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Missing Points on 'Missing Link'

April 29, 1991

I have the following advice for males who lack the shopping gene. As the hapless victim of many an interminable mall expedition with ex-wives or varied female companions, I have learned to fight back.

Upon leaving at long last what seems to be the last clothing store in the mall, I casually inform my sated female companion that I would like to "stop off in the bike shop for a moment."

In the bicycle shop, I proceed to minutely examine every exotic racing bike on the rack. Gear rations, handlebars, tires, gearshifts and paint jobs are all carefully assessed.

As my companion begins to shift restlessly, I stride over to the mountain bike department and give each bike there a thorough checking.

A discussion with the proprietor of Fausto Coppi's exploits in the 1948 Tour de France can often prolong a "moment" at the bike shop into an hour and a half.

It isn't that we males lack a shopping gene. We're just being led into the wrong stores.

CHARLES KING, Santa Monica

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