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How to Shop for a Fur Coat With Your Wife
by Allen Charleston

So you have your eye on this Weatherby. Unfortunately, your wife has her eye on a fur coat, which will cost roughly the same.

What do you do?

If you offer to present her with the tanned hides so she can have the joy of making her own fur coat, she will just give you 'the Look" and we all know what that means.

So here is what you do. You take her shopping. Now, this is important - do NOT let her take a girlfriend, sister or her mother with you. Resign yourself to an all day event, but be prepared to pay attention and watch her model those coats. If possible, get a chair to sit in while you watch her model. You might as well be comfortable while you hold her purse. Also, try to start the shopping trip by leaving the house no earlier than 9:30 or so. You don’t want to get to the stores too early, and if she has one already in mind there should be no reason to leave earlier.

Now, this is very important - DON'T look at the price tags. Just look at her and how they look on her. If she starts to tell you what one costs - interrupt her and say something like "Cost is not important here, finding the right one is" or "Honey, let me decide if I like it before you spring the cost on me, ok?" This tells her that her happiness is more important than your wallet and when you tell her you don’t like the way it looks, she knows that price is not a consideration.

Watch her face as she looks in the mirror. If you think she doesn't particularly care for that one, shake your head. Just say you don't like that one. She will probably be impressed that you are agreeing with her and it will make her more comfortable. If she looks like she is in love, make her walk up and down in it in front of you for a few minutes so you can see how the coat "moves with her body" and start shaking your head. Tell her no in a nice way, say something like "Honey, I think you can do better" or "No, honey, no, not that one. Try that brown one over there." Say it like you are hesitating, like you hate to say no. If she asks why, just repeat that you think she can do better.

By the time she tries on the third coat or fourth coat, start letting her catch you frowning, but quickly put on a smile - you know, like you didn't want her to see you didn’t like it.

When lunch time rolls around, say something supportive like "Honey, I know you are tired and frankly I'm getting frustrated too, let's go over to (name of restaurant). We can try another store after we eat." See, you don’t ask her if she is tired and ready for a break, you tell her she is and you reinforce it by saying that you are getting frustrated and need one too. Do not take her to a fast food restaurant. Take her someplace nice where you know the service is slow but the food is good. Spend at least an hour eating and talking. Stretch it to an hour and a half or two hours if you can do it. Encourage her to have dessert. Then, after you eat, take her shopping again. Yes, I know it will be hard to do, but do it.

Go through the same thing at the second store as at the first.

When that moment of frustration comes, and if you have been married very long you will recognize it when it arrives, stand up without saying a word, walk over to her and take her in your arms. Now, this is very important. Keep her purse. Don't let her have it, you can maneuver this without letting her know you are just not letting her have it. As you hold her, pat her on the back and sway a little bit. Say something like "Honey, you know I love you. I want you to be happy. I want you to look your best. As soon as we find a fur coat that does not make you look fat, I'll buy it for you." Then lead her to the car. Talk about trying again the next weekend.

She may start to cry at this expression of love. But she may just get mad, so you have to be prepared for this contingency.

If she demands to know if you are saying that she looks fat, look shocked! Say "Honey, you always try clothes on and you never buy something that doesn't look slimming on you! These coats have been adding at least 10 pounds and that one (point at the fluffiest looking one) makes you look like you weigh 200!" Then back away from her shaking your head and act mad. "I hate shopping for clothes with you, but I knew this was important to you, so I came! Hell, I could have been ____ (fill this in with whatever activity you usually would be doing." Then leave. Head for the car. Be sure that you go into stalk mode and be sure you have that purse with you. See, what you have done here is let her see you get all worked up over what she will later refer to as “nothing” or ‘the least little thing.” More importantly, if you have her purse she can’t buy something without you.

Wait at the car. If she wants to go back in, tell her that your mood is ruined and you will take her next weekend. If she suggests that maybe she should go with someone else, act mad again and say "Why, don't you LIKE shopping with me? You want to go with some FRIEND that is going to tell you something looks good on you when she knows it doesn't? Ok, FINE." See, some women do that to each other, they tell a girlfriend that something looks good on them when it really doesn't, because then in comparison they will look better. She knows this and you will have planted the seed of doubt, and you will have used FINE, which, as we all know, means that things are NOT fine and that you will be mad if she goes shopping with someone else.

