So this might not be news to most of you married guys out there, but I discovered something interesting this weekend while shopping with Lisa. There are mini-man caves scattered throughout department stores with couches and HD TVs tuned to CNN and other channels. Many of them are located at or near women’s dressing rooms and some are just located in the middle of the store underneath escalators. The guys congregated there were talking sports (NCAA was this weekend’s topic of course) and others were simply catching up on sleep. This is new to me because obviously before getting married, I never had a reason to go into the ladies’ section.
Lisa and I just celebrated our second anniversary at the end of January. And if you follow this blog, you know that we try to weave in some of our story about what it’s like to get married late in life and bring two full houses together under one roof. Last year was about slimming down our total possessions to something manageable within 1,350 square feet while building up our savings nest egg for a move to a slightly larger house.
A year later, we’re doing well with the space we’ve got. We’ve worked hard to take out two things for every new thing that comes in the door. Recently however, the long winter has forced us into the local malls the last couple of weeks; we are anxious to buy new spring clothes as we anticipate a late Easter at the end of April. This was really the first opportunity where I went along with Lisa as she shopped for accessories, shoes and a cardigan to go with her new spring dress.
The incentive for me to go along was that I needed to get out of the house as much as Lisa. I had already purchased a couple new shirts online and my stuff was delivered to the front door via FedEx, so I wasn’t shopping. I was tempted to stay home and watch basketball, but the need to get out was too great. So off we went.
I noticed a trend in the stores. The higher end department stores had comfier couches, better TVs and more seating and not quite as many guys. The lower end stores had more guys, less seating and limits to the available channels. I also noticed that there were definite age groups represented depending on the store. The more expensive stores had a younger average age and the lower end department stores had a lot more retired guys.
My conclusion? These stores are missing out on a huge opportunity to market to a captive audience. If the stores dedicated more square footage, provided a few amenities, food, drinks and a more manly environment then shopping with the Mrs would be a much more attractive option. I’m thinking pool tables, Comcast Sports packages, chips, pretzels, and computers for surfing CBSSports.com to see how picks and brackets are doing. What would be even better would be if the store could have a bag of socks, t-shirts and underwear bagged up for me while I relaxed, I could just take my stuff with me while my wife perused the aisles on foot.
In fact, we guys could support each other when asked which outfit looked better. We’ve all been there. “Honey, do these earrings and necklace go with this outfit?”
This is the critical moment that all men fear because you think it’s a trick question and you’ve probably screwed up in the past. There can be no hesitation in the answer or you’ll be at the store for another hour. The truth and a confident answer is what is required. “Wow dear! You make both of those necklaces look hot! I really like the one on the left (or right).” You pick your favorite one, that’s really all that’s needed at this point. Don’t overcomplicate it guys. And for a nice touch, take out your iPhone and have her model them. When she asks why, tell her the truth, it’s because you need a nice reminder of her with her new necklace, dress, sweater or whatever it is later in the week. Then put a reminder on your phone to ask her what day she’s going to wear the new whatever it is. That way she’ll know you were paying attention. It only takes a couple of minutes, but she’ll appreciate you later for the thought.
In the meantime, enjoy company of the other guys at the make-shift man caves.