The modern grocery store is a hive of commerce, a 24/7
Superstore selling everything imaginable with almost limitless
selection across product categories. Need aluminum foil? Prepare to
sort through a spectrum of options starting with the store brand
and ending with a technological wonder that could serve as a heat
shield for a spacecraft reentering Earth's atmosphere. In short, the
grocery store is the last place you should send the average
American male, provided you actually want the items on his
Calling out gender differences certainly isn't in vogue these
days, and as a Dad and husband, I'm hesitant to criticize my own
species. But this missive is a cry for help. Based on personal
experience, I know no matter how hard I try, I cannot be trusted to
accurately buy the items below, most likely due to an evolutionary
quirk among my ancestors that makes me blind to the difference
between tins of anchovies and sardines displayed in close proximity
to each other.
By admitting defeat and articulating the shame I feel about
being so massively distracted while food shopping, I'm hoping we
can take the first step towards creating a different world for my
son to grow up in. A world where he doesn't have a panic attack
standing in front of a towering shelf of pickle spears. Please have
compassion for us. For we are just men.
1%? 2%? Skim? Almond? Goat? Organic? I've tried a number of
brain games to remember if my kids drink 1% or 2%, but I think I'm
going to have to settle for getting "1%" tattooed on my
I like to call the banana stand "50 Shades of Green." Am I
supposed to have some algorithm in my head that predicts the exact
rate at which the bananas will ripen and my family will consume
them? They can't be edible when I buy them, but need to be the next
morning...and I'm a total failure if any of the bunch develop a
dark spot during their gestation period. WTF??
3. Anything in the produce section
Spinach was confusing enough what with it's baby and adult
versions, but now we have kale, arugala, chard and I've even heard
of something called dandelion greens (they're not found in the
clippings you empty from your lawn mower if you're
4. Anything in the frozen food aisle
The food companies are really messing with us here because
every frozen food option is something a guy feels like he needs in
his Man Cave freezer in case it becomes his family's survival
shelter in the coming nuclear war. Mac 'n cheese casserole with
hotdog shavings. Blocks of stuffed crust pizza. Biscuits 'n gravy.
Grits 'n gravy.
Am I the only person who thinks so-called lotion-enhanced
tissues will turn out to be a soggy mess? Remember, men are
gullible enough to think that they can comb brown food coloring
through a grey beard to improve their chances of picking up younger
Some oats are instant, some are steel cut, some are Irish,
some are rolled, some are used for plaster or a facial scrub. All
taste like plaster.
7. Anything marketed as "The Official (Fill in Food Item)
of The (Fill in Sports Team)"
Men: a class of people who like to play pretend by "owning"
professional athletes and counting up their statistics with other
men on the Internet. A class of people who wear baseball jerseys
with another man's name on the back...as if you're that guy and you
actually play on a professional baseball team.
8. Anything displayed in the vicinity of check
It's not meat per se, but let's call it "beef," dump in a ton
of spicy chemicals, make it tough as rawhide, and wrap it in
plastic. And oh it has no nutritional value and probably causes
cancer. When you're done with that delicacy, you can settle your
stomach with a cigar dipped in shitty perfume (otherwise known as a
Swisher Sweet). Do you trust someone who willingly makes these kind
of product selections?
It's pretty simple. A man casually tossing a box of condoms
onto the check-out belt pretty much warrants an SVU
10. Anything for sale in a big box store
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Or maybe you want a pretzel drum the size of R2-D2 in your
kitchen for the next few months?