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how to lie about your shopping problem

When it comes to material goods, Tom’s needs are aggravatingly few. He saves the energy he might spend on coveting things for himself, on me. And by that, I’m not talking about him buying stuff for me. He hasn’t bought me a real gift since I lost the Hermes watch I scored for giving birth to his precious firstborn. No, I refer instead to his constant vigilance in spotting and calling out my new purchases.

“Is that new?” I have grown to hate and fear these three words. Usually when you hear them, they are asked by a friend who is about to validate your purchase by complimenting you. When Tom says the words, they come laden with innuendo, and enough guilt to kill.

I have four methods of dealing with this most annoying of questions. I’m not suggesting that these methods will work for you, but then again, they have served me well in the 15 years I have known my husband. So you might give them a go.


Your success with this method will vary, depending on your guy’s relative knowledge of fashion trends, and the strength of his memory. Also, your skill at lying. Basically what you have to do is convince the guy that he’s not really seeing what he’s actually seeing.

In this, you will be aided by the fact that most of what you buy looks a lot like something you already have sitting in your closet. So when Tom points to my new black sweater, made of the softest, loftiest merino wool and asks, “Is that new?,” I can look over his shoulder at the nasty old black merino sweater I bought last year, and say, “No, I’ve had this for a year.” The beauty of this method is that in that moment, the hypnosis is working its magic on both of us, because in my mind, the two sweaters really do become one. Then, when Tom’s gone, the one sweater magically separates into two sweaters again. So I’m not really even lying.

This method works especially well with jeans. I could be married to Tom Ford, not Tom Johnson, and he’d still have problems telling the difference between my three pairs of ink blue J Brand skinnies. I mean, sometimes have trouble telling the difference. But that doesn’t mean I don’t need all of them.


You can buy your husband’s silence by throwing him a bone, which for me usually involves stopping at H&M on my way out of Nordstrom, to buy a t-shirt that costs $9.90. L’Occitane soaps are also great for this. They cost ten bucks and have the added advantage of being soap, a product your man probably actually uses. And they smell really strong, which seems to have a mildly debilitating effect on my husband that allows me the 8 seconds I need to cram my shopping bags behind the laundry hamper in my closet.

If you’re shopping in the evening, treats work well. Tom gets so happy when I walk in the front door with an Oreo McFlurry that I could be dragging a new Lexus behind me and he wouldn’t notice.


Your success with this method will also vary, depending on your guy’s attention span and your proximity to a television. In my house, it works like this.

Tom: “Is that new?”

Yoona: “Is what new?”  (Reaching for remote).

Tom: “Is THAT new.”  (Pointing to new bag).

Yoona: “Is WHAT new?”  (Turns on TV, to Channel 735).

Tom: “Wait a second, is that the Pats game?”

Like taking candy from a baby.

Role Playing

Sometimes Tom actually gets angry about a purchase, and then I have to work extra hard to justify my decision. Last Friday he beat me home and opened a heavy Amazon box to find a new pair of Fryes. While generally clueless about the relative cost of women’s fashions, Tom knows enough about women’s clothes to know how much Frye boots cost. I mean, they cost as much as one pair of his dress shoes, but whenever I say that he lashes out that he buys one pair of shoes every year. Cruel words that always strike me as a non-sequitur.

Anyway, all he saw when he opened that box was a pair of boots. What he did not see was that the boots were the culmination of two years of me searching for the perfect flat black boot. TWO YEARS. He had no idea how many heavy boots I’d had to purchase, then return.

He also had no inkling of the pain and mental trauma I suffered each time that I tried on boots that were unflattering. If you’re a guy, you might think I’m exaggerating, but you can be damned sure that every woman reading this post knows how it feels to try on something that is so bad that it makes you re-evaluate your life and how you’ve been living it. There are certain things you have to be very careful about trying on. Bikinis, natch. Skinny jeans, of course. Crop tops. Puffy sweaters. FLAT BOOTS.

So anyway, I basically had to lay out this entire sob story for Tom until he felt what it was like to live the experience of my search for the perfect flat boot. By the end, I felt like he not only approved of my purchase, but that he wanted me to have them.  Needed me to have them.

And that’s why Tom, and my new boots, are awesome.


my boots, with the world’s cutest pregnant person

46 Comments Post a comment
  1. Ah, men. They are as beautiful as babies, and just as much trouble. Fortunately, if one makes use of the tips above, they are just as easy to manage.
    I look forward to reading more of your strategies.

