FashionA man can feel comfortable in most situations and believe that he’s a relatively well-adjusted individual, but the real test comes when he enters a women’s clothing store in a mall. It’s not a hostile environment for males – But it can be intimidating.

The fact that men are generally welcome in women’s clothing stores is a little misleading. Salespeople don’t mind a man waiting for a lady who’s in a fitting room; that’s why there are chairs close by. The only requirement is that you came in with that lady – Clearly, this is not the place for a single man to meet women. And the fact that there are comfortable chairs should indicate just how long the average fitting session will be. In many cases, full-blown recliners would be more practical.

The first time a man accompanies his significant other to a fitting session, he’ll probably find it encouraging learning that there’s a limit to the number of garments that a woman can take into the booth. Unfortunately, he’ll soon be discouraged to realize that the sales staff is only too happy to fetch and exchange one garment for another until his lady has tried on every style in the store, all of which look the same to him.

At some point, the most dangerous situation will arise. She’ll ask him what he thinks of an outfit. No man has ever given the correct answer to this question. Men only know that they should say something like €œI’m sorry, I didn’t recognize you because the pleats make you look so young!€ rather than something like €œWell, it sure looks comfortable.€

Often a salesperson will try to ease a man’s discomfort by making small talk with him€¦ Speaking slowly, of course. Sometimes the man will try to appear comfortable and return the conversation. He would be much safer to simply smile and nod if spoken to because there’s always the chance he’ll try to say something intelligent, but come out with something like €œYou know, European women are quite elegant for a bunch of gals who don’t shave their legs.€ The ideal situation would be to have a row or two of hardware items in the store to occupy the males. Nothing elaborate, maybe just some socket wrench sets and fishing tackle. Or why not a TV monitor with a remote control?

If the unfortunate man happens to glance back at the store entrance he will become depressed, because he’ll see an alternative to being in the store: The public bench! Chances are there are other men cleverly avoiding his predicament by just biding their time on the bench even as he stares at them. These men are veterans of the game.

The best way for a man to avoid the experience of waiting for a woman’s fashion decision is surprisingly simple. Whenever he enters a mall with her, he should go directly to an ice cream store and offer her a cone. Even if she doesn’t take one he should order a triple scooper for himself, preferably in a dark color like grape, and savor it for as long as he can€¦ Because with an ice cream cone€¦ He’s not even allowed in women’s clothing stores!

By Rick Dickert.