Sunday, 3 January 2010
Motoring recommendations from the fairer sex.
I was speaking to my friend Craig the other day. Nothing odd in that, as we speak at least three or four times a week. What was different was that he raised the issue of women and cars. No, don't. Don't think I'm going to start wittering on about women who can't park and who crash whilst putting their lipstick on. I'm not.
Craig told me of an Escort XR3i he once bought. He traded in his much-loved Capri 2.0S for this; a decision he instantly regretted. And why did he do this? Because his other half at the time liked XR3s and fluttered her eyelids at him. He wanted an MG Montego Turbo, but she who held his affection said no. And so he bought the Escort.
It was not, so he told both my good friend Clive and myself, the only time that he had let a woman choose his car for him. Something, I said, I'd never do. If I'm driving, I said, the car should be of my choosing and to my satisfaction. He chuckled, muttering something about the innocence of youth. So I thought I'd give the 'asking a woman about cars' thing a go. Not having a lady friend of my own to be influenced by, I turned to my friend Ella - an ever exasperating yet eternally lovable person I share classes with at university.
Her recommendations were as follows, on the basis that both are pretty. Volkswagen Beetle cabrio. SEAT Arosa. Both in yellow. Oh dear.
Let us first consider the Volkswagen. Even in black or silver, this car is little more than a handbag on wheels. I suppose in it's way it's the modern equivalent of a Morris Minor convertible, so I'll approach it from that angle. The Radio 2 presenter and ginger-haired Ferraristi Chris Evans once stated that a bad man would never drive a Minor, thus making any man with one attractive to women. Sorry, Chris. The reason that women liked you in a Minor is because they thought you'd be more interested in their boyfriends. And the same goes for the Beetle. For people who wear hair product and carry man-bags, it's little more than a cosmetic accessory. No thanks.
The SEAT's a different proposal. An unpretentious small car, cheaper and more attractive than the VW Lupo it really is (Or rather, the Lupo is an Arosa with a gloopy nose). I understand it drives well, I like the interior, and they seem to go reasonably enough. If I wanted a cheap little car, then I'd not mind it.
But I hate little cars. At 6'3" I need space to stretch out, and if I do so in an Arosa it suddenly becomes a three seater instead of four. For me, the 306 I currently drive is small enough, and it also has a big enough engine to cope with a proper gearbox. A 1.4 and auto combination in an Arosa would be slower than a glacier in reverse, and given the choice I prefer slushboxes to keep-fit ones.
Yellow, I find it harder to argue against. I've made no secret of my adoration of Primrose coloured Rover 75s, and an Inca Yellow Triumph Stag would be just peachy. So yellow gets a thumbs-up.
But it's the only bit that does. Let this be a lesson. Men of the world unite, choose your own steeds in the face of potential male oppression. Those of you willing to put up with the management's choices of conveyance are unworthy of your sex, and want castrating.
Sam is currently facing the repercussions of his final paragraph, demonstrating that chaps who wish to stay in one piece just can't win either way.