And I also didn't realize how many women bring along their boyfriends as shopping partners - and, even more surprisingly, how willing so many men are to help 'style' their girlfriends. I'd always had this idea that when couples shopped together, the women were usually in charge and the men were grudgingly along for the ride, but it turns out that the opposite is becoming more and more true. In the past few weeks alone, I've seen men leading their girlfriends around the store, picking out winter coats and holiday dresses while said girlfriends passively smiled and nodded; women modelling clothes for men in the fitting rooms - men who were interested and engaged and making suggestions about size and color, then running off to fetch options they deemed more suitable; men bringing their wives' purchases in for returns and exchanges (often picking up a candle or set of dishes at the same time).
Maybe it's just LA, where everyone is slightly more concerned with their image than is really normal - but it's not even Hollywood types who are the most common participants. More often than not it's guys sporting facial hair and flannel, ones who would seem more at home in front of a Nintendo Wii than in a store filled with cookbooks and cocktail dresses and smelly soaps.
I, for one, hope it's a trend that catches on - not only because it would take away the need to choose between shopping and bonding with the boy, but also because it would be really helpful to get his opinion on some of my more...directional...purchases before I buy them - and saving a lot of those 'what ARE you wearing?' looks on future date nights.