Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Riding in cars with boys

Strong, independent people always attract people who want to be like them. This was exemplified for me during college. Somehow, two of the four boys I seriously dated, and one who seriously tried, did not have cars. At all. One of the four didn't have his own car the whole time, but he was able to use a family car when he really needed one.

The two car-less boyfriends, and the one who wanted to be, are still, even now, a puzzlement to me. Public transportation in The Homeland is kind of a joke. Buses only travel the most main of main roads, and the light rail system is a long way from becoming truly useful. After visiting or living in places with a real, functional public transportation system, I won't be satisfied by that of The Homeland for years to come.

What is there is fine, if you want to go to any one of the local college campuses or somewhere along the most prominent of the local streets. Anywhere else? It will take some time.

So, as much as I hate to admit it, to not have regular access to a car in The Homeland is kind of a social death sentence. Especially if you're a boy who wants to date. Unlike other major metropolitan areas, the percentage of people in The Homeland who rely on public transportation is so small that no one is used to the extra time and effort it takes.

Of course, the remedy is to be cute and charming enough to make the girl want to do all the driving. And it worked for these guys. Not so much for that other one, though that wasn't the actual reason I wasn't interested in.

It doesn't mean it never got old. Doorstep scenes are nicer when they're on your own doorstep. You don't get to wonder if the guy is going to take your hand while he's driving, because you're the one driving and the one who has to decide if you can do without one of your hands for a time. And, of course, there is all that driving between their place and yours. Of course, it wasn't really a big deal that we spent all our "hanging out" time at their places, because I lived with my parents at the time.

Even though I now live somewhere with excellent public transportation, I would still prefer to date someone with a car. I wouldn't mind splitting the driving responsibilities, and I certainly wouldn't mind having the option. It also shows a certain amount of financial responsibility by being able to own and maintain a car, which is attractive, even if the car is a beater - I don't require the extra flash of something new and sporty.

The one of the four who did have his own car? I took it from him and drove it for the remainder of college, and the entirety of my "ownership" of it was after we broke up. Of course, it was because he was deployed to the Middle East and we remained good enough friends that he trusted me with it.

A guy not having a car isn't a dealbreaker (though his reasons for not having one might be - e.g. financial irresponsibility), but at this point in my life and dating career, it would be a cause for pause.