Thursday, July 7, 2016
Guys' Grocery Games
Hit a dry spell at the blog well this week. I was this close to fishing a rerun out of my files when I read a blog by a fellow writer that sparked this, well, not quite rebuttal because for the most part I agree with her. I think I may have a solution to the problem she posed. Maybe someone can even make money from it.
Her blog was a good-natured rant of sorts against letting men go to the grocery store unattended. Why? Because, simply put, they suck at grocery shopping. The writer remarked on all the bad behavior she’s seen: men leaving carts in the middle of the aisle while they search the shelves for something that may or may not be what their wives sent them for; their inability to read a shopping list; their inability to find anything anywhere, even though the aisles are clearly marked (remember, men never ask for directions); and, if they brought the kidlets along, their tendency to bribe the little darlings with cookies and candy just to shut them up. Yeah, there y’go, guys. Load up the kids with processed sugar and then wonder why they can’t sit still. You just want to eat those Oreos yourself on the drive home, and the kids are your excuse. I know how your primitive minds work.
I was on the verge of protesting this sad portrait of male behavior, because I’ve seen women commit almost every one of these sins, especially the cart in the aisle thing. I know this has happened to you: you’re trying to get to the pureed tomatoes, but Mrs. Lambert just ran into Mrs. Gilhouey and has to tell her all about little Janey at the spelling bee, and they stand there yakking in the middle of the aisle while you get totally c-(cart)blocked. Thank God for the mini-carts. They’re easier to maneuver around obstructions than those traditional wire war wagons. Though the big ones are good for ramming into Mrs. Lambert’s fat ass while you go, “Oops, sorry, didn’t see you there.” Bonus points if you then ask her to pass you the pureed tomatoes. Don’t forget to smile.
Yes, I was going to protest … until I recalled a time I was at the supermarket with both my parents. Mom sent Dad off to get bread and milk while she and I hunted for cereal. About ten minutes later Dad returned, with a loaf of bread in each hand and no milk. I remember the befuddled look on his face. He knew he’d been sent out to get something, but the details had faded the minute he moved beyond my mother’s radius. Well, at least we had bread, though we had to get the milk ourselves. This is a man who drove across the country to get my brother to his wedding in Oregon, but who couldn’t find his way to the dairy case. Oh-kay.
He couldn’t cook either, even though he said he’d been a short-order cook in the service, and he didn’t know how to run a vacuum, though he never had a problem with the lawn mower. Mom and I weren’t allowed to touch the power mower. Machine, y’know. Man stuff. Hey, a vacuum’s a machine too, but operating one seems beyond the capabilities of anything with a Y chromosome. It’s kind of a selective helplessness.
I think I know what the problem is. It’s the persistence of old-fashioned ideas. There’s men’s work, and then there’s women’s work. Men fix the car, clean out the gutters, change the storm windows, mow the lawn, take out the garbage. Women cook, clean, buy the groceries (with the money earned by the man) and raise the kids. These categories do not overlap. A woman is permitted to do men’s work if there’s a game on, but the man absolutely does NOT do women’s work of any sort. Not even when no one can see him. If a man starts doing womanly tasks, like laundry or buying and preparing food to feed his family, he might start turning into a woman. Can you imagine a fate worse than that?
Therefore, if confronted by “women’s work,” their brains shut down in self-protection. The man who can head unerringly for the power tools at Home Depot gets all turned around in the juice aisle. Give him a shopping list and he forgets how to read. Send him out for one thing and he’ll return with ten, not one of which is the thing you sent him to get. Because his brain is trying to save him from the horrors of becoming chickified. If he screws up enough times, you’ll get fed up and stop sending him to the store. Crisis averted.
Now I’m wondering how the hell men survive between the time they leave home and the time they get married. Maybe that’s why living together became so popular among the Baby Boomers.
This is where someone good at computer coding stands to make a mint. Create an app that acts like grocery GPS. Grocery stores provide maps of where they keep everything. Guys download the info and their phones take them right to the bread and milk. It's not chick work if you're using your iphone, because that's a computer and computers are boy toys. Bonus points and a ton of money to the coder who turns this app into a video game. Guys can go on a virtual seek-and-destroy and shoot zombies to win their way to the cocktail wieners. Trust me, it won’t take long for women to get driven out of grocery stores entirely.