Most men can spend about 70 minutes shopping with their wives until we start moaning.
After that it’s like we’re a hostile witness in a court case – we’re there but we’ll make it perfectly clear we’re not helping.
So when the boss suggested a trip to Manchester’s Christmas Markets last week, with daughter #1 and her boyfriend in tow, quite honestly sitting alone in the bathroom for four hours held more appeal.
I didn’t realise how it always plays out until daughter #2 (another shopping hater) explained it all.
What happens is the boss and daughter #1 see what they want in the first shop, try it on, then umm and ahh about it before handing it back and trying their luck in another shop.
Rinse and repeat x10.
After around three hours of this pantomime they decide that, actually, they rather liked the first thing they saw and go back and buy it.
Then they get it home, try it on under house lights and in front of familiar mirrors and decide that, after all, they don’t like it as much as they thought they did and return it.
Ladies, is it any wonder your men say, “Yeah, that looks great” at every single item of clothing you try on in shops?
And when it’s Christmas with high streets like a bad-tempered and ill-disciplined rugby scrum, it’s like Elvis Costello sang in Oliver’s Army: “And I would rather be anywhere else but here today”.
There’s this thing you might have heard of called the Internet.
As well as many other delights, it allows men to shop with the expertise of Mary Portas while sitting at home in front of the TV while Sky Sports is on.
Apologies to the good shopkeepers of Lancaster but this year (to save me from tears) every bit of Christmas shopping was done online.
I didn’t have to pay to park my car in town and people brought everything I bought to my house.
As a result, everything is bought and wrapped with two weeks to spare.
The only danger is that when it’s all done and dusted well in advance the temptation to buy more stuff is hard to resist.
That GoPro camera and dog harness for our adolescent saluki/whippet lunatic Walter is looking pretty tempting…