There are places in this world that feel to a man almost as much like home as home.
Put a male amnesiac in a hardware store and it will all come back:"A Black & Decker drill. Sure, yeah. I remember now. I was going to install a closet organizer for my wife. Shirley, yeah. That's her name, and we have children."
Conversely, there are places in this world where a man feels as bewildered as a 3-year-old cut adrift on the state fair midway.
Try bridal shops.
There is a reason why there are no "groom shops."
Men don't want to dawdle around mannequins and showcases of accessories. Just give them a tux and a shirt and tell them what color socks to wear and when the tux is due back.
For men, bridal shops summon up the big "C" word: commitment.
For women, it is another "C" word: Cinderella.
Unless she is an actress, a woman gets only one shot in life at the role. Who could blame her for wanting to look the part?
I accompanied my daughter, Annie, to a bridal shop on Thursday so she could show me the dress she has selected for her wedding next April.
It is a lovely thing, that gown, an Oleg Cassini I was informed.
It has a square neckline and a basque waist. Illusion sleeves are trimmed with pearls and lace. The skirt falls away into a chapel-length train adorned with scalloped lace and pearls.
Of course, a man views a bridal shop somewhat differently when he is not the groom but the father of the bride.
Part of you is bursting with pride, and part of you feels the foil in one of those train-station cinematic cliches, huffing down the platform trying to catch something that has too much of a head of steam to slow down.
I'll need to take a few dance lessons before April, I told myself. Wouldn't want to look the bumpkin for that all-important reception waltz.
Not far from the mannequin decked out in Annie's wedding dress, I spied a pair of twenty-something males seated on a sofa in front of a small, mirror-flanked stage. At regular intervals, two women would emerge from dressing rooms and take a fashion turn or two before the pair.
They looked lost, the men. A little disoriented.
Bridal shops should have small aid stations for males where they can be taken to reorient themselves if they feel like they're starting to hyperventilate. Put a few power drills and routers in there, a television with a continuous loop cassette of the last two minutes of the last three Browns playoff losses.