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July 19, 2004


This bloggerette received the following letter:

Dave --

I read your latest column regarding shopping with amusement and a hearty, manly grunt, grunt! As usual you are always right on such matters.

However I must issue a word of caution. I found myself one time, speaking with a woman on the same subject. As required by the Guy Code I described my point-and-shoot methodology for shopping but later on in the conversation I fell into a trap. I said I could spend hours in "House of Tools" (an actual tool store chain here in western Canada) looking at the tools and imagining what I could build with them. She asked what was different about her looking at clothes and me looking at tools, and without a good answer, my credibility was shot.

Men around the world, watch out for this trap!

Gerry van Dyk Registered Engineering Technologist
Senior Engineer - Drilling Tools
National Oilwell - Downhole Tools

This bloggerette received this reply from The Blog:

That doesn't count! Tools are different!

This bloggerette would laugh and make a comment about a river in Egypt, but likes her job, and therefore will only say: "Downhole Tools"?


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Downhole Tools WBAGNFARB

aha! first, and zeeeere eees no difference! bwahhha. you all are feenished. girls 1- guys,0.

Tools ARE different. They're useful. A pair of black shoes is not if you already have 147 other pairs of black shoes.

So close, Queensbee...

And - tools will still fit your hand if you put on 20 pounds.

Tell THAT to your jeans...

John...I'm guessin, if you like the girl enough, the black hose can be useful for something.

John, John, John. You are obviously not a married man. The correct retort is

Yes dear, you're right. I'm sorry.

shoes, hose whatever.

If ever mugged or a boyfriend just deserves a beating for whatever stupid thing he did, black shoes come in handy.

Like in "Single White Female", MeL? Did you see that flick?

anyway, nobody said you had to BUY all the shoes you saw, or all the tools you looked at.... the point is SHOPPING. it's fun-damental.

Of course, alligator shoes would serve the purpose too, MeL. And that would save the rest of the alligator for other purposes.

Not married but have read the 'book of rules'... Markhh is correct.

I once had to go to a Canadian Tire store across the street from my apartment building and make a guy come home for dinner. He went over there after lunch!

Will the media and PETA respond if you live in Florida and throw alligator SHOES at someone?

Ok, you have a pair of black shoes and matching black hose to go with a Gucchi purse and a strapless bra. With these items your mission is to take this piece of plywood and turn it into a treehouse for the kids, using the leftover scrap to make a flower box.


My point exactly.

Ha! Tools are TOTALLY different! Women are the only ones with this crazy shopping problem, and to think otherwise is crazy, and --

Honey, what are you doing with those black shoes?



I will be the first to say that there is NOTHING wrong with over abundant shopping.. after all someone has to keep our economy going. If the world was only male you would still be sitting around in caves scratching your armpits woundering how you could keep them from smelling so bad.

Takes a real engineer to work with (in) Downhole Tools . . .
Come outta dat hole, or I'll bwast you out!

Jaxx, I'll have you know that I once used a shoe from a pair of really nice ones to repair a doghouse. My hammer was missing and the shoe had a perfect heel for the task.. it was nice and sturdy. The repair to the doghouse went splendidly and the roof tile stayed in place so that the roof didn't leak after that.

Which was good because I spent that night sleeping IN that doghouse during a rainstorm.

Does it seem remotely possible that Mr. Dyk, senior engineer for drilling tools and national oilwell downhole tools is a Dave prank? Sending letters to himself?

Any bets on when Dave will add his ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo's to the blog?

Mr Not the "real" Dave, I believe you proved my point. Now, if you had been able to shop for tools properly instead of having to help pick out shoes, not only would the doghouse be fixed but you could have spent the night in the garage tinkering with that broken boom box from 1987.

Tools ARE different. As John said, they're useful. Actually produce something.

Women's clothes, on the other hand, produce no real value. What to you expect? Dressing well just means other women will hate you; Men prefer that you not be dressed at all.

Ill drink to that Mr. Fishy

As a woman who loathes shopping (this is my shopping list for when I buy clothes, which is every other year: 6 pairs Levi's 501 32x34s. The End.), I must say that I could TOTALLY build a treehouse with shoes and a purse. And almost all the tools in the house are mine, not my boyfriend's, having inherited most of them (including a block-leveling-capable belt sander) from my Construction Worker Dad, whose key quote, so to speak, of my entire life as his daughter, is "So what we're gonna do here is pop up a hot leg..."

S'there. I'll take a mallet over a mall any day :)

Sorry, I don't know how to do the html in the post to make the word "Peter" a link, which is what I should have done. I'm such a Pixie!!!

