Yesterday I got one of the endless number of emails trying to sell me something that bombard my inbox. This one was trying to sell me “Barbie PJs.” The picture showed what looked to me like standard PJs that were pink with a silhouette of a Barbie head on the top. “Hmmm,” I thought idly, “I wonder if Kish would like those, or hate them.” And then I hit the delete button.
I wish I could effectively communicate to that company, and others that try to sell me women’s clothing, how absolutely unlikely I am to buy anything they’re offering. I haven’t bought Kish any kind of garment — or footwear, hats, you name it — for more than three decades, because I long ago learned that I have no sense of fashion and really don’t know what she likes and what she doesn’t like on the apparel front. In short, if an item can be donned or doffed, I’m far out of my depth.
This profound condition of clothing cluelessness became clear when I tried to buy Kish some clothes one long-ago Christmas, and each purchase — boots, a blouse, a winter cap — was a miserable failure that she looked at quizzically. “How did you happen to buy purple boots?” she asked after opening one of the presents. “I thought purple was your favorite color,” I stammered in response. “No, it’s green,” she said.
Fortunately, I had retained all of the receipts for the ill-advised gifts, so she was able to return them and get some things she really liked and wanted — and we moved forward with the implicit understanding that I would never again try to buy clothes for her. In fact, I’ve always suspected that the “returns” department at stores was created by a department store proprietor who, after totally flubbing some gift for his wife or girlfriend, realized that there was a desperate need for a special area where puzzled women could discreetly return the reckless clothing purchases of misguided males.
So don’t try to sell me “Barbie PJs,” or poofy fashion scarves, or knee-high boots. Those kinds of purchases fall entirely into the “Kish self-purchase category.” I’ll happily buy her objects, or even perfume if I receive sufficiently explicit instruction that can be communicated to the helpful saleswoman at the perfume department at Nordstrom’s. Attire, however, is in the danger zone.