Hiss... and hers

COME FESTIVAL time and all those ads scream out: "Shop Till You Drop". No doubt the invitation is addressed to the ladies. However, the person who complies with this instruction is likely to be the boyfriend/husband, henceforth known as He/Him. Any resemblance to persons living or dead (from exhaustion) is coincidental, etc.

Checking out those upmarket department stores that sell everything from shoes to lingerie to bed linen can be a delight for the Her but not Him, unless He is a glutton for punishment.

"Shopping for a dress or sari or accessories is not the way you guys buy shirts and trousers," She grimly warns Him beforehand. Er, why? "Because you must tell me if I look good in that outfit." Good breeding prevents that repartee escaping his stiff upper lip.

There are rows and rows of dresses arranged in military precision in a gargantuan room. The price tags gleam wickedly on each. Some quick mental calculation of how much time She may need to browse through each, and try out some of them. He begins to perspire.

But wait, things can get worse if there is a sale on as well. These sections are always packed with battle-axes of assorted sizes and temperaments. The crowd is thickest at racks with just one or two dresses still remaining. Muscle power He never imagined existed is displayed as they elbow out others and pounce on the last outfit with the tantalising tag "30 per cent off" on it.

Even without a discount sale on, things can get a bit sweaty. She picks up three dresses and vanishes into one of the trial rooms, beating others to it. Several minutes later Her head emerges to summon him to see how it looks. The other women giggle even as their men squeeze themselves into the cubicle. You don't want to enter the wrong cubicle by mistake...

It will take several such trips before She finally decides. The salespersons display infinite patience; after all it's festival time. He can finally retreat, his wallet decidedly lighter.


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