I am not a macho man, and I am not a metrosexual. Like most males in this country, I am somewhere in between and I am comfortable with that.
For many years I owned a pickup truck, and it satisfied a deeply-rooted instinct to be tough. It linked me to my caveman ancestors who needed a method to drag the wooly mammoths back to the cave – for them it was a couple of branches that they dragged the carcasses on. For me it was a pickup. I was happiest when the bed was full of dirt, or rocks, or a cooler. The soot that collects on vehicles on Navy bases just made it look better. I would have put dead animals in there, but I wasn’t doing a lot of killing in those days.
The big crisis came when the old pickup began to run down, and I was faced with a dilemma: get another truck, or be “practical.” Despite their utility, trucks have some downsides. You can’t lock up stuff in a pickup unless it is really small. Anything in the bed is open to the elements, so luggage is vulnerable. And it’s tough to sleep in a bucket seat. Inevitably, we began to look at SUVs.
An SUV is big and gives you what pickups can’t. You can lock stuff up. You can sleep in it on camping trips. Everything you put in an SUV stays dry.
But you can’t haul dirt or throw empty soda cans in the back, at least not without staining the wall-to-wall carpet.
Nevertheless, we gave the truck a tearful send off, and got a nice SUV. Cushy interior, nice stereo, and good ratings by Consumer Reports. It seemed to be a good decision.
Until I got to work. Truck loyalists accused me of selling out. One coworker told me an SUV is nothing more than, “a minivan on steroids.” I think he spit after saying that, but I’m not sure.
I found that I began wearing chinos more, and jeans less. I started to wear boat shoes (without socks) as my boots collected dust in the closet. I cut out coupons for hands-free car washes. I found myself interested in the appearance of my fingernails and browsing the romantic comedy section of the video store.
I was losing my mojo.
My wife saved me. For Fathers’ Day she bought me the perfect solution for a man in testosterone crisis: a utility trailer that can be towed behind the SUV! I can haul dirt in it, and rocks, and probably put a cooler in there too. In a flash the minivan on steroids has become a work truck. I have already changed the presets from “easy listening” to country. My fingernails are dirty again, and I feel like spitting.
An SUV hauling a utility trailer – a concept brilliant in its simplicity. It’s not a truck, but it put me back to somewhere between macho and metrosexual.
And I’m comfortable with that.