Many girls like guys who don't give a crap what other people think. But there's still such a thing as caring too little, and these sexless appliances suggest just that. Deploy with extreme caution.
Right for: Flea market aficionados, potters, harpists, single mothers with more than three children.
Wrong for: Everyone else.
Note: Homeless lotharios could do worse.
Frugality is in, and the Aveo's cheap to buy and great on gas. But if you're already planning on going Dutch, avoid rides like this—gals seeking obsessive cheapskates are thin on the ground.
Right for: The chronically underemployed, next-wave environmentalists, the willfully down market.
Wrong for: Safety- or fashion-conscious, Buy American types.
Note: Made-in-Korea-Aveo could unlock Pacific Rim pride points, where applicable (but don't count on it)
Girls dig ragtops often enough, but like the far worthier Mazda Miata, the strangely dull-witted VW Eos might be a little too femme for her. Don't forget to purge copies of Details sitting in the back seat, or the Eos's folding roof may be the only top that gets removed tonight.
Right for: Big haired secretaries, fresh air- and origami- enthusiasts
Not for: Autocrossers, mechanical engineers.
Note: Fahrvergnügen ain't what it used to be.
The most famous automotive phallic symbol of all time seemingly escapes all negative connotations of its hyper-stylish Italian counterparts. Credit the underdog cachet of being British, being an object of enduring beauty, and a reputation for being more tempermental than a bi-polar Vassar co-ed gone off her psycho-pharmaceuticals.
Right for: Anyone with a pulse and an appreciation of style, pre-microchip engineering, and/or the timeless appeal of money.
Not for:: Anyone who expects to be on time, the physically handicapped.
Note: Unexpected roadside breakdowns can cool ardor quickly.
Volvo 245 DL
Slap a couple "MV" stickers (for Martha's Vineyard) on the rear bumper or some East Hampton dump stickers in the rear windows of one of these classic wagons and you'll be dating Upper East Side prep-school chicks faster than you can anglicize your ethnic surname.
Right for: Old money, old hippies
Not for: New money, upscale suburban mall rats
Note: De-mildew the rear compartment and lose the bong-water smell before attempting to assess rear accommodations, or assuming prone position with your date.
Land Rover Series IIA
Crude and arcane, but authentic with a capital A, the Land Rover's spartan interior may be a tough sell as you and your date bounce into its safari roof hitting bumps in the road, but you can always regale her with stories of building wells in Malawi, and how you couldn't bear to part with the local tribal folk—or this Land Rover, which you shipped back on a Peace Corps trawler.
Right for: Nature lovers, adventurers, alcoholics.
Not for: Priss-pots, hypochondriacs, spinal injury sufferers.
Note: Save terror-inducing demonstrations of low-range hill descent capabilities for second date.
The gentleman's sports car, with only a fraction of the vulgar baggage of a Lamborghini or a Ferrari, and the older the better. Ersatz rear seats give her somewhere to stash the Birkin bag, while challenging oversteer tendencies of early examples should keep your eyes focused on the road, where they belong.
Right for: Driving enthusiasts, status-seekers, money-lovers, physical-fitness freaks, fastidious anal-retentives.
Not for: Hardcore Hadassah members, do-gooders, full-figured gals.
Note: Avoid embarrassing oversized whale-tail spoilers, the neon codpieces of Porschedom
Lincoln Town Car
With the Town Car, you can pay a buddy $20 and a case of Natty Light to play chauffeur. She doesn't have to know that you borrowed it from your grandparents, and the extreme body roll of this classic, shabbily handling land yacht will ensure she falls into your arms at each corner.
Right for: City dwellers, aspiring professionals, CPAs.
Not for: Baristas, performance artists.
Note: Optimal when designated driver situation is anticipated
There'll always be a self-selecting female audience for American muscle, but if you want to cast the net a little wider, the genus' excessive macho-ness gets offset in the new Challenger by unabashed Dazed and Confused-era styling. If it has to be a muscle car, this is it.
