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Treat Me Like Your CarA Man's Guide to Treating a Lady
By Pilar Lastra
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2011 Pilar Lastra
All right reserved.
Chapter OnePit Stop
When you're in the market for a car, you usually have a mental checklist of what you're looking for and what you can afford. Knowing these things when you begin shopping around will save you and the salesperson some time. For instance, you're probably not going to walk into a Maserati dealership when you know that the payment you are willing and able to make is for a Ford.
Now there's nothing wrong with checking out what's available at the exotic dealership, as long as you inform the salesperson you are not exactly in the market to buy at the time—you're just having fun checking out the display. This will also keep the salesperson from slashing your tires after you have made him or her take you on an entire day of test drives and prep five hot dogs for you just to hear you say at the end of the day, "Well, hey, thanks a bunch, I was just looking." The salesperson could have spent his or her time with a potential buyer who was actually looking to seal the deal.
A good friend of mine in the car industry calls people like this "looky-loos," people who like to just look and waste your time. He truly doesn't mind them and can have a lot of fun showing them fast cars just as long as they tell him their intentions up front. Now, while a woman's reaction to a "looky-loo" in dating may differ slightly, dating, in general, isn't any different. This time you're in the market for a relationship. And as you'll see throughout the course of this book, the two are a lot more similar than you would think.
Similar to the questions you would ask yourself to save some time while looking to buy a car, there's a mental checklist to go through as you try to find the right girl that, in this case, will save everyone time, headaches, and heartaches. Women, like cars, can be found in so many different places, shapes, sizes, and budgets, with all sorts of bells and whistles. Beginning your search can become extremely overwhelming very quickly, so the first thing we're going to do is try to narrow things down a bit and figure out what you are looking for.
So what are you in the market for? Something long term that you would like to buy, a short-term lease, or just a test drive? Knowing you are just looking to have fun and go on a couple of test drives is fine, just as long as you are honest with the salesperson. The same goes for dating. Telling a girl you are not at a place in your life to make any big decisions right now is okay. There is never anything wrong with honesty; this allows the girl to make the choice if she wants to stick around for the fun or if she would rather try to invest her time in something that might look a little more promising. Don't worry; there are plenty of girls out there who are not always looking to be in a relationship.
KNOW YOUR BUDGET
If you're not sure what you're looking for, the first thing to do is know your budget. The same way you consider what you can financially afford each month on a car payment, you should consider what you can emotionally afford to give to a relationship. Some women are higher-maintenance emotionally than others, and some women just want to date and not even think of marriage or monogamy.
On the flipside, there are girls who know they are not just looking to casually date. Did you know there are some cars you cannot even test drive without being a serious buyer? Take a $1.7 million Bugatti Veyron. This car is classy, sleek, and elegant, and at 137 mph, the nose of the car is automatically lowered two inches and the rear spoiler slides into slipstream. This two-million-dollar baby takes you from zero to sixty mph in 2.4 seconds. Even more impressively, the Bugatti takes you from zero to sixty and back to zero in less than five seconds. Zero to 180 mph in fourteen seconds. With a top speed of 253 mph, you won't get close enough to take a picture of this car if you are not a serious buyer, and the salesperson will have no problem telling you that up front. There is no leasing option on this bad girl. You either enter the dealership with the intention of buying this beauty and taking her home to meet the family or you're not getting anywhere near it.
Some lots know exactly what they are looking for—a serious buyer who can afford this kind of car and its thirty-thousand-dollar tires. And some women know they are looking for someone who can handle a serious relationship and would not even date a man who is emotionally unavailable.
So take the time to first figure out what you are looking for, and when you know, be honest about it. Don't tell a girl you are looking for a long-term commitment when you know your budget can only afford a short-term lease. Honesty will make everything run a bit more smoothly.
PUT YOUR PEDAL TO THE METAL
Just telling a girl you're not looking for a relationship right now isn't always enough. Your actions speak louder than words. If you continue to court her and sleep with her regularly, eventually she is going to think all you needed was time, and not for one second will she think that you meant you didn't want to be monogamous. Be clear on your meaning about what you are looking for. Having a slightly uncomfortable conversation early on, or cutting yourself off early if you think she is getting the wrong impression, is a lot easier than dealing with stronger consequences down the road.
