My tone lately has been very somber and depressing. As I’ve stated before on my blog, cars probably take up more space in my head than handsome men, religious conviction or confusion. So this blog post will be about cars. It will be light and carefree, but, yes, it will still have to do with being gay. Because this is not a car blog. Enjoy!
You know the stereotype. You’re gay, therefore you drive a Volkswagen Jetta or a Mini Cooper. Something cute. Something sssssuper ssssssporty! Something that’s jusssssst fabuloussssss!
In American culture, your car says more about you than just about anything else. I have a game I love to play by myself at parties where I try and figure out who drives each of the cars I notice parked outside. I’m very good at it. I can usually place the sensible, successful and somewhat boring person who drives a Toyota Corolla. I can generally pick the hick that drives the jacked-up Dodge Ram. I almost always can find the cute girl who arrived in the white Sunfire convertible. And if you’ve got kids, I’d bet my hat that you showed up in the Chrysler Town and Country. It’s a fun game and it plays off stereotypes to the extreme.
So, being that as it is, why shouldn’t you, as a gay man, drive something cute? You’re clearly missing that y-chromosome, so why not drive like it? Why shouldn’t your car be emasculating and feminine, a vehicular limp wrist?
In this post, I am going to defend both the gay male driver and the car he is “supposed” to drive.
Let’s start with the car, eh?
- The Mazda MX-5 Miata: To scoff at a Miata because it’s “gay” is a disservice to you, the Miata, and the gay man. One, you are missing out on one of the most fun cars in the world. Designed as an homage to the British sports car industry, the Miata has become the best-selling two-seat convertible in history. Created under the Japanese mantra Jinba Ittai (horse and rider in perfect harmony), the Miata is a balanced, exciting car. It has enough suspension to keep up with the power and enough power to challenge the suspension, making it one of the easiest cars to drive quickly. It’s also economical and dead-nuts reliable. You’re missing out and the Miata is mad at you for it. Plus, to call it a gay car because it’s somewhat feminine is offensive to every gay man who doesn’t care to be called limp-wristed. Come on, we’ve moved beyond that, haven’t we?
- The Mini Cooper and any of its derivatives: Like the Miata, the Mini Cooper isn’t about posting fast times at the drag strip. Even its most powerful models can’t keep up with their competition. However, its miniscule footprint makes it one of the most fun cars on the road. Looking for a parking space? You’ll fit in almost any of them. See a hole in traffic? It’s big enough for your car to merge. I drove one for half a day and came away with a huge grin on my face. I could take corners at silly speeds, highway onramps became vast, empty racetracks, and the gigantic sunroof and exceptional stereo added to the incredibly carefree feeling you get when driving one. I was scraping cash together everywhere I could to try and swing the down payment, and I was even driving the underpowered standard Hardtop model. It’s just a dang fun car.
- Any Volkswagen: Volkswagen long ago made a name for itself building cars with high-quality materials. Their spotty electrical reliability notwithstanding, Volkswagens have always had interiors and stylistic details that far outshined their modest price. This is true especially in the Jetta, whose low asking price puts it in the same league as Honda Civics, Toyota Corollas and Hyundai Elantras, but which has a much more mature, sophisticated feel to it. Add to it a driving experience that’s loaded with character and communication between road and driver and you have a recipe for rabid, cultlike brand loyalty.
- The BMW 3-Series: With a snooty badge, reasonable price of entry and chic, yet masculine styling, this car is practically a shoo-in as the gay man’s ride of choice. But anyone can appreciate the fact that this car is the absolute sport-sedan archetype. Since its germination as the BMW 2002 back in the mid-1960s, BMW’s entry level model has combined adequate space and economy with stunning driving dynamics and smooth, accessible power. Everything you interact with works perfectly. The brakes are progressive, the steering is near-telepathic and the shifter is smooth and buttery. For almost 40 years it has been inviting imitators to try their hand at the sport-sedan game and for almost 40 years, none has been able to best it. It is very nearly the perfect car and you don’t have to be gay to appreciate that.
- The Toyota Prius: I am an outspoken critic of the Toyota Pious, I mean Prius. I hate the snobby way it saunters through the fast lane, its driver vigilantly scrimping every last ounce of fuel as if oil was a diminishing resource (geez, can we just drill where the moose live already?). But, as we are trying to step back from stereotypes, the Prius is a great car for most of the drivers on the road. It’s powerful enough, it’s quite spacious and it gets amazing fuel economy, even under the worst conditions. It’s not sporty by any means, but its main aim is conservation of earth’s resources, which is an admirable and selfless goal. Just don’t gloat to your friends how green you are when you buy one and we’ll all get along just fine.
Now, back to you, gay man. I don’t know about you, but I get offended whenever people call certain cars “gay.” But if you drive a gay car, rock it. I’ve just given you a huge list of reasons why gay cars are actually really cool and those who get hung up on the stereotypes are really missing out on some of the most fun, best-built vehicles on the road.
But if you’re like me and your garage has straight tendencies, don’t be afraid to break down stereotypes either. I drive a rugged 4×4 SUV that I regularly take camping and use for my work in flooring and tile. I also occasionally ride a classic motorcycle and am working on getting a vintage Volvo hot rod back on the road. There is nothing more satisfying to me than telling people I’m gay and hearing their surprise, mostly based on the fact that I am a car guy and I tend to drive masculine cars. I don’t do it on purpose; in fact, I’m currently mulling over the purchase of an old Miata, and I’m 90% sure the first car I get out of college will be a Mini Clubman S.
But still, I do love redefining “traditional” homosexuality, one vehicle at a time.