The effects of stress on the human body and mind are pretty well documented. But what about the effects of specifically shopping-induced stress? Because I think there is a subject ripe for analysis right there.
I don’t know what it is about me and shopping. When I’ve got money to burn or I’m in the mood for browsing I love shopping. In that sort of mood I seem to stumble over more lovely clothes than I can stuff in my shopping bags. I look nice in anything, everything’s in my size and I go to a very happy place.
When, on the other hand, I’m looking for something very specific and I’m desperate to buy it I have absolutely no joy - everything is pants, I look hideous and I go to a very bad place I like to call The Shopping Spiral.
The first stage of the shopping spiral is optimism. The shops are new, the possibilities endless and in my mind I look fantastic in every on of the hundreds of dresses I have yet to try on. This is also known as the delusional stage.
Stage two is when reality hits. The shops are shite, all the clothes look the same and the only dresses I can find are of the pinafore/smock variety, apparently designed to make me look like I am not only carrying twins but that I may have eaten a baby or two on my way into the fitting room.
Stage three is rage. I sneer at the teenage fools who probably look good in everything, I mock the dresses waving at me from their hangers and I pour abuse on my shopping companions for being cruel enough to find something they like and look good in.
Next comes bargaining, also known as the time at which I try to rewrite my personality to become the kind of person who might wear a tulip dress. Sure, I tell myself as I wriggle into layers of hideous chiffon/spandex/polyester, it’s not my style now but maybe it could be. I mean, just because I’ve never thought of myself as a strapless, slashed-to-the-thigh sort of person doesn’t mean I couldn’t one day be that person… oh wait no it totally does.
Of course the last stage is a combination of acceptance and depression. I accept that I may never find a dress that I like. I am depressed that this is so.
On the plus side, I discovered last night that a good antidote for the depression side of things is to go home from a failed shopping expedition to watch The Poo’s reality TV show, Age of Love (which is, incidently, exactly as awesome as you hoped it might be). Yes I may be undressable but at least I possess neither a)giant fake cans, or b)the desire to win The Poo’s love. There's always a silver lining.