Thanks to my wife Rebecca I know many things. I know she is always right, even when she isn’t. I know that when we’re lost, she has an astute sense of direction that brooks no challenge regardless of where we may be or end up. I know she can identify any spider from an altitude of from three to five feet depending on the size of the spider.

And I have learned that there is a difference in black shoes for women.

The first major injury in my marriage to The Goddess (small cut under the left eye, no stitches) came after I observed that I really didn’t see a need for her to have 22 pairs of black shoes, especially since they all looked the same. Her subsequent lecture – after the bleeding stopped – covered heel height, materials, (a number of different pigs, cows, and no telling what else paid the price), and toe shape. The lesson? Keep your mouth shut.

Therefore, because of my extensive experience, I feel obligated to offer the benefit of my wisdom to those of you who have made erroneous and sometimes painful assumptions about the nature of women and their shopping habits. These observations are made in a positive spirit of goodwill and are by no means a condemnation of women in general and those with credit cards in particular.

Women shop, men buy. If women bought instead of shopped there would be “buying malls.”

Never, ever, for any reason, with no exceptions, ever say: “You don’t need another pair of shoes.” Those simple words can often have more power and long-lasting repercussions than “Honey, I’m having an affair with the head checker at Big Lots.”

Do not ever say anything about the price of shoes (or any other item of clothing) unless the woman has first clearly indicated that she believes the price is too high, and even then be very cautious.

If the price is astronomical and no comment is made, your response is “hmmmm.”

If the woman asks for your opinion, do not be fooled. She is being nice. In any shopping situation, you are a toadstool.

A woman can figure a mark-down in her head quicker than you can with a NASA mainframe computer.

Never go shopping with her at Loehmann’s, Marshalls or Kohl’s. Fine stores all, but there is no place to sit.

It is a medical mystery why a man can stand for 14 hours at work and never get tired, but that his legs will start cramping 5 minutes after he enters a department store.

There are two rules in a women’s lingerie department: (a) don’t point to items of intimate apparel and say, “Wow! Would you look at that!” or (b) look eager and quietly lick your lips.

In a clothing department, you are to walk three steps behind making innocuous comments that mirror the woman’s comments, no matter how vague or completely nonsensical they may be. (Example: “These black pants are … but then I don’t have anything… well, there’s that top we bought when … did you see this … hmmm, bet they don’t have it in my size … guess we’ll keep looking.” Your response in its entirety: “Right.”)  Don’t ever have a contrary opinion because you then will be asked to explain that opinion, and you can’t and she didn’t want you to anyway. (See “Toadstool,” above.)

You are not in a hurry. In fact, if the shopping trip takes the same amount time as the NFL game your shopping partner promised you would not miss because she just “needed to pick up a few things,” you are still not in a hurry.

There is no such thing as “just a minute.”

If you walk by a bridal department and are overcome with a death wish, suggest to the woman that she should see if her bridal gown still fits.

If you walk into an upscale women’s clothing department and the woman is greated by her first name, financial trouble is brewing.

If she says she’s going to run upstairs and check on a blouse, you now have time to read “War And Peace” in its entirety … in Russian.

If she asks you, “Do you like this dress?” the answer is “it’s not important what I think, it’s what you think.”

If her follow-up question is “do I look fat in it?” fake a seizure.

Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson is a professional mentalist and mind reader who presents his unique and unforgettable program to conventions, college and universities, sales meetings, private parties, business and civic clubs and more. He has also appeared at the Punchline Comedy Club in Atlanta and produces, along with Jerry Farber and Joe M. Turner, Atlanta Magic Night at the Red Light Cafe in Midtown. He is a member of the Psychic Entertainers Association, the International Brotherhood of Magicians, the Georgia Magic Club,Buckhead Rotary Club and Friends of Jim The Wonder Dog. You can learn more at He is the author of three books: "Living The Dream," the story of the first ten years of FedEx; "Superman, Hairspray, and the Greatest Goat On Earth," a collection of mostly true stories;, and "Yes Ma'am, You're Right: The Essential Rules For Living With A Woman."  Mark's day job is as a freelance writer and communications and marketing consultant. Mark has traveled around the world twice but has never been to Burlington, Vermont. He does not eat beets or chicken livers, and he has never read "Gone With The Wind." He is the only person he knows who was once a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Ventriloquists. He is a fifth generation Atlantan,  the father of three, and the grandfather of five. All offspring are demonstrably perfect. He lives in Smyrna with his wife Rebecca (aka The Goddess) and two dogs: Ferguson, an arrogant Scottish terrier; and, Lola, a Siberian husky who is still trying to figure out what the hell she's doing in Cobb County.

  1. Mark,
    Great job and very sound advise!

  2. Thanks so much, Mark! A fun and insightful read.

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