I can’t believe I haven’t taken on cars in this series on Men vs. Women! There are such gigantic differences in how we look at, buy, appreciate, and deal with the horseless carriage. In many ways, I think our respective attitude about cars is emblematic of our attitudes about most everything. Again, this is not a right or wrong, just a big difference.
The regular caveat for these columns is that I am making general observations. There are exceptions to any generality. I know. I’m also not concerned about being politically correct so for those feminists and others that think men and women are the same, except for our upbringing, I wish you well but skip reading any more since it will only aggravate you and me!
My wife is the quintessential example of a woman and cars, in my opinion. Her car choice begins with her perception of the value and impression of the brand. Hers is Mercedes Benz. When I dare to suggest that some high-end Japanese luxury carmakers might have competitive models, the icy glare quickly shuts me up. After that, it’s the color that matters.
After that, nothing matters.
May I be so bold as to suggest that men might consider other things when choosing their next automobile?
Herewith my alternating extreme generalities about men and women and cars, explicitly designed to irritate Women’s Studies professors:
~~ Women choose brand and color first. For them it’s the location, location, location equivalent (from Real Estate) for a car.
~~ Men choose performance and looks first. Sort of like they choose their women. He didn’t really write that, did he?
~~ Women will do little or no research into their next car and rarely, if ever, open a car magazine.
~~ Men will often do extensive research about a multitude of cars before stepping into a showroom and most guys have at one time or another, had a subscription to at least one car magazine (mine was Road & Track).
~~ Women would much prefer buying a new car.
~~ Men will buy a used car over a new one if it means getting the higher performing model.
~~ Women don’t really pay much attention to the “specs” of a car other than, perhaps, its miles-per-gallon.
~~ Men like to compare the horsepower of their cars in much the way they compare parts of their anatomy, as if the amount (or size) really mattered versus how it is used and distributed (a lightweight car may go faster with less horsepower than a heavier car with substantially more…you can do the other analogy yourself).
~~ Women like new cars and don’t really notice or care about “classics.”
~~ Every guy has his fantasy car from his youth. For me, it’s the Shelby Cobra from the sixties – not the Mustang version but the original real Cobra. Today, you can buy a kit replica for something like $90,000. An original cost many times that and is out of range for most every guy. Other guys like the classic “muscle” cars such as original Mustangs, Camaros, etc. I also really have a thing for the Aston Martin that appeared in the third James Bond movie, “Goldfinger,” perhaps the first time a car was such a co-star in a film.
~~ Women will use words such as “cute” to describe a car.
~~ Men would NEVER use “cute” to describe any car – maybe an occupant but not the vehicle itself.
You should have noticed that the “men” observations are longer than the “women” ones precisely because men are more interested in cars than women. Men tend to like BIG toys while women tend to like smaller ones, like diamonds. There’s no right or wrong here and each gender can truly have very expensive taste in their luxury desires but the interest in jewelry for a man is probably equal to the interest in a Ferrari for a woman.
The only time a woman cares about a car is when it’s giving them an insight – right or wrong – into the financial wherewithal of a man they might be dating or interested in. Since financial security is high on most women’s lists of things they want in a man – ideally – the choice of his car is a potential signal of his success. The fact that he may be in hock for the car, simply leased it, and/or is in substantial debt because of his wheels, isn’t immediately clear when he drives up in his red Ferrari of black Porsche.
Because men know the differences between the higher quality cars more than women, an apparently expensive car may not in fact be that expensive whereas a classic that looks less flashy may indeed be extremely valuable so a woman’s takeaway from his car may be wrong, regardless of its looks. Ironic given that men often make their first judgments about a woman based on her “looks.”
On that potentially divisive note, I end this edition of Men vs. Women and welcome your comments!
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