Hormones causes shopping, scientists find

Women have to head to the mall once a month for biochemical reasons

WARNING: The following article is for men only.

Any woman from my family caught reading it will lose her shopping privileges until she goes out of her mind, or for 20 minutes, whichever is longer.

Guys: I have some bad news. Women’s love of shopping is caused by biochemical changes, scientists have discovered.

Ten days before their "time of the month", women are likely to feel the need to spend money, Professor Karen Pine told the British Psychological Society.

We have to hide this news from women! Can you imagine the harm it could cause? In thousands of households, our better halves can come home laden with shopping bags and the perfect excuse: "It wasn’t me. It was my hormones."

Professor Pine said the monthly shopping urge may be an attempt to combat negative emotions or may come from an unconscious desire to make themselves more attractive.

I’m sorry, but that is SUCH an example of female thinking. For most men, the words "I’ve remortgaged the house to buy earrings" does not make women significantly more attractive (Mrs Vittachi, please note).

I was reeling from this when I saw a different news item on the same topic: some women are adapting to the present cash crisis by going swapping instead of shopping. Instead of buying new clothes and shoes, they trade stuff at parties.

Guys have been doing this for years. I spent my entire childhood being approached in the playground by bigger kids who would offer to trade things with me, such as, "You gimme your lunch box, and I will allow you to live." That always seemed a pretty reasonable deal to me.

Just last week, my banker friend Sze Sze Tan and his wife were discussing the differences between male and female attitudes to shopping. "I hate shopping," Sze Sze said. "I just go into a shop and point to something. I’ll take that one and that one. Job done."

This rang true, but I knew for a fact that at other times, Sze Sze and other men are careful shoppers.

I reckon men subconsciously divide prospective purchases into two categories: items we can differentiate and items we can’t. The second category includes curtains, carpets, bed covers and so on. They may come in different forms, but we can’t tell the difference between them. I often have conversations such as the following.

Me: I want to buy a sofa.

Sales clerk: What colour? What fabric? What style?

Me: Just a sofa. Any sofa.

Sales clerk: What texture? What size? How many seats?

Me: I don’t mind. Just give me a sofa.

Sales clerk: Contemporary? Classic? Retro? European? Oriental?

Me: Give me a sofa or I will hit you.

Sales clerk: Yes sir. On the cheek or the chin?

In contrast, gadgets go in the other category. They have long lists of features which interest us and which we like to study exhaustively. My wife asked me to buy her a laptop computer.

Me: Yes. Will June next year be all right?

Wife: Can’t you just pick one up from a computer shop this afternoon?

Me: Of course not. There are more than 2,000 different models available, and I will have to look at the features list of each one. It shouldn’t take me more than a couple of years.

I’m sorry, but men cannot help being like this. It’s our hormones, I think.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to stop writing this now and go to the gadget shop. It’s my gadget-buying time of the month.

* Hey, gang, on a separate topic: I have nice pix of Fardel and Rika. But Fardel tells me I am not allowed to publish them until Angela sends in a picture too. Have you got one, Angela? Or any other commenters? Do you have one, Sarah? Can you email them to me at nury@vittachi.com. Thanks.

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