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It doesn’t matter what you look like, how long your penis is or how high or low you wear your jeans, your car is the one machine that defines you.
Right. So men love cars. That’s a bit like quoting a study that declares that water is wet. We know this. But why? Why do we love them so? Here’s why…
Our cars make men of us
“For men,” says Marc Kahn, a clinical psychologist based in Joburg, “the car is quite literally an extension of the body. In terms of human evolution, the combination of human and technology is the next evolutionary step. Men have always been interested in physical prowess – it’s something that society has always rewarded. If you ran very fast and were good looking it afforded you social status and privileges. The same now applies if you have a fast, good looking and expensive car.”
Our cars understand us
Not in any kind of sentient way, obviously, because that would be weird and frankly a little too Knight Rider. But they understand us in a more, let’s call it, reflective manner. Our car mirrors us, or who we’d like to be, and one could therefore argue they understand us better than just about anyone. It’s like hanging out with yourself. It helps no end that car brands have very specific personalities and you can choose one that suits your own. Even among the Germans there’s a choice to be made. Go for the Beemer and you’ll get a car infused with dynamic handling that demands direct driver involvement. Go for the Audi and you’ll get something equally quick, but a little disconnected – like there’s a layer of tech that’s enhancing your input.
Our cars lure women
So cars get you sex. It’s as basic as that, but hardly news though. Ben-Hur sure as hell didn’t don a leather mini and grab hold of those chariot reins if it weren’t for the promise of some primo Roman slave girl bootie. (We’re going with the heterosexual Ben-Hur interpretation here.) A guy’s car does get him from A to B but, perhaps more importantly, it also helps get him from A to heaven. It’s like a CV, but with wheels and an internal combustion engine. “Look at me and my black Audi S3 sportback quattro, I’m a sporty urban warrior who is cool in a subtle kind of way… and I’m doing okay wallet-wise.” Or, if you’re looking for a little hippy chick action, “Hey there, meet my 1968 Volvo. I love Labradors and the smell of tree bark in a summer storm. And it’s happiness not wallets that does it for me.”
Our cars give us an escape route
Guys like to move. It’s as primal as instincts get. Back in the days when our interior decor aesthetic involved a few stick figure paintings on the cave wall, movement was the way we survived. We hunted, we gathered, we moved, we hunted, we gathered and so on. It’s an urging deep within our reptilian brain. It’s how we all traipsed out Africa and spread out among the continents. It’s how one day we’ll flick the hyper-drive switch and settle on other planets once ours becomes too small. Or too dead.
Until then, though, our cars represent the desire to explore and conquer. Or least they represent the potential to. “Baby, we were born to run,” said Bruce Springsteen, and though most of us might only be travelling an oft-navigated route from the garage at home to the office and back, at least a man’s car represents the possibility of going somewhere else. We might have consciously decided to settle in one postal code, with one woman, but the car still represents some respite from all this domesticity.