In Other Words: A trip to Guys R Us
Guys are a breed unto themselves.
They enjoy a good time staring at a group of other regular guys doing strange things like throwing their testosterone around a football field, slam-dunking balls into baskets and smashing a hockey puck at another guy’s shins.
Then, after sweating it out, and having their team win, these same men huddle together in the locker room, pour champagne over each other’s heads, and snap their teammates’ butts with towels. They call this male bonding. We gals call it acting like a bunch of idiots.
None of the typical “guy things” was ever more apparent than spending an hour at Home Depot.
It all began when I was asked by my late husband Mort if I minded making a pit stop at this male equivalent of Toys R Us. Once a guy enters these portals, he’s a goner. He will lose total touch with reality as he “tools” around among a maze of items to which no woman should ever be subjected.
“It will only take a few minutes,” Mort said when we were in the car one Sunday afternoon. “I need some nails.”
Nails were simply a ploy to indulge his male fancies. But I knew better. Nothing short of a bomb scare (and perhaps not even that) would get him to leave.
“Is there a snack bar?” I asked him. “I can wait for you there.”
“This isn’t a hotel,” he said. “And besides, I might need your input.”
“Input on nails?” I took that as a bad sign.
“You’d be surprised how men count on a female’s point-of-view,” he said, and then, standing there next to cans of paint thinner and spackle, he suddenly switched into romantic mode. “What I’m trying to say is that you have excellent taste, and make better selections than I do when it comes to miscellaneous items.”
“Like nails?” I asked.
He went straight for the jugular, making me an offer I couldn’t refuse. “We can stop at the Home Design aisle, and maybe find some new faucets for the bathroom sink.”
And that, folks, is how I got reeled in to the Home Depot experience. Mort knew I wanted faucets. What I didn’t know was that this little jaunt was the equivalent of a Disney World adventure for big boys. But, how bad could it be, I pondered, as we sashayed down the aisle marked Tools? How was I to know that “tools” is a generic name for all kinds of accessories taking up the size of a football field?
“Just grab the nails and let’s blow this joint,” I said with my most authoritative stance. I was trying to sound like one of the boys.
“Not so fast,” Mort said, pausing to worship at the holy shrine of hammers. Why, he was practically salivating as he pulled from the shelf an array of axe hammers that replicated exactly the kind Freddy Kruger in the film, “Elm Street” might have used to slice off body parts.
“The guard will corner you at the checkout counter if you even dare to make such a purchase. “I said. “You’ll be the number one suspect in some organized crime scam, and end up rotting in a jail cell for an indefinite period of time. Moreover, I’ll be named as an accessory.”
“In that case, I might need to buy some duct tape and a file,” he said, “the stuff that prisoners rely on in the slammer.”
Moving along to ladders, saw horses, sanders and drills, I studied other men also in the glow of their hypnotic trances as they sauntered among this Magical Guy Kingdom.
“Get-a-load-a-this” some buff-looking tough guy told his pal, who was wearing sweat pants with “Buns of Steel” emblazoned across his butt. I turned my gaze over to an array of pipes that now had these two Adonis’s salivating on the spot.
To me, they looked like odd-shaped pieces of Lego. For them, they had found nirvana. I hung on their every word on the intricacies of how to join these two rigid plastic pieces together.
Adonis 1: “We’ll need some primer and cement.”
Adonis 2: “Yeah, then we’ll cut the PVC square and do some deburring.”
Adonis 1: “Gotcha man. But first, we gotta’ coat the pipe and fittings with cement, too.”
Adonis 2: “Whaddayathink, I’m stupid? We gotta’ act quickly or the pipe won’t stick.”
Adonis 1: “After that we can go get a beer, right?”
Mort interrupted my reverie. “Over here,” he said.
“Hold it,” I said, “I’m in the middle of a plastic pipe instill.”
For the next hour, we moved on to water heaters, air filters, trash cans, lighting, dryer vents, wood fillers, knives, light bulbs, shower heads, lawn mowers, garden hoses and ceiling fans. To end the afternoon on a high, we stopped at range hoods, paused at wall plates and wrenches, lingering for a bit at fire extinguishers.
It was then I stopped dead in my tracks: There, in front of me, was an S&M aisle depicting the following: Flashing, Tie Downs, Screw, Knob Fasteners, Rigid Tools, Locks, Clamps and Heavy Metal. Who knew? I finally got the whole Home Depot shtick. This was a male porn palace. No wonder the guys flocked to this joint.
But I did walk out with new faucets. It was the least Mort could do. And, to add to the merriment, along with the nails, he bought himself a tape measure, a box of thumb tacks and a broom.
On the way home, I made him stop at the female version of Home Depot: Victoria’s Secret. They may not carry tools for all occasions, but their push-up bras are guaranteed to grab a guy’s attention, even more than pressure treated lumber, weed whackers and extension cords.
Westporter Judith Marks-White shares her humorous views monthly in the Westport News. She can be reached via email at email@example.com or at judithmarks-white.com.