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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 08-09-05, 08:17 PM   #1
gwd
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Dating (and more) without a car?

F. Scott Fitzgerald alluded to the way that the automobile changed our sexual
mores or mating rituals in an essay titled "Echos of the Jazz Age". He wrote
"The first social revelation created a sensation out of all proportion to
its novelty. As far back as 1915 the unchaperoned young people of the smaller
cities had discoverred the mobile privacy of that automobile given to young
Bill at sixteen to make him 'self-reliant'. At first, petting was desperate
adventure even under such favorable conditions, but presently confidences
were exhanged and the old commandment broke down. As early as 1917 there
were references to such sweet and casual dalliance in any number of the
'Yale Record' or the 'Princeton Tiger'.

But petting in its more audacious manifestations was confined to the wealthier
classes -- among other young people the old standards prevailed until after
the War,... Only in 1920 did the veil finally fall -- the Jazz Age was in
flower."

Mobile Privacy? Now that is something our bicycles lack. Does car free
living inhibit our ability to find sexual fulfillment or engage in "seet and
casual dalliances"? For a younger person still unsure of his or her
attractiveness to the opposite sex and unsure of his or her place in the
world, the question might dissuade said person from dumping the car.

If you have a bike with a horizontal top tube you can carry a date sitting
side saddle for short trips. For some reason bike shops in DC don't sell
luggage racks strong enough to support an adult. I've seen people hauling
their friends and family in the Netherlands and India so I know such luggage
racks exist. These methods of sharing a ride on a bike seem inferior to
sharing the intimate space of a private automobile. The top tube method is
the best for conversing, but how about Mr. Fitzgerald's "petting in its more
audacious manifestations"?

The car's advantage in this respect isn't just as mobile boudoir. Many people
beleive that a fancy car makes you so much more attractive to the opposite
sex that if you don't own one, you will be an instant loser in the mating
game.

A woman I know respond to her friend's complaints about a jerk boyfriend with
"His Porsche can make up for a lot of jerkiness.". How can a decent guy with
a bicycle compete with a jerk in a Porsche?

How about it singles? Does being car free inhibit your love life?
Would the $20.00 per day car ownership cost be an investment that significantly
enhances your chances of "happily ever after"? Would the fear of loneliness
keep you from dumping the car? One person on the forum has complained of
car-free loneliness.

The advantages of the "mobile privacy" don't just effect the dating crowd.
Several parents have told me that the time in the car shuttling their kids
between enrichment experiences is their time to talk with their children.
If the mom or dad let the kid bike to the event, this quality time would be
lost. Parents have to strap their children into a steel cage in order to talk
to them. I suppose car free parents could put restraints in a closet to
simulate the car environment if that is a good way to converse with your kids.
It would keep the kids from feeling deprived of the car conversation experience.

What the glance backward through Fitzgerald's essay says to me is that, just
as the introduction of cars radically changed our society, a move away from
cars will also cause unpredictable changes.
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Old 08-09-05, 09:24 PM   #2
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Haha in India a batchelor might be able to carry his girlfriend on his bike easily, in the USA said girlfriend might weigh 200 lbs.

Just sayin'
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Old 08-09-05, 09:24 PM   #3
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Hi, I actually just started lurking these forums today and found it after Googleing "carfree living" and read some of the old archives. This topic really struck a nerve for me as I am a young, single, somewhat eccentric, heterosexual male "in the process" of being carfree in one of the most car-oriented metros in the country -- ahh what the hell, no use in being shy, and I'm pretty damn handsome to boot LOL. I've found that it is best to just get creative when getting unindoctrinated women to understand and eventually respect/admire our chosen lifestyle. (Speaking for myself) Exploring the city via commuter/light rail (always stuff to do/or see), setting up mutual leisure rides (I always try to make it into a "workout" type of scenario), meeting up with friends, going over to her place and offering to drive and chip in on gas LOL....it's just stuff to get her to the point of accepting (and gradually participating in) the carfree worldview and not end up looking at you as some "loser" or "weirdo" who can't handle/afford a cage. Plus, it doesn't hurt to have your game tight either ....
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Old 08-09-05, 09:49 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ___
This topic really struck a nerve for me as I am a young, single, somewhat eccentric, heterosexual male "in the process" of being carfree in one of the most car-oriented metros in the country -- ahh what the hell, no use in being shy, and I'm pretty damn handsome to boot LOL. I've found that it is best to just get creative when getting unindoctrinated women to understand and eventually respect/admire our chosen lifestyle....
Hi ___

