My guy, Russ, is my everything. I’m so happy I met him fifteen years ago at the party of a mutual friend. I’m so happy that he didn’t hang up the first time he called me.
Here’s what happened.
I was writing in my studio which was in a separate building behind the house. The home line rang inside the main house and one of my daughters answered. The back door opened and I heard, “M-o-m, phone for you!” When I walked into the house my teenaged girls were fighting. Evidently someone had taken a piece of clothing without asking and very bad words were being said at very high decibels.
I walked toward the phone in the kitchen. It was Russ on the other end. I. Was. Mortified. A very deep voice replied to my hello with, “I think I just met your darling daughters.” He chuckled and I barely chuckled while giving the girls the evil eye. He asked me out for our first date.
Well, who couldn’t fall in love with that guy!
Can shopping tips help you find romance?
Before Russ there were other love interests. I remember breaking it off with one guy and my friend Toni saying, “Time to shop for a new boyfriend, Bren.”
For a boyfriend.
I knew how to shop, that’s for darn sure! It was my profession! I created a plan to shop for a boyfriend using my shopping tips and gave myself a week to accomplish it.
Monday’s Romance Shopping Tip: Focus on what you want
I tell my clients prior to a shopping trip to go through magazines and rip out pictures of things they love. Anything. It can be a $14,000 bracelet; it doesn’t matter. You just have to love it.
So I went through magazines at the time and saw actor Matthew Modine in an A/X Armani Exchange ad. He looked self-assured, honest, and steamy in a plaid jacket. He looked like someone I could go camping with and I hate camping. I wanted someone like him.
Tuesday’s Romance Shopping Tip: Identify what works
“When you discover what works for you, you can repeat it and have clothes in your closet that you’re happy with forever,” I say to clients as we embark on a shopping trip.
I thought about a favorite suit I had. It was a beautiful silk-wool blend in a shade of teal. It was sharp and smart without any fluff. It stood on its own. I could use more individual pieces like that.
With men, I knew exactly what had worked in the past. Charles, a former chef, could make beans, rice, and a pinch of cilantro look like dinner at a fancy restaurant. Buzz always kept me laughing. Tom was a music aficionado and turned me on to singer/songwriters that I loved. So how about a guy who’s funny, loves music like I do, and makes great dinners? I want that guy.
Wednesday’s Romance Shopping Tip: Get out there and try new things
I tell my audiences, “Leave your credit cards at home and go to stores and try on new looks. Some things will work, some things won’t. Just be willing to see yourself in a new way.”
That day a fast talking newspaper man from Pittsburgh asked me out for dinner. He seemed different from guys I dated. He was alright, but I missed the slow, wading-through-mud-kind-of way my old boyfriend used to talk.
Thursday’s Romance Shopping Tip: Never shop when you’re hungry, tired, lonely or depressed
I’ve been in client closets when I saw evidence of clothes bought under duress. They’re the ones that still have the price tag on them and look like they belong to someone else.
That day I was standing in a long line at the coffee shop. I was hungry and decaffeinated. By the time it was my turn to order I’d given “Rudy” my phone number. My real phone number. I got my food, sat down and from the coffee shop window I watched “Rudy” drive away in a giant pick up truck with a gun rack in the back window and a bumper sticker that said, “Protected by Smith and Wesson.” He left rubber marks on the street from peeling out.
I tried to calm myself down. He won’t call, I told myself. He’s not interested in me.
He left a message two hours later. I paid my assistant extra to call and make excuses for me.
Friday’s Romance Shopping Tip: Don’t settle
There are a lot of white blouses out there. There’s one that kinda works, one that sorta fits, one that might do in a pinch. Then there’s the one that makes you so happy! That’s the blouse to hold out for. Don’t settle!
My former mother-in-law had it right. She was in a dance hall in Detroit during World War 11 when a group of men in uniform walked through the door. She had her eye on one of them. She poked her friend, Rita, and said, “You see that tall, handsome man with the square jaw over there?” Rita nodded yes. “I’m going to marry that man.” She said no to every soldier that asked her to dance that night and held out for the man named Charley, the one that made her insides go, “Yes, yes, yes.” They were happily married for forty years before Charley passed away.
Do shopping tips help in the romance department?
Well, you’d have to say no based on my effort that week. But when I think about it, although I wasn’t looking for anyone at the time I met Russ, my shopping tips did apply to him. He fit the things I knew worked for me: he’s funny, a music aficionado with the bad hearing to prove he was at all those epic concerts in San Francisco, and although he’s not a chef, he does cook dinner for us at most nights.
He certainly fell into the category of “try new things” as he was so not my type. He was stable, down-to-earth, responsible, and not threatened by my passionate career. And he had a job.
Most importantly I never settled. He was that perfect “white blouse” that I adored and held out for. So there, maybe that shopping training did help!
Mom and Dad are the King and Queen of Romance. They met at a train station in Hastings, North Dakota when Dad was in his Navy uniform and heading off into service. Mother was in her teens at the time. They never forgot each other and when Dad came home, they started dating. They married and were together for sixty-four years until Mother passed away in 2015.
I remember romance advice that Dad gave me once. He said, “Brenda, find someone you want to sit on the porch with, someone you can talk to every day.” That would be Russ. Maybe you want to follow Dad’s advice too if you’re looking for someone!
What happened to those fighting teenagers? They turned into lovely young adults. They still wear each other’s clothes but they negotiate. Now they own a store together, SAX Consignment in San Anselmo. Erin told me the other day, “You know what Mom? Since buying the store together we haven’t had a single fight!” Who’d of thunk?
What shopping tips do you think would work (or have worked!) in the romance department? Let’s open the floor for advice giving!