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Thursday 23 November 2017

Thank evolution for the joys of shopping

Many years ago -- around a million to be as precise as I can be -- the river Congo divided a group of primates, and two very different species were created over time.

On one side, chimpanzees developed, and with them, a patriarchal society, while in the other camp, Bonobos and their lady-led world evolved. Seeing as these apes share 99pc of their DNA with us (well, most of us), a million years on we are left with a ready-made case study into male versus female behaviour.

The chimps are a far more rowdy bunch. They are noisier, have a more limited diet (which they usually fight over), and hunt for sport. Meanwhile, on the other side of the river, we get an insight into what things would be like if women ruled the world (and the feminist in me would like to point out that this camp is scientifically proven to be the more highly evolved of the two).

Things are much calmer over here. Sex is used to keep a bit of tranquillity about the place, and there is little fighting over food as Bonobos spend longer foraging and have a more varied diet. In fact, if they find a new feeding ground or foodstuff, there is much celebration. Basically, like women, Bonobos like to shop.

I admit, that was a pretty tenuous link to 'Why Women Shop For Pleasure', but there has been extensive research into why women enjoy shopping more than men, and much of it goes back to primitive man. Early man would head out, hunt, and get home as fast as possible (admittedly, at least partially because of the risk of danger), whereas early woman would spend a lot longer foraging for the less essential things.

It was early woman who discovered what different vegetation was edible (presumably so it could be wilted and served alongside a mammoth steak); and things haven't changed all that much. These days, men buy, whereas women shop.

The majority of men will get in and out of a shop as if their lives depended on getting out as fast as humanly possible, but women see shopping as leisure time, and as such will happily spend far longer than is necessary browsing and foraging (that's not an inappropriately used word; if you've ever been in a wonderfully, newly stocked TK Maxx, foraging is exactly what goes on).

I am going to New York for the first time this week. Any man I have mentioned this to, has told me what sights I should be sure not to miss; but the one thing that every single woman has said is a version of, "Oh my God, you won't believe the shopping!". Even a few who I would consider to be the exception to the women- love-shopping rule.

But a city like New York is to us, what a new feeding ground is to Bonobos, and I plan to celebrate it as nature intended; even if it is just window-shopping.

Hey, and for men who just don't understand the allure of a good shop, just go along with it; remember, Bonobos also use sex to keep the peace, so play your cards right and everyone's a winner.

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