I think it’s fair to say that men generally care more about the kind of car they drive than women.
However, that’s not to say that we all want to drive around in clapped out old bangers, and I for one have done my damndest to avoid driving anything that includes the initials MPV and long for the time when I can legitimately buy a two seater convertible sports car rather than something ‘practical and roomy.’
The fantasy of the sheer joy of driving a sexy car that doesn’t smell of rugby kit and Labrador keeps me going through my darkest motoring moments.
Most of the men in my life have endless conversations about the kind of car they own/would like to own/lust after/despise and the reasons why, whereas most of my girlfriends make fleeting comments about sexy convertibles and then move quickly on to discuss shoes, handbags or paint colours. (Anyone who mentions private schools, catchment areas or house prices has their cocktail removed from their hand immediately and is swiftly shown the door).
Men seem to be more defined by their motor than women, but who is really to blame for their insecurities and need to be compared to whatever is throbbing away under their bonnet? Sadly, I think it might be the female of the species.
As I mentioned in a previous Lady Driver column, I don’t really mind what a potential date drives as long as it’s not stolen, filthy or falling apart. I assumed that most women (particularly those who are more inclined to lust after living in a yurt and hugging trees) couldn’t care less either.
So imagine my surprise when a male friend of mine turned up to take a date out for supper in a car that apparently failed to meet the minimum standards. Not only did she look down her nose at the offending 15 year old Ford Fiesta, but then went on to question WHY my friend would be seen dead driving such a thing and then even went as far as to suggest they took her car instead.
It saddens me that grown-up women who pretend to be so nonchalant about the materialism of life seem to care so much about the car that picks them up for a date.
In an age when we should be embracing people who come into our lives and want to genuinely spend time with us, should we really care about how we get there?
Dating tick lists have a lot to answer for and while we all want someone who is kind and funny, honest and loyal I think it’s time we accepted that anyone you meet in your forties is likely to have a bit of baggage (in some cases an entire airport carousel probably) and so what if they don’t carry it all round with them in a Porsche?
I have one particularly good friend who has had a very eclectic selection of cars over the years from beautiful Porsches and Mercedes to almost vintage hatchbacks and cars that he has begged, borrowed and, well hopefully not stolen (although I have never been entirely sure about that). His self confidence has no bounds and therefore if a date even dared to question his choice of wheels he would probably leave them standing on the pavement.
Unfortunately not all men are as blessed, and while picky women continue to consider a sports car to be an essential part of any dating package, men will continue to feel under pressure to perform.
It’s all a bit shallow if you ask me and it’s about time that women stopped being so ridiculous and rejecting the potential love of their life based on the fact that they don’t drive the ‘perfect car’…whatever that maybe.
The Lady Driver column is published every other week in The Oxford Mail