21 September 2013

How to survive being married to a car guy

When I married Matt, I knew that he loved cars.  I knew that many of our weekends would involve spending time at car lots test driving vehicles for fun without ever intending to buy them, or spending time driving through car lots looking at the newest models.  I knew I would have to go to car shows and give him subscriptions to car magazines as a birthday gift (he still acts so happy and surprised when these show up in the mail every month) and listen to him talk about the car blogs he reads and nod when he points out new or interesting cars while driving to the grocery store.  I knew all of this.  What I didn't know what how hard living with a car guy can be.
Cars are boring. Really, really boring. But, if I want to be a good wife I have to tolerate them and learn things about them so I can converse with my husband.  Here are a few things I've learned throughout the last 9 years of being with a car guy.

1. Forgive. When he comes home with a truck without telling you, even though it will be your first instinct, don't kill him.  Don't even yell at him.  Just look at him with disappointment, then smile when he tells you about how awesome and what a great deal that truck was.

Matt brought home a truck the other night.  He bought it, called friend to help coordinate the ride home, drove home, and then told me about it.  Worse, the truck was kept on a ranch way outside of town for the last 20 years and reeks of manure and hay.  And while I wanted to kill him, I didn't. Instead, I gave him my best mad look, let him tell me about it, looked it over with a seemingly fair amount of interest, and handled the paperwork to title, register, and insure it.  And that's just what you have to do.

2. Likes and dislikes.  Pick a couple cars to like and learn about them so that you can talk to him about those cars.  I learned this early on in our relationship and it saved me when I had to go to car shows and car lots with Matt. I decided that I would take an interest in Aston Martins, Dodge Rams, Mercedes, and Land Rovers.  I also picked a few cards to loathe--Porsches, Dodge Magnums, and Kias.  I don't really like or hate any of these vehicles (except Land Rovers--I love those)--I'm disinterested in most cars in general--but by having a handful of cars I resolve to like and dislike, I have something to keep myself busy at car lots and car shows, and it also makes me sound like a know a little something about cars when we're together.

Also, it's important to know the difference between car features, like V8, V6, four wheel drive, all wheel drive, front wheel drive,  and which vehicles these features might be in.  Or at least try.  It's boring but you'll sort things through eventually.  If nothing else, ask him and I'm sure he'll be happy to explain every single detail to you and how it works and spend an hour telling you.  Actually, maybe you shouldn't ask. 

3. Smile, nod, say "Oh yeah? That's cool.", smile again, repeat. This formula will get you through any car conversation, car lot escapade, car magazine or blog reference, or long drive on the freeway when you're feeling too tired to actively listen or engage him in a car conversation.   Most car guys don't want to actually converse much with you when cars are involved anyway, but they do want to talk at you  about cars. It makes them feel smart.  It makes them feel like they know everything about cars, and in reality most car guys do.  And even if they don't, let them think they do.  In fact, this might be a good formula for any marriage. 

4.  Look for the best in cars.  If you don't care about what's under the hood, look at the interior or paint color.  Most cars are pretty or have something aesthetically interesting about them.  If he asks your opinion on a car and you're not sure what to say, just tell him you think it's pretty or ugly and why.   If you do this, he won't ask for your opinion for a while and this is usually best.  At a car lot recently I told Matt that I think the Nissan Leaf he was oogling over looked like a mutant frog and he didn't bother me about it again for the rest of the trip.

5. Make a game of it.  If you have to go to a car show or a car lot, make up a game to keep yourself entertained.  I like to pick out a particular paint color and find as many cars as I can in that color.  This is especially fun at car shows.  This allows me to walk around, inspect cars, and ooh and ah at them without ever having to know a damn thing. Pure bliss. 

Another fun game to play is to count how many times your husband veers off course while on vacation just so he can see an exotic car or special car dealership.  For us, this usually happens at least a dozen times each vacation.  Even in Panama Matt found a car dealership worth taking a photo of, using precious space on our memory card all for the sake of preserving this glorious vehicular moment.

6. Love him as he is. Even if you don't like cars as much as your spouse does, and even if you don't like cars at all, let your husband indulge himself.  He probably hates going shopping with you or hearing you talk about decorating and fashion, or all the gossip and what-not that we women engage in, but you know what? He puts up with it.  And he still loves you and lets you be yourself.  Do the same for him.


I want to hear from you! Leave a comment, say hello, offer a suggestion, or write a little poem--whatever suits your fancy.