ourselves to dealing with pants that are either too tight to breathe comfortably, or so loose they stretch and fall down all day? Nothing beats pulling on the mix of soft-cotton-poly-spandex with no fitted waist…. Ahh.
His simple comment led me to the realization that over the past few years, the evolution of the “yoga pant” has morphed into varieties to meet our every need. In most R.W.’s collections, we now have the following:
- The Only at Home’s. These are the baggiest, rattiest, most comfortable warm lounge pants. Formerly known as sweatpants in the 80’s, these are far improved and feel almost as good to put on as it feels to take off a bra. Too embarrassing to wear outside the house, and not in the least bit sexy…but we know they are reliably waiting for us in the bottom of our closet when we get home at the end of the day.
- The workout pants. These are the few that are actually used for what they were designed: exercise. As a mature woman, it gets more and more challenging to find the kind that don’t show every nook and cranny, hide some fat, are comfortable to move and sweat in, yet won’t embarrass us at the gym. Once found, buy three.
- The favorite pair. The one go-to pair of yoga-style pants that are super comfortable, fit well, and are decent enough to wear out to the grocery store. This is the pair that you wish you had enough of to wear every day, and the ones your husband has grown weary of seeing on you but is too smart or afraid to comment.
- Leggings. The fashion world’s gift to looking trendy and cute while maintaining comfort. Add tall boots and a long sweater, and you are good to go. Pretty nifty.
- Pretend real pants. Like the Darius Rucker of women’s clothing, these are the perfect crossover. Very rare and hard to find, these are yoga pants that work with a pretty tunic and heels. And no one but you knows that you are sinfully comfortable while at work or out to dinner. Even hubby doesn’t notice.
I’m not sure if my husband understands that there is a method to our madness in everything we do, but there is. Even when it comes to stretchy comfy pants. He does know, however, that if he ventures into Real Women world once in a while, he will meet his husbandly obligation for bonding time, and can then relax for a few weeks and retreat back into his guy world of workshop and home time.
That is, until something horrible happens like I drag him out for Christmas shopping.
Perhaps if he’s a good boy, I’ll get out my dressy yoga pants for the excursion.