I remember my dad used to always say: "I'll wait outside", and when I was younger my mind couldn't process the fact that some people didn't like shopping. When we emerged from the shop 30 minutes later, he'd have either found a bench and acquired a coffee and a paper, or would be nowhere in sight. And the cycle continued for the length of the shopping centre.
Since my early days of family outings I have enjoyed many happy years of solo shopping trips and ones with like-minded friends. I'm now in the position where, having moved to a new city with my boyfriend, I don't know anyone well enough to go shopping with apart from him. After all, you have to trust your shopping buddy as much as you'd trust a brain surgeon.
Due to this dire situation, my boyfriend has had to endure a few inevitable shopping trips recently, and this is where difference between sexes really comes into its own. Hours could pass as I peruse, stroke, even occasionally sniff the beautiful clothes, shoes, bags, jewellery... it's a sensory delight.
The bored and unamused other half either stands awkwardly behind me, sighing and looking at his watch, or waiting outside looking miserable. When I emerge outside half-an-hour later, I'm reminded that I apparently said I wouldn't go in any shops that day - something which must have dropped out of my mind as Urban Outfitters appeared on the horizon like a beautiful sunset.
The thing with an unwilling shopping partner is that you feel guilty and rushed, and it's just not a pleasant experience. As with anything in life,however, practice makes perfect-ish. As the weekends have gone on, I'm slowly learning how to incorporate a less-than-willing boyfriend without having to sacrifice too much.
Bar hypnotism, there's no magic way to turn your alpha-male into an eager, I'll-follow-you-round-and-hold-everything shopping-loving boyfriend. But there are ways to coax, subtly emotionally bribe and encourage your man into not trying to jump out of shop windows. Here's what I've learnt so far, in case you find yourself in a similar situation.
Keep him fed and hydrated
Cater to attention span - repeat "we'll go to the music shop/book shop/pub next" as often as necessary
Keep him distracted. A funny tweet, someone wearing a weird outfit - divert his attention as often as possible
Cater to his ego. Ask him to find you something, make him feel important
Find the Man Corner - take him to the sofa near the changing rooms where men go to sulk so he knows he isn't alone
Keep him involved- ask his opinion and don't hold back. "Do the shoulders of this top make my legs look shorter?" is a reasonable question to you, but it will keep him entertained as he'll inevitably think it's ridiculous.