Because I'm often head over heels--not in love but in some yoga inversion--my editor believes I can capably pen the more morose variety of Valentine's Day features. In full, the brief he sent me for this piece read: "Can you write a tongue-in-cheek Valentine's Day essay on why owning a nice car is better than having a spouse/lover?"
My mind instantly came alive with a handful of retorts, of which the mildest was, "I'm sure we have writers more qualified to do that--yourself, for example." But since I'm pretty attached to my limbs and paychecks...
The thing is, I actually have an appreciable tolerance for Valentine's Day, despite all the cheese--sharp cheddar in bite, Roquefort in pungency--it could pack in 24 hours. There's no sentiment of "All you tweedydums are gonna break up anyway" behind that stoicism; I'm a staunch advocate of "Live and let live," and I respect that letting live requires letting love. I swear I wrote that last sentence with a perfectly straight face.
But as I struggled to think of a non-career-ending way to say no to the boss, I caught myself coming up with several arguments for the nice-car-over-lover standpoint. I suppose being cheeky and owning a decent car and having no significant other, could partly account for it. More than that, however, I'm simply, honestly at ease with being alone--and it would preserve my sanity if all the single people griping about V-Day on Facebook could feel the same way.
Driving solo, regardless of distance or destination, is one of the most relieving and liberating things in the world. So if you're single and you own a car--not necessarily a nice one, even--enjoy these 14 reasons you're better off than those who are lawfully wedded, formally affianced, casually attached, or complicatedly involved-but-not-quite.
1. A car comes with an instruction manual. This manual, whether you read it or not, is far more definitive than the bro code and "like, the rules of feminism" from Mean Girls. It has helpful diagrams, too.
2. Everything can be fixed. Well, mostly everything. Flighty mechanicals and electronics should cause a lesser headache than flighty companions, and surface bumps and scrapes don't compare to all those little things that break a relationship--otherwise known as irreconcilable differences.
3. Your car may be high-maintenance at times, but it won't let you down if you take good care of it. Unlike someone who just about bleeds you dry and still can't be satisfied with what you have to give.
4. You won't hear the accusation "You're making me fat" whenever you put down a four-figure sum for fuel. In fact, if your ride is rear-heavy, all the better--it's probably a sports car.
5. You can modify things to suit your needs. It's understandable that stock ain't rocking it for you sometimes, and that's cool. At least when you do make changes, there will be none of the "Why don't you love me for who I am?" guilt-tripping.
6. You can scream all you want without having to sleep on the sofa afterward. What's more, if you like to sing while driving, your tone-deafness and ABBA playlist won't be derided during nights out with friends.
7. When your car needs new shoes--or new anything, for that matter--you're excited to do the shopping yourself. Mainly because: (a) If you're female, you don't have to shop with someone who doesn't want to try on anything; or (b) if you're male, you don't have to shop with someone who has to try on everything.
8. You don't have to wait ages for your car to be ready every single day. Although whenever you have your car washed, it will always rain in a couple of hours. Always.
9. If there's on-board GPS navigation, you don't have to nag or be nagged about asking for directions. True, GPS navigation isn't foolproof in this country of ours. If it does fail, though, you won’t have someone in the passenger seat to give you grief.
10. You know exactly what junk there is in the trunk. Mostly because it's your junk. But seriously, there are many dubious characters lurking in watering holes. Who's to say this stranger you're talking to--despite being all hot and charming--doesn't have a hidden agenda, a criminal record, or a couple of thugs waiting in the condo?
11. Your car may attract the attention of other people, but only you have the keys to it. And when thy neighbor doth covet thy ride, chances are you'll hear the alarm go off.
12. There's no need to be a one-car man or woman. If you have enough money and motor love to spread around, you can go for both quality and quantity. It's as simple as that.
13. You don't have to worry about protection. Safety features, from passive restraint systems to active electronic aids, provide a sheath against accidents that could otherwise take away lives. Currently, however, there's no standard or optional automotive equipment that could prevent "accidents" arising from backseat adventures. You need another type of sheath for that.
14. You can go as fast or as slow as you want. There's no pressure to commit to a certain speed, no shame in backing off when there's not enough feel from the wheel or grip from the rubber. You choose the direction you want to take, and work the gears as you see fit. And when you feel like cooling off on the highway, you can activate cruise control and chill. No hurries, no worries.
Artwork by Lloyd de Guzman