Friday, June 25, 2010

Some deep perspectives on cars and men

Reposted from last year because a friend who couldn't find this post asked me to.


P.S.: Sensitive men with a weak heart or a huge ego should not read this post.

Buying a car is like finding a husband. Now potential husbands should take this with a pinch of salt, especially if they are potential car sellers too. You see, the process begins with visual estimation. You go to car selling websites and put a certain number of search criteria you are looking for- make, model, mileage, and price. The same happens in a matrimonial website, or in any potential mate hunting arena- bars, friend’s birthday party, dandiya celebrations, anywhere you can find a reasonable number of men showcased to take a look. You are still looking at the same parameters- make, model, mileage and price, be it a car or a man.

Which year’s model? If you are buying a used car, you probably don’t want to go below a 2005 model. Or maybe anything beyond a 1977 model is going to be too old and age-wise incompatible for you. Just an example based on personal preference.

Make? Want to go for a big, fat, spacious SUV man? Or a flashy convertible man? You can stick to the common “sedan” man of course – boring but dependable - moderate looks, moderate qualifications, neither rich and spacious like the SUV nor flashy like the convertible.

Of course the carfax record has to be clean when you put the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). You prefer not to have any previous accidents, fender benders, or wrecked titles. Just like you don’t want any history of troublemaking, divorcees, unwed fathers, or “only married for a few days” models if you are aiming for a new one. The carfax provides a total history of vehicles, and so does Google, sneaking into his profile in facebook or orkut without his knowledge, or finding his colleagues, common friends or ex-girlfriends and getting them talking. It is amazing how much information a search engine, social networking website, or a drunk friend can provide.

Carfax clean? Of course you know by now what the car looks like from the website. You don’t want to waste your time with profiles without pictures, who claim that they will send you pictures once they “get to know you well”. This is pretty intimidating frankly, my parents have known each other for more than 30 years now, and they could vouch for the fact that they still “don’t know each other well”. For all you know, the person at the other end whose voice turns you on might be a bald, huge man in need of a facial plastic surgery and contact lenses.

The Kelly Blue Book (KBB) price is a different ballgame altogether. Certain features like power windows, the presence of sunroofs, and the music player system add value to the car. Similar attributes add up to the guy’s profile in the KBB – IITian? Doctor or computer professional? Works in the US? Owns a condo or drives a Ferrari? Single child without the hassle of dealing with dominating moms or interfering sisters in the family? This goes a long way in escalating his KBB value in the market.

And then you meet for the first time, and visual appraisal (or checking out) happens. The first date is like the test drive. Look for the slightest, weirdest sounds in the engine, no matter how much the owner claims otherwise. Look for tiny glitches, look for the weird things he does. Maybe he picks his nose while working on an analytical problem. Maybe he doesn’t have sexy, dependable hands with well trimmed nails. Maybe he is trying to be a cool smartass which he is far from. Maybe you spotted that little patch of baldness he has been trying to hide all this while with his hair neatly combed. Maybe he doesn’t share your sentiments with equal fervor when you say you are passionate about animal rights or babies or appears bored while you explain to him why pink is your favorite color. Maybe he talks a lot about his mom. You have every right to “check him out” for these glitches. Remember, once you decide to go for it, it is safe to assume you would be stuck with him for a good chunk of the rest of your life. The moment you commit, your own KBB value has gone down.

The mechanic check is like going on subsequent dates when you get to know the person more thoroughly. Test drive as much as you want. Act indifferently. See if the seller is too eager to sell it. Look bored when he says he went to school in MIT. Yawn when he talks animatedly about his research focus. Drive him and push him to the limits. Text your friends pretending not to listen while he tries to make conversation. Let him pay if he offers to. Don’t call him for the next 2 weeks. Chances are he will end the conversation with an “It was nice meeting you, call me sometime” catch phrase. Chances are your acting difficult will turn him on. Who knows what these men like?

