I’m Not A Boob Man, I’m A Car ManApril 28, 2012 No Comments
Some men are leg men. Some like bottoms. Some prefer breasts. Some men even like personalities. Me, I’m a sucker for streamlining, hot for hubcaps, wild about wipers, windscreens and wheel-arches. I never thought I’d say it, but I’m in love with our new car.
It’s not a sexual thing – I don’t sit in the back in my underpants with my loins swathed in seatbelts and the stereo blaring Meatloaf. And it’s not some sort of peculiarly asexual thing where I refer to the car as “she” and make creepy remarks about the car’s curves, like a middle-aged golf-club member pretend-lusting after Margaret Thatcher’s safely distant ankles. This is more of a mute adoration; almost hero-worship. I sit in the car and just wonder at it: how it corners, how it goes over bumps, how its brakes clamp on – I even love to watch its fuel consumption figures as we drive along together. And I think this is quite a male thing to do.
Not that admiring engineering or technology is always a male preserve. What I mean is it’s quite male to be so interested in, and fixated on things working well. Maybe I’m wrong, but I would have said that, while they like it when things work well, and can appreciate that as much as any man, women nonetheless tend, on the whole, not to get hung up on this – they like driving, but they’re not that bothered to drive just to appreciate the ride. They enjoy the drive, but they like to get there too. Men, on the other hand, while they certainly like to drive, would also just drive around – anywhere, not for the fun of driving itself, but also just to appreciate the car working well, to revel in its fitness for the job, to delight in the ingenuity and elegance of the functionality.
So why do men get so much enjoyment out of how well the rain-sensitive wipers work, or how nicely the little cubby-hole for sunglasses opens out of the ceiling above the driver? I think it’s maybe something about being able to control our environment. Men have something of an instinct for building shelter and making fires – something from back in the past that drives them to find a cave and make it comfortable. Look at how many men build themselves a little corner in their houses – their den or loft or shed. Look at how men furnish places when left to themselves – how they set up their bachelor suites with what might seem an excessive amount of audiovisual gear, or a bar in the corner. They’re making it comfortable, keeping out the elements, securing it against nature, physics and the outside world.
And that’s what we love about machinery that works so well to deal with problems like roads, with their corners, hills, potholes, rain, snow and ice. We love it when things work well to deal with our environments (and especially when they do it elegantly or with style). So my pathetic crush on the new car isn’t something peculiar or perhaps worthy of counselling: I’m just responding to my evolutionary instincts to nest – and if the nest happens to have a nice stereo, airbags and a cup holder, then that’s all for the better.
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