Posted by Jill Chivers in My Story

Greetings one and all and welcome to Blog #26. Today I’d like to talk about Desire.

Desire. Not merely a streetcar or a cool song by U2 (or an “erotic masterpiece” by Luis Buenel, gawd, you’d need the extra strong stuff to watch that, wouldn’t you?). And does Marlon Brando, star of the original screen version of A Streetcar Named Desire (pictured) need any explanation? Surely not. (and speaking of Marlon, that’s another arm/leg/torso of the desire story, which we might leave for the after 10pm timeslot).

What I’ve learned about desire and shopping is that for some people the two an inextricably linked. These are people who when they hear about a challenge like this one I’m on, they nod and empathise and oooh and can’t wait to visit the blog to share in my pain (presupposition: I am in pain. Why? Because I am not shopping for a year, of course!). In the shopping-desire realm, these are people in my “tribe”. (Tribeism has become quite the in-thing to talk about of late, have you noticed?).

Then there’s other people, who have no discernible connection between desire and shopping. I was reading someones ezine just yesterday who made this comment: “shopping has never been my favourite pastime at the best of times“. Fascinating! Of course, I’ve been aware that some people don’t like shopping, but it’s been like knowing that the South American indigenous peoples practised aquaculture — a piece of factual data that I had no direct or compelling interest in or reason to further explore.

Women, shopping and desire. Do women have a greater desire for clothes shopping, I wonder? I know a few men who enjoy clothes shopping, but only a few — most of the men I know only enjoy shopping for specific things and those are usually to be found in hardware stores, sports stores, technology stores or car wrecking yards (yawn – have you ever been into a mowing store?? And by that I mean a store that sells equipment to mow your lawn. Gawd, how the staff stay awake all day is beyond me. See there’s that desire thing again! It’s probably quite fascinating to them).

My anecdotal data about knowing 2 men who enjoy shopping for clothing is hardly what one could call a “representative sample”, so I’m interested in who you know who enjoys shopping?? I know many more women who enjoy shopping than men. What about you? In researching this blog posting, I came cross this interesting bit of info: on average, women spend nearly twice as long per month shopping for clothing as men. Only twice? Really?

And here’s something else quite fascinating (and I can’t quite tell if it’s insulting or not).

A “new study” has revealed that when women are in their “luteal phase” (approx 10 days before their period is due), they have less control over their shopping habits. The study goes on to say that a good shop during this time is a way that many women use to reduce pre menstrual stress.

Study Schmudy. Ok, ok, someone at a university (Hertfordshire) did the study so its probably not complete bunkum. But here’s what’s interesting to me. I wonder about the items of clothing that women are purchasing during this time, knowing a little first hand about the roller-coaster nature of a woman’s “phases”. Clothing purchased “in luteal” — do they even fit 10 days later? Do the women even like them once they are through that unpredictable luteal phase? Or do they look at their in-luteal-purchases and go “eeeww, what was I thinking?”

The final word one researcher from this study insightfully made was that women purchase for emotional reasons which can create “buyers remorse” later. Ground breaking! (this is the thing about research studies, isn’t it? They somehow attempt to legitimise common knowledge through the intellectual rigour that a study shrouds the data in. But I digress).

Desire is a very personal thing. What one person finds irresistible is repellent to another. And that applies not only to the activities we find desirable (shopping anyone? ok, alternative: driving nails under one’s fingernails? — It’s a coin toss as to which one is more uninviting?) but to every aspect of our lives. How else can you explain someone wanting to marry Tommy Lee? Right?

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