The Truth About Caroline: What Your Car Says to Me (and Every Other Woman Under 30)
Some time ago, I was on the rooftop of a five-star hotel for my post-hangover chow when I heard someone complaining that “They only have eight kinds of breakfast here!” Naturally, I had to make the acquaintance of someone so discerning. Caroline Ellis hails from the South, is impossibly tiny, and has been involved with car culture in one way or another for most of her life. She’ll be chiming in a few times a month in the future, so if you have any topics you’d like her to cover, let me know — JB
I’m in my mid-twenties, I’m blonde, and I’m female. In other words, I’m pretty much the antithesis of the audience for most automotive journalism outlets-Road and Track, for example, states that their readership is 94.6% percent male with a median age of 45. The only time a woman my age shows up in most automotive publications is if she’s on the cover wearing nothing but a bikini and a come-hither stare.
But, you 94.6% should realize my opinion about cars is pretty important. You see, a lot of men try to impress me and women just like me with what they drive. So, with this and future writings here at TTAC, I’m gonna break the Girl Code. We’ll look behind the door of the Ladies’ Room and let you in on the Truth About Cars according to the Women of Generation Y.
Here’s the first revelation: What you drive matters. Sorry. I’m sure you’re saving a ton of money for our first house payment by driving that rolling embarrassment from the decade in which I was born, but you’ll never get to spend it on me because you’ll never get me in the passenger seat. Feel free to call me shallow. Also, feel free to never call me at all.
For those of you who are actually trying, let’s look at what you think you’re saying with your car, and what you’re actually saying.
Honda Accord/Toyota Camry/Nissan Altima
You think: I’m sensible, I’m smart with my money, and I’m making a sound investment. I’d make a great family man.
We think: You probably also wear Dockers and think that Applebee’s would make a great first date.
Honda Civic/Toyota Corolla
You think: This is a really reliable car and… sorry, I really don’t have any idea what you’re thinking here.
We think: Great, you’re boring AND poor.
You think: I’m a manly man driving a manly truck.
We think: You’d better look like Blake Shelton, or I’m not interested. Also, you’d better buy me some really sexy boots I can wear with my skinny jeans so my girlfriends will think I’m being ironic when I ride in it. Don’t even think about trying to take me hunting, fishing, or camping, either.
You think: I look sexy driving this thing.
We think: You’re at least ten years older than you’re telling me you are. Your ex-wife was right to tell you that you weren’t allowed to buy that thing. I’ll take some drinks from you but you’re getting a fake number at the end of the night.
Infiniti G35/37/whatever they call it now
You think: It’s just as cool as a BMW.
We think: No, it isn’t.
BMW/Audi/Mercedes with the badges removed
You think: Nobody knows I bought the cheapest one.
We think: Yes, we totally know you bought the cheapest one. Also, you better keep those badges for when you turn it back in at the end of your lease.
You think: This thing is hot.
We think: Yes, yes it is. It’s a shame the backseat is so small, but I’m willing to make it work.
You think: I am total baller. Chicks think I’m rich.
We think: You probably just hit a midlife crisis; like my stepdad. Also, it’s amazing you still have your man card considering that you bought the Beverly Hills Trophy Wife-edition Porsche. We know it’s the cheap one, too.
Ferrari or Lamborghini of any kind (we can’t tell them apart, either)
You think: This makes my dong bigger.
We think: No, it doesn’t. And congratulations on your 144 month lease term!
Any Subaru, especially a green one
You think: This makes me look outdoorsy.
We think: You probably have some good weed. You’re allowed to be in Friend Zone.
We don’t really even need to talk about this one, do we?
You think: I’m ecologically responsible.
We think: Nobody is impressed by your carbon footprint. I’m more impressed by how big your real footprint is, if you know what I mean.
But most importantly, you’ve got to match your car. Don’t try to be something you’re not. If you’re trying to convince me of something, you’d better have already convinced yourself. Obviously a lot of what I’ve said here is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but there’s a lot of truth in it, too. I’m here to help, so ask away-tell me what you’d like to know about a young woman’s perspective on your ride, or anything else that you’d like to know. Bottom line: I want to help you, the Best and Brightest, get… you know. Lucky. Consider me your virtual wingwoman.
So, I think it goes something like this… over to you, B&B!
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On the topic of women writing about their context in motorsports - this appeared today in Ride Apart "10 Reasons Why You Should Date a Woman Who Rides a Motorcycle": http://rideapart.com/2013/12/10-reasons-to-date-a-woman-who-rides-a-motorcycle/ It's the antidote to Caroline's superficial meditation on what gets her wet. I don't want to be another anonymous hater in comments as I'm sure that Caroline is likely a decent person ... but her inaugural piece on TTAC is one of the most banal & self-important pieces of ego puffery I've ever read. I shared it with some girl pals who later animatedly over beers at the local biker bar called her various names that rhyme with bunt. And whatever rhymes with useless. But ... we all grow up and people change, so let's hope her future writing efforts avoid treatises on socio-economic status symbols and the importance she places on them. As it seems our exonerated editor pro tem is rather smitten with her ... assets, it's likely she's here for the long haul. Re. the Ride Apart article, my girlfriend has a long history of Ducati Monsters and Honda CBR's and I found myself reading that piece and checking off everything as insightful and humorous. I think that's how it's done.
In a year or two, when the finicky, self-centered ladies hit 30 years (and 130,000 miles), and their looks are showing the years and the miles, any man with a car that runs will have to do. Hey, there are new models coming out every year, and you're competing with the 18-year-olds now. Personally, if you assume you can categorize me by looking at my car, you can get go ahead and get lost. No woman is so special that she can't be replaced by one of the million otheres that there are to choose from. I appreciate the article, which exposes what was already well known - that assumptions are made based on what a man drives. (The same is done based on clothing, shoes, etc.) The bottom line is "does he appear wealthy enough for me?"