* * *
Knowing what you are looking for before you step into the dealership isn't just for the other party's benefit. Imagine entering a dealership planning to walk off the lot with a car that is going to run you five hundred dollars a month. This is a payment you know you can comfortably afford; maybe you're looking at a stock Cadillac CTS. But the salesperson convinces you that if you just put another thousand dollars down, and for only a measly extra one hundred seventy-five bucks a month you can walk off the lot with a brand new Cadillac Escalade with twenty-two-inch rims and a five-thousand-dollar rebate, and he can even get you a 1.9 percent interest rate on all new cars in stock. So your brain starts working and you quickly start to think, Well, if I cut back on beer and start eating at home a little more, really, what's an extra one hundred seventy-five bucks a month? And with the rebate, I'm getting a steal!
The salesman has convinced you to go for it—something you didn't want in the first place. At first you are happy with your great deal, but then at your first fill-up you realize gas prices are outrageous. A few months in, you realize the difference between replacing a blown-out twenty-inch tire and a twenty-two-inch tire is almost your new monthly car payment, and ultimately you realize how much it sucks to feel trapped in something you really didn't want to begin with.
Had you known exactly what you were looking for when you walked onto that lot, no one could have persuaded you to buy anything you weren't really comfortable with. I have seen it happen too many times, where a guy who isn't ready to be in a serious relationship starts dating a great girl who knows what she wants—to get engaged—and the guy commits to it. But before you know it, all he does is complain and cry about not being happy and how he is missing the single life—so much so that he ends up picking random fights just to ruin the relationship so he can get out of a situation he never meant to be in.
Guys and girls sometimes bite off more than they can emotionally afford to chew and end up suffering for their decisions in the long run. So take the time to know what you want, and don't take on more than you can handle emotionally or financially. You can always commit to a lease with an option to buy if you change your mind later on down the road and decide that you are ready for a serious commitment.
YOUR SEARCH BEGINS WITH A CARFAX REPORT
Let's slip into an automobile fantasy, shall we? So you are minding your business driving to work one day, and suddenly, from out of the heavens above, you see her. Irresistible and breathtaking, straight from any man's dream, she stops you right in your tracks, with a body you long to wax and an engine you can't wait to rev. This cherry-red 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 with black racing stripes has got wheels you'd love to see spin for days. You end up shelling out your life savings to get your hands on this beauty. Just like that! You weren't even in the market to buy a car, and you found it, the perfect "Eleanor," the car of your dreams.
This also happens to be exactly how most people end up in a relationship when they aren't even looking for one. The last thing you needed in life was to have to put up with pleasing a woman. You had everything going for you—all you wanted to do was focus on your career and hang out with the guys. But no, you just couldn't resist, you had to ask her out, didn't you? Dating is great, and for the first couple of months you are in complete bliss. You can't get enough of each other. It's after you really get to know the person that you start to have problems.
Let's go back to our automobile fantasy, when you first bought the Shelby GT500. You were so in love you took that car everywhere, and your friends would tell you what a great car you had. And you might have said she's a gas guzzler, but she sure is worth every bit of it.
Then suddenly you are driving back from one of those great nights out and you hear an unfamiliar noise. At first you don't pay too much attention, but then you realize you're starting to smell a peculiar odor coming from the vents. Before you know it, you are going crazy troubleshooting the stupid car, trying to figure out what went wrong, what special attention it needs—and even more taxing and time-consuming, you obsess over all of its previous issues. What should you do? Get rid of it before it becomes a money pit, or ride it out for a while and hope you don't have to file a Chapter 7 after paying for the repairs? You thought she was perfect. She was in mint condition, not a single dent in her body.
A detailed car-history report explains that your precious Shelby GT500 was in a disastrous head-on collision with her previous owner at the helm. Too bad he forgot to mention that before he took your $150,000 life savings! Just like that. In less time than the seven seconds your Shelby GT500 is supposed to get you from zero to sixty, your perfect "Eleanor" became a depressing "Igor."
Sound familiar? Sure it does; every relationship is smooth and easy in the beginning. It's when both of your true colors start to show that more of the truth comes out, and you may begin to have second thoughts. We all have a past of some sort, and some women may not want to volunteer the information up front. Some just don't care and will tell you about every guy they have ever dated/married/had kids with/divorced. Some, through their behavior, will tell you whether they have been in a rough relationship before. Some women will make it easy for you, and some will make you do your homework to find out their dating history and what special attention they need. (And everyone needs some, in one area or another.)
