The speediest way for a man to become virtually unconscious, is not, as you may have thought, to take opiates, consume large amounts of alcohol, or even listen to a David Cameron speech. Even watching the most tedious of reality shows, Big Brother, surprisingly, doesn't cut the mustard either; not when it comes to inducing bodily paralysis. This mantle belongs to that expedition much loved by the ladies - the "shopping trip".
Any male committed to the preservation of his relationship will find himself compelled periodically to accompany his partner on shopping safari. The usual excuses, headaches, general nausea, or early signs of testicular cancer are best shelved at this time. This particular stinging leaf has to be grasped. Although, for what it's worth, in an attempt to ameliorate the situation, it is allowed to express one's firm intention to "not enjoy it". Not that this has any impact, as the response is a blinking stare, and the faintest of smiles. Women can be so cruel.
Because these forays into the high streets and malls are so infrequent, men tend to forget the essential purgatoriness of the "shoe, skirt, handbag and hosiery" environment. So into the bright, heavily scented emporiums they go, humming and happy in their ignorance; until that is, a nanosecond after crossing the threshold, the sickening memory returns - knowledge of "the male mind's essential incompatibility with female goods".
Colourful fabrics, delicate finery, and leather, fashioned into bags and pointy footwear, are to a large extent non-computable for the masculine brain. When confronted by them, it instinctively looks to "lock on" to a thing of substance, something meaningful; but having nowhere else to go it looks within itself; in doing so, it effectively shuts down all but the essential bodily functions. This is experienced by the victim as a sudden breakneck plunge into a deep trance-like state. Accompanied by a yawn, the beleaguered male staggers, seeking support for his quickly sagging frame.
It's not all gloom though. Once in the sitting position the victim can recover. If he has a mind to look past the lady-fare, and focus instead on mental images of shiny, metallic gadgets, or great sporting events of bygone years, he can at least regain muscle tone and a measure of consciousness. He's identified as, the seated guy with the stupified grin.
Alas, this period of recovery is invariably short-lived, as the poor wretch has to move again in response to the call, "come have a look at this and tell me what you think?". Hauling his drained body into a standing position, again he runs the gauntlet of non-computables.
"It looks fine" is the stock reply.
"You're just saying that so you can get out of here"
"No, it's nice. I really like it". This said, despite not seeing anything, apart from a shadowy, materially something, identical to every item in this and every other shop. The only priority is getting out of there. Lying is a small price to pay.
A desperate glance over your shoulder finds your former seat occupied by another convalescing, semi-offline chap; panicking, you look towards the small space at the edge of the window display - damn, it's occupied too!
And so, on it goes; the relentless cycle of shut-down and savage re-awakening. Who'd be a man?
Next time you're in Monsoon, Dorothy Perkins, or similar, notice how many seats, platforms and steps are occupied by males bearing a marked resemblance to extras from a George A.Romero horror film.