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No car=social stigma?

Old 06-04-05, 11:28 AM
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kurremkarm
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No car=social stigma?

Do any of you find that when you tell a member of the opposite sex u don't have a car because you ride a bicycle that it's a complete turn off for them?

This question is really for men, since most women who bike commute in spandex have their own problems and it's not being ignored.
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Old 06-04-05, 11:46 AM
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If I weren't involved in a relationship and had no plans of being in one then I would ditch the car in a second. Cars are more social requirement in the USA than a true necessity. I think there are very few people in the States who would be fine with someone arriving at a date on bike. Many people would see this as a sign of poverty, instability, or immaturity, but at least hinting at social deviance.

As much as I love my partner, I think things would fall apart pretty quickly with the 'stress' of not having a car, and I don't think we would have started dating if I hadn't had one. Is it cynical of me to think so, or realistic? Maybe I'm not doing her justice. But I feel that part (most?) of what people love about other people is what they can do for them, and cars can factor into this in significant ways.
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Old 06-04-05, 11:47 AM
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No.

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Old 06-04-05, 01:37 PM
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Have you ever looked at personal advertisements on www.craigslist.org or something? Women are definitely turned off by guys who don't have cars. Usually they go something like "you must make more money than I do, be taller than I am, be older than I am, and have a nicer car than I do." There's a period in the 18-22 range where it's almost impossible for a guy to date. He's too young for women his own age, it's illegal for him to date someone who thinks his $10 bill is real cash... and throw on top of that "Pick me up at 8:30." [blank stare] "about that..."
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Old 06-04-05, 01:44 PM
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Not having a car is a BIG social stigma in the US. People won't even give you rides in THEIR cars if you don't have one. Try it! Keep track of the number of times your buddies offer you a ride here or there, when you have a car and when yoiu don't. It will be easy when you don't because they won't.

It's taken me 2 years living here in Silicon Valley to realize I don't need a car here, and there are people who are bike-only, and while I guess most people think they're weird, a lot of the tech-ish people I hang around think it's pretty cool. Not something they'd do but admirable.

But yes, it's a huge social-standing thing, when I get rid of the car I fully expect to hear some interesting comments on my poverty, although by not having a car I'll be considerably more well off.
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Old 06-04-05, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by jjkane4
Cars are more social requirement in the USA than a true necessity.
No offense intended, but this is a myopic and foolish statement. There may be no real requirement for YOU to own a car, but there are certainly plenty of reasons why others might need one.

Regards,

John D.
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Old 06-04-05, 02:09 PM
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I also think 75% of the people who have cars could do without them, except it's a social necessity in the US.
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Old 06-04-05, 02:20 PM
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Even explaining how not owning a car makes your money go farther doesn't help. Then you come off as cheap. You know, think of all the money ur saving-- blah blah.

The woman hears -- this guy is cheap. Another turn off.

Perhaps when we all die from polution and gas is 10 dollars a gallon it will be ok not to have a car.
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Old 06-04-05, 02:55 PM
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Yeah that's pretty much how it goes. We're as hung up about cars as the ancient Norse Greenlanders were about having cows (which could barely survive there, and what's more the Norse Greenlanders refused to eat fish! They died out.) It's financially insane to spend all this money on a car, but you're an outcast if you don't.

You're right, maybe when pollution is clearly killing the ecosystem and gas is $10 a gallon......
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Old 06-04-05, 02:57 PM
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I think one of my biggest obsticals in going "car-less" is sparking the negative stereotypes by not having a car, in girls (I'm a 21 year old Male) I'm not looking forward to the day when I have to tell a girl, "Hey, can you pick me up? ... because I don't have a car." I really doubt that any girl will be amused by this statement . But then again I'm looking for some who is open-minded and understanding, so maybe the me not having a car thing will serve a test to weed-out the bad apples.
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Old 06-04-05, 03:08 PM
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I agree with Mehow, not having a car will weed out the losers who you wouldnt want to be with anyway.
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Old 06-04-05, 03:21 PM
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If I had to do my twenties all over again I would have become a certified auto mechanic, and rehabbed a Monte Carlo SS from head to toe. I keep a clean apartment, I know how to cook, I can carry a conversation, I am a great listener--and I drive a Volvo Wagon when it's absolutely necessary. Were it not for the last I could indulge some woman's need to be with a successful, fun, exciting, wealthy, whatever-you-fill-in-the-blank guy.

