Only date men who know how to drive – and bonus points if it’s a manual


There are numerous ways to tell if a man is a gentleman or just a guy.

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The way he treats the waitstaff is a big telling point, as are his grooming and general etiquette. But these traits deal with just half of the whole package, that being the gentle part of gentleman and less with the all-important man component.

You can tell a lot about a person by the way he drives.

Is he aggressive and foolishly impulsive? Is he timid and cautious to a fault? Is he easily distracted and negligent? Or is he skilled and mannerly on the road, balancing safety and sport in a pleasantly smooth ride that has competent written all over it?

Many may say, “Well, not everyone is a talented driver; lots of people have not had the opportunity to hone such skills.”

But I say, why not? Driving is a huge part of everyday life for most people, and if a man can take the time and energy to master tying a necktie and to learn basic survival skills and the complexities of poker, shouldn’t he be able to concentrate some testosterone toward much-needed highway know-how?

In more than one instance, I’ve gotten into the car with a guy who drove sporadically. Half the time he was looking nervously at me, a quarter of the time at the radio, and now and then there’d be the occasional glance toward the road.

Turns were missed. Pedestrians and other cars were also missed, though narrowly. (There is, by the way, almost no greater turn-off than an automobile accident on the way to a date.)

Other times, the guy would drive too fast, swerve in and out of traffic, and be forced to slam on his brakes. Such an experience was good neither for my blood pressure nor my impression of said boy.

Then there are the ones who drive ten miles below the speed limit. They get honked at for being dangerously in the way. They make you late and try your patience and the patience of the drivers around you.

Bad drivers can be good guys, even gentlemen, but the way a man handles himself behind the wheel shouldn’t scare you. His driving, like his personal conduct, shouldn’t make you ill at ease. He should handle himself, the car, and you with courtesy and grace.

You should feel comfortable looking down at your phone for directions or out the window at the scenery without having the fear that taking your eyes off the road for one instant will result in disaster.

Operating a motor vehicle is akin to living: you do both in a way that is respectful of those around you, you assess and take risks properly, you don’t shy away from a challenge, but at a same time you avoid unnecessary dangers.

You make the most of opportunities when they present themselves, and strive to have more fun rather than less.

Which brings me to the topic of manual transmission cars. Manuals, or “standards,” are not so standard anymore. They’re becoming as rare as straight razors and firm handshakes, and it’s an equal shame.

Manuals are manlier. “Man” is half the word, after all.

Driving a manual transmission car takes skill, coordination, and a sporting disposition. People who value driving as an art rather than simply as a means to get from point A to point B drive manuals. There are three pedals on the floor instead of two. There are six (including reverse) and sometimes seven (six speed!) gears to consider (plus neutral), not just Drive and Park.

There’s the heel and toe technique, wherein the (advanced) driver presses both the gas and the brake at the same time with one foot, and the clutch with the other. There’s also the challenge of pulling out on a hill. Manual transmission cars will roll backwards unless the driver is quick enough and skilled enough to prevent catastrophe.

With a stick shift, the driver is in control. He manages the RPMs of the car so (if he knows what he’s doing) he can zoom from the stopped position with none of the lag…jolt! lag…jolt! lugging sensation felt in an automatic.

He can downshift and slow the car without touching the brakes and without you even noticing. He controls the power going to the engine at all times, thus saving (or splurging!) fuel and money.

Would you rather be in the company of someone who drives a car with the difficulty level of a golf cart (cue opening scene of Office Space), or of someone who can multi-task with the cool efficiency of Mario Andretti?

Driving a manual transmission car is daunting, but isn’t really all that difficult once you get the hang of it. Yet since most passengers (95% of U.S. cars being automatics) don’t know that, it’s impressive to the ladies.

Plus, it’s nice to have his hand that much closer to your side of the car.

What do you think?

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