Life offers to us the chores and also little things we enjoy. Shopping is one of those little things. It is up to us to make it a chore, a source of anxiety or of a marital discord.
But…there are circumstances, when this little joy could be killed by the background noise of the relationships and “its complicated”☺ matters. I would only try make an attempt to generalise what I know, the cultures I am familiar with. Generalisation assumes a bias of error, lets say, of 20%. Generalisation assumes offence, which is not intentional here, but nevertheless, an offence, for which, I apologise.
I only tried to write on behalf of the married and single women because I have been both…I only tried to write on behalf of two cultures I know. It took me the whole month to wrap it up in a non-emotional, non biased☺ form and shape… Without a further ado…I will try to describe the shopping habits in Russia and Australia. Generally, there are ways we shop, and they could be categorised as
1) Couples shopping – married (first wife), de-facto
Generally, Russian men could be stingy but they are embarrassed to admit to it. Usually, during husband/wife shopping, the stronger part would whisper to the wife, of how difficult the life is, and that he might lose his job tomorrow, that they (the family) would not be able to go on holidays in Turkey, that the mortgage payments would be made impossible because of this single shopping bag, that life would stop and sun would never shine again.
Generally, Australian men would tightly hold their wives hands when passing the shops. Some would think it is out love, some would think it is out of control☺ Sometimes, the wife is “allowed” to enter the shop on her own, without a wallet… 5 minutes after inspecting the goods she would come back with a line –“ I will come back when I am on my own”.
Sometimes the women would just fly in and come out with – “I have a table waiting (at the café)”; “my hairdresser’s appointment is in 5 minutes” (I know perfectly well, that this particular hairdresser could wait for another 10 minutes). The best excuse I ever heard was – “I left my 1 year old at home – he is there by himself!” I did not know whether to call a police, or just let it go as the best invented excuse ever☺. I took a second option.:)
As much as Sydney is a champion of excuses, it is, at the same time, a champion of expenses. To afford a decent rent or a mortgage in Sydney, a couple or a single person would have to earn 100k per year. There are no dreams of going to Turkey with the expenses like this. I tend to agree with the husbands, – only if they did not whisper – “How many shoes, bags, dresses, would one person need?” In my opinion, it is a very wrong thing to say to your wife…
Well, well well, after all of the obstacles tackled, and the the holy of the holiest is reached in the form and a shape of a cash register,– the husbandless (for 1 hour) wife would say, – “Please do not wrap it, I will put it in the boot of my car/in my bag and will bring it home unnoticed”. Sadly, I have been there, and I have done this. There are beautiful exceptions, though, in every culture… I noticed, that most Asian Australians would usually shop together and the husband would help to choose the clothes for his wife. He would insist on buying more than she would choose. Do they buy more than the others? I think, the result is still the same, but the backdrop of the marriage is different…
2) Couples shopping – second marriage
For all cultures, however, when the couple is in their second marriage, at least one partner has learnt the mistakes of the first marriage, at least one of the partners would have mellowed, and would become more generous towards the other half, and would have realised that not everything should be about control. Hard lesson though…
3) Shopping with the mistress
Generally, Russian men could be stingy, but they would be extremely embarrassed to admit to it at the presence of a mistress. They would not be able to tell a mistress that they might lose their job tomorrow, that this long awaited business trip to Paris would not happen, that the diamond ring in Place Vendome would be lonely without its rightful owner. In most circumstances, mistresses have their own credit cards. In most circumstances, Moscow shop managers have separate files for the wives and the mistresses. God forbid them to have the wires crossed over ever…
In Australia we are much more moralistic than in Russia…I am sure, affairs do happen, but the blatant shopping in the same city?!!! Never…, but let me think…:)
4) Shopping overseas with your better half.
Generally, Russian men are very generous when overseas. The credit card payments are far away, Bacchus is pouring champagne even for breakfast, lots of mistakes could happen, but restraint is not one of them…
When we go overseas, we are all penny pinching, wives including. The savings on Chanel bags are heavily outweighed by the price of the tickets… Sightseeing, excursions, thats where we are generous – we need it, we live so far away…En plus we are a very curious nation…
5) Shopping overseas with your sinful half
The sky would be the limit. There is no immediate family in the vicinity of 5000 km, the phone is not working properly, the time difference and the roaming charges allow for 5 minutes calls only to the immediate family. The diamond ring in Place Vendome finally claims its rightful owner.
We are led to believe it does not happen ☺
6) Shopping with your girlfriends – the same for all the cultures
Usually, young and unruly girlfriends culture is no Sex in the City. Beware when shopping with the friends. Will they tell you the truth? Maybe…If its an ugly straightforward truth. None of us could be Natalia Vodianova, therefore, the truth is almost always not pleasant. The truth gets better by the age. We soften up and become kinder to each other.
7) Single women shopping on their own;
a) Young women working hard and still living with their parents.
Usually, they are very generous to themselves, life is young and good, there is always somebody to prop them up without any judgement passed;
b) Women working hard and living on their own.
The lesson is very hard – she is living away from her parents, expenses become exponential, she becomes very careful with the money and with the spending.
c) Single and successful women.
The spending is limitless. There is no control anymore. She has lost weight, has joined the gym. Every time she tries on clothes she might think about sending her selfie to her ex…☺ Might she? Maybe not, she just found her main object of desire, – herself.
That was my weak attempt to generalise our shopping behaviour. It does not matter whether the country has more of the feminist history, than the other (Russia has had women working in the mines, women performing brain surgeries, women-famous mathematicians for the last 120 years). The question of co-dependable spending is quite complicated. I had a young Saudi Arabian woman in the shop, who shooed her husband out and told him to get some coffee and wait for her outside. He was smiling.
Go figure! I think the answer still lies in the areas of control, quantity of money, and wisdom to know that money is not the solution to all the problems, …but the true love is.