Look for the exceptional ladies. They're out there and they are worth the effort.
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Old 08-09-05, 11:39 PM   #5
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Hi, I actually just started lurking these forums today and found it after Googleing "carfree living" and read some of the old archives. This topic really struck a nerve for me as I am a young, single, somewhat eccentric, heterosexual male "in the process" of being carfree in one of the most car-oriented metros in the country -- ahh what the hell, no use in being shy, and I'm pretty damn handsome to boot LOL. I've found that it is best to just get creative when getting unindoctrinated women to understand and eventually respect/admire our chosen lifestyle. (Speaking for myself) Exploring the city via commuter/light rail (always stuff to do/or see), setting up mutual leisure rides (I always try to make it into a "workout" type of scenario), meeting up with friends, going over to her place and offering to drive and chip in on gas LOL....it's just stuff to get her to the point of accepting (and gradually participating in) the carfree worldview and not end up looking at you as some "loser" or "weirdo" who can't handle/afford a cage. Plus, it doesn't hurt to have your game tight either ....
Man, I lived in DFW for several years. I do hope you can go all the way car(e)free, as the DFW area, especially the Dallas side and all it's suburbs, is not a very bike friendly place. I'm working on it myself, but have been displaced to a smaller town in Oklahoma , so it may be a bit easier for me.
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Old 08-10-05, 04:24 AM   #6
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I've found that many prospective females automatically try to slap me with the "loser" tag upon finding out I do not (and will not) own a car. Their loss, certainly not mine. I'm not even worried about it in the least as I rather enjoy being single and don't really have any immediate desire to change that. The way I see it, I'm not going to change my life and the way I live just to "improve my chances" in the dating game or whatever.

So uh, Lauren... wanna move to TN?
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Old 08-10-05, 09:50 AM   #7
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I've practically emasculated myself as far as the American mating ritual goes:

Not only did I give up cars and television sets, I also took to sleeping on the floor last year because my back feels better that way. I only realized it after a few years of bike touring and enjoying my tent more than I did my bed. So goodbye, bed! Thanks for giving me more room on your way out the door! I have a Japanese Kakebuton and fold-up mat now instead, and they go into a closet when not in use.

I've been gifted with quite good looks as well, but I'm guessing that whichever American gals I meet here in status-crazy California will probably want nothing to do with me when they hear these details. Then again, I don't know any locals yet because I just moved here, and Northern Cali at least has some sense of alternative culture. The topper: I also gave up drinking at bars. I guess I should just become a hermit right now.

My advice: I haven't got any, but if a person is shallow enough to nay-say another person based on their good, ascetic choices in life, I'm not sure I'd be interested.

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Old 08-10-05, 10:01 AM   #8
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Ha Ha Ha, I only got the girls when I went car-free....well I had a 1988 Ford Van, it was a ...shaggin wagon... bed and all the works. Of course I am a geek, the van didn't get that kind of use. Got ride of the van, and then 3 months later I had a gf, then after she when mad, I got another one, then that one too. BUT I have found a girl that bikes, she is an old high school buddy, she can go as fast on me on a Walmart bike...I when to her house with a friend, on the bikes, she tried out my Sun EZ-3 SX Trike, then she got out her Walmart bike, she took off, I had to sprint to caught her, at that time we were going 20mph up a step hill. We are taking a ride around the Capital City Trail on the 20th, with a picnick.


GEEK
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Old 08-10-05, 10:06 AM   #9
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Let's not paint all girls with the same brush, right?

Some girls don't like car-free guys. Some girls do. Some girls don't care. Some girls don't care except to the extent that it makes dating logistics more difficult. But why would you want to date the girls in the first category anyway?

I have, at least, outgrown the age when the back seat was an acceptable place for intimacy.
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Old 08-10-05, 11:59 AM   #10
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I think being without a car is more of a detriminant to dating prospects for males than females. When I've browsed personal ads of 'women seeking men', the requirement "must have own car" is fairly common, whereas I don't see it 'men seeking women'.

