**(Taken from woman magazine, 1958. With a hefty dose of irony)**
DARLING, it does suit your foot. Makes it so slim . . . and I do like that T-strap thing—it's new."
Two heads—his and hers—bend down to look at the elegant, taper-toed shoe she is trying on.
"Well, if you like it," she smiles up at him, "so do I." "
That is what is so helpful about shopping with a husband or boy friend. Two heads to think out just what is best in kind, colour, looks and value.
A woman on her own, who is undecided about a coat or suit has only to say: " I'd rather like to come in with my husband and let him see me in it," for the salesgirl to be all smiles. She knows that all that is needed to settle the deal is a little husbandly reassurance. And it works both ways when he says: "My wife would like to look at these patterns," it saves him from a hurried, end-of-lunch order for the suit he is having made.
For who is the first person, anyway, to be asked, "D'you like my new coat?" (or suit, or whatever)? Why, the man in her life . . . the girl in his! That is why it is sense to begin at the beginning, together . . . before the purse-strings are untied.
But how the invitation to shop is worded is important. "May I have your help . . . you're so good at choosing," starts off the expedition on a willing foot. Whereas: "Come with me while I try on hats," makes a man look round quickly for an escape line.
By the same token it is not clever to say in front of family or friends: "I always take George shopping with me." A dog ... a shopping basket ... a ready reckoner—yes! But not a man. A man takes you. And in that there is all the difference in the world.
In a food market a man's good humour will charm the sweetest fruit, the freshest vegetables into the family shopping basket. For he will jolly the stall-holders amiably, check the weight and tot up the items—things that make most women hesitate. More than that, he will shoulder a way through the crowd and hump the parcels contentedly because he has frankly enjoyed the wrangling, bargaining and besting.
The flower-seller on the corner is another challenge. " Lovely carnations and three bob to you, sir," clinches a happy afternoon when they are knocked down to him for two and six with a bit of fern thrown in. And who would be tactless enough to say that carnations are two shillings back in the market . . . when he has got such a kick out of his bargain ?
There is also another kind of shopping with a man. The long range, armchair kind. This is when a wife or fiancee has done a preliminary skirmish, collected snippets of fabric to cover chairs, curtain windows or paper walls.
Because, initially, they are all her choice, will like them all, be able to live with any. If she is wise then she will always let him make the final choice.
There is pleasure and interest in this for him because the final choice is a blending of his and hers, the way it should be. The way, in the end, that makes covers, paintwork, dresses, suits—even husbands and wives— easier to live with, and love.