You think clothes make the man? Think again. Actions speak louder than words, and what you drive says more about you than apparel ever could. What’s more, certain types of rides frequently appeal to certain demographics — to the extent that you could classify the drivers and their rides of choice after giving either the once over.
Don’t believe us? Take a look around you while you sit in traffic: The red-eyed, neo-hippie in the VW, rustic Volvo wagon or old biodiesel Benz; Bohemian Rhapsody. A slouched playa in the old-man sedan on chromed 20″ rims; Smoove Move. The smelly, messy, smoking, barely functioning wreck — with the matching guy delivering pizzas behind the wheel; Nothing to Lose, the Early Years.
If Ben & Jerry’s would have named drivers and their rides instead of ice cream, it would go a lot like this.
Call it stereotyping, if you want to be like the self-righteous hybrid driverwho saves additional energy by not signaling in traffic, sure. We have a name for them too, but our lawyers are giving us the stink-eye. Many of our lawyers are Porcupines, incidentally.
Big Guys in Little Cars
It’s more or less like the “fat guy in a little coat” routine from Tommy Boy. In other words, Chris Farley-sized drivers in cars better suited to David Spade proportions. These guys will forever absorb all the Shriners taunts slung at them and take great pleasure in driving their diminutive cars. Just the act of these larger-than-life men getting in or out makes onlookers pause, while an imaginary drum roll plays during the feat, and they all wait with bated breath. Yet once they’re underway, somewhere inside their inner children are having the times of their lives.
What’s the difference between actual porcupines and these guys’ rides? A porcupine’s pricks are on the outside. Thank you very much, we’ll be here all week — tip your waitress. That’s a bad joke, but it gets laughs every time. You know who doesn’t laugh? The Porcupines. They think they’ve earned the right to hurry up, tailgate and cut off traffic just so they can slow down and assert their presence on all the lesser motorists, take that oh-so-important call and generally ignore their driving while they dream of the next round of golf or the next opportunity they’ll have to buy something beige.
The rides: Porsche Cayenne, Hummer H2 or any other luxury SUV; also the smug nimrod who drives a BMW, Mercedes or Porsche convertible with the top down and windows up while wearing a hat.
This is a well-represented category, and the stench of insecurity is nearly as thick as the cologne marinade. It’s populated by guys who think velocity equals virility. Nevermind that they haven’t the slightest idea how to really handle their rides beyond flooring it and going straight. So, with shirts open and gold chains resting on a nest of chest hair, they flaunt what they think they’ve got and cruise for chicks. And they do get noticed. Women everywhere point and smile at them. If the guys weren’t cranking Boston’s Greatest Hits so loudly, they’d realize the ladies were actually laughing.
The rides: Camaro/Firebird, Corvette, Viper, and European exotics that have never had track time.
From the guy with the strobe-light headlights to geriatric cruisers, here’s more of what your car says about you…
Nothing to Lose, the Later Years
There comes a time when guys begin checking the morning paper for their own obituary. That’s about the time they fall into this category. It’s characterized by a few dominant facts: A) They’re driving a big car; B) They can’t see over the dash — hell, they can’t see much at all for that matter; C) They can’t hear fellow drivers honking at them; and D) Even if they could, they wouldn’t give a damn and couldn’t care less what they’ve done wrong. This is a momentous occasion. This marks the official entry into Nothing to Lose, the Later Years. Well, make that nothing to lose except the chance to get in on the Early Bird Special, which to the best of their recollection is why they’re driving in the first place. Godspeed, good eating and good luck is all we have to say.
The rides: Buick Park Avenue, Cadillac DeVille, Lincoln Town Car, Ford Crown Victoria or the Mercury Grand Marquis.
Two Guys in a Subaru… Wait, Those Aren’t Guys
We’ll be very generous and allow the benefit of the doubt, but it seems like most of the Subarus we see driven by guys are WRXs. As for the Impreza, Outback and Forester wagons, well… sometimes we think we see guys in them, given the flannel and the mullets and whatnot. But then, closer inspection reveals we couldn’t be more wrong. Whoa, sorry, our mistake. Um, we males tend to do that, what with our proclivities toward failure. Ahem. We’ll just move on to the next category. Please don’t hurt us.
The rides: Any model of Subaru wagon or similar small crossover SUV.
For these revelers of the life simplistic, The Nuge is god and Larry the Cable Guy is a kindred soul (even if he does get a little cerebral on ‘em every now and again). They have actually plead, “Git ‘er done” in front of a judge. Like the Two Guys in a Subaru, the mullet is a timeless form of self-expression, although they’ll disagree with the other group on everything else. They also have little to no regard for wildlife, soap, forethought, orthodontics, peace and quiet, condoms, shirt sleeves, sustained sobriety, or climbing the corporate step stool. Their rides are bigger than the trailers they live in — and more expensive.
The rides: Any oversize, sky-high domestic 4×4 pickup that’s bigger, better-equipped and more expensive than the trailer next to it. Mandatory features are a gun rack, sketchy exhaust and any or all of the following stickers: favorite NASCAR driver number, “Fear This,” confederate flag, Calvin peeing on something.
The Brisk and the Disgruntled
Despite their egotistical delusions and Gran Turismo skills, they fall a little short of being The Fast and the Furious. On a good day, they’re just The Brisk and the Disgruntled. If you’ve ever wondered about future Testosterossa generations, look no further. These are usually younger guys who are hardcore all the way — all the way until curfew, at least. It’s just as well, the drive-thru opens early for breakfast, and those Egg McMuffins aren’t going to grill themselves.
The rides: High-mileage Asian econo-boxes precariously held together with thick aftermarket body panels, a towering wing on the trunk and a cannon-sized tailpipe.
Mom Jeans on Wheels
Apparently, some couples abruptly conclude that breeding marked the zenith of their lives. Nothing to do now but throw on some mom jeans or pleated khakis, white sneakers, buy a neutral-toned anony-mobile and wait to die, like suburban salmon. If that’s you, we offer our condolences and a little advice: In keeping with your kind, make sure the spiffy new car has a DVD player so you can zombify your kids with yet another video, thus continuing to avoid real communication or discipline. If weekend trips to the outlet mall and a chain restaurant are all the enjoyable pizzazz you need to spice up your life, you may as well drive accordingly. When you set the cruise control a little under the speed limit just to be safe, just stay in the right lane, please; the rest of us are attempting to conduct lives, OK?
The rides: Dodge Caravan, Toyota Camry, Chevy Impala. As long as it’s anything that doesn’t make waves — that would be swell.