Make a list of compulsory criteria that he must absolutely have (looks, height, chivalry, a US degree, a sexy smile) and a list of secondary criteria that are not necessarily deal breakers (can’t think of any right on the top of my head). Depending on your budget, see if you want to compromise for certain attributes. These are secondary of course. You prefer the car is red with a sunroof. You prefer the guy can dances salsa or play the guitar. You prefer a V6 engine guy instead of V4. You decide on the trade offs of having a high maintenance versus a low maintenance man. Scan the market and go for a model upgrade if possible.

Look for mileage. Ask cryptic questions to see how many relationships he has had in the past and why they did not work out. Look for previous owners- how many women have driven him before. Get in touch with them and compare notes. Okay, not that far maybe, but still.

Look for how well it is maintained. Regular oil changes, 90k plus servicing. Is the man well maintained? Does he gym regularly and do yoga and meditation classes? Does he hog like a glutton or eats sensibly, especially after he is 30? Look for the kind of food he orders on a date.

Of course if you are divorced, previously taken, or above 35, chances are more you will end up with a lemon (a car/relationship that can die in the middle of the road any day). And remember, we usually end up buying “used” cars. Finding “new” cars is hard and expensive. If it is a 1972 model but still a “new car”, he is either not straight, or has been a social embarrassment in the past.

Some deals are very suspicious and too good to be true and need to be flagged right away. These are the ones where the in laws claims they will give you all their jewelry and property back in India once you agree to marry the lad. A background check confirms that he is not straight, or has had a child from a previously annulled marriage. These are highly fraud deals.

Usually Japanese models are very reliable and run forever. German models are on the same lines. American ones are shitty in terms of efficiency. Bengali models are usually reliable as long as you can live with the fact that his mommy is the best and mommy will always come first, even before you. South Indian models are reliable as long as you accept that these will all be computer engineers who think they are the most culturally inclined species and will not communicate with you in any other language. Marwari models tend to go high on dowry. Stereotypical and racist, I know, but true nevertheless.

But beyond all these comes the most important factor- The kind of insurance you can buy for the car. See what kind of insurance the man is willing to offer. See if he is committing to marry, or giving you funde on the bliss of a live-in relationship. If you still find his matrimonial profile up there in public even after the 6th date, if he says he needs more time to figure out things (and does not specify how much time) or is hesitant to make you meet his parents, consider yourself uninsured. For a non-committal relationship where the guy doesn’t know what he wants or shows clear signs of commitment-phobia, prepare to live with the knowledge that your relationship is going to be totaled any day something hits it. Start looking for another car before that happens to you. Dump the car before the car dumps you. Euphemistically said.

Push. Bargain. Negotiate. Don’t be afraid to go for the attributes you are looking for. And no matter how much friends, family, or well wishers advice for or against a particular model, go with your gut feeling. It is you who will live with it. Drive him (insane). Feel his attitude. Don’t be afraid to explore the expansiveness of the relationship. Sometimes, everything right does not sum up to feeling right overall. Sometimes, one look and you know that this is the one. Judge. Use brains instead of emotions. Play hard to get. Car hunting and mate hunting is as much of a process as it is an outcome.



Philotics said...

Hilarious blog! :)

Padmanabhan said...

Thoroughly enjoyed reading it. You have a wonderful style of writing.

pushkar said...

hilarious....awesome...i will pretend to be offended by this materialization as soon as i catch my breath...

Suryansh said...

PS: Sensitive Women with weak heart and huge ego should not read this comment.

Hilarious comparison :)

On a similar but unrelated context, here is what someone on the www had to say why cars are better than women:

1- You can have as many cars as you like and none of them care about the others.
2- With a car, you dont mind your mates taking a ride. They can go for a ride at the same time for all you care.
3- Unless you want it to, your car will never get fat.
4- And she'll look better fatter anyway.
5- A car never cries.
6- Even if you leave her locked in the garage for a week, she never complains.
7- Your car doesn't care if you perve on other cars.
8- Or read magazines with hot cars in them, hell you can read them while your inside her.
9- $2 and 3 mins in a car wash and a car looks her best.
10- Even if its 4am on a winters morning, 3 seconds is all it takes to turn her on, and then she's ready to go.

