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
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
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
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
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.