But at this point I could give a crap.

Move to a big city where nobody owns a car due to prohibitive expense.
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Old 06-04-05, 03:35 PM
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I have mentioned to several people lately that I plan to get rid of my car, and every one of them exclaims "You mean you're going to get another one, right?"
The concept of living without a car is completely beyond most (of these?) people.
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Old 06-04-05, 03:44 PM
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Really, if you're seriously into biking and being car-free , would you really want to hang out with or date someone who would think less of you for it? That said, I think there is a social stigma in our society around not owning a car, not driving--I see it in negative comments made about people who rely on public transportation, for example. But, there's a lot of social stigma in our culture about being different or out-of-the-mainstream in lots of ways. I was visiting a friend not long ago and happened to have a bunch of groceries (I'd stopped on the way to shop) strapped and tied to my bike, and my friend told me later that one of her neighbors asked her if I was homeless! Just because I was grocery shopping using my bike, as if that's the only conceivable reason anyone would do such a thing, if they were forced to by unfortunate circumstances. It just made me laugh.

I think it's really unimaginable to the average car-strapped American that anyone would deliberately choose not to own and drive a car.

I think the social stigma is worse, probably, for younger people, and yes, for males. My son is eighteen and has never had a driver's license, gets around on a bike, and I think there are some girls who wouldn't consider dating such a person.

As a purely practical matter, I know that for me, not owning a car limits me socially in some ways. I'm 49 and female, and I'm simply not going to ride my bike to an evening social event that is several miles across town, for example, and would have me riding home at ten or eleven at night; it doesn't feel safe to me (although I'm sure there are those on this forum who do it, and that's fine, too), and public transportation in the evening in my neighborhood is very limited--on my street the bus stops running about 6 p.m., and the next nearest bus line that runs later is a half-mile walk away.

But, I have hermit tendencies anyhow, don't socialize a lot, and so right now it's far from being something that I consider a huge problem. If there was something I felt I really wanted to attend and could not safely get to by bike or public transportation, I'd probably try to arrange a ride with someone else, or, worst case, I'd just take a cab. Not a big deal.

So, yes, I think there definitely is some social stigma, and some practical difficulties that do arise in certain situations and have to be dealt with if you choose a car-free life for whatever reason. However, I'm happy to put up with it, it's totally worth it to me, and I think for most people, as you get older, you really stop caring so much what other people--especially people you don't even know--think about you. In fact, there's a lot of pleasure and self-satisfaction in being an individual, in being different from the herd, and knowing that maybe you'll cause the odd person to see life in a new and different way.
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Old 06-04-05, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by kurremkarm
Do any of you find that when you tell a member of the opposite sex u don't have a car because you ride a bicycle that it's a complete turn off for them?

This question is really for men, since most women who bike commute in spandex have their own problems and it's not being ignored.
Well, this is a completely different perspective since I'm a gay man in Canada and thus have little idea what straight men in the US deal with but you guys might find it amusing anyway.

When it comes to social (incl. dating) situations the bike is a big advantage. Lets just say that I get a lot of positive attention when I arrive somewhere in the middle of winter with a bike helmet! Ditto after long bike rides, etc. (as in "Wow, you biked all the way out here?!?). You get a lot of instant tough-guy points. Order a beer instead of a "girly drink" and talk about power tools, and I'm set for the night

I do get mixed reaction in business settings, though, when I tell people the "company car" is a bike, but that's another story.
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Old 06-04-05, 04:10 PM
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I agree with whoever said it's weeding out the people you wouldn't want to date anyhow--I am a 22y.o. girl and though I wouldn't narrow down my field to only car-free people, I would never consider dating someone that doesn't recognize the bicycle as a viable form of transportation.
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Old 06-04-05, 04:17 PM
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No car = Business Stigma

Inspired by kurremkarm's thread:

How many people here got to business meetings, job sites, etc. on a bike? How do your business associates and clients (or whatever) react? I find I get mixed reactions. Despite being in a city with excellent cycling and public transit, I often get:

1)- The assumption that I am less professional because I didn't show up in a car, or
2)- The assumption that I can't deliver the services I promise to because I normally cycle, and/or
3)- Some variation of the "poor you" routine.

