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June 15, 2005

"More horses"

There was an ad on TV a few years back in which a couple of women were watching men get into their cars when they were returned by valet parkers, and one woman commented to the other that a particular man's sports car implied something about his lack of virility. I'm pretty sure I'm thinking of the ad described here:

In a 1994 Hyundai television commercial, two women coyly estimate men's physical endowment, based on the car they drive. While assuming that men in fancy cars are lacking elsewhere, the women are dearly impressed by the Hyundai driver: "Wonder what he's got under the hood."
There's a really crude expression I've heard that tracks the point behind this ad. To paraphrase it slightly, the car is a substitute for the male member. The implication, of course, is that the substitution has been made by the men, but apparently, women may be substituting cars for the male member, too, if you can believe this piece called "What Women Want: More Horses" in the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times a few days ago.

The two 50-something blondes in the photo, who live in a wealthy area of Connecticut, have recently purchased "sexy" Mercedes sedans to replace the men in their lives.
DIANE NOEL DIRIENZO and her friend Sharon Fitzpatrick have a lot in common. They live on the same street in Milford, Conn. They are both mothers as well as busy professionals, and both found themselves unexpectedly single after many years of marriage. (Ms. Dirienzo was widowed; Ms. Fitzpatrick divorced.) A few weeks ago they both even decided to deal with a sudden bout of midlife ennui in the same way.

"I said, 'Let's go shopping,'" recounted Ms. Dirienzo, a real estate agent. "Let's really go shopping." So they did: specifically for two Mercedes, one apiece. Both wanted a black one - sexy, elegant.
The article discusses the trend toward the purchase of cars, especially expensive "reward" cars, by women. But it all comes back to one thing, guys: You're expendable.