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Man Replacement

My other pal, M, loved Kevin's no-nonsense nature and his 1978 GMC Sierra, named Kevin Junior, that he used for his hauling business

By Novella Carpenter

L'S HEART had been broken. Being her dutiful friend, I let her cry on my shoulder, and I listened to how they had met (for the 12th time—on a deserted beach in Baja). I took in details of the breakup (him flaky, she needy), and I gave good advice (time heals all things; this too will pass; that jerk, you're great). After one more big sob, L wiped her eyes and said, "You know what I really loved about him?" (His hands? His eyes? His devotion to a raw-food diet?) "What?" I asked, squeezing her hand. "His truck. His giant 4x4 truck."

This is the second time a very femme girlfriend has expressed the need to replace her lost man with a truck, so I think I've got a trend on my hands. Very feminine girls often fall for macho guys, those fellas with construction jobs, mustaches and, yes, the attendant big rig with six wheels and a power winch. My other pal, M, loved Kevin's no-nonsense nature and his 1978 GMC Sierra, named Kevin Junior, that he used for his hauling business. Was M was the kind of girl who sat real close to her man while he drove? Yes, she was. She even occasionally drove Kevin Junior on jaunts to the dog park and to pick up hair supplies. Then one day Kevin—and Kevin Junior—split town. "I miss the truck more than I miss him," she sighed.

What's a girl to do? Find another guy with a big truck? Or why not bypass that whole messy love thing and just buy the truck yourself? L and M took my advice and began shopping, because replacing a man with a truck is sometimes the easiest way out of heartbreak. Like two battered veterans, they searched for love in, you guessed it, the classified ads.

Because I write a car column, L and M were depending on me to help them with their purchase, so I was privy to the angst of their truck quest. "Here, listen to this one," L said over the phone one night: "2003 Dodge 1/2 Ton Truck, Single Cab SLT, 30,000 miles, white exterior, black & gray attractive interior, AM/FM/CD player. All power. $12,000. What do you think?"

"Sounds good, L. I mean, attractive interior and music to boot." "Yeah, and—all power! Wait, what does that mean again?" "Power steering, power brakes, power windows." "OK, thanks. I wonder if a half-ton is big enough?" L pondered before hanging up.

Then M came over shortly afterward, positively blushing: she had gone on a test drive. Now, a test drive for these gals is the equivalent of a first date. She reported that she had driven a Ford 250. "It smelled really good inside," she said. "What kind of engine does it have?" Blank stare. "Is it automatic or manual?" Blank stare.

There have been countless articles, websites and probably blogs about how to buy a truck. Walk around the whole thing, look for rust spots; watch out for too clean an engine; on the test drive, use all the gears. But how on earth do you successfully buy a truck to replace a lost lover?

For M, the steps were easy. First, from a distance, does the truck look mammoth? Second, did her heart skip a beat as she got closer to the vehicle? She walked around the rig, but she wasn't inspecting for rust, she was looking for the odd details—a bumper sticker, a minor dent that showed character or a special feature like running boards with lights. The most important consideration was the interior. When you settle into the seat, is it like a hug? Does it smell good—maybe like leather or dusty wheat?

When she took it out on the test run, M was oblivious to the performance, she just wanted to be comforted by the raw power at the beck and call of her sparkly painted toes. However, the deal didn't go through—it was too early for her; it just seemed to be like rushing things. L and M are still out there, searching for the perfect vehicle. Just as guys have blow-up dolls, sometimes girls have to resort to big, huge trucks.

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From the July 13-19, 2005 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2005 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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