Shopping is any girls’ favorite past time and us singles, have turned shopping events into emotionally uplifting experiences. I can’t explain exactly why, but shopping seems to offset the worries and concerns we have about being alone. Clothing, heels, purses, and an abundance of accessories serve, in a way, as our better half. It’s the ultimate in long lasting relationships and there are no sweeter words to a single girl than ‘forever’ and ‘sale.’ For me, the best part of being in a relationship with shopping is that I share this enthusiasm with three other girls. I call us the Four Horsewomen of the Shopocalypse. Since by now, two of the Horsewomen are married, I am left with only one of them, Amira. So when Victoria’s Secret gave us our secret rewards cards, we knew exactly where we would be the following Wednesday- yup- shopping.
I readied myself for my date and as I grabbed my car keys, my phone chimed and a text appeared on my screen. It was Amira.My mom said I can’t go. Sorry girl. I called Amira and instantly was told that her mother was insisting that she break off this ‘’obsession with shopping and focus on better things.’’ Of course this meant marriage, what else! Regardless, I headed down to Victoria’s Secret knowing that I needed to keep my rendez-vous with destiny. As I sifted through joggers and panties, I couldn’t help but feel empty. Alone. Ugh! Shopping alone is just not the same; I needed my horsewoman next to me. So I drove to Amira’s house in Orland Park and eventually found myself standing at her front door ringing her bell. Her mother answered.
“Assalamu Alaikum IM Jihad,” I said.
“What you want Faiza?” she said rudely.
I was baffled. I mean at least say hi.
“I came to humbly ask your permission to let Amira come with me to the mall.” I could tell by IM Jihad’s expression that she was already going to say no, but I continued nonetheless. “There’s this really big sale and…”
“No!” she said indignantly.
“Mama, at least invite her in, oh my God!” said Amira just as upset as …So&So.. was.
IM Jihad apologized and invited me inside. The warm house air was quite welcome since I could feel the chilly cold air drying out the moisturizer I had drenched them with just an hour ago. Damn Chicago winter!
“She can’t keep spending money like this!” said IM Jihad.
“But she won’t be spending much,” I said. “Tell her about the secret rewards,” I said to Amira who froze up the moment she saw her mother’s hostile gaze. And before I knew it, I was alone… again! “IM Jihad, I argued, we have these secret rewards,” I said pulling out the card with the half naked model on it making her eyes pop, “and,” I continued “it could have anywhere between ten to five hundred dollars on it which means, we won’t be spending anything. Nothing!”
“Yeah, but most likely it has only ten dollars on there though,” said Amira not helping.
“Or it can have five hundred. Anything is possible. My cousin just stopped wearing corduroy after ten years of wearing nothing but.”
“You both need to stop this stupid stuff and invest in something smart like marriage.”
“There’s a place to invest on that?” I asked looking around. “How come I didn’t know this?”
“Faiza, you are so old now. Both of you are. Instead of spending money buying things you don’t need focus on finding a husband.”
“If finding a husband was as easy as running to the mall, sifting through stores and finding the right items to purchase, I would have been married and have five kids by now” I thought.
“You need to stop this shopping nonsense and do something else. You can’t keep shopping and staying single. What’s wrong with you?”
I felt so criticized. Am I not allowed to shop because I was single? As if the only people entitled to a good deal and a car full of bags were engaged or married women.
“When you two get married, then you can shop all you want,” IM Jihad added confirming my thoughts.
“You need to start focusing on marriage,” she continued on. “What’s wrong with you? Don’t you want to be married? Your sister just got married. Why you no want the same thing?”
“I do. We both do, but we just don’t have the best luck with guys. But we do have impeccable luck with finding great deals at the mall. That’s why you should let us go do what we do best,” I said trying to not allow her words to hurt my single heart.
“No! When you both get married, then you can start shopping like crazy people. If you don’t change you’re going to be the old lady with shopping bags alone,” she said adding more insult to injury. As she walked away she continued shouting insults, “Shopping every week like you have a husband to go home to. These girls. Ya Allah help me be patient.”
IM Jihad was adamant and so I dragged myself and my four inch Michael Kors suede boots out of their house and into my car. I found myself driving aimlessly through Orland Park and instinctively to the mall and naturally found myself in Victoria Secret. I purchased several joggers and presented my secret reward which, unsurprisingly, had the ten $10.00 amount Amira predicted. After my purchase I had a coffee and just walked through the mall. Couples were everywhere and there I was holding on to my longest lasting relationship, a clothing bag.
I couldn’t help but think back to IM Jihad’s words about my priorities being off, that I had to stop focusing on shopping and focus more on finding a husband. She sincerely believed that finding a husband was as easy as finding the perfect pair of black heels from Nordstrom’s. Oh wait… never mind. I guess I should say that she believed it as easy as deciding on whether or not you should purchase that strawberry and banana kabob that’s starring at you from the window display at Godiva knowing you shouldn’t because you just spent the past two hours in the gym. Ugh… never mind. I cave every time. Shit! Bottom line is that she thought it was simple. It’s NOT!
I’d like to say something to women like IM Jihad and the countless others who judge us singles for what they perceived as our priorities. They believe we put a Nordstrom’s sale ahead of finding a mate but nothing could be further from the truth. Finding a man with whom you want to spend the rest of your life with is NOT as easy as finding a bargain at the mall. It’s hard; very hard. Unless of course you choose to settle down with any guy just to appease your family, friends, and their mothers who, won’t allow you to do the one thing that pleases your single’s heart: shop! If I wanted to be married to just anyone- to hell with love- I could be married tomorrow. Hell, I could be engaged by the time I post this blog. However, I refuse to settle for just any man.
Settling for a discounted bag with a slight but relatively unnoticeable tear, yes, but a man- Never! If that means that I’ll be the “old shopping lady” then so be it. Until then, I say this as a reminder to myself and other singles out there reading this post, regardless of the fact that IM Jihad and like minded people think that we should be doing nothing else with our day besides finding a husband, we have the right to do as we please, including and especially shop. Singles should not be placed at a lower social scale, encouraged or be forced to reprioritize the simple pleasures we have in our lives because others want to make us feel odd about the things that make us smile that aren’t a man! If that happens to be shopping, then so be it. It doesn’t make us emotional shoppers, just girls looking for a great deal, to wear on a night out on the town with her girlfriends, in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, she’ll meet the one. Now that sounds like a great deal and money worth spending to me!