Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I don't mind shopping, being taken from place to place across several hours broken by the occasional coffee and cake only to return back to the original shop, it's all part of the experience. I don't even mind being asked for the umpteenth time if this looks OK, is the right colour or fits better than outfit number 26. The thing I really dread though is this...
 It was introduced to me today as the Man Chair. The proprietor of today's shop of choice was very efficient and attentive but as soon as she said 'You can sit on the man chair' my heart sank. You see, this chair appears in every place that sells ladies clothes and that includes the big chains too and quite often they are filled with bored looking middle aged men with armfuls of bags and a face that screams defeat. The worst places offer man sofa's where you have to squeeze in amongst the bored throng or suffer a worse fate of trying to stand near the changing rooms without a) Looking suspicious, b) Getting in the way or c) Looking like a pervert.

I once stood too close in one store to the changing rooms whilst I waited only to be looked up and down by various customers with looks ranging from filthy beast and suspicion to glares that looked like they were trying to remember my features just in case I had been on a wanted poster.

Sitting on the man chair today was unusually a simple affair. The shop was empty apart from myself and Jayne so any indignation was avoided. Glancing to my right though I found another reason to shudder.
A selection of 'man' based magazines to entertain said man. Call me picky but Practical Caravan (special issue with '70's Leyland road tests and how to cope with an overturned Swift in a thunderstorm), a general over 50 health magazine (with articles on coping with dying and how to avoid urine stains, honestly. Ugh!) and Best of British (building narrow boats, brewing tea that tasted like it did in the war, Dame Vera Lynn of course, ghastly glasses, why we should cane all the buggers again and mending minesweepers. No doubt if I dug deeper I would have found the 'hang the buggers' article and how to build an air raid shelter for those weekends away) wasn't riveting reading.

It kept me amused for a short while though. Well, we are talking short seconds actually, until the first of the questions started. 'Does this look right?', 'What about the colour?', 'You're not paying attention are you?' and I slinked back into my man chair role.

Ahh, the man chair what it giveth with one hand it takes away with the other. 'Are you comfortable there? Not long now.' was the reassuring words from the proprietor. I actually thought she was talking to a small child sat next to me but alas the small child didn't exist. Mmm.

So the next time I'm offered a man chair I have decided to go to town and take along a pipe and slippers, some reading material and maybe a small sandwich and a large brandy to really feel at home. I may even bring along a small dog called Colin to curl at my feet. Comfy? You betcha!

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