Although it’s not common to look back fondly on past relationships, each of them inevitably gets stored in the filing cabinet of your memory. Every so often, for one reason of another, you pull them out to examine them, perhaps looking to find some new redeeming facet that you missed before. Or to use them as an example of exactly what you’re NOT looking for.
Tuba Guy taught me about damaged people, and that unless they wanted to be redeemed, I was better not wasting my time. Shady Guy taught me about serial cheaters, and the signs to look for. Surfer Guy taught me… well, a lot about marijuana, actually.
The one that, by far, left me with the best relationship tool was Jazz Guy. It was from him that I learned the mystic trick of “the car question.”
I see that you’re confused. Hang in there with me, it will begin to make sense.
The Car Question evolved in 2007 on a drive back from Long Island, Jazz Guy’s home turf. We were listening to music, and making conversation, when he off-handledly complained about his vehicle.
“Man, I wish I could get rid of this thing and get something nicer,” he stated.
“Oh yeah? What would you get, ideally?” I asked, not realizing that the resulting answer would forever alter the course of our relationship, and ultimately, my life.
“I’d probably go for a Lincoln,” he said with a grin, and glanced over at me with a grin.
And I realized, “Holy Shit. He’s serious.”
I was floored. Not a BMW, or an Audi, or any other stereotypical “man car.” Why in God’s name would a 27-year-old jazz musician want a Lincoln, that screams of bifocals, the suburbs and arthritis cream?!
Rather than make fun of him and (probably) start an argument for the remainder of the 4 hour ride, I filed it away under “Whoa, Jazz Guy is Weird” to be resurrected at a later date.
Obviously that question and answer never really left the back of my mind, and I spent time analyzing what it was about his answer that had bothered me so much. Somehow, I felt that his choice of ideal car reflected on him as a person. It spoke to his practicality, his goals, his upbringing, and (since it was a LINCOLN) a seeming lack of testosterone.
Thus, The Car Question was born.
Like a North Star, The Question guided me through my subsequent years of dating. Initially, it was a social experiment, that I liked to sneak into first date conversation. As the results proved to be more and more consistent, I realized that it was giving me surprising insight into the types of men that I was choosing to date. And whether there was potential for the relationship to go anywhere.
Is it SHALLOW of me to judge a man by the car he would like to drive? Possibly. However, for some reason I’ve found that a person subconsciously reveals the type of man they are by the car they associate with themself.
The first guy I dated after Jazz Guy was Mennonite Boy. It was a blind date, and in one of the lulls in conversation I pounced upon The Question.
“So… you drive a Saturn. What would you drive if you could choose anything??” I asked, innocently enough. He would never have suspected that the gears were turning behind my eyes, and I waited with bated breath to begin the psychoanalyzing.
He smiled, which crinkled his eyes and showed his small white teeth.
Hmm. Definitely concerned with the environment, not so afraid of being squashed by a tractor trailer. Interesting.
Teacher Boy was the next to get the trap sprung, and he held surprisingly true to form.
“I already HAVE my dream car,” he smarmed over the dinner table. “It’s a Prius.” (I feel compelled to add that it was light blue.)
(Side note: Have any of you seen Jeff Dunham’s Prius routine? You’re welcome.)
I didn’t even have to ask Armstrong Guy about his dream vehicle. He showed up to our first date driving a huge, sparkling Nissan pickup. I was sold.
(Although, if we talk about men compensating for penis size with their vehicle, that adds another dimension to the analysis.)
Finally, we come to Army Boy. Since we already knew each other when we “reconnected” and met for dinner, I didn’t feel the need to submit him to the car question test. The opportunity presented itself a few dates later, and I just couldn’t help myself.
I guess I don’t need to clarify that he “passed.” The true question remains: If he had “failed” The Car Question, would our relationship have progressed as far as it did regardless? Or would it have been left in the dust (car pun totally intended) as so many dates before him?
If there were, in fact a true psychological connection between the vehicle that you’re drawn to and the way you see yourself, I’d like to think that I would love Army Boy in spite of a pink Volkswagon convertible.
So, for anyone that has found their way here searching for dating tips, or online dating, give this a try on your next “first” date. It may end up surprising you.