Guys’ love affair with cars quite baffling

By Helena Rodriguez; local columnist

What is it about guys and cars? Perhaps us women will never understand.

As I mentioned in a previous column, my friend Bernard Polaco is into “Chevy porn.” When he goes to Wal-Mart, he can’t bypass the magazine aisle. He spends hours on Chevy porn Web sites and affectionately calls his classic pickup “Baby Blue.”

Then there’s my other neighbor, Alfred Ruvalcaba. Alfred is somewhat of a Jay Leno character who has often been spotted this summer driving a different car from week to week. When he’s not in his maroon Ford F-150, Alfred manipulously persuades his relatives to leave their wheels in his care for a few days to “test drive” them and make sure “there’s nothing wrong.” And so they hand Alfred the keys to their wheels. So far, he has been seen driving around in a little red car, which he is now trying to sell, driving his mom’s gold Grand Prix GT, his sister’s SUV and then there’s this Trans Am that has come into the picture lately, which I think is supposed to belong to his brother Omar, an incoming freshman at Eastern New Mexico University.

My friend Marsha Salazar and I never talk about our cars like her boyfriend Alfred and Bernard have done from time to time. The extent to our car conversation has gone like this:

Me to Marsha: “So, do you like my new car ( a white Ford Focus)?”
Marsha to Me: “Yeah, it’s nice, but it can use some tint on the windows.”
End of conversation.

In comparison, a conversation between guys about cars is more detailed, often including specifics on engine types, rims, and some other car jargon I do not understand. And many guys, like Bernard, are not happy unless they are fiddling around in some way or another with their car. And when he’s not doing that, he likes to put together model cars in his apartment, which is filled with pinups of … you guessed it … Chevy porn.

When I went to purchase my car about a year ago, I just told the salesman I wanted a blue four-door car with the lowest possible monthly payment. He did the whole sales pitch, telling me about the engine, the mileage, the tires and all other kinds of features. I just wanted to know how much this was going to cost me. I was ready to bypass the infomercial and sign on the dotted lines, but I guess the salesman figured he had to earn his commission.

My daughter Laura, on the other hand, was concerned about more important things, like how to work the CD player, the remote control on the steering wheel and how loud the volume would go.

I guess guys will always be addicted to cars, kind of like I am addicted to HGTV and home decorating magazines. Around here, particularly in north Portales, guys really seem to treasure their pickup trucks and dress them up with those thick tire wheels, putting etchings on the back windows, displaying a religious icon like the Virgin Mary, or proudly spelling out their last names in fancy letters.

Anytime we watch our old home movies on video, my dad longs for his long gone, prized 1957 white and turquoise Chevy and then we fondly talk about my Uncle David’s gold 1961 Chevy Impala, which he affectionately called “La Bamba.”

Helena Rodriguez is a columnist for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. She can be reached at: