Men are not shoppers. Thanks to the precedent set by our primitive ancestors, when we go to stores we do not go to browse around; we simply want to kill our prey and bring it home. Cavemen did not have malls. They left their caves and slayed the first wooly mammoth they came across.
[This is probably the right time for the mandatory disclaimer that I probably should not speak for all men, and I can’t speak for women since I am not one. I should also say that I’m not completely sure mammoths were around with the cavemen, and I don’t care to look it up.]
But for THIS man, there are only two things worth shopping for, and that would be shoes and mitts. There are few things more personal than those two items. No one else can pick them up for you; you have to choose your footwear and fielding implement yourself, and men will shop endlessly until they find the right ones.
I know because in 1984 someone stole my mitt from a Little League field where I was coaching. If we had not been on orders and about to transfer out of state I would have mobilized the entire local militia to find the little culprit. Instead, I spent the next several months agonizing over a replacement, hitting sporting goods stores, catalogs, and Navy Exchanges until I found the glove that felt just right.
That was thirty years ago and I still have that mitt. When our house burns down, I will grab my family, my dog and my glove and carry them to safety – and not necessarily in that order (I figure the dog can run along behind us).
Shoes are different, and I think it is because most of the men reading this article have spent a decent amount of time wearing corfams.
Corfams became the saving grace for guys like me who could never figure out how to shine shoes the right way. For those not in the know, they come out of the box with an unnaturally brilliant shine on them and look great with a dress uniform. I never really embraced the style or fit, so when I set the uniforms aside, I thirsted for something comfortable and stylish.
And that is the rub. Coming from a job where white, black and camel oxfords and boots are the only styles of choice, a military man is suddenly confronted with a world of hues and styles, and he is totally unequipped to deal with all the selections.
So he shops. He begins an endless cycle of testing fits, checking out treads, standing in front of floor mirrors, and shopping for sales. If he finds a pair that fits and looks just right, he is about as close to nirvana as it gets.
But that giddy feeling doesn’t last long because once he gets them home he realizes that they are ALMOST perfect, but not quite. And so the cycle begins again.
That is the difference between modern man and cavemen. It is what distinguishes us as higher up on the evolutionary scale. As opposed to today’s gentlemen who have a vast array of choices, they didn’t have shoes at all, and if they did they were all the same style (mammoth hair with leather soles, I think).
What connects the men of today with our ancestors, though, is the fact that even cavemen kept the same mitt for life.
Look it up.