Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Several years back a fellow blogger threw out a term in private correspondence with me: a man chair/a man bench. This is where he said he could be found when he'd go shopping with his wife...and I don't mean grocery shopping.

When said blogger took a trip down South and his wife decided to hit the shopping malls and discount stores when they reached their destination, he grew tired...and kept a look-out for the familiar "man chair/man bench".

Go to the mall and look around; you see sitting areas? Who is sitting in those areas often? Yup, uh-huh, you got that right! Go into a large department store, specifically to the shoe department. You see that middle-aged man sitting on the chair, holding shopping bags? No, he's not trying on shoes today. He's waiting for his wife and is sitting in a "man chair."

The "man chair/man bench" is not wholly designed for seniors, as one might think. It is an official rest stop for the male persuasion of every shape, color, size or age. I believe many shopping mall designers are men, and when they work out layouts of stores and the mall hallways, they actually should add to their layout map legends little stars that direct you to "man chairs" in the mall. In a store, you're left to fend for yourself, though!

Why do I bring this up now? Well, for the past couple of weeks, I've been frequenting home improvement stores -- Rona, Canadian Tire, Home Depot and Lowe's. (you Americans are probably only famliar with Lowe's, if that) When I have gone on my own in the daytime, I've had a mission. But when I've gone in the evening or on the weekend with my husband, I'm the sidecar passenger, and he's the navigator, knowing what he wants to look at, where it can be found...and usually it's more technical than pretty.

Last weekend we went together to one of these stores; there was an advertised display of bar-b-ques. Ron said to me, "Take a look at who is looking at the doubt it's all men." And it was! No doubt these men were visualizing a cold beer in their hand, a couple of steaks on the grill and some loud get-togethers with buddies. Okay, where were their women during this creative visualization session? Inside the store? Where inside the store? The bathroom...or at the cash register paying for their man's whims?

Well, here's my deMANd! If men are entitled to a "man chair/man bench" in female-frequented places, I think that women are entitled to...a lot more! male-frequented places. We don't need a simple chair, we need a kaffee klatch/spa area. C'mon, especially in these home improvement centers! If they can sell indoor Jacuzzis and fancy tubs, let them set up a user-friendly one in a far corner of the store; if they can sell housewares and have kitchen layout designs to look at in the store, let them set up some chairs at a kitchen counter with a coffee machine, and juice maker, and have a male wait on us, bringing us refreshments. A spa service with pedicure/manicure/mini massages (mini, depending on how long your male partner is hanging around the store!) would be ideal too.

I looked around the stores I was in: these "little" items are lacking...and as a result, the female population in these stores is lacking. I believe that if my deMANds would be met, women would be happier, and if the women are happier, the men would be happier too!

Oh, and one more demand: maybe one of those men who was visualizing while standing in front of the bar-b-ques, can actually prepare a steak for me. But hold back on the beer, and make mine a white wine spritzer!