Can somebody tell me how to do that for future reference?


k -- so you don't wear shirts?

dave not barry -- &lta href = " url ">
and if you want words to show up put them here

take out all the spaces, except after the first a.

{THANKS k ;)}

Tools are for hunters; shoes are for gatherers. Didn't everyone see "Defending the Caveman?" While it's not totally gender-wired, it's really, really close.

Jaxx and John:

To build the treehouse: don the black hose, matching shoes, strapless bra and purse (positioned strategically so that you do not get arrested).

Totter somewhat precariously over to the handy neighbor's house in those black stilettos with matching hose and your strapless bra with matching purse placed strategically. Ask nicely for assistance and gesture to the plywood on your deck.

In a very short time you will have the best treehouse and flower box on the block.

Because there is more than one kind of tool.

judi - if you want to show the angle brackets, the code is ampersandlt; and ampersandgt; except replace the word "ampersand" with an actual ampersand.

Well said, lilygr!

On the other hand, when it comes to gift-giving I struggle, because, unlike my beautiful wife, I haven't been doing all that research...

Dave (not Barry...)

I don't think Peter's black shoes could build a dog house or tree fort.

Thank God they haven't found out a way to make us clean stuff.
Gals 1. Guys 1.

Certain clothing produces the effect women sometimes want from men therefore picking out the right outfit is require to pique your interest among various other things.

of course tools are different
i like men with tools


I don't really care what it's for. Just so it's as quick as possible.

was thinking same thing as elle and lilygr.

I was camping and needed a mallet to drive the tent stakes into the ground. A pair of black pumps worked nicely. And no I wasn't camping in the pumps they were in the trunk from work. Don't underestimate the powere of black shoes. That said I only own the one pair of pumps and malls make me vomit.

Wow MadScientist, thank goodness it was only the tent stakes. If you'd forgetten the entire tent I guess you would have had to get pretty gussied up before you went amblin' over to that other campsite to borrow one!

I hate shopping too but can be rather indecisive. Instead of standing in the store with mouth agape, I just buy what I need in several different styles, makes, models, colors etc. Once home, I can ponder them at my leisure then return the ones I don't like best. Honestly, you really can't decide on a coffee make until you've gotten it home and seen how it looks on the counter.

Boo! "you really can't decide on a coffee make until you've gotten it home and seen how it looks on the counter."

My criteria would consist of the the quality of the coffee.

Go check out your local Sony store - men abound -I can't get past one if my husband is with me and once were in, we ain't gettin' out any time soon.

elle, you will never, NEVER get me to pour tequila down my pants. EVER.

Now, beer on the other hand..

Dave (not Barry)

Trust me - if elle ever came up to you and asked you to pour tequila down your pants AND light it on fire, you'd do so!

Hubba Hubba....

I have never really understood the whole shopping-for-recreation thing even though I'm a woman. I will seriously spend hours on the internet looking for stuff to buy, and then I'll go buy it at a store because I don't want to pay shipping and I can get it RIGHT NOW. Does anyone else do this?

I can READ stuff on the internet, because reading is something I like doing.

Shopping, on the other hand...nope. Not doing it. It's just as boring and sickening as shopping in a store.

Hey, at least I'm consistent.

I like shopping for tools. And tools. I only spend a lot of time shopping for clothes if it's for a special occasion. It only took me an hour to find my wedding dress, I'm proud to say. But I have been known to spend a fair amount of time in a hardware or electronics store ;)

I like shopping for tools. I only spend a lot of time shopping for clothes if it's for a special occasion. It only took me an hour to find my wedding dress, I'm proud to say. But I have been known to spend a fair amount of time in a hardware or electronics store ;)

Whoops - ignore the 1st one!

i'll shop in any kind of store if i'm in the mood. i'm more often in the mood for cds and books than clothes, tho. and weird or unusual things on ebay. i like shopping for those.

Lil and Elle--heheheheh!!!!!

Apropos of the actual column, "Whomping the Yak" wbagnfarb.

Doh! They casually slipped electronics in on us! I was prepared to submit a plausible defense for tools - that those purchases are far more akin to an investment decision and therefore worthy of significant consideration (do it myself vs. pay to have it done; it would be BS but hard to argue with) - but I got nothin' for electronics.

What about cars? I'm always stopping and looking at new cars, even though the one I drive is perfectly fine. I love car shopping. My dad's boss even let me pick out a company car for my dad.

I don't like to shop much. I out-source that to my dear husband. I tell him what I am looking for and he finds it for me on e-bay. He is a great e-bay shopper.