Now, one of three things will happen over the next few days and they will happen whether or not you get into an argument.

One, she will realize that fur is going to add pounds to her frame and she is going to change her mind. You should never, never ever suggest that she give the idea up. What you do is, if she has a friend with a fur coat, try this – out of the clear blue, say something like “Honey, I just don’t want you to look like a cow the way (girlfriends name) does in your coat.” Then go back to whatever it was you were doing. This is especially effective if you are watching TV and you suddenly hit the mute button and turn to her to say it. Then go back to watching TV. Work this right and you will miss the tail end of the commercial but not the show. Meanwhile, she knows that you are concerned about how she looks.

Two, you may come home to a fur coat the next day. She may even have a support group sitting around, like her sister or girlfriend. If this happens you can take the high road. Tell her in a tight-lipped way that lets her know that you are mad that she went without you to "put it on and model it for you". Then tell her that it is not too bad, that it only adds 15 pounds. There will probably be an outcry over this comment. I don't advise getting into an argument with her girlfriends or family. Just look at her and say "I'm your husband and I know what I like to see you in. I'm sorry you don't trust my judgment." Then leave the room or the house. Don’t say anything else; don’t get drawn into an argument. Just leave. If you leave the house it is important that you go back sober. Don't bring the coat up again, but when you get ready to go somewhere, say something like "I'll get the coat." It is now 'the' coat, not 'her' coat. She is going to feel so bad at betraying you that you are going to get to go hunting or fishing all you want for the next ten years. You will be able to buy whatever you want without her input.

Three, she will not go shopping with a girlfriend, but will expect you to go with her the next weekend. This is unlikely, but she may try to wear you down. So here is what you do - you get a buddy to call about hunting or fishing. Tell him to hang on a minute and you holler at her. Say something like "honey, Bob wants me to go fishing (or hunting) this weekend and I hate to disappoint him, but I promised you we would try for that coat again this weekend. Would you mind if we go next weekend?" What you have done here is give her back the coat power and put yourself in her debt. At this point she is probably thinking that she can go without you. Here is how you regain control. After you finish up with Bob, you go give her a hug and tell her how wonderful she is and how much you are looking forward to helping her pick out the right coat. Say something like, “You know, I was thinking about this yesterday evening. Maybe we need to plan this out better. Since we aren’t going for another week, why don’t you make a list of stores that carry furs by area. Maybe make a list of nearby restaurants where we can get lunch too? What do you think? That way, if we don’t find it at the first store we can have lunch someplace nice before going to the next store?” Another thing you could say is “Why don’t you ask one of your girlfriends to recommend a restaurant in whatever area we go to?” If she is amazed by your attitude, say “Honey, I’m on a hunting trip for a fur, the only difference in the planning is that I don’t need permits or a license.” Then you can say something kind of sweet like “Besides, I got the only license I need, my marriage license.” And if that one don’t get you some sugar nothing will. If you handle this right, she will not greet you at the door with a fur coat when you get home, but if she does, refer to number one above.

Let me pass on a little known fact about long lunches and where to find them. Tea Rooms. If you can find a tearoom in the area you are going to be shopping for furs, call ahead and make a reservation for “High Tea”. Guys, they serve it in courses and it will take a minimum of 3 hours. This is something she will brag about you doing to her women friends. Take points where you can find them. After you eat, you will have an hour, maybe two left to shop. Is it worth it? Should you go home and try next weekend? Her choice. She will probably want to get home and call her friends about the High Tea, but if not, that’s ok. Go back to the stores. As it gets close to closing time, you can suggest next weekend.

Now, a warning. There are actually well cut, quality fur coats that look good on women. You would have to be Donald Trump on a good day in order to afford one of those though. So here is what you do. You make a few phone calls during the week and find a really, really expensive shop. If possible visit the shop ahead of time and check out the prices. Then take her to it. Let her find that coat. You tell her that you like it. It looks good on her. It makes her look sexy. What does it cost? Now, this is important. You don’t say that you can’t afford it. You already know that coat costs more than your last car. You know that she knows it, too. So what you do is, you whisper “Honey, can we afford this?” That’s all. Don’t say another word. Let her talk about it. Let her look at herself in the mirror, let her sigh and take the coat off. Then take her to High Tea again.