Sometimes, it amazes me how far ahead of the curve I am – and without even trying.
What prompts this latest round of back-patting is an article I read the other day. It seems that more and more men are now doing the grocery shopping for the family. The article said that 31 percent of men nationwide were the primary household grocery shoppers in 2011, up from 14 percent in 1985.
My reaction is – so what? While I can’t honestly state that I do all of the grocery shopping solo, I do manage to do a lot of it, and I’ve done so for years.
My wife is a freelance writer and often works weekends, so my doing the shopping accomplishes two things: one, it takes an odious and time-consuming chore off her plate, which frees her to crank out the billable hours. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it gets me out of the house for a couple of hours every Saturday.
Why is this important? Well, apparently it’s hard for some people (not naming names) to concentrate when their spouse is blasting the reggae, or grinding coffee for yet another espresso, or asking for the third time where his reading glasses are (still on top of my … I mean, his … head, for those of you who are keeping track).
Personally, I think it’s great that more men are doing what has long been considered “women’s work.” I mean, men once hunted and brought home brontosaurus burgers for the wife and kids waiting back in the cave, so how is this different? Granted, we’re not likely to be attacked by a bunch of asparagus or ravaged by a marauding picnic ham but the principle is the same.
There is, however, a downside to men shopping, as there are plenty of guys who should not be allowed in grocery stores. Chief among them is the Surly Husband. He is obviously not happy to be at the store. He’d rather be somewhere else – drinking beer, watching TV or having his wisdom teeth extracted through his urethra – anywhere other than grocery shopping. Surly Husband is easily identified – he always has his hands in his pockets, he always looks vaguely pissed, and he’s always standing directly in front of my cart.
With the number of male shoppers on the rise, many stores are doing more to attract them. I mentioned this to my wife and her response was, “Oh really? What are they doing—putting tits on the Cheerios boxes?”
Well, not exactly, Little Miss Smarty Pants – but Procter & Gamble Co. has begun testing “man aisles,” which put all men’s products in one place. This is great for us guys, but it makes it hard for the other shoppers to maneuver their carts past the La-Z-Boys and big-screen TVs.
Some other attempts to cater to male shoppers are, frankly, kind of stupid. For instance, Kraft Foods has developed MiO, which they describe as “liquid flavor droplets to make water more enticing.” Hey Kraft, there’s already a liquid you can add to water to make it more enticing – it’s called Jack Daniels. And not only does it make water more enticing, it can make any shopping trip a lot more fun.