Though I am turning sixty this year, something about me continues to be irresistible to the opposite sex. Men approach me in Target parking lots, walk up to me on the street, accost me in parking garages; seems like no place is safe. It’s terrible, but perhaps it’s just a burden a woman like me has to carry. Each time it happens I ask myself: What is it about me? What draws these men to my side like bees to honey? Has the diet finally started kicking in? Has changing my hairstyle after all these years worked some sort of magical trance? Could it be that my new $60 an ounce moisturizer made from pregnant sea urchins and the rare pununu plant from Brazil is worth every cent?
All kinds of men are drawn to me: short, tall, teenagers, married men – their wedding rings gleaming as they approach – all smiles; geezers, drop dead handsome guys, guys I normally wouldn’t look twice at, working men in hardhats or Duluth, white collar types, all of them stumbling toward me like the undead, all of them with this dreamy, lost, lovelorn look on their faces…
And each of them uses some variation on the same odd pickup line: “How many miles you got on that thing?”
“What thing?” I say, entranced with their entrancement.
“Oh, you mean, this?” I turn to, uh, my car, wondering what could possibly be so fascinating about my 2000 Toyota Avalon. A source of some embarrassment mixed with pride in that after eighteen years, it still runs down the road. Not caring what I drive if it can get me from point A to B, I’ve hung on to it all this time.
I peer in the window to have a look at the odometer. How many miles? Uh, who cares…oh, I guess he does. “190k, more or less.”
The man usually whistles, shakes his head, sometimes even glances at my undercarriage. I blush. Demur. Fix hair.
“I got close to 375 out of one of those,” is what I usually hear. “You take care of her, change the oil on time and all of that, you could do the same.”
Then comes the inevitable lingering gaze – at my car – as they turn to leave, perhaps followed by a low wolf whistle – car again – before drifting off toward home to their wives or girlfriends.
And I head into Target.
The truth is, I feel sorry for other women driving other cars. The highly forgettable Subaru Impreza, the sleep-inducing Ford Focus, the downright offensive Dodge Dart. Because obviously, these women are not getting the love I so randomly earned by buying the big slobbery car I thought I needed oh so long ago. So, sorry ladies, it’s simply too late for you. And don’t even try looking for a used car like mine. All the men own them.
All joking aside, I’m proud of my own mileage, not just my car’s. Sure, part of me misses the days when men made excuses to talk to me, not about my car, but that feeling is dwarfed by the part that is relieved to be free of all that drama and distraction. Freedom from that subtext is rather relaxing, I’ve found. And maybe the men feel it too, when they step up to talk to me, to tell me about something they genuinely love, something we can laugh about, just as people. They’re finally – after all this time – seeing my car’s inner beauty. It’s about time, don’t you think?