    May 25, 2014
  2. Great post. Hilarious 🙂

    February 5, 2014
  3. Mulva #

    Question: I just bought my first pair of Clarks desert boots in beeswax leather. It’s day one and they feel like torture devices. Will the leather break in? They look great in your photos but it’s a helluva hurdle.

    November 25, 2013
    • Mine started out stiff around the collar but broke down soon enough. Maybe wear them with socks for a while. I have a gray pair that were the worst but even those broke in nicely. Good luck!!

      November 25, 2013
      • Mulva #

        Thanks, Yoona. Have a good a T’giving.

        November 26, 2013
  4. Jonie Walker (your fav yoga teacher) #

    I’m actually starting to go through this with my BF of a year now!! haha hilarious for me tonight as I look on line Nordstrom watches on-line because my battery died in my ‘old’ one 🙂

    October 29, 2013
    • Jonie! My guru!! Watch batteries just aren’t what they used to be. I like that, may have to use it

      October 30, 2013
  5. You are a very smart women. I will be trying some of these. We actually argued about this very thing today. 🙂

    October 20, 2013
  6. Alison Kean #

    One more method in response to “is that new?”:
    “No, I got it a while ago; this is just the first time I’m wearing it.”

    October 17, 2013
  7. Why are McFlurries the MOST delicious things ever? I was just on vacation and in other countries they have Toblerone McFlurries! I DIED!

    Also your friend is the cutest preggo person ever. How is it that she can be nurturing an unborn life and be wearing those jeans?! She is the first person I’ve ever seen that has a pregnancy glow that doesn’t also require extreme water retention.

    Meanwhile I’m going to give birth to a baby made of McDonalds softserve and wear only things with an elastic waistband.

    October 17, 2013
    • I know can you believe it. This is her second pregnancy and both times it’s like someone just stuck a medicine ball on her front and called it a day. She is annoyingly without the symptoms I experienced while pregnant: extreme bitchiness and a ravenous appetite for BK whoppers

      October 18, 2013
  8. M #

    Another great response is: “Yeah, but I’m not sure I’m going to keep it.” Leaves him with no argument. You can “agree” with anything he says but still be unsure.

    The “It was an exchange” also works great.

    October 16, 2013
    • you’re clearly a professional. i use those two lines often. the exchange line always goes over like a ton of bricks

      October 17, 2013
  9. Kristi Hace #

    Here is how my last boot purchase (just bout 3 weeks ago) went for me and my husband:

    Me: “Kelly (my friend) bought the pair of Clarks ankle boots that I saw in the Eddie Bauer catalog and I am upset that she is now wearing my boots. So as a finders fee to me, she gave me the 15% off coupon that she got after she did the online survey on her receipt. So now the cost of the boots is only $119 instead of the the full price of $140.”

    My Husband: “Well you are lucky that I worked some overtime last week”

    About 5 minutes after this conversation which played out over e-mail as we were both at work, I headed right out to the Clarks store at Pioneer Place and purchased my boots!

    I believe that this tactic that I played falls under the “role playing” technique that you describe above and it worked for me! It is also better that I kind of asked his permission to buy the boots before actually buying them as it helps to soften the blow and avoid confrontation after the purchase is made.

    I do love that I am not the only manipulative wife out there when it comes to acquiring new clothing! My husband lives minimally too and will only buy a new t-shirt when the old one has pit stains or holes and I have to throw it out.

    October 16, 2013
    • i agree that asking permission might work better but the problem with asking permission is i usually end up getting angry because 1) does he think he’s the boss of me? and 2) i actually make my own GD money so i should be able to buy what i want. better to ask for forgiveness than to go through that aggravation

      October 16, 2013
  10. Brilliant!

    October 16, 2013
    • i’m encouraged by the fact that i’m not the only person habitually evading their spouse

      October 16, 2013
  11. bora #

    nojoke, these tricks have worked on tom in REAL LIFE. ok what are you going to do now that he’s read this?


    October 15, 2013
    • he says he knew about all these “pathetic tricks” anyway

      October 16, 2013
  12. made143 #

    Ha! Laughed out loud!
    Can definitely see the McFlurry trick working – thanks for the tips x

    October 15, 2013
  13. Love this!! I use similar methods with my husband. Another technique that I’ve found that works is to keep the new stuff for a while before wearing it. Then when I am asked if it is new, I can reply that it is not, without lying. My husband has recently caught onto this one and now rephrases his questions to the effect of, “Have you worn that before?” Sneaky little sucker…

    October 15, 2013
    • This method has been raised a couple times, here and on my FB wall. I haven’t tried it, mostly because I can’t wait to wear new things. As a lawyer I appreciate the technicality and literalness of the response

      October 15, 2013
  14. Haha! You made me laugh – so funny. I’ve been having a bad day, and this just made it that little bit better. Thanks!