What's amusing here is that the same people who have said "good for you!" when they found out I bike get all concerned if I plan to carry 20lbs of camera gear on the bike.
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Old 06-04-05, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by DiegoFrogs
Have you ever looked at personal advertisements on www.craigslist.org or something? Women are definitely turned off by guys who don't have cars. Usually they go something like "you must make more money than I do, be taller than I am, be older than I am, and have a nicer car than I do." There's a period in the 18-22 range where it's almost impossible for a guy to date. He's too young for women his own age, it's illegal for him to date someone who thinks his $10 bill is real cash... and throw on top of that "Pick me up at 8:30." [blank stare] "about that..."

No offense, but I don't think that reading the personals on craigslist provides a good source for making generalizations about an entire gender. Women who like bicycles, frankly, are probably spending more time riding than posting personal ads.

Bicycling is a great way to meet women, in fact -- in particular, women who are in good shape, have nice legs, like to be outdoors, etc.

I went to a birthday party at a local drinking establishment last weekend, and as soon as I walked in the door a young lady I didn't know came up and started asking me about my bike. "I ride a bike, too," she gushed.
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Old 06-04-05, 04:29 PM
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Our ergonomics specialist saw my bicycle helmet and said, "Oh, you ride a bike to work. That's great. Keep it up."

My boss recommended a heart-rate monitor he uses.
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Old 06-04-05, 04:33 PM
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I know a lot of places won't hire you if you don't have a car, even though you never actually need the car in your job.
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Old 06-04-05, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by lilHinault
I also think 75% of the people who have cars could do without them, except it's a social necessity in the US.

Right. Living in Southern California is so indicative of the rest of the nation.
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Old 06-04-05, 04:48 PM
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Southern California is how the rest of the country wants to live, sadly. Why do you think they've done TV series about Pasadena, "The OC", etc. I'd love to see them do a TV series about Podunk, IA but noooooo....

Even the eco-greenies tend to drive their SUVs to the protest rally, read Kunstler on that, his observations are hilarious. One noted "green" figure has his house situated such that it's inaccessable except by SUV and he holds meetings there. He feels we'll just have "hydrogen power" or something and that will be the only change.

Hawaii is another example - greater Honolulu is in a perpetual state of gridlock, and it's all about what you drive. My older sister there drives a $35k blinged out Passat, and she and the hubby are considering getting a THIRD car. This in a state with a good, and could be excellent, bus system and in Honolulu a "working area" of very few square miles.

I ran into more anti-car types in "The OC" than I did on that little concrete island in the sea. The outer islands are from what I've heard even less bike and public transit friendly.

So yeah, living in Southern California is indicative of the rest of the nation. And we've just annexed Sunnyvale!
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Old 06-04-05, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by primaryreality
...I'm happy to put up with it, it's totally worth it to me...
I love that you say that. I agree.


So Cal or New York, I met my girl on bike in Central Park, SHE started talking to me.
Mehow, and those that age, I hear you, and understand your dilemma, when they ask about your car, can you show them your cut quads and resting heart rate?
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Old 06-04-05, 05:32 PM
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Years back when I was single, yeah, I'd get that cock-eyed look and conversations quickly ended. Oh well. I learned to avoid that "type".

I ended up lucky though. Neither I nor my GF have ever owned a car, and we're both in our mid-thirties. When that fact pops up in conversations, you should see the looks of sheer disbelief on most peoples faces. Sometimes it seems to border on horror!
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Old 06-04-05, 05:56 PM
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My boss thinks i'm funny for biking in to work---but doesnt really care so long as i'm in on time.


On the other hand, i do need to drive clients around or run down to court really fast to file something, so at times I MUST have a car.
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