Women: Do you ask for your SO's opinion about "girl stuff"?

Starting this thread to avoid further hijacking another thread.

Every once in a while my wife will ask my opinion about a purse or some other item of “girl stuff.” I think this is a somewhat jerky thing to do because I don’t have any idea what goes into making one purse better than another, I’m not interested in learning about it, it wouldn’t be possible for her to tell me enough about it for me to form a valid opinion, and there’s really no reason I need to learn about purses otherwise. So, my opinion on the matter is worthless, and my wife should know this, which means that my wife shouldn’t have asked me for my opinion in the first place. Asking me for a worthless opinion is basically setting me up for failure, which is jerky. Requiring me to think about something I have no idea how to think about is jerky.

Also, note that I never ever ever have asked my wife her opinion on something that she obviously would have no clue about (such as shaving stuff, wallets, guitar stuff, motorcycle stuff, etc.). I just never feel the need to ask her opinion about it–it would never cross my mind to do so.

My wife has stopped doing this pretty much, but we have literally had over a hundred conversations about it in the years we’ve been together.

So, ladies, do you ask your SO what he thinks about purses etc. when you are out shopping (or looking at stuff online)? Why do you do this? What are you expecting him to say? If he asked you to stop doing it, would you?

Guys–does your wife/girlfriend do this? Does it bother you, too? What is your usual response? Have you asked her to stop? Did she stop?

Any theories on why some women do this? Here’s some on-the-fly evolutionary psychology for that ass–maybe part of the traditional female gathering instinct is to show the male what she has gathered and seek praise for its quality. Some women choose to seek praise obliquely by asking what the guy thinks about it.

I am sure this is true but

this second part is what you tell yourself to justify not even taking a passing interest.

only you think this, not your wife.

Sometimes I do, but it is not usually because I expect a well thought out and qualified answer from him. It is usually more to show off my new goodies and he is the only one around. If another girl was present, he would never get asked. I don’t usually ask him before I have bought it (the purse, or whatever) because his opinion is unlikely to sway my decision in the slightest. The exception to this is a dress I have bought for a special occasion involving him. I want to know he thinks I looks pretty in it before I buy it because it is mostly for him. He doesn’t need any knowledge of what makes clothing nice to tell me whether or not I look good to him though.

Heh. Just yesterday I emailed my boyfriend pictures of the horrifying bridesmaids dresses I was asked to choose from (isn’t 39 too old to be a bridesmaid? I certainly *feel *too old for this crap), and he completely failed to grasp the horror. He thought they were “kinda pretty”. He’s been instructed to never, *ever *attempt to buy me clothing.

Of course, I wasn’t so much seeking his opinion of the dresses as I was just making conversation about my day, and what’s going on with me. Perhaps your wife is doing the same?

It’s not a pop quiz. The answers she’s looking for are just “yes, it’s nice” if you do like it better than the other one, “I guess so” if you’re indifferent, or “no, I don’t like it,” all based solely on your gut reaction to looking at X.

How is this “jerky?!” :confused:

My girlfriend does this, and to be honest it’s a simple matter of ‘erm, that one looks shit, so pick the other one’.
This generally happens with clothing items, but she’s also big into Arts and Crafts, and doesn’t ask me my opinion on what wool to buy etc when were in a craft shop. A few answers of ‘No idea, what are you using it for’ blah blah, with me eventually just confirming the choice she probably would have gone for anyway, put an end to that as my answers were useless to her - they didn’t really inform her of anything, they just made her own decision come about quicker.

Does it bother me? No - I’d rather have her ask me, and lead to her choosing quicker, than have her browsing for ages because I can’t stand waiting around.

Yeah, I think we need to carve out “clothes” from this–I can look at an item of women’s clothing and form an opinion about wether my wife would look good in it. A purse is different though–it has a functional aspect that can only be appreciated by a user of purses.