I can't buy clothes that way though. I have to try them on. It is very frustrating because all women's clothes are made for an average person who is 5'7". I'm 5'2" so nothing ever fits. I always have to hem up. I hate that. Petites sometimes work but often they get too short right away.

I love hardware stores though. I like to look and get ideas for projects around the house. However, my husband hates it when I go in one. It just means more work for him.

He did buy some cute tools for me though to keep in the kitchen. They have a blue and white floral pattern on them and I keep them in a pink mouse crock on the counter. Now I always have a screwdriver hammer and wire cutters when I need them and I don't have to mess up his shop looking for tools when I have to hang curtains or pictures or do a flower arrangement.

OK Elle, I'm sitting here at work (damply) and reeking of tequila. May lose my job.

Now what do you want me to do?

I've got three big reasons why I don't shop for recreation: one daughter, two sons. (13, 11, 7)

When considering a major purchase, I'll do the research thing and will purchase at a store so I don't have to pay shipping. Same as Sarah. You go, girl!

My definition of "shopping" regards comparison and sales price. Why pay full price? I try to use coupons whenever I can. If I can find it on sale and use a coupon, I get bonus points.

mudstuffin, Darlin', please join in. It's been ever so long since we've had a poetry duel.

Deauxl Rule
When shopping for clothes or for shoes
Women prefer to take time when they choose
They'll try on and then
Pick another one when
It tickles their fickly fuse.

When shopping for electronics or tools
Men use The Guy Set of rules
They hunt and they grab,
Never minding the tab!
For this, they brag they're not fools.

Lliy.....I identify with your husband kinda, sorta..

Ya-see....it was bad enough when my bride (of 36yrs) watched and heavily utilized QVC. That was a drain on the budget. And the neighbors were starting to think that the UPS man was her boyfriend, he made so many stops at our house.

However (sigh), that was nothing compared to the drain both on the budget and my goof-off time when she started watching HGTV. Arrgh...the projects that Design-on-A-Dime has spawned.

Yes, it is true that guys grab
and sometimes this makes our ladies so sad
They wish we'd bring flowers
and beg us to shower
And sometimes they will shop like mad

Most mall trips involve buying shoes
"if you've less than 100, you lose"
Their bumper stickers proclaim
That "Univ of Nordstrom" refrain
But she who dies with the most shoes, dies too(s)

I used to stop dead in my tracks when coming across a Radio Shack. But that was back before they got heavy into consumer electronics.

And there's not many of them over here in Europe.

Did you say Norstrom?

Nice one, shakespeare. Welcome back.

Sorry I missed the invite earlier. Sometimes you gotta stick my nose in it.

My old lady is a good lady in most of the conventional ways (good figure, good in bed)

and she don't like to shop none, neither she'd rather do anything instead

The down-side to this, when it's time to give gifts,
is that she's downright giving impaired

Many socks I've unwrapped, and ties and cologne,
things too embarrassing to be shared

and her style of dress is pretty much a mess
like it was picked out by Mr. McGoo, and

the time and the money we save by not shopping
is well spent on liquor and screwin'.

MOTW - I was shakespeare is the above "poem", didn't know I was stealing anyone's nom de plume - apologies to all the shakespeare's of the world.

It takes a real engineer to work with downhole tools? What about a proctologist?

"I will be the first to say that there is NOTHING wrong with over abundant shopping.. after all someone has to keep our economy going. If the world was only male you would still be sitting around in caves scratching your armpits woundering how you could keep them from smelling so bad."

Wrong, Tosha. If the world was only male we wouldn't give a damn about HOW we smelled. Case closed.

As for shopping, I HATE it except, as Judi so brilliantly pointed out, for CDs and books. My own theory, which I've explained to my wife on many many occasions, is that they pump estrogen through the vents in malls, or some other testosterone-sucking substance. The minute I walk into a mall department store I start yawning and looking around for a place to curl up and take a nap.

Oh, and brilliant column Dave. I especially liked the extremely pertinent and perceptive yak hunting section. Do you believe -- of course, you believe, you're married -- my wife can spend an entire day just vaguely "shopping" without caring whether or not she buys something? (Of course she almost always does, though half of it might have to be returned later.)

I can't resist a bookstore. It's like a vortex. I have to limit my exposure, or I WILL BUY. A lot. I already have (I'm guessing) about 1,500 books or so, but the collection keeps metastacizing. If I manage to get myself to give away 5, I acquire 10 or 15 to replace it. It's an organism that grows on its own.

Maybe the guys are just trying to figure out what all those tools do?

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