Why would a sane woman keep five pairs of shoes under her desk or pack two suitcases for an overnight trip?
They're experiencing Quirk Outs: crazy things women do to stay sane.
We coined the phrase to describe the somewhat odd, usually helpful and sometimes secret habits that help women turn multitasking into an art form.
Quirk Out is where Martha Stewart meets Tina Fey.
We are friends through our work in arts marketing and invented Quirk Out at lunch over salads and french fries (a Quirk Out where eating something healthful makes you feel less guilty about eating something fattening) as we compared strategies for coping with busy schedules, families and careers.
First Cary confessed she rewrote her grocery list according to the aisles in the store so she never had to backtrack while shopping. (Don't you hate the mad rush back to produce when you're in dairy?) Then Diane admitted an even quirkier habit — she created an Excel spreadsheet detailing every aisle and food category.
Is this irrationally practical or practically irrational? You decide.
We began asking women about their Quirk Outs only to discover everyone has habits others might find a little … different.
You'll see yourself in some Quirk Outs; others will make you say "great idea" or "I'd never do that." Just one rule: Don't judge a Quirk Out. We're not offering advice (in fact, we're self-proclaimed un-experts), just serving up real ideas from real women that we hope will make you laugh.
So move over "freak out" and "pig out," and welcome to the sisterhood of Quirk Out.
Clean up your act for the babysitter
There was a time before getting married and having children when the car and house were always immaculate. No french fries lodged in seat belts. No precariously balanced stacks of art projects and completed worksheets. No piles of coats and shoes by the front door.
While the family can live with this mess, a non-negotiable Quirk Out is spending hours cleaning and scrubbing the house before a babysitter arrives. Yes, it's the rare teenager who would notice lint in the refrigerator vent or look behind the shower curtain for soap scum. (That's reserved for mothers-in-law.)
Their goal is to get the kids to bed, then rack up rental costs on the pay-per-view channels.
Yet, just in case they tell their mothers about finding a peanut butter and jelly sandwich under the couch cushions, the best defense against wagging tongues at the PTA is a deep clean so your reputation remains spotless.
Zappos has nothing on us
Celebrities must have top-secret instructions for working the red carpet in stilettos.
But for the mere mortals who walk on parking lots, sidewalks and marble building lobbies, 5-inch heels are as dangerous and painful as getting caught by the paparazzi without makeup.
That's why we Quirk Out by keeping enough shoes under our desks to get us through the next few decades. Sneakers, flip-flops, flats, a lovely selection of wedges, kitten heels and boots are always on high alert. In fact, there are so many on display that co-workers wonder if there's going to be a sale on sandals at the end of the summer.
It's a fashionable way to teeter through the day, and to be on the right foot for every meeting, lunch date or after-work happening.
Read more Quirk Out at quirkout.com. Follow on Twitter at twitter.com/quirkout and Facebook at facebook.com/quirkout.