Thursday, January 29, 2009
Notice anything new, dear?
My friend Iris accompanied her husband Doug on a business trip to Vancouver, where she fit in some solo shopping. Iris has deep pockets, but like anyone else, has her limits. She fell in love with a costly silk blouse, and while in that particular trance that can descend when traveling, bought it.
Returning to the hotel, she was overcome with guilt, so she sat in the bar, ordered a G&T, threw out the bag, pulled off the tags, and stuffed it in her purse. "Every woman in the place looked at me and knew exactly what I was doing, she said."
She was flying home solo that evening and figured she'd face the music back in Toronto. The next evening, during a catch-up call, Doug said, "There's one thing about this room, it must have been occupied by some oil sheiks before us." "Why?" Iris asked. "I found this receipt for a blouse by the bed", Doug said, "and it was for $700. Who else would spend that much on a blouse?"
Iris owned up when Doug returned, and of course he knew all along. But Iris claims many women either hide what they buy, discount the price they say they paid, or practice some other obfuscation.
Ever since I was once married to a man who plunged us into debt with his binge-spending, I don't do this, but I understand it, especially if one has buyer's remorse like Iris. Or if, like someone else I know, her partner is so miserly that she has to pad her grocery bills to buy basic undies.
And it's not just an device of some marriages; I have a friend who is quite critical when I tell her the price of something (and she asked me). So I sometimes say it was a gift, just to avoid censure. Another acquaintance says when her partner asks, "is that new?", unless it came from the store that very day, she says no.
We all know honesty and communication are cornerstones in a relationship; this usually that means openness about what, exactly, you're buying even when it's your discretionary money.
When we don't admit to spending, what's going on? Is honesty the best policy?