Market Mall
Creative Commons License photo credit: daryl_mitchell

Ah, the joy of going shopping.

Somewhere I read that women see the shopping activity as a way of relaxing and awarding themselves while men reluctantly wait until it is absolutely necessary and unavoidable to grab the keys and go buy anything. I don’t know if that’s true for every man, but Argenis has not bought any groceries ever since I got my driver’s license, except if I’m sick or something. You should see him at the Home Depot or the Hardware Store, though. It’s like Christmas whenever he gets to go there.

This month we did well in finances for the first time in months and he told me I could spend $300 in new clothes. Apparently he’s tired of seeing me wearing the same girly tops, dresses, skirts, and jeans. He also has developed an aversion for polka dots, stripes, pink, flowers that are too flowery, bunnies, and kitties.

“You’re not 12 years old anymore”-he says, without taking his eyes off the computer.

“This from a man who still plays video games and watches Japanese Animation”-I reply, looking at my own self while trying to look unconcerned.

“Go get you some real-woman stuff.” – And somehow this statement motivates me to shake off the girly girl in me (at least for a while) and let the sand goddess awake.

So one bright Sunday after a big meal with lots of potassium, a pair of comfy shoes, and easy-off outfit, I grabbed my purse and headed to the store.

Now that I think about it, he wanted to go with me, but I spared him the torture of watching me use my “yes, no, maybe” shopping method.

This method consists of looking at every single hanged, folded, or piled up piece in the store of those sizes I know I may fit in and start displaying in front of my eyes whatever I think will look nice. If I decide it’s a “yes” or a “maybe” I put it in the shopping cart. If I remember I already have something that looks the same, or I realize it would not look good at all on me, then it’s a “no” and it goes back to the rack.

Soon the cart starts to grow a colorful tower that threatens to fall at any second and the rest of the customers stare at me in disbelief.

I don’t care.

My husband told me to spend $300 dollars in clothes and I’m taking him seriously.

I arrive to the corner of the store where there’s a long line of other ladies (some with their distressed husbands holding their purses and/or the kids) who are waiting their turn to try something on. Outside, the darkness quietly falls while the store girl hands me the highest clothing test card available (eight) and points at one of the empty cubicles. I place my cart on a corner and grab the first eight pieces.

And then the real odyssey starts.

People think I’m skinny because I am tall. I grant them that because there’s no really way to hide it: I really am six foot tall. In the Super Model World, this would mean weighting 125 pounds; wearing pants sizes 6, 4, or -my goodness- a 0. In real life, my hips are NOT a 6, or a 7, nor a 9 or 10. Sometimes not even an 11 or 12. My pants are actually between 12 and 14, accompanied by somewhere between 140 and 145 – I’ll let you guess the real number- in pounds.

Somehow this brought back memories of my self conscious adolescence, when going to buy new clothes was even worst. Back in the early 90’s my mother would force me to get those hideous cigarette, tall waist, and completely unflattering jeans to go to school. The worst part was when she never failed to tell the attendant how I was in the “development” stage and that it was too bad my boobs weren’t there yet.

Thank God for stretchy jeans and padded bras.

This happy thought took me back to the current affairs. Inside the cubicle I tried in vain to pull up jeans, shorts, skirts; knowing wisely that the Large ones were the ones that would fit, but with the secret ambition that the fashion makers had mercy on us tall, hippy girls and we don’t ever need to use the sewing machine to either make the short pants longer or the wide pants narrower. After several journeys in and out of the dresser I ended up rejecting half of the clothes I had in the beginning, because they either don’t come up past the thighs, the buttons won’t close, the zipper won’t come up, the sleeves are too puffy, or there was some weird shoulder pads there that I didn’t notice before.

The truth is I love to go shopping. It’s like smoking, drinking, or the internet. But with no guilt.

It was dark outside and the store was announcing they were closing when I headed to the cashier. She gave me a wide smile which I knew was fake (I didn’t blame her) and started removing the metal tags of each piece.

I paid and while happily heading out, the alarm beeped. They started checking on every one of my bags until they found a leftover metal tag. –Sorry about that, she said –That’s Ok, I reply. And I really meant it.

I drove back home in a mixture of ecstasy and sleepiness and I managed to find the key hole after several attempts. I was so shop-drunk.

Argenis helped me take the bags out.

“Oh, my God!”


“You bough the whole store!”

“Really? I didn’t think so.”-Don’t we all NOT think so? I thought.

“How much did you spend?”

“About $230 dollars”.

Silence, Sweating, and Popping Eyeballs.

“I thought you said I could spend $300!”

“Yeah, err, I kinda spent some of those $300 myself.”


“Nothing, nothing, we’ll be Ok…Show me what you got.”

I started modeling while he watched, sitting in a low stool and approving the fresh meat.

A couple of dresses didn’t passed his test, though, and I’ll go for a refund tomorrow.

You guessed it.

The polka dots.


Creative Commons Licensephoto credit: jsc*

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About pnlop22

Laura Marte Araujo-Bilbao is beginning her career in freelance writing and she specializes in culture, careers, eco-friendly ideas, entertainment, pets, travel, women, family & social relationships issues. She also writes fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. She has published a poem and a short story online. She has a degree in Business Administration from her home country and she is working towards a second Bachelor's in Creative Writing. She is originally from the Dominican Republic and her native language is Spanish. Laura lives in Lubbock, Texas with her husband, who is the main inspiration and fuel for her blog and the many stories she writes.

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  1. I love you Laura!
    Come visit us soon! I have a spare room!