Men are from Halfords, women are from Debenhams.

There are one or two differences between men and women, apart from the obviously different way that trousers and shirts are filled out. If you are dragged kicking and squealing towards a shoe shop it becomes ever more apparent. As a chap I look around and see women trying on the thirty-fourth pair of shoes and asking the husband/partner/boyfriend “What do you think of this?”. The bloke, (If he is a real bloke), will shrug and say something on the lines of “Yes, that`s nice”. At this point he will be asked a rapid set of questions that no amount of schooling, night classes or university courses prepare a man for. “Is it better than the last one?”, “Is it my sort of colour?”, “Should I have a heel or a flat?” and the killer question.

” Are you paying any attention at all?!”

Of course he is paying no attention. Real men don`t “do” shopping. To us proper men shopping is merely an inconvenience whilst we wait for the pub to open. Shoe shopping is done for me when my shoes are worn out or have got to the point that the aroma requires that they be kept in the shed outside. Even then a pair of trainers can be used for a while longer to enable a quick run to the dustbin in inclement weather.

I have a lot of items of footwear. One pair of trainers, one pair of casual shoes, a pair of wellington boots, a pair of walking boots and a pair of shoes to go with my suit.This does,as far as men go, make me slightly suspect. I mean what chap has two pairs of shoes? My defence is that of course the shoes to go with my suit are only ever worn with my wedding/funeral/interview attire, so do not really count. The posh shoes I own are naturally enough buried at the bottom of the wardrobe and covered with enough fluff that until they are cleaned I cannot remember if they are brown or black.
Wife is far from a shopaholic. She regards fashion labels as an excuse to charge thirty pounds for a five pound shirt. I am naturally very pleased at this as the money that she saves I can pilfer from her purse and put to good use at a bar. She still has about fifty thousand pairs of shoes, a million skirts, tens of thousands of blouses and tops yet still tells me that she has nothing to wear.
Currently there are several shops that are starting to sell fashion to men. I blame Burtons myself. That used to be a staid and sensible shop selling suits to men who had either received a wedding invite or given one out. Now they have designer underpants and fancy clothes.The toughest decision I used to make was what T-shirt to put on that day. That was normally made by simply seeing which one smelt the least. Life was so much simpler then, Jeans, T-shirt with a band`s logo on it and a jacket if it was cold. Fashion was for girls and men cared not a hoot as long as their clothing didnt repel a tramp from fifty paces or look too different from their drinking buddies.
Men shop so differently from women.With men there is no messing about, a time limit,a number of shop limit and of course a number of visits to the changing room limit. After that if it fits it is suitable to be purchased. If the waistband turns your legs blue but the pub is opening in ten minutes, tough, you made a poor choice and must buy the trousers and scurry to the pub and moan to your mates that you have spent ages shopping. ( Bloke talk meanes that “Ages” means more that fifteen minutes).
Naturally enough there are some exceptions. Even if the pub is open a man can spend as much time as he likes in Halfords. Carefully deciding which car polish to buy and not to use and of course the Halfords manuals to cars you do not own are there to be carefully browsed. They sell tools you don`t need and bikes that you will never ride.Blokes understand that you should look at ICE and subwoofers then nod sagely as the salesman talks in gobbledygook about the wattage per channel. We look at the carpet set for an M3 BMW despite the fact we have a ten-year old Ford Fiesta mouldering quietly in the car park.This is a man-shop. It just needs a bar to be perfect….
The other place a man is at home is in a DIY store. There he can gaze longingly at the powertools he has no use for but just wants. Wife complains as I leave the shop with another set of screwdrivers with the usual “But I thought you had already got a full set of screwdrivers?”.She does not understand. You can never have enough screwdrivers,drills and powertools. They come in handy to put another shelf up to store the eight-hundred and fourty first handbag.

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Suited and Booted.

Here in the muggy spring weather, the streets are full of schoolchildren of all ages, giggling and chattering and carrying huge parachutes disguised as rucksacks. The easiest way to know that they are schoolchildren is that they are wearing uniforms. The uniforms are normally a fairly simple design, same coloured trousers and a shirt worn with a school tie for the chaps and either a skirt and blouse or a pinafore thing for the girls. One school features a dicky bow tie as part of its uniform and it has to be said that a six-year-old looking like a very young Frank Muir does have a certain cute appeal. I remember my school days. I absolutely hated school uniform. “We look like a load of sheep!”, “I want to express my individuality!” I also hated school, brussel sprouts and of course getting out of bed in the morning to go to school. Now I am older, I no longer wear a uniform, avoid brussel sprouts and only get out of bed when absolutely necessary. Now I am an adult I think that school uniform is a very good thing. The commonest argument against uniform is cost. Well to be truthful, unless you are planning to send the fruit of your loin to school in the nude, then you are going to have to buy them something. whether that is to avoid the childs embarrassment or a knock on the door by social services is up to you really. It also means that getting dressed for school is a lot simpler and reduces the risk of a semi-clothed female screaming “I have got nothing to wear!!”
Th other grumble about uniform is its sameness. I used to groan about looking the same as my mates at school, then at the weekend pester my poor mother to buy me the latest garment with the whine that “Everybody else has got one!”

As one get invariably older, the attitudes change slightly. I still dress casual, which Wife says is code for “Like a slob” but I like to deal with professionals who are clean-shaven and wear a suit. I do not think I would be particularly keen on parting with a few hundred quid on a car if the salesman looked like he had just been dragged through a hedge backwards. A while back a young chap took his employers to tribunal as they required him to wear a shirt and tie. This,he claimed, was sexist and he won. Well he might be a bloke but GROW A PAIR! I was astonished at his whinge, he sounded like a petulant fourteen year old…”Its not FAIR!” Well its tough, get over it! There are worse things in life than having to make a bit of an effort before you go to work. You could have to wear a radiation suit and clean up a nuclear reactor, you never hear of those people moaning that they all look the same do you?

I do appreciate that you should never judge a book by it`s cover and I am sure that this chap was perfectly competent at his job. I would, though just like to propose the following scenario.

You are just settling into your seat on an airplane ready for a twelve-hour flight. Walking down the aisle is the pilot. tattoos up one arm, five days stubble on his face and wearing an “I`m with stupid” t-shirt complete with sweat stains and the remains of his lunch smeared down the front. Would you be unperturbed or would you pay really really really close attention to the safety announcement!