The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

August 5, 2012

‘Man aisle?’ What about a single mom aisle?

By Kelly Kazek

— Lots of reporters and bloggers have been making a big deal this week over a store in New York that features a “man aisle.”

This is a place where men can easily find important man-type items such as chips, dip, razors, sides of beef and, of course, nose-hair tweezers. Actually, I’m not sure if there are nose-hair tweezers but there should be.

The store owner, George Zoitas, told The New York Post the aisle is quite popular.

“Guys don’t like taking lists when they go shopping,” Zoitas said. “This helps them remember what they need.”

Hmmm. Is he saying guys are stupid, or merely wired differently from those other people we’ll call women who seem to have no trouble navigating stores’ well-lit lanes labeled with large overhead signs?

Let me stop right here and say my female friends have warned me about writing columns that might imply some men are stupid — which is why I usually just say it right out.

The girlfriends are afraid no one will ever want to date me again. They seem to forget the 20-something rapper selling his homemade CD in the MapCo parking lot who made those “Mmm-hmmm” noises at me, and the inmate down in south Alabama who writes me those long flowery letters about Harleys and rolling in mud.

Don’t ask.

I like to tell my peeps I don’t think all men are stupid. Just the ones who practically beg me to write about them like William Bonner of Augusta, Ga., who last week poured a shot of Bacardi 151 on his head and asked a friend to light it. A security camera caught an image of friends extinguishing the man’s flaming head and he was then ushered to the emergency room. Turns out, Bonner wasn’t even acting on a triple-dog dare, which we might be able to understand. Instead, he was trying to win a bet.

But back to the “Aisle of Man:” I always heard men approached shopping the way of their Cro-Magnon ancestors: Find it, kill it, take out the gross parts, and eat it.

Aren’t these storeowners taking away part of the challenge? If all the prey — shaving cream, pretzels, antelope — is stocked right there in front of their laser-like hunter eyes, don’t men feel denied?

And I’ve never met a man who didn’t know exactly on which aisle and how far down the chips and beer resided, so really the store owners are saying that men are too lazy to walk from one side of the store to the other to pick up their man-scaping tools such as shampoo and chest-hair wax.

In my experience, what men seem to have trouble finding in stores are things their wives sent them to get, like scallions or orzo or Poise pads — OK, even I’m not too sure about those first two.

What I’d like to see is a single mom aisle. Then I could avoid the wine and fire log aisles — you just saw my dating choices — and go straight to the necessities, such as duct tape to repair the computer, a paring knife to remove the CD stuck in the player, a box of emergency hair dye to use when Shannon comes home and says, “Don’t worry Mom, I can fix it,” and the gallon-size Ibuprofen. Oh, and some Lean Cuisine.

I like to be prepared, you know? And maybe, with enough Lean Cuisines, I can start dating again.

But if you see me riding on a Harley behind a guy who is self-described as “like Johnny Depp only taller,” call the authorities.

Just in case.

Win a date with Kelly

If anyone would like to have an actual lunch date with Kelly Kazek, she is auctioning a copy of her book “Fairly Odd Mother: Musings of Slightly Off Southern Mom” along with a lunch date during a silent auction at “Kudzu Chronicles: A Southern Writers Event at Art on the Square” on Sept. 7 at the Center for Lifelong Learning in downtown Athens.