x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Married life: Retail therapy for two

Far from curing an addiction to shopping, marriage has simply broadened its scope.

I am a self-confessed shopaholic. I have been that way for as long as I can remember. I truly enjoy shopping, in all its varieties: online, in a mall, in a street lined with boutiques, in an airport's duty free section and from the in-flight magazine in an aircraft's seat pocket. I derive immeasurable pleasure from bargains. I can remember exactly where I bought almost every single item I own, for what price, and from which part of the world; yes, even those 11-year-old suede black pumps I refuse to part with and continue to resole, annually.

I have even mastered the shop-till-you-drop mentality, knowing exactly what pair of ballerina shoes can keep me going for eight to 10 hours straight, when to stop for sustenance in the form of food, coffee or ice-cold beverage, and which stores to head to, depending on my companion. And then marriage came along, and for a while, things changed. Perhaps the adage that shopaholics shop to fill a void in themselves is true. I eased off on the shopping for a while, able to browse malls hand-in-hand with Mr T without feeling that uncontrollable urge to go find out RIGHT NOW how much that belt costs.

Falling in love distracted me from the fact that I was not making the most of the sales advertised on every store window. Instead of rushing out to buy a new outfit before each of our dates, I shopped in my own closet, humming silly love tunes. I definitely did not recognise myself. I paid my credit card off for the first time in five years, and I celebrated by cutting it up with a pair of scissors. Pairs of shoes flung to the back of my closet, and in need of much deserved attention, got to see the light of day. I attributed it to "growing up".

It didn't last. The sales will always beckon, and once settled in the cocoon of marriage, I began taking pleasure once again in my hobbies, shopping being first and foremost. Then, soon enough, I discovered my husband's generous side, and realised that he gets a kick out of buying me gifts, and who am I to deprive him of such joy? Window shopping quickly turned into a new activity: I point, he pays.

Plus there is a whole area of shopping that I never before took into account, and spent long years ignoring. I shudder to think how many bargains I have missed by foregoing the bed linen section, the kitchenware area, the kitchsy shop that sells bathroom decor and fluffy rugs and cushions. There are special devices out there to core an apple, pit an avocado, zest a lemon, and I never knew. I still stand by my rule that you can never have too many shoes, but now, I also believe you can never have too many serving platters.