Zimmer Golden Spirit
This baroque masterpiece of '80s vulgarity is strongly recommended for those who wear fur coats and straighten their hair with lye. Pull it off right, and you can expect to have assembled a veritable harem by daybreak.
Right for: Fallen women, the morbidly ironic, old ladies.
Not for: Shy, sensitive types, social workers, clinical psychologists.
Note: Be prepared for jealous outbursts from big-pimping individuals who thought they ruled the roost.
Ford SVT Raptor
Pick up trucks cut a wide swathe through the American psyche—and it's no different for girls. Everyone likes an old pick 'em up (in theory), and for a night on the town, no gal south of the Mason-Dixon line should ever be expected to step into anything riding lower than a pickup truck. Might as well make it the baddest one on the market.
Right for: Southern belles, equestrians, mountain girls, construction workers.
Not for: Greenpeace activists, occupational therapists, New York Times editors.
Note: Who says moving a couple of refrigerators or hauling a small bulldozer does not a great first date make?
Toyota Prius Nothing says social responsibility like a Prius. Cheap to run yet not particularly cheap to buy, it hits the sweet spot where a ladies' taste for men with post-scarcity consumption habits collides with their quiet appreciation of spare cash.
Right for: Midwives, human resource personnel, law professors.
Not for: Liability lawyers, roller bladers, drug dealers.
Note: Prius' alleged runaway acceleration tendencies can help explain away a variety of aberrant date behaviors.
Like insects attracted to the light, some gals can't help themselves in the face of something large and in charge. Good taste is another thing. So while a big-black 'Sclade might work at the Jersey Shore, so will reeking of Drakkar Noir and Camel Lights. Ironic, self-deprecating asides likely essential when used to troll Ivy League doctoral candidates.
Right for: Housewives of New Jersey, anesthesiologists, professional escorts.
Not for: Ministers, ethicists, Ralph Nader aides.
Note: If she doesn't like the 'Sclade, chances are the full smoked glass treatment, 22" dubs and atomic subwoofer won't help.
Any Red Ferrari
Just as Hollywood tearjerkers give women false notions of romance, the media-driven collective male consciousness has convinced guys that red Ferraris are chick magnets when, in fact, except to a narrow band of cheesy sluts, they are anti-magnetic. Unless you're in Mötley Crüe and courting groupies. Which you aren't.
Right for: Impressionable youth, spinning instructors, cosmeticians.
Not for: Architects, librarians, sociologists.
Note: Old Ferraris are often beautiful and they're worth stupid money, so a gal really would be a fool to hold one against you...
If it's true that gaudy supercars lead women to question the size and worthiness of your manhood while sniggering behind your back and asking what you are compensating for, then it follows that those with the most humble wheels ought to be presumed ones with nothing to compensate for. Select something old and humble like the 0-to-60-in-27-seconds Morris Minor, and ladies can only conclude that you are supremely confident in your dude unit and know exactly what to do with it, no smoke screens needed.
Right for: Short story writers, mental patients, graduate students.
Not for: Doctors, portfolio managers, law enforcement professionals.
Note: Choose your dates wisely—When your old car tops out at 66 miles per hour with a tailwind, they're perforce going to last longer.
The Gay Parade
Because not all of us hope to date ladies, we asked our friend, Brett Berk, the rambunctiously gay car columnist at our, erm, sister organ, Vanity Fair, for suggestions for readers dating gaily. His thoughts herewith:
Its flexible cargo space is perfect for antiquing, Honda's unusual dash-mounted shifter means there's nothing in the way if your passenger wants to... lean over while you're driving, and the whole interior is rubbery, so when you're done, you can simply hose it out.
This electric sportster's nimble, silent, battery-powered operation makes it the ideal vehicle for stalking your love object.
Mercedes 300 TD
If I could bottle the scent of Cape Cod sand, diesel (or biodiesel) fumes, warm horsehair, and old money, it would smell like one of these, and I could make a fortune selling it as a gay aphrodisiac.
An subtle reminder that a date doesn't have to be limited to just two guys. Three seats = three way.