The ancient Japanese art of Wabi Sabi that I am currently studying is all about giving the benefit of the doubt and becoming involved in your partner's special interests. Sharing your partner’s passion isn’t always easy, however, especially if you have an innate aversion to it.
A Wabi Sabi heart is generous in the interpretation of events and with its time and investment in making the relationship number one, despite opposing viewpoints. Shopping is a great example of how couples who have a lot in common can still become diametrically opposed. This is definitely an area that presents a very real challenge for me personally.
Did you know that it has now been scientifically proven that men and women have radically different approaches to shopping? While women tend to troll the malls for deals and delight, men often apply a more linear methodology to purchases...Go get it. Get in and get out. According to research conducted by the University of Michigan School of Public Health, the reason lies in our evolutionary psychology, i.e. men hunt; women gather.
Thousands of years ago women had to develop a keen sense of discernment to differentiate the poisonous berries from the nonpoisonous ones. At the same time, men planned their attack first in an effort to conserve energy, then grabbed their prey with practiced dexterity. These opposing strategies sustain the human race, but when it comes to consumer activity today, men and women often get entangled in a cross-fire of their own making. I get absolutely worn out waiting for Rosanne to make a selection for something as simple as a greeting card. Heaven help me when it comes to larger purchases -- things like clothing, shoes, jewellery and cosmetics. I shutter to even think about it. Like foraging the forest floor for nutrients, shopping is both a social and sensual experience for her, I am convinced.
"A shared mission to search out the perfect little black dress can be a totally fulfilling night out with a favorite girlfriend," says Arielle Ford in her book Wabi Sabi Love. "Women enjoy roaming around until something catches their eye, whether they are searching for clothes, shoes, purses, or accessories (especially if they are at bargain prices)."
"One of the reasons women adore shopping is because it fully engages all of our senses. Running your hand across the fabrics from silk and satin to linen and leathers, observing the colors and patterns and styles of the latest fashions, smelling the newest fragrances and feeling fine leather shoes on your feet are delightful experiences most men never care about," she adds.
Okay Arielle, I'll buy all of that, but it is expecting a little too much for me to tag along behind my wife while she engages her senses in a shopping mall. As for me I'll patiently wait for her while engaging senses of my own in a hardware store -- or maybe hunting for the nearest pub.