Also, note that this thread is coming on the heels of another thread about wedding planning, which for me involved my wife asking for my opinion over and over about stuff I could not possibly have a valid opinion about. So, I think I have some of those old frustrated feelings coming back and prompting this discussion (and I guess when my wife asks me about a purse I’m also reminded of that).

I think it’s like a a mind hijack–she’s forcing me to think about something that I can’t possibly have the tools to properly think about–and a set-up for failure–because any opinion I give will be a bad one since I don’t have the proper background to form the opinion. Also, I’ve told my wife to stop asking, so at this point she’d be doing something she knows I don’t like.

The bolded part above assumes that I actually can determine whether I like one purse more than another purse, which is not the case, and which is the root of the whole issue.

Incidentally, are you a male person or a female person?

Dude, seriously?

If she was asking you as to the functionality of the purse, yes, that would be asinine. (not jerky) But if she’s just asking you if you think it’s attractive or not, then I seriously don’t see what your problem is. Unless you happen to be blind. Or you’re insecure about your masculinity.

You keep saying this.

A)It’s not a manned mission to Mars, it’s just a question of aesthetics. What tools do you think you need to say whether you prefer one thing over another? if she is asking you, presumably any answer you are capable of giving (ex: “I don’t like green”) is sufficient.
B)You keep saying “failure.” I don’t understand how failure enters into it if you respond in any way to the question. What are the consequences of this “failure” and why does it’s prospect distress you so? Please explain how you can possibly “fail” at the question “Do you like this purse” and also why whatever opinion you have is “worthless.”

Purses are really not that complicated.

Are those really the best examples you can come up with? Does your wife have hairy legs? You know most any woman has a wallet right? I think most women I know would love to help me pick out a new wallet.

You can decide which flower you think is prettier without being a botanist, right?

I don’t know. I think you can learn to appreciate purses (especially if someone you love is a purse person) without using them. I’m not a tattoo fan at all - would NEVER get one, think they are generally rather disgusting, but have been known to look at someone and say “nice art!” when something has been particularly well done.

With purses, they are fabric or leather and stitching - and those qualities are similar to what you find in shoes or clothes. You can form a valid opinion on liking soft leather over fabric. A tailored purse over a sloppier looking bag (or a casual looking bag over a stuffy tailored purse). A well made bag over one that isn’t. And when a bag is art (which they often are) you can have an opinion about the art. Because valid opinions don’t mean anything when it comes to personal taste (love that color, hate that texture).

What I think Rand is trying to get at;

(for the guys, or girl gamers) Imagine you ask your SO on her opinion if you should get a PS3 or an Xbox 360, and she (not knowing anything about gaming) says the PS3, based on it’s sleek design, whilst you were expecting an opinion based on graphics/game selections/secondary media functions etc. In this situation, asking someone who knows little about the subject, isn’t going to get you a good opinion on the matter at hand.

I think this (stereotyped as it is, it’s all I could come up with) is a better way of explaining it than the purse thing, but I’m probably wrong.

Empahsis added.

Why would you ask a person for an opinion beyond their knowledge? If you ask your non-geeky girlfriend/wife for an opinion, and she says “PS3 looks cooler” are you in any way surprised or disappointed - do you think she “failed” and has been “set up for failure.” It would be very very weird to expect an opinion on the comparable qualities of the graphics engine, from a person who would not be expected to know such things. When a reasonable person asks a question, they expect an answer within the sphere of knowledge of the questionee.

What about if she says “I don’t know - what’s the difference?” are you angry or disappointed that she wants to know more? Or are you, rather, pleased that she has inquired further on a subject that interests you?

If my husband asked me whether he should get a PS3 or an Xbox 360, I would say, “What are the differences? What are the pros and cons of each?” and then tell him what I thought based on the information he gave me. That’s certainly all he would expect - a sounding board to help him clarify his own thoughts. We have these sorts of conversations all the time.

Really? Can you give me a specific example?