Matthew Launder

Want to know the definition of embarrassment? Find the child in your local mall or grocery store whose mother thought it was a great idea to strap a leash on him, and look at his poor little face. There’s an age when it’s trivial because the child is simply too young to realize the horror, sure. But when that little brain has gelled just enough, and he becomes aware of how cruel and unusual the leashing of another human being is, that is the actual day that he becomes a man.

As best as I can reckon, the look on that little boy’s face is the closest comparison to what it feels like for us straight, heterosexual men when our girlfriends drag us into the likes of Victoria’s Secret, Ulta or Bath & Body Works. The only time that I ever want to step foot into one of these stores is so I can spend 45 seconds running in and out to purchase a gift card that will enable you do your shopping by yourself the next time. And I personally owe a million thanks to whoever made these gift cards available at the grocery store.

I know that you want my opinion on bras, panties, makeup, lotions, creams, sweatpants, perfumes, lip glosses, jeans and nail polishes—you are merely seeking my approval, and for that, I appreciate you very much. But, sweetheart, I need to know the difference between eyeliner and mascara like you need to know what a balk is. Go ahead, Google it. 

Don’t think that I don’t care about you or don’t want to take interest in the things that you like. I want you to look and feel as beautiful as you are. That’s the whole reason these stores are in business. But I am way too distracted by this mannequin—she’s staring at me; she’s realistic enough that I feel like I’m cheating when I look at her; no woman could possibly look that good in those; and where the hell are the nipples? It’s just a life-size Barbie doll—and just as disappointing underneath the clothes. Did you ever wonder where Ken’s junk was? Don’t lie.

But why do I continue to go? I go because I live by my own philosophy of “give and take”. Where would we be without sacrifice? But do you really want me to see how much padding is in your bra before it goes on? Why fake that? The whole purpose of those are to attract us, and if you like us enough, to get us into the bedroom where it’s just going to come off. How would you like it if you spotted a cucumber-sized bulge from my jeans in the club, and when we got to my place, I pulled out an actual cucumber, and you get a peanut instead? On a side note, I’d be interested to find out if one breast implant surgery is cheaper than a lifetime of push-up bras and deception.

I will run errands with you, and I’ll do it with a smile on my face. I promise. I will because I love you, and that’s what a good boyfriend should do. But for every minute that I have to awkwardly stand by this chick with the damn tape measure desperately hoping to measure a bust, we are going to spend the same in Field of Dreams or Best Buy as well. That’s only fair. Because I don’t care about Victoria’s Secret Chocolate Body Crème for $19.95. Hershey’s has it too at the grocery store for like three dollars or something. And you know what else I can find at the grocery store? A Victoria’s Secret gift card.

I promise that these are better shopping buddies.

From men all over the world, unless it’s a dire emergency, let us stand outside by the popcorn stand. Please? Because no matter how many perfume samples I’m forced to smell, none of them beat the aroma of buttered popcorn, salted peanuts or a warm pretzel. And lest we forget Cinnabon!? Mmmm… To be honest, the only thing I get to look forward to is smelling the coffee beans in between the endless squirts of cloned colognes and faux-pa fragrances. Did you know that after the first five samples, the sensory receptors in my nose are shot anyway? They all smell the same. And I’m forced to pick which one you want to wear so that other men will still find you attractive when I’m desperately dying to get a whiff of a cinnamon roll? That’s a sad existence for us, isn’t it? Instead of shoving paper and plastic litmus tests under my nose for two and a half hours, pick one that you like and let me enjoy it later when I take you to dinner.

If what you want is something to yank around by the neck who will still love you at the end of the day, I know of a few Pomeranian farms around the city. For all intensive purposes, just remember to give a little bit once a while. A little sacrifice will go a long way in your relationship and happiness. And if you aren’t willing to sacrifice, why should I be? Happiness is compromise. When I asked my grandfather how he’s stayed happily married for 50 years, he responded, “Matt, she doesn’t always have to be right. I just always have to be wrong.” I thought about that for a while and realized that Grandpa Tom is a genius. I’ll pick my fights. All I can do is smile and nod and hope that you’re kind-hearted enough to treat me with the same respect that you would hope to get.

If I spend all week doting on you and what you want, I want to spend my Saturday at the golf course and my Sunday watching football. I’m not a pocket dog. I’m a human being. You wouldn’t want to spend two and a half hours at Home Depot while I ask your opinion on every drill bit and which would look best in my toolbox, would you? Treat me like the man that I am. Because I know for certain that you won’t treat me the same as that dog if I took a crap in your Coach bag.