Chaos said...

Hilarious and yet very soundly and truly written :).....errr but me and other menfolk would agree the same post could more or less be turned upside down..... :P to act as a guide for members of our clan too.....for the good "search". :P

CM-Chap said...

wow what an insight... Fun reading it

Sanchit said...

loved the gettin info from google and drunkard thing.. awesomely written.. awesome!!

nightflier said...

Hilarious !!!
take a bow :D

Teens to Toons said...

good one

wishes galore said...

simply Awesome!!!!!
btw that bengali model fanda applies for evry indian model, i beleive,lol...

naween said...

"Look bored when he says"... "Yawn when he talks"... "Text your friends pretending not to listen"...

ye to unfair hai ji!! if you leave the steering wheel, you can't blame the car for causing an accident!!

naween said...

"Look bored when he says"... "Yawn when he talks"... "Text your friends pretending not to listen"...

ye to unfair hai ji!! if you leave the steering wheel, you can't blame the car for causing an accident!!

Idling in Top Gear said...

Interesting post.

From a guy's standpoint, the kind of car we look for primarily depends on how old we are. :)

When we are in our late teens, we want something something that we can drive all day and learn to do cool stuff with, regardless of whether it looks good or not.

In our early 20's, we want something fast and flashy, one that will make everyone else jealous, even if it's high maintenance. Also, this is when one tries adventurous stuff with their cars, and so may wreck a few as a result. :)

In our mid-to-late 20's, one of two things happens - a majority of us realize that out of looks, reliability and price, we can only afford two, and choose accordingly, while a small minority of us (affectionately called lucky bastards) are rich enough to get all three. The rest of us unlucky souls just think about their Masteratis as we drive our boring old Camrys and Caravans. :)

Mukesh said...

good one ....nice one ...

piyush said...

hahahah good one...i had pretty similar feeling while choosing my second bike....guess motor is as important as mates ;-)

Ambuj Saxena said...

If you want to know the upper bound of age limit of guys to look for, just subtract 7 from your age and multiply it by 2. COURTESY

Suds said...

Awesome stuff. :):)

Sunshine said...

lol this is awesome! gonna send this to my parents...considering that the boy-hunt has started for me im pretty sure they would find it hilarious!!

Qi said...

Hahaha!!! WEll done!!!

Uma said...


nice post. atleast u found ur car m sure a man would also come along soon :)

i wish it wud hv been that easy in blore too.!!!

Rajarshi said...

Hi Sunshine,

A hilarous post. Had initially got the link of your blog from Abhinav's blog. Have read most of your posts on Desipundit. Its nice to read your posts esp the ones on men. The "mommy" part and rankings of men in the commoditized marriage market actually made me laugh out aloud.

But I guess, at the end of the day, getting rid of a 'wrong' car is much easier than getting rid of a 'wrong' mate.

Thank You

AG said...

Only if you could buy just like the chamat car :)...

lifeizlikethat said...

Lovely :) :)

Abhishek Mukherjee said...

Can't believe I haven't read this earlier. You might be too subtle for, well, comfort for some men, with, say, a weak heart or a huge ego.

Way to go, kid!

jestingjousts said...

Cars that are currently in production do NOT come with a 'V4' engine. If it is a 4-cylinder engine car, it is always i4, that is, the 4 cylinders are 'i'nline, in a straight line. 6-cylinder car engines are designed to be aligned with two banks of 3 cylinders each, making it look like a 'V'.

Otherwise, a humourous post - though the car buying process you've described here is to buy a used car. To new a new car from the dealership, you've got to pit dealerships against each other to give you the best deal. You don't take a new car to a mechanic to 'get it checked'. You (by 'you' I mean 'anyone') are not in the market for a 'used' mate. I understand that the analogy, and consequently, the funniness of the post would diminish if you compare the new car buying process to finding a mate.

Finally, a thought I heard from one of my (female) co-workers: Buying a 'certified pre-owned' vehicle is like marrying a divorcee. You know for sure they are 'pre-ridden' :)

~ Krishanu