    October 15, 2013
  15. Pegs #

    Is there some sort of husband school where they learn this? How can the same human not notice four inches of missing hair but immediately glom onto the fact that it’s a slightly different black merino sweater?

    Also, sobs for the watch.

    Also, also, she IS the world’s cutest pregnant person, and I miss her (and our nickelodeon locker act: “Hey Lindsay?” (Out my office door). “Yeah Peggy?” (Out her office door).

    October 15, 2013
    • Such a good point about the hair, Peggy. At this point I can say “notice anything different” in relation to just about anything and Tom is trained to say “your hair?”

      October 15, 2013
  16. It may be because we’ve been together sooo long or we’re just getting older (gasp) but he hardly ever asks ‘is that new’ anymore. I’d like to believe it’s my training of him. Ever since I once said all hurt like, “you’ve not noticed this before?” implying that he is not paying attention to me. Now he’s more likely to say… Have I seen that? Ha. Also I told him it’s a business expense as it’s my job to look good for him. 🙂 He bought that. Literally. Plus, I think he just raised the white flag years ago. He’s smart like that.

    October 15, 2013
    • I don’t know if it’s my job, but Tom has certainly reaped the benefits of having a wife who can look ok most of the time. I raise this point often when I’m arguing with him and it elicits responses varying from snickers to loud guffaws

      October 15, 2013
  17. lauren #

    LOVE IT. And the discussions we’ve had about this! I’m laughing so hard I’m crying. Also, I love when a friend notices in front of my husband some new clothes I’m wearing and complements me on them as I’m contorting my body to try to give her the NO sign, imploring her not to say anything in front of him.

    October 15, 2013
    • you never know where i’ll get an idea for a blog post. school get-togethers, good place.

      friends can really be a downer sometimes. and what is it about guys that they can totally tune out 98% of a conversation between girlfriends but then be all “what are you guys talking about” when it comes to one tiny piece of the conversation? i mean, go back to your own boring conversation about the timbers

      October 15, 2013
  18. Janis Gabriel #

    Ha! These are genius! Too funny! 🙂

    October 15, 2013
  19. great post Yoona – I know longer lie to that question because I’ve quite shopping in malls and I thrift so when my man says “is that new?” and I say “no it’s not” – I’m telling the truth literally…

    October 15, 2013
  20. Like taking candy from a baby… Hilarious.

    My Mom used to stash purchases in the back of her fairly large walk-in closet. She’d wait months to wear anything for the first time so when my Dad innocently inquired “is that new?” she could honestly reply “Oh honey, I’ve had this for ages!”. If he persisted “I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen that before today” she’d either say she must have worn it out to bridge (he hated bridge/she loved it so he knew to shut up rather than open that can of worms) or she would ask him if he was accusing her of not knowing if she’d worn her own clothes before. There was never any safe answer to that either and he knew it. Game, set, match.

    My husband doesn’t always notice when I rearrange the furniture. He occasionally asks if something I am wearing is new but I counter with “do you like it?” and he wisely answers “yes!” so I can simply say “why THANK YOU!” and we leave it there before anybody gets hurt.

    October 15, 2013
    • your mom knows what i know. and that is, that if you push back aggressively enough, they start to feel threatened, and hesitant. and once there is any doubt in their minds, it’s game over

      October 15, 2013
  21. LOVE this one!! (As always) but I am currently on the hunt for the perfect flat black riding boot and I am certain for all of his giving caring ways, this is one the hubby will NOT get.

    October 15, 2013
    • if you’re talking about a knee-high number, i worry about your ability to hide them. knee high boots also have the disadvantage of looking very spendy. i’m with you in spirit my dear

      October 15, 2013
  22. Pete Crofut #

    OMG, I fell out of my chair I was laughing so hard. You rule Yoona. I feel your pain on the perfect pair of boots. in June I was introduced to a pair of boots, I’ve been obsessing about nonstop since I tried them on. Today they will be delivered 🙂

    October 15, 2013
    • and you will be delivered. of your perfect boot-free existence. XO

      October 15, 2013
      • Pete Crofut #

        amen to that.

        October 15, 2013
  23. melanie #

    Love your blog!!! I also can relate to this completely. Try busting this line out- it has saved me many o times. Husband: “Is that new?” Me: “It isn’t new to me”. 🙂

    October 15, 2013
    • oh i LOVE that. also, “what do you mean by NEW”

      October 15, 2013

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