Third in a series dedicated to proving I am undatable.
Gentle readers, I am completely gay. As gay as the day is long. Gayer than the kick line of chorus boys in 42nd Street. Gayer than listening to Ricky Martin while driving your Miata to Provincetown. Gayer than wearing a Prada unitard to your step-aerobics class at David Barton Gym.
And yet, I hate to shop.
I hate it with the heat of a thousand white-hot suns. I hate it the way I hate when pianos fall off of cranes and land on my head. I hate it the way I hate having a rope looped around one ankle and being dragged down a sharp gravel road and then having my road rash doused with flesh-eating bacteria.
When there is something I need, I have a very revolutionary method of handling that situation. I figure out where that item is likely to be, then I go there and get it. I don't window shop, I don't typically check what other stores have exactly the same item for possibly a dollar less. I walk in, select item, pay, return home. I know it's not entirely cost-effective, in some cases, but it is sanity-effective, for me.
I should probably single out clothes shopping in this post, because gay men probably like clothes shopping more than anything else in the world, outside of watching porn in the nude on the sofas of men they just met on Manhunt. Most of my friends would be hard pressed to describe a more delightful afternoon than one spent traipsing from boutique to discounter to department store, whimsically trying on things that they don't need, while always keeping an eye out for something they didn't know that they wanted.
However, for ME, an afternoon spent in that kind of torture and I'm completely ready to confess any crime. Seriously, the CIA would only have to confine me at the opening morning of the Barney's Warehouse Sale, and I'd give up every one of my Al-Qaeda contacts. I'd sing like a canary. I'd tell you anything you wanted to know, just let me out of this store!
My needs are simple. I don't need to shop for shoes, because I already have 5 pairs. All black. Work shoes, gym shoes, dress shoes, snow boots, combat (disco) boots. When one pair wears out, I replace it with the exact same pair, or the closest thing I can find to it. I don't need to shop for jeans, because I already have a couple of dozen pairs. I only wear Levi's or Lee's, and I don't see why the ones I already have won't last me another 10 years or so, at least. As for shirts, I refuse wear anything with a label mark on it. No Polo's, no alligators, etc. If you can tell who made it, I won't wear it. I like very simple shirts. For example, when Old Navy came out with a new line of ringer-T's this summer, I bought one in every color they offered. Summer clothes shopping? Done!
Another thing gay men love to do is go "art shopping". Which actually means "art looking", because of all the galleries I've been dragged to by dates and boyfriends, I can only think of one time that an item was actually purchased, and that item ended up being left in a foreign city because it wouldn't fit into the suitcase. I'll admit, I have a low tolerance for most art. I find a lot of it pretentious.
Artist (sweeping grandly with his hand): "And this, is of course the central piece of the installation, expressing the futility of hope, the emptiness of existence, the meaninglessness of life itself."
Me (flatly): "It's a used up tube of toothpaste."
Artist (nodding solemnly): "Precisely."
Disclosure: I have never owned an original work of art. But I've also never owned a black-lacquer framed Nagel print, and I bet most of you queens reading this can't say THAT.
Since I have a sort of Zen aesthetic when it comes to my home, it should be no surprise that I hate shopping for tchotchkes more than anything else. So please for the love of Lucy, don't ask me go candle shopping. Or glass figurine shopping. Or flower vase shopping. And please don't ask me to hover nearby while you coo and point into the window of some beat up consignment shop at their "gorgeous assortment of vintage glass pieces." The worst part about this kind of shopping is that it often results in going to the three most hellish places on earth: 1) a flea market, 2) a junk store, 3) a garage sale. Kill me, kill me, kill me. Seriously, if you'd like to see my brain slowly seep out of my ear holes, lock me in an antiques store.
To recap, shopping with me means this: quick, focused, result-oriented trips to a single destination with only very rare detours. No visits to anyplace that sells anything that isn't brand new. No window shopping, no sale-flyer-in-hand shopping, no grand openings, no going out of business sales. See why I'm alone?
(Previously: The Eating)
(Next: The Watching)