Donald MacInnes: Hunter-gatherers do sometimes like to go shopping

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The Independent Online

A couple of weeks ago, I admitted to having the emotional fortitude of what is categorised by scientists as "Toddler After Lollipop Removal".

Well, those who claim confession is good for the soul had better be right, because I have decided to unburden myself again. This time, though, my revelation is more prosaic. And it involves carrier bags.

Intrigued? Then let my tale unfold (although it's worth bearing in mind the intellectual level at which I operate. Best keep your expectations in check. None of the following is likely to be inlaid in marble and stored in the Louvre).

My secret? I like to shop. Mind you, the fact that I have cloaked this statement in whispers should illustrate that I believe it's not the kind of thing a chap brays about in a public forum. But is my reticence predictable? Is it too easy to hold up shopping as *yawn* another difference between the sexes? Too easy to say that women shop for pleasure and men shop for stuff? Need we rope in that perfect line from When Harry Met Sally: "Women need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place"?

Are males really as workaday as this? Must we always hunt while they gather?

An indisputable fact is that woman can – and do – happily say to their female or gay male friends: "Want to go shopping at the weekend?" A straight man will never, in a trillion years, suggest this activity to another straight man. If we want to do it, we do it alone.

Furthermore, while I may like to buy stuff, it's always under very strict conditions, ie, I'm the one doing the shopping. If someone else is shopping, I'm out. Just being near the activity doesn't make it sexy. This is why I have no interest in pole dancing emporia. (Well, there is a secondary reason, but that's a story for a late night column.)

Basically, my enjoyment of shopping is predicated on two factors. Firstly, I must have money to spend and be 80 per cent sure on what I wish to spend it. Window shopping is for Oliver Twists with faces pressed to bakers' windows.

Secondly, it can't go on too long. If I haven't chosen a new iPod in the time it takes to say "nano", I go home and shop online. Just like all the men growing beards outside Monsoon's changing rooms wish the women in their lives would.