While females see having a car as a matter of convenience, I think it's part of the larger issue of socioeconomic status. Most (though not all) women consider socioeconomic a very important criteria when evaluating a potential mate (there is abundant behavioral research to support this statement), and in this society having a car is often a symbol of high socioeconomic status.

Then again if a woman won't date a guy simply because they don't have a car, is that really someone you want a relationship with?
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Old 08-10-05, 12:09 PM   #11
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in this society having a car is often a symbol of high socioeconomic status.
In this society even our poorest citizens (those inhabiting the housing projects) enjoy personal automobile transport.

I think women are just scared of being outside. They're scared of the weirdos on public transit and they're scared of how vulnerable they can be when they don't have doors to lock and windows to roll up.
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Old 08-10-05, 01:38 PM   #12
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I think women are just scared of being outside. They're scared of the weirdos on public transit and they're scared of how vulnerable they can be when they don't have doors to lock and windows to roll up.
That's probably true. There's a generalization that's I think is fairly accurate (by the way, if there is valid evidence to support a general difference b/t different social/sexual groups, it isn't a stereotype): Men value challenges, women value security. I think autos create a false sense of security, at least compared to mass transit. I'm not sure, but would bet that statistically, you're less likely to be injured or killed on mass transit than in a personal vehicle.
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Old 08-10-05, 02:03 PM   #13
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Hey, now--not all women are afraid of being outside! And I think some of us mihgt envision a future family that is car-free.

But think about how much effort most women put into getting ready to go out. They do their hair & make-up, dress up in clothes & shoes not particularly suited for biking...There is a societal expectation for women to look 100% polished, hence the need to travel in the enclosed environment of the car. No matter how much time I spend getting ready to go out, it's virtually impossible to arrive at my destination without looking rumpled, being sweaty, or having helmet hair. Men's expectations of women make it pretty hard for the car-free female, too.

Of course, I'm sure you guys would be the sorts to have realistic expectations of a woman who shares your lifestyle choice. I, though not searching for a significant other right now, think being picked up by tandem would be about the sweetest thing ever.
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Old 08-10-05, 08:46 PM   #14
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okay, back on track for me. All girls can't be painted with the same brush, but women in general have a lower sigma (standard deviation) than men. There's much more conformity. It's been shown for IQ, and I have seen it on other levels.
Huh? What kind of research do you see that? On an approximately normal curve with a mean of 100, you should expect a standard deviation of 16.7-ish. Most IQ scales are very close to that number and the variation between males and females is similar.

However-- gifted young girls often do try to hide their intelligence to fit in more. But, that has nothing to do with their actual intelligence and hence nothing from that can be infered to the variability in the population.
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Old 08-10-05, 09:56 PM   #15
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My apologies. The information that I had found was based on a single test. I'm guessing this was a more mathematical test so that it appeared that women had a lower sigma (although the same average). I'm an engineering grad student so I'm familiar with the whole women and science thing.

However, I can say with a fair amount of certainty that there are fewer biking/wrenching/math loving/geeky girls out there than guys. I've had a hard time finding female friends because most of the girls are very different from me. I like being one of the guys anyway .
Tell me about it -- my ex-gf has a master's in EE and a triple-bachelors in Physics, Math, and EE. She's going back for a quick secondary education degree, but she used to tell guys at parties she was an education major because they'd quit talking to her after she said she was an engineering major.

/And if you think girls don't like you because you have no car, try having red hair...
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Old 08-10-05, 10:09 PM   #16
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My apologies. The information that I had found was based on a single test. I'm guessing this was a more mathematical test so that it appeared that women had a lower sigma (although the same average). I'm an engineering grad student so I'm familiar with the whole women and science thing.

However, I can say with a fair amount of certainty that there are fewer biking/wrenching/math loving/geeky girls out there than guys. I've had a hard time finding female friends because most of the girls are very different from me. I like being one of the guys anyway .
Yikes. I just realized why I can't land a date. It's not because I'm car-free; it's because I enjoy meaningless discussions about psychometric theory and methodology... (!!!!!)
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Old 08-11-05, 12:46 AM   #17
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If a car impresses a woman, then what type of woman is she? Not the kind I have any interest in.

