We Can Walk To The Curb From Here.
(I promised I would write at least one essay on something that men do better than women. Here it is.)
In “Annie Hall”, when Alvy Singer first meets Annie, she gives him a ride home. It’s a harrowing ride, and when she finally stops in front of his place, he opens the car door and says, “Don’t worry. We can walk to the curb from here.”
While Annie is a terrible driver as well as a terrible parker, I think only one of those stereotypes is true.
Women are pretty good drivers. Men seem to like to drive on the center line. Women stay in their own lane and stop when the light is yellow. They don’t tailgate and they don’t lean on the horn. They get where they need to go, and they don’t try a new ridiculous shortcut every other day.
But we are lousy parkers.
My parallel parking is worse than Annie Hall’s. You can’t walk to the curb from there. You can hardly even see the curb from there. I don’t even try it anymore. I just drive a little extra (I try to keep it under a quarter of a mile) and walk back.
My parking-lot parking is adequate. Barely adequate. I find I can park much better turning left into the space than turning right. So I sometimes will drive around so I can approach from the left. And I can’t back into a spot (like, ever).
Yes, this is just my own experience. But I know it’s most of us women. I just know. (So admit it, already.)
But men – who can’t stay in their own lane on the highway – can pull into the tiniest parking space. And parallel park in two graceful gliding arcs.
My friend’s teenager who just got his license can park. My father, when he was in his eighties and driving extremely erratically, could still park. My husband can park his F350 in a space the size of a bath towel. In the dark. With a beer.
Several years ago, I went to Paris on business. My French associate took me out to lunch one day. (Lunch in Paris is extraordinary, and I mean with wine. But that’s for another post.) There were no parking spaces on the street, so he drove into a parking garage. The spaces as marked were incredibly small, even for the little shitboxes they drive over there. Mon ami found one tiny, pathetically narrow spot, available because no one had attempted such a feat. He had me get out of the car. Then he folded in the rear-view mirrors, (which is a clever attribute of those shitboxes). And he drove the sb into the space, with maybe an eighth of an inch on either side. Then he crawled over the seat and came out the hatchback. He smoothed his tie and we went to lunch.
Because I have a theory for everything, I have a theory for this too. Men can park because they take pride in putting big things in tight places.
(I will now return to my regularly scheduled programming.)