TALES FROM THE ROAD
I once dated a guy who was very religious. We hit it off so well, we were always laughing and really enjoyed each other's company; we even went to church together every Sunday. When we first met, he asked me what I did for a living. I knew he was very religious, so I told him I did promotional modeling. It wasn't a lie—I did do promotional modeling—but I left out the name of the company I worked for, and he never asked. I didn't think it would come up again.
About three months later, one of his ex-girlfriends was playing snoop-dog and found out that I was a Playboy Playmate. Not only did she tell him, she told his entire family! This was so not cool! I would have been better off just telling him I was a Playmate from the beginning so he could have made a choice whether to deal with it and move forward with our relationship or end it. I felt like those CarFax commercials, where you see a car in flames being extinguished by the firefighters, and on the screen you see someone typing the classified ad for the car that says something along the lines of, "1998 Mustang, runs great, minor smoke damage." But then he deletes that and replaces the words "minor smoke damage" with "this car is hot." He isn't lying—but he isn't telling the whole truth.
I can't believe I am about to admit this, because I promised myself I would never be that woman who thinks she can change a man or his beliefs, but I figured if I just gave our relationship some time, he would get to know me for who I was and not judge me based on my past. I thought he would proceed to fall so deeply in love with me that it wouldn't matter whether or not I was a Playmate. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way. He flipped when he found out, because he felt betrayed that I didn't tell him three months prior when he had asked me what I did for a living. Batting my eyelashes wasn't going to get me out of this mess. We continued to date, but we didn't last much longer. He developed trust issues that affected many of his future relationships, and I can't blame him.
* * *
It's extremely important to take your time to get to know someone before you get serious with her. Guys and girls have issues with insecurities, image, jealousy, trust, abandonment, commitment, religion, communication, birth control—the list goes on—and all of these can end up being serious problems further down the road.
I have a great friend who dated a girl for three years and was completely monogamous the entire time. However, because her previous boyfriend strayed so many times, she was always accusing my friend of cheating on her. She was so convinced he was cheating that she went out and slept with a mutual acquaintance just to get back at him. When he found out, he was so hurt that he ended the relationship and now will not commit to anyone because of the pain his last girlfriend caused him. He thinks it is a waste of time to commit to a girl when no matter what you do or don't do, she is still going to accuse you of cheating.
Do you see the vicious cycle here? My ex-boyfriend now has trust issues with his new girlfriend because of the fact that I was not completely honest with him. It's not her fault, but she is the one who has to deal with constant questions because of one bad relationship in his past. He ended up explaining to her the reason why we broke up, and as dumb and unfair as it is that he is holding her accountable for my mistake, at least she now understands why he questions every answer she gives him.
If you take the time to find out why a woman is single or why she broke up with her last boyfriend, you will learn a lot. I went on a couple of dates with a guy, and he asked me why I left my previous relationship. I told him I wanted kids and the other person did not. Then my date asked if I wanted kids soon. I said sooner than later, and after that first date, he told me we weren't really meant for each other. We were both up front about what we wanted and realized we were better off as friends. Even if either of us were the tiniest bit annoyed or disappointed at the moment, it sure beat finding the same information out a couple of years into the relationship, when I would have started pushing for kids. In the beginning of a relationship, girls and guys always play the "cool card." They act like nothing bugs them, that they are the perfect mates, and that each can still have ultimate freedom. Then a couple months down the road, your phone won't stop blowing up when you're out with the guys because she wants to know if you really are where you say you are. It would have made your life a lot easier had you known her last boyfriend used to tell her he was going to hang out for guys' night when he was really on a date with his other girlfriend—hence her blowing up your phone.
So how does that CarFax commercial end again? Oh yeah. Never buy a car without a car-history report. The same applies to relationships. Never get serious without knowing a person's past. I'm not telling you to judge a person on her past. The past is the past and you are in her present, but at least this way you will know what you're dealing with before you really have to deal with it. Ultimately, if you pull a car-history report before you buy the car and you know that you are going to have to spend some time and money on it for repairs, that's okay, because now you know what you are getting yourself into.
Excerpted from Treat Me Like Your Car by Pilar Lastra Copyright © 2011 by Pilar Lastra. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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