While Fitzgerald's essay is interesting (though it has been many years since I read it, maybe it isn't), we are well past the Jazz Age. The mores of the Jazz Age seem quaint and old fashioned today. Most people live and love by their own moral codes and our society is less homogenous. I suppose if you are talking about underage kids living at home, I suppose a car does offer instant privacy. Young people in rut are very creative though.

Some of my best dates were bike dates too. A young woman with a healthy glow, breathing deeply after a brisk ride, with a light sheen of perspiration-for most heterosexual males what's not to like? People on bikes are generally a pretty happy lot too. I love seeing my wife on her bike when we ride, it always brings out her beautiful smile.
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Old 08-11-05, 12:14 PM   #18
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okay, back on track for me. All girls can't be painted with the same brush, but women in general have a lower sigma (standard deviation) than men. There's much more conformity. It's been shown for IQ, and I have seen it on other levels. Parents teach their girls to play nice and the boys to play hard. So there are more males than females when you get to the fringes of society, and that leaves most guys having to consider a girl with a different lifestyle.
That's a nice, articulate summation of what I've observed and read. I have a BA in psych, and took a couple gender/sex diff classes, but never heard about the sigma difference before. From my observations (which might or might not be accurate), it does seem that there's a higher degree of conformity/homogeneity among females than males. Females seem much more concerned with being perceived as respectable (and are more concerned with how they are perceived by others in general), whereas many of us guys just don't give a Fu ck.

I also think there might be biological factors involved. It's been observed cross culturally that's more difficult to get males to behave in an orderly manner, and males tend to be more aggressive and are more willing to take chances.
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Old 08-11-05, 12:31 PM   #19
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I also think there might be biological factors involved. It's been observed cross culturally that's more difficult to get males to behave in an orderly manner, and males tend to be more aggressive and are more willing to take chances.
Socioeconomic status is a much nicer predictor of variability.
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Old 08-11-05, 01:58 PM   #20
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Socioeconomic status is a much nicer predictor of variability.
That makes sense; males of higher SE status don't need to resort to aggression.
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Old 08-11-05, 03:27 PM   #21
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That's exactly it. Most people have cars because that's what's expected. The same way some people get married and have children because that's just what you do.
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Old 08-11-05, 04:21 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by lauren
Haha, that describes my parents perfectly. You need a car, boyfriend, house, kids, etc. Just kill me now because I am never gonna grow up! That's why I'm in grad school dammit! I want to put off being a "grownup" because it's no fun.

I should add that I'm slowly starting to cave. Only problem is that they keep on saying "car" and I keep on saying "motorcycle." Updates as they become available.
No doubt.

It's even harder when you are in a region of the country where most people cannot picture anything other than the status quo -- but hey, I guess I'm a glutton for punishment.
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Old 08-11-05, 04:35 PM   #23
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Here in image conscience So. California it is nearly impossible to find a girl that "understands", considering that the standard issue of transportation around here, for a white guy in his early 20's is a raised Ford F-350 Heavy Duty Truck. That's why I'm so appreciative of the girl I'm currently seeing. She actually encourages my cycling, and isn't put-off by me being car-free. She even recently bought a new bike, so we could ride together. Her "understanding" is one of the top traits that I like about her.

I see my cycling-lifestyle as a test for girls, instead of a obstical on myself.
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Old 08-11-05, 04:57 PM   #24
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I see my cycling-lifestyle as a test for girls, instead of a obstical on myself.
I think this way but sometimes wonder if it doesn't close too many doors.
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Old 08-11-05, 04:59 PM   #25
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I created a multi topic thread here but you responders seem to have focused
on the dating part of it. You all seem to be saying that we shouldn't worry
about it and confine our attentions to like minded people. In reading
everyones posts I was hoping to pick up some tips on talking with friends
and family who don't seem to understand that car free is a good way to live.
Also the "don't worry about it" approach, that I take by the way, works when
you don't mind blowing the person out of your life. Sometimes that car obssesed
person is also a decent human being that you'd like to associate with.

The posts about male/female differences made me remember what I've read about
secondary sexual characteristics as a subject of female sexual selection.
If you pay too much attention to commercial culture it looks like ostentatious
displays of material wealth is a human secondary sexual characteristic. To
the extent that this is true, guys who don't display the appropriate things
are at a disadvantage. They have to work harder to convince the females that
they are interesting and fun and can enhance the chances of their offspring's
survival somehow.
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