Food for Thought

Ditching My Car Vastly Improved My Dating Life

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In the summer of 2008, I fell in love. I had moved to San Francisco in late May and was commuting 45 minutes south to Palo Alto every day. For my first month there I drove in a rental car, an expense costing me a good $40 a day. And then someone fast and shiny and perfect came into my life.

My original plan was to buy a car right away, but since I’m both a procrastinator and terrified of any and all major life decisions, I put it off. When I finally couldn’t stand the expense any more, I bullheadedly plowed my way through my first car purchase –buying the first one I test drove, barely negotiating the price. I wasn’t even sure I liked it. I just wanted the process to be over with.

But my silver Volvo S40 quickly became my favorite thing I owned. I relished my quiet mornings with it listening to NPR, and our reverse commutes home, cruising along the 101 as everyone departing San Francisco sat in traffic.

The car and I quickly became inseparable, and because of that, it became an integral part of my dating life. Not a month after I bought it, I was puking in my own lap while driving home a girl the morning after the first time we had sex. (I was absurdly hungover, took a sip of juice and everything came out. Amazingly, she still kept sleeping with me.)

There was the time a girl and I got busted having sex in the driver’s seat in a mall parking lot at 10:30 on a Wednesday night (I was 26 at the time). There were the six or eight drives I took to visit my then-girlfriend in grad school. There were first dates and last dates and first kisses and goodbye kisses. So much happened in that car, it’s impossible for me to recall my dating history without thinking about it.

But when I moved up to New York City six months ago, I didn’t want to own a car here. While I was terrified to let her go, I fucking love being without her now. It’s tremendous not having a car. And it’s improved my dating life so much, in ways I never thought possible.

How, you ask? What up, bulleted list.

I’m never late anymore

Whenever I used to go on dates, I would always arrive late. This is not exactly a habit that endears you to women, especially the type-A ones I’m meeting who are single at 30. After getting ready, I would usually crack a beer and sit on my couch, knowing that I could hop in my car at any time and arrive at whatever bar or restaurant almost immediately. It never worked out that way. Traffic, lights, and parking would always prevent me from being punctual.

But now that I’m car-less, I have to factor in so much extra time for the C train to arrive. I know if I cut it close, I could wind up being 25 or even 40 minutes late – with no cell phone service underground. So now I’m insanely early to dates. Girls seem to like that. Makes it seem like I won’t miss any soccer games when I’m a dad.

I can get as drunk as I want

I don’t necessarily advocate getting housed on dates, except that I totally do. It’s much more fun. Like so much more fun. There’s something so tepid and uninspired about a date that ends after two drinks. When I drove to dates, I had to act all responsible. Women hate drunk driving (there ain’t a FADD), so I would either need to monitor my alcohol intake or lie and say I was perfect fine to drive when I kinda wasn’t.

I don’t have to drive anyone home afterward

I’m an extremely nice person. Unrelated (except totally related because it’s part of the point I’m about to make), I went on a lot of dates with women who didn’t have cars or came on the Metro straight from work. The Metro in Washington, D.C. (where I lived between San Francisco and New York) is abhorrent, especially at off-peak hours. You can often find yourself waiting 25 minutes for a train on a Tuesday night. I couldn’t subject women to that, not when I had a car and they could have a much more enjoyable trip back to their house. It was the polite thing to do.

Except that I hated it. It would always add at least an hour to my evening. If a date ended at 10:45 and I gave a girl a ride, in all likeliness I wasn’t getting home until after midnight. Fuck that, especially because first dates on weekdays aren’t a time — even after drinking and driving someone home — where women are apt to invite you inside for sex.

But without a car at the end of a date? I’m just like LOLBYE and I get on the subway and get on my merry fucking way.

And I never have to drive home girls in the morning

Oh my god, this is so amazing. I’m a person who likes being alone in the morning on weekends. It’s the only time I get completely to myself. That’s me and my dog time. We chill, get coffee, go to the park, my hangover goes away and I get on with my day. But when a girl stayed over, after having cabbed late at night, and I had my car, I always felt obligated to offer a ride home. And what girl is ever like “Naw, I’ll just take my sex transportation stop?”

No, they always, always took the offer. Then I’d have to take my dog for a quick walk. Then we have to have awkward small talk in line at my coffee shop (“So, you like coffee, too?”) and I would feel obligated to pay for the latte of her choosing, because she did come to my house for sex. Then it was back to the car and into the city where I dropped her off before hauling it all the way back to the park.

I would lose half my morning simply because I own a vehicle.

Fuck that. Now I’m like, you’ve got an Uber app on your phone, use it.

It’s quite lovely and (amazingly) it doesn’t make me a bad guy, whereas if I pulled that when I owned a car, I would automatically be a shitty person, but thankfully, it’s a problem I never have to deal with again.

Also, I tell girls I got rid of my car to help the environment. Ladies love the environment.

David Covucci is an editor at BroBible.