Why Women Like To Shop

This post was migrated from my Lifeblog.

I’ve heard the new fad in pop psychology is to interpret everything in terms of hardwired gender differences. No doubt this is a lashback to the era when people were supposed to be born completely malleable, and like any lashback, it will be carried too far and inspire yet other lashbacks. So I realize it’s not the complete answer.

Nevertheless, I’m a big believer. And after having great success with our diet, my husband and I are always putting on our Paleo Paradigm Glasses to see whether they shed light on anything else. I had them on one fine morning when it finally hit me why women are pathologically addicted to shopping: It’s our gathering instinct way back from our hunter-gatherer days! It suddenly seemed so obvious. We’d done it every day for millions of years. Of course it’d be ingrained in our nature!

To test my hypothesis, I grabbed a bowl and headed out to forage some berries … and did I have a blast! I came back with a delicious snack, a feeling of peace, and (most importantly) an antidote to my perpetual itch to shop. Not bad for one morning’s work!

I followed my nose a little further and found that the same line of reasoning explains a lot about men too. Haven’t you ever wondered how men can walk straight into a store, buy what they came for, and leave without so much as a sidelong glance at anything else? (All those beautiful rows of merchandise, waiting to be foraged …) Men also like first-person shoot-em-ups, chasing women (but not necessarily keeping them), and anything that can be used as a weapon (chain saws, firearms, power tools, paintball guns). Men are hunters. No wonder we don’t get each other. :)

All this further ties in with something I read in Why Gender Matters: Men’s eyes are hardwired to see motion, while women are better with color and texture. This makes complete sense: Hunters must chase running prey, while gatherers have to accurately identify edible and poisonous foodstuffs. Naturally, we would have developed these respective qualities during our three-million-year evolution.

Anyway, I’m sure many smarter people have already “discovered” this, but I’m still proud for coming up with it all by myself. :)