I once owned a Lotus Elise. Of course, being six-foot-three, I didn’t really own it so much as I regularly attempted to drive it by assuming the approximate size and shape of a football.
Seriously: the Elise is small. So small, in fact, that it was easier to view traffic lights by looking over the windshield frame than through the windshield itself. I later realized this meant that, in the event of a rollover, my head would’ve acted as the roll bar. Given the Elise’s curb weight, it may have actually been useful.
Of course, none of this surprises you, because car enthusiasts constantly make sacrifices for sports cars. Ferrari F355 owners, for example, sacrifice a significant portion of their net worth every three years to pay for an engine-out service that can only be performed by a man named Giuseppe who charges the same hourly rate as OJ Simpson’s defense team. Audi TT owners, meanwhile, sacrifice a huge portion of their manhood every time they open the door.
Just kidding, of course. The Audi TT has found a following among a wide variety of drivers, all of whom will trade it in several weeks before the warranty expires.
Anyway: there are a variety of reasons why car enthusiasts make sacrifices for sports cars. One is the pure joy of heading out in the evening for a long, spirited drive on your favorite twisty road with the wind in your hair, or - if you have a Lotus - the wind on your forehead. Another, of course, is to attract women. But I’m here to tell you this is a huge fallacy.
When I had my Lotus, men would approach me at gas pumps, gaze longingly at the car, and ask at least one of the following three questions:
1. How fast does it go?
2. How much does it cost?
3. How many chicks do you get?
I hated these questions. That’s because people were always disappointed by the answers, which, in case you’re wondering, are:
1. About as fast as an Accord V6.
2. About as much as an Accord V6.
3. About as many as an Accord V6.
Admittedly, these weren’t the only comments I got. Sometimes, men would drive up in a stanced 240SX and scream “Nice Celica!” before driving away with an exhaust note apparently tuned to mimic a medium-sized coffee grinder.
But it was usually one of those three questions, and they usually resulted in disappointment. Of course, I know what you’re thinking: What do you mean it didn’t get any women? Are you a complete idiot? Also, my Audi TT gets tons more women than your overpriced Celica!
It’s one of life’s universal truths: men think sports cars get women. That’s because most men think that a woman’s brain is highly normal, if a bit preoccupied with footwear, until an exotic car drives by, at which point she must chase it down and remove her underwear. But the simple truth is that most women just don’t care. Really. When the majority of women see a Lotus on the street, their first thought is: Hmm. I wonder if I have any text messages.
Of course, this isn’t true of all women. When I posted photos of the Lotus on my Facebook (this is a requirement designed to show your high school friends how cool you’ve become), more than a few women from high school contacted me to “catch up.” This brings me to another important point: the women attracted by a car probably aren’t the ones you want to attract in the first place.
Interestingly, while the Lotus didn’t go very far with women, it did draw the attention of a lot of men. I don’t recall a single fuel stop or traffic light where I wasn’t approached by at least one male car enthusiast whose neighbor had a Lotus, or whose dad had a Corvette, or whose friend had a Ferrari, or whose uncle knew Colin Chapman, or whose dad raced with Colin Chapman, or whose great-grandfather was Colin Chapman’s gay lover.
Beyond gas stations, every drive yielded constant thumbs-ups, smiles and camera phone pictures. One guy even leaned out of his ancient Ford Ranger and yelled “At least mine’s paid for!” as he sped away at a stoplight. He had forgotten to ask question number two.
There’s a moral to this story. Straight men: a sports car won’t get you laid. But to all the ladies and gay men out there: if you want to improve your game, buy a Lotus. And possibly a helmet.
Doug DeMuro operates PlaysWithCars.com and writes for The Truth About Cars. He owned an E63 AMG wagon and once tried to evade police at the Tail of the Dragon using a pontoon boat. (It didn't work.) He worked as a manager for Porsche Cars North America before quitting to become a writer, largely because it meant he no longer had to wear pants. Also, he wrote this entire bio himself in the third person.