By DAWN BRANDVOLD-GRAY
I come from a strong tradition of car lovers. My dad lovingly cared for the family auto, inhaled new car scent like it was his job, and even enjoyed the maddening rituals associated with car shopping.
I appreciate cars, but my vehicular devotion is personal.
I might lust after the cute Mini Cooper or drool over the fully restored 1964 Ford Mustang, but it’s just a passing fancy Р much like my attraction to Denzel Washington or Ryan Gosling.
I’m loyal to my own four wheels.
It takes a lot of talking to get me into a new car. I pretty much go kicking and screaming to the dealership.
In fact the last car I got, my husband unceremoniously walked in, dropped the keys in front of me and said “Let’s go pick up your new car”. He isn’t being bossy or controlling. He is being realistic. I would still be driving a 1985 Chevy Cavalier if I had my way.
This is not to say that I don’t love a new car. Oh no, once the deed is done I transfer my loyalty shamelessly. I drive her (all my cars are female) around for a week to get a feel for who she is, and then I choose her name.
My Toyota Rav 4 is named for one of the strongest, most independent woman I admire Р Amy Ray of the singing duo Indigo Girls. Even friends and acquaintances know her name and address her accordingly.
Someday it will be time to retire Amy Ray. I am not looking forward to this and don’t even let it enter my mind. Amy Ray and I are a team.
I anticipate riding off into the sunset together, passing that sassy Volkswagon Beetle with only the slightest sideways glance.
By MARK GRAY
There are few products in life that separate men and women as much as the automobile or truck. To most men, the vehicle is a statement of who they are; to women, it’s a method of transportation that may or may not be personalized with a cute name or persona.
Men enjoy cars; it’s part of our DNA. At birth we are not genetically tied to a Ford, Chevy or Toyota, but we soon learn that manhood, chrome, and cool dashboards go together like apple pie and ice cream.
Not all men understand the inner workings of automobiles, but most appreciate the idea that vehicles should be replaced with newer models at least as often as the changing of our bed sheets. (OK, that may be a stretch, but you get the idea!)
Many men use their vehicles to reflect an identity. A Cadillac driver is much different than an owner of a Subaru Outback.
One dines at Ruth’s Chris; the other prefers granola. A driver of a Toyota Prius hybrid is much more likely to be a member of the Sierra Club than the driver of a Dodge truck.
Yet despite our passion for vehicles, men don’t give names to their cars.
I drive a Toyota Avalon Р and I don’t call it Carl or Wilhelm or Buck.
It’s just an Avalon, one that will soon be traded in for something newer. It doesn’t necessarily make sense. It’s just a man thing.