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Top Gear Philippines

I'll tell you what sucks. There was this one time I was following an agonizingly slow car around a parking lot. First of all, it didn't seem to know whether to turn left or to go right, in spite of the visible signs telling us which direction led to what part of the establishment. Second, it was hogging two lanes so I couldn't overtake it. Third and worst of all, when it finally spotted a vacant slot, it took forever to park.

My patience wearing thin, I honked repeatedly at the driver just to show my disgust. Lo and behold, the window slowly rolled down to reveal a woman at the wheel. I promise you: Nothing sucks more. I had never been so ashamed in all my years as a motorist. Technically speaking, I did nothing wrong. I had every right to sound my horn just to let the other driver know that I didn't have all day to watch a parking clinic. But just the fact that it was a lady that I vented my frustration to, made it the worst feeling this side of a sexist continent.

I don't care if your sister or wife or girlfriend insists that both sexes should be regarded as equals these days, I believe there remain traditional practices that need to be preserved in order to allow men to pay their respects toward their fairer counterparts. I believe we should still open the door for women, pull the chair out for them, carry heavy stuff for them, valiantly get into a brawl for them, or even unconditionally give the right of way to them.

Now, please understand, I'm not being condescendingly derisive or politically incorrect here. Neither am I trying to be romantically heroic in the eyes of this column's female readers--and I assume there are three of them--because I'm almost sure that the effect I'm bound to achieve is quite the opposite. I expect irate women to purchase all sorts of adjectives from the nearest Ministop and arrange them neatly in the comment box below: "arrogant," "chauvinistic," "rude," "misogynistic," "stupid," "insensitive."

In fact, I even expect a person or two conveniently hiding behind a pseudonym to condemn me with this line of reasoning: "How can a serial dater like you talk about respect for women?! You prick!"

So before my female readers launch into a crucify-the-author tirade, I want to clarify that this topic isn't about men being better drivers than women. I'm not even calling out women for being lousy parallel-parkers. No, this piece has nothing to do with the driving aptitude of female drivers, although I have a tome's worth of things to say in that regard. I'm aware that there are women out there who are more skilled behind the wheel of a car than most men. I know, for instance, that Michele Bumgarner or even Pia Boren will kick my ass on a racetrack.

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What I'm talking about here is how men can better identify female drivers on the road, so we can quixotically extend to them all the courtesies they rightfully deserve. For example, if we were merging into a single-lane passage, it would be so much easier for us to give way to another car if we knew the driver was a lady. If we found a parking slot just a little ahead of another car, we'd gladly give it away if we were made aware the other driver was female. Or if we knew that it was a woman that had just cut us on the highway, we'd just smile and let it slide instead of swearing to high heavens and giving chase.

You see, we'll spare ourselves a lot of mental rage and unnecessary aggression on the road if we can only single out female drivers around us. Because really, what heartthrob of a guy can bring himself to curse at a lady?

So I propose that the LTO require all female drivers to display a specially designed sticker on their cars, just to let male motorists know that they deserve double the road courtesy, double the understanding, double the kindness, double everything. Sort of like how Japan requires new car drivers to display the Wakaba sticker on their cars for a year, so that other motorists may take the necessary precaution around them.

Again, I'm not saying we need to be more cautious around female drivers. I'm saying we need to be more courteous toward them.

The only problem I see here is that crooks can take advantage of the situation and target female victims with better precision. But then in that case, we can all go save damsels in distress.

Vernon B. Sarne
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