It is one of life’s great mysteries; why does it take women so long to get ready to leave the house? In any household, going anywhere can become frustrating when it involves a woman getting ready.
“Are you ready yet? We are going to be late,” are some of the common phrases on constant repeat as you stand by the door waiting for her to get done.
Being a man, I’m yet to grasp why it necessitates a woman to take hours to get ready for the simplest of outings.
According to a survey by Marks & Spencer (a multinational retail brand), men should allow no less than 21 minutes for their partner to get ready, regardless of where they are going. Daily mail (UK) reports that the average female takes the equivalent of ten working days a year getting ready for work.
Ernest Nomwela, an independent lawyer working in the city spends about 30-40 minutes getting ready to leave the house. “Since I’m my own boss, I dictate what time to start work, I guess this gives me an added advantage,” she says. Asked whether the situation would be any different had she been employed, Ernest, who normally leaves home for work at 8:30am, says that she would trim the time by half if she were employed by someone else.
Spending time preening yourself is essential to your appearance, this is according to Upendo Mlay, a commercial and runway model. “Women like looking good all the time. The misconception that most men have is that women want to look good for them (men), but truth is we get intrinsic satisfaction by the shear fact of looking beautiful. Having good makeup makes us feel good, it’s an inherent desire” she says, and adds, but as a woman, you’d want your man to take notice when you change your hairstyle, nail polish, buy a new outfit, or even lose weight. Unfortunately most men don’t notice such things.
Upcoming designer, Agnes Marridot, concurs with Upendo. She says that for most women, looking good means everything. “There are women who can wear fancy clothes and makeup and just look at themselves in the mirror, even without plans of going anywhere,” she reveals..
Stacy Phillipo, a Fashion blogger and Stylist lists distraction among the reasons that cause women to delay getting ready for an outing. “Women are easily distracted, we think up to seven things at the same time,” she admits. Having a preoccupied mind during such rush hours is not alien to women. Stacy says that in that moment, you start thinking of doing this and that, all at the same time.
If distraction isn’t reason enough to keep you waiting, Stacy says the biggest reason of them all, is makeup! “Women have to wear makeup before they live the house,” she notes, adding; “I have to make sure my eyeliner is on fleek, my foundation is on fleek, everything has to be perfectly put together. The problem with that is that beauty products are so many, and everyday a new beauty product is launched. So by the time you are done, you find that you have over 50 beauty products on your face.”
Outfit selection and those judging eyes
It is believed that even with the accomplishments that women have, some are still concerned about how people will judge their appearance whenever they go out. Some women are even concerned about what their fellow colleagues at work will say about their choice of office attire. Neema Janet, employed at a local firm in the city says that for women, selection of office outfit can take an undue amount of time because of indecisiveness. “It’s not so much about what your fellow colleagues will say about your choice of outfit, but rather an innate reasoning which drives you to make multiple selections of what to wear,” she says.
Personal comfort is all that matters when selecting an outfit to wear either to work or any other occasion, this is according to Rosemary Stella, a journalist in the city. “I make my own choice on what to wear, what other people will say doesn’t really matter, my comfort comes first,” she notes.
Former Miss Universe (Tanzania) Jihan Dimack pleads guilty of taking long hours getting ready to leave the house. “I tend to take almost an hour to get ready and no matter how I try to hurry up it just doesn’t work,” she says.
To avoid the common “African” problem of poor time-keeping, Jihan designates an hour to prepare herself before attending an event, meeting or just catching up with friends. “I need that much time to organize the outfit, shoes, bag and accessories that will make the perfect ensemble, then the rest of the time is spent on putting makeup, either heavy or light – depending on the occasion,” says Jihan.
Men, on the other hand, do not put so much effort on how they dress up for work – most men at least.
If you thought waiting for a woman to get ready to leave the house is a frustrating experience, try going shopping with her. Most men will tell you that one of the things they dread most is going shopping with their wife. Forget groceries, we are talking about shopping for clothes. It’s an experience that is less desired by men. Men are more mono-focused than browsers in stores, women are the latter. Men know what they want, and within minutes of getting in to the store, they are done with shopping.
Women however present a different case. Generally speaking, shopping is a more popular past time for women than men. Women can take an average of two hours in a shopping mall. Even with a specific selection in mind, they like spending time browsing through different items. This is a constant frustration for men, who lose interest after just minutes in the store.
Whether it’s selecting the latest trending fashion style or simply stocking on regular outfits, shopping is a more complex affair to women. Most of them buy out of desire than need. This is perhaps one of the reasons they spend an extended period of time in malls; because one’s desires know no bounds.
Claire Sumari vows to never go shopping with her husband again, unless they are buying outfits for their children. Recollecting on a past shopping experience with her husband that ended in argument, Claire says she felt harassed by her husband’s constant nagging, asking her to make quick selections. “I like taking my time, try on a few outfits before selecting what to buy,” Claire says, adding, “I don’t like being rushed when doing shopping. My husband should wait for me until I’m content with what I’ve bought.”
Bonaventura Baligo, a Psychologist based in Dar es Salaam attributes the difference in demeanour between men and women when it comes to getting ready to leave the house or shopping to difference in the way the two genders think. “Women are more intuitive than men, men like using logic all the time, but women prefer intuition,” he says.
Psychologist and author Bridget Brennan, in her book Why She Buys: The New Strategy for Reaching the World’s Most Powerful Consumers (Crown Business) says that there’s a stereotype that women have an insatiable appetite for shoes, handbags and sparkly things. However, she begs to differ; “The real reason is sobering. In virtually every society in the world, women have primary care-giving responsibilities for both children and the elderly (and often, just about everybody else in-between). In this primary caregiving role, women find themselves buying on behalf of everyone else in their lives,” she says.