Sex and the art of second hand car buying
Man's World July 2000

There are a number of things a woman ought to do before she decides on a man. And let's get this straight: I'm not talking about the ticking of boxes under heads that read - horoscopes, blood groups, family pedigree, family solvency, HIV status and credit-worthiness. Nor am I referring to that silly practice of trying to assess a man and mutual compatibility through innumerable dates at restaurants, movies, bowling alleys, discos, temples…
Everyone knows that dates are an eye-wash; window merchandising that bears no relation to the actual condition of the goods within. The man that you see is not the man that you get. Perhaps the only way you can trace out the real man is by tricking him to show you his unfeigned persona:

Barge into his home when he's not expecting you and check the bathroom. Is he the kind who leaves puddles on the floor and the cap off the toothpaste? Is he the kind who leaves his beard on his razor and changes his towel only when he's expecting you? Or, is he someone who wipes the washbasin and toilet seat each time someone actually dares use it?

[The trick is to settle for one who is moderate when it comes to bathroom hygiene; the last thing you want is an obsessive creature like Julia Roberts' husband in the movie Sleeping with the Enemy]

Never mind about letting him see you when you have a cold. See him when he has one. If it's the flu, that's even better. Is he the stoic excuse-me-as-I curl-up-and-die kind? Or, is he the grouchy creature who thinks you ought to suffer with him? Or, does he lie there with suffering written large in his eyes and whimpering ?

[If it is the first or the second, keep him on the list. That's normal behaviour but stay clear of the third one; he doesn't want a woman, he wants mummy. Unless of course, you are a control freak.]

Ask him to take you fishing. Or to the local library for an hour. Just about any place where silence is encouraged will do. Weigh the quality of silence. Does he dart you restless looks and tap his shoes on the ground impatiently? Does he clear his throat and look at the watch pointedly? Or, does he do what is expected of him; fish / read and when the hour is up, remind you that it's time to go.

[Keep the third one close to you; he is a rare one. Someone who'll give you space and not want to be part of your every thought and a little later, secret fantasy.]

And finally, much as in those wooing days his love-making techniques might seem pat perfect, you want to be sure that it is really so and will endure. While the bed might seem the ideal place to discover the lover in him, there is a better one with absolutely no embarrassment to both parties involved.

Call him up and tell him to meet you at a second hand car dealer. Tell him you are buying a car for yourself, your brother, your best friend, whoever…and that you need his advice.

He'll be flattered. All men like to think that there is no one better than them when it comes to automobiles, cocktails, playing the stock market and sex. Just in case, your man is the singular kind who reluctantly admits that he knows nothing about cars, blow him a kiss and tell him that you'll have a mechanic there but you insist that he comes for moral support. [And if you actually do intend to buy a car, don't forget to arrange for an experienced mechanic. Someone whose knowledge of cars is not restricted to the three back issues of Overdrive. Someone who actually knows and understands cars.]

So there you are at the car dealer. The first test begins here:

Does he ask you what you are looking for? Does he try and find out budgets, choice of make, colour preferences, etc. Or does he simply stand there expecting you to do all the talking to the used car salesman who anyone knows is just about as oily [and all puns intended] as anyone can get.

[The first type will at least find out what you like in bed; the second one will expect you to tell him and perhaps even demonstrate, hang the romance and all that Barbara Cartlandish stuff…]

The salesman dangles the key. Does he open the car door and slide behind the steering wheel. Does he look at the kilometre gauge and ask the salesman what the RC book would reveal anyway: Single owner? Or, does he stand there expecting the mechanic or you to do the honours?

[My view is the first one is to be preferred over the second one. With the Type A, enthusiasm might make up for experience. With Type B, just when you are on the verge of dying your little death, he'll turn to his side and go off to sleep. The man is interested only in himself.]

Observe him. Does he run his palms on the side of the car? Does he go down and peer at the underside of the car? Does he stick his finger up the exhaust pipe? Does he open the bonnet and look at it even though he might have absolutely no clue as to what he's looking at? Or, does he absolve himself by pulling out his cellphone and making a call: Hey Vivek, I'm buying a car from this second hand place…?

{Steer clear of the latter; this one does not like to touch. Except customary adipose. This one does not like to experiment. This one will do what is expected and no more [ unless of course, you think the height of connubial bliss is three-grunts- and-the-one- heave missionary position for the rest of your life and a routine kiss at the doorstep every morning]. And this one will not take responsibility…}

Phrases that pop up when buying a second hand car are: clutch shuddering, gear mounting…. Does he stand there poker-faced? Or, does it make him smile and throw you a conspiratorial glance?

[The second one has a sense of humour. Very important when you've been together a while. In bed as in life, laughter can add a certain zest when everything else is habitual.]

Time to go on the test drive. Is he the law abiding citizen who takes a mandatory round of the block and is content to return? Or, does he jump a few lights, take a side lane and then subject you to zig-zags and sudden brakes? If he doesn't drive, does he ask the mechanic to do all that he would have done himself? Or, does he decline to go on the test drive on the grounds that he knows nothing about cars.

[This one is a clincher. With the first one, he'll help you achieve orgasm in 7 minutes [ thanks to Irving Wallace, he knows that is the required time between body and mind to come to a soul searing culmination]. He'll do it just one way and after the 7th time, if you feel like a slab of meat, cold and untouched, that he'll reckon is your problem. He did what he had to. Didn't he?

The second one will be fun if not successful all the time. He'll want to do it on the dining table, the staircase and sometimes even on the bed. Your mother might not approve of him but what the hell, he's not marrying your mother.

The third one, a Saturday's child will work very hard at whatever he does. He'll refer manuals in secret, speak to his buddies, access porn sites, invest in a 3 volume special offer video on 'Getting creative with sex' and read all the personal columns he can lay his hands on. For that you ought to give him a Straight 'A' and put him on the backburner.

As for the last one, forget it…. But if you like him for his mind, you can always use him to even out the numbers when you are having a dinner party]

The final moment. Negotiation time. One last chance to redeem himself if he has failed on all other counts. What does he do?

Does he do the talking, the bargaining, the beating down of the price? Or, does he wait for you to do the dirty deed while he peers through the window and blow smoke rings? Looking for all purposes as if he was merely passing through and has no interest in whatsoever that is transpiring there.

[ The only thing a woman, any woman with any bit of chutzpah in her would do is haul the second type by the scruff of his neck and drop him with no further ado]

However if you are the kind of woman who in spite of your beau failing the second hand car test miserably can't still relinquish fantasies about curling his chest hair around your fingers, get a poodle instead. Plenty of hair to twine around your fingers and at least it won't sulk if you order in pizza three nights in a row.

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   Copyright© 2001-2005 Anita Nair. E-mail Anita