Sherri Winans
Whatcom Community College
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Timothy Greene
English 101
Essay 1
October 2010

Shopping In The Name Of Love

Life is a drawn out and colossal mating ritual. The more I think about it, that last sentence is not just a statement, it is also a confession.

Everything a man does is inspired by, motivated by, in tribute to women. I want a home so that I can house a woman. I want a car so that I can transport women to my home. I want clothes so that I can attract women, get them in my car, and then drive them to my home. Brent Jordan, in his book titled The Chivalry Code, says: “Without women, men would likely be living in caves, wearing loin clothes; unmotivated, uninspired: useless” (129).

In my English 101 class, we have been reading “Consuming Passions” in Sonia Maasik and Jack Solomon’s book, Signs of Life in the USA. We have been looking at the different factors that drive consumerism. After much thought about how the things we consume and the things we purchase make statements about who we are, I had to ask myself… Why would I even bother making a statement at all? The answer: Women.

I bought a cell phone to more efficiently and regularly talk to women. I purchased text messaging because it takes away the awkwardness that comes from flirting with women face to face. I joined Facebook to advertise myself to women. Personally, I would be fine and certainly more comfortable just wearing sweat pants and an old t-shirt, but I sometimes shop at Zumiez or Nordstrom’s because women seem to like nice clothes. I thoroughly enjoy eating McDonalds and smoking Marlboros, but I will occasionally make an attempt at losing weight and quitting smoking because women are not often attracted to fat guys who smell like ashtrays. If attracting a woman was not a driving force, I would probably be content with mediocrity across the board. Having nice things and bettering myself certainly brings other rewards and serves other purposes, but those are secondary and incidental.

Ever come to the end of a relationship and with all of your resolve, commit to being done with women? I am done! That same resolve usually lasts about three to four weeks before we are off to Supercuts for a new hairdo, off to the gym to purchase a membership, and off to AeroPostale to buy that hoodie she said we would look good in… after, of course, we deep clean our apartment and rearrange the furniture. It is all an attempt to win back our girl in true Hollywood fashion, or to attract a new girl altogether that will make the old one jealous.

If I honestly assess all of my behaviors, all of my attempts at self improvement, and all of my motivations, I must come to the conclusion that all of it is about attracting or holding on to a woman. I purchase soap, shampoo, deodorant and toothpaste not because I am particularly concerned with hygiene, but because women like men who smell good. Even the basic things we do to ensure our own survival comes back to the same premise. The only reason we would want to survive is because of women. What would be the point otherwise? Why appreciate a sunset without a woman to enjoy it with? Why strive to better ourselves or compete with others? The ultimate reason for competition and personal growth is the reward that may lie at the end of our efforts. What is the only worthy reward? A woman.

Most women, whether they realize it or not, are drawn to the dominant males in any group. Darwin called it natural selection. Men, whether they realize it or not, are constantly shuffling and maneuvering in an attempt to showcase themselves as a dominant male. We have, because of social influence, developed some strange and often wrong ideas as to what women find attractive, but the motive remains the same.

Thomas Hine, in his article titled “What’s in a Package”, says “We must all worry about packaging ourselves and everything we do, because we believe that nobody has time to really pay attention” (115). What kind of packaging am I going to display today? What outfit will better my chances of getting noticed by what’s her name? Of course, the drawback to all of our clever methods of attracting women is that the fish we catch will be in direct proportion to what kind of bait we use. If my packaging is flashy and sends a sign that I have lots of money, then I will appeal to a woman who is attracted to money.  If my packaging is perfect and without flaw, then I will appeal to a woman who has Disney World ideas of love and believes in the notion that “someday my prince will come.

What if I do not use any blatant packaging at all? What if I take a minimalist attitude and rebel against the idea of mass consumption or of selling myself? My non packaging has now become my package. I am sending a signal that I am above all of this shallow nonsense and that a woman had damn well better like me for me. That sounds cute and noble, but my intentions are still exactly the same as that jerk named Zack who is a tennis instructor and drives a Mercedes-Benz.

These ideas can be supported by just looking at the primal nature of humans and our inability to escape our basic instinct, which is to reproduce. However, I am not satisfied with that alone. I believe that at the heart of the human condition, the factor that separates us from all other species is our fundamental need to be loved. I am convinced that it is our purpose in this world to experience love on both ends of the spectrum. That is, to give love and receive it. Our desire for love is inescapable, even after we no longer believe in it. Love, or sometimes lust, will keep this nation of consumers alive and well. Even if money cannot buy love… we are sure as hell going to try it anyway.

If women would sleep with me in a cardboard box, then I would just live in one of those.
                                                        – Dave Chappelle (roughly translated)


Works Cited

Chappelle, Dave.  For What It’s Worth, 2004.  Showtime, September 4, 2004. Television.

Hine, Thomas. What’s in a Package? Signs of Life in the USA: Readings on Popular Culture for Writers.  Ed. Sonia Maasik and Jack Solomon.  6th ed.  Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009.  115-116.  Print.

Jordan, Brent Kenton. The Chivalry Code: Discussions on Becoming a Man in a Modern World. 1st ed.  Satsu Press, 2007. 129. Print.

Maasik, Sonia, and Jack Solomon.  “Consuming Passions: The Culture of American Consumption.”  Signs of Life in the USA: Readings on Popular Culture for Writers.  6th ed.  Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009.  75-85. Print.


copyright 2010, Tim Greene

Funded through the U.S. Dept. of Education, Title III Grant PO31A980143
Sherri Winans, Whatcom Community College, Bellingham, WA