There’s something about men and cars…
MY husband, a man I’ve long adored for his principles, his fine British wit, his modesty and – I’ll admit it – his good looks, has just done something completely out of character. He’s bought a flash car.
OK, it’s not that flash. It’s a few years old. But it’s a posh make favoured by the royal family and the type of car Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson calls “slightly caddish”.
Oh all right, what Jeremy actually says is, “It’s the sort of car driven by the sort of person who would go away for a weekend with his wife and spend the night flirting outrageously with the waitress.” (I’ve never liked Jeremy.)
What’s alarming, though, is that my husband has never had the blindest bit of interest in cars. Or, mercifully, golf. He had a red MG in his 20s, so I should’ve guessed his nostalgia for the little oak gear knob he keeps on a shelf might one day rear its head.
But since I’ve known him, he’s driven sensible cars. Toyota Camrys. Ford Mondeos. Company-provided, travelling salesmen-type cars (except he’s not.)
Some people think what you drive says a lot about you. Mercedes = big wallet, Tarago = big family, Lamborghini = big… But, to me, a car is just a truncated bus, albeit quicker and soundproofed to hide my appalling singing.
For the past 12 years, I’ve owned three versions of the same boring car, each one resembling a skip on wheels as it becomes a receptacle for raisins, sand and secret shopping bags whose contents have long since been squirreled inside. It’s never let me down, apart from the time I backed out of the driveway and it failed to alert me that my husband’s car was parked behind me. Must invest in sensor thingy.
Anyway, I’d always thought my husband was of the same mind: not remotely interested in status and far happier paying off the mortgage and spending any extra cash on shiraz, iTunes, a Wallabies match – you know, fun stuff. Stuff that makes you happy. Surely not a walnut dashboard and leather seats.
But it turns out; all those annoying re-runs of Top Gear – not to mention middle age – have sparked a car crush. And a crush it most certainly is, because he can’t stop talking about her. Yes, ‘her’. Not only has ‘she’ bumped my wheels out of the top spot in the driveway, the metal mistress has a name. A rather sexy Cameron Diaz character, no less*.
When I remark that a recent survey revealed one-third of drivers talk to their cars, he scoffs, then looks a little sheepish. “You’re making me out to be a complete prat, aren’t you?”
Truth is, I rather like it. Not the car so much, but his enthusiasm for it. The fact that, however reconstructed, family-friendly, housework-capable and in touch with their feelings men become, there’s still this elemental secret otherness about them.
Whatever stuff stirs their souls – whether it’s a Kerouacian yearning for the open road, the surf, mastery of a ball, a transporting guitar riff – it’s something they feel no need to define or explain. It’s the Mars to our Venus.
So, do I agree with research published in the British Journal of Psychology that shows women are more attracted to men in fancy motors? Ah, no. But I do love that the new car has a bunch of guys gathered in our driveway in the late Saturday sun, drinking beer, laughing and discussing God knows what.
*Predictably she’s called Mary. And she’s a Jag.
Catch Angela Mollard on Weekend Today, Sundays at 7am on the Nine Network
Follow her at www.twitter.com/angelamollard
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…