Associated Press reports that $5.5 billion more in government bailout funds will be floated to GM and Chrysler. Apparently, the Obama administration has taken the “Don’t Pitch the Bitch” sales mantra to heart - there is not a single woman on the government’s Auto Industry Task Force. For those of you not familiar with “DPTB,” it is a line from the movie Boiler Room. In the movie, a slick senior broker obnoxiously hangs the phone up on a green newbie because he spends too much time pitching woman when cold calling. Not exactly the I Ching, but, as most of you ladies know first hand, it is still an unstated code for stock brokers, car salesmen and most blue collar tradesman.
Just like “coffee is for closers” and “greed is good,” “DPTB” is one of those stupid Hollywood-driven, testosterone infused euphemisms that makes me want to scream! It’s 2009 for fuck’s sake! So why do I constantly feel that I have to arm my vagina for battle a la Braveheart and prepare for the worst every time I set foot on a car lot or field estimates for work done on the house? Let’s face it, it’s the penis factor. Be it big, small or plastic, a woman can’t get a deal on a car without one.
Guys, let's get all the Freud allusions out of the way, this rant isn’t fueled by “penis envy,” “arm-pit hair envy,” “back hair envy” or any other sweaty, smelly “male-made” explanations for smart, savvy females.
The problem is that no matter how hard we try, ladies, the vagina always gets in the way. It would be so much more convenient if we could take it off at times, fold it neatly into a square and stick it into your purse when looking for a new car. Or for that matter, when you’re not in the mood, dress it up in a little Prada, smack lipstick on it and have the husband take it out on the town or on a business trip. Obviously, there would have to be rules of conduct, as the hubby can’t be "passing the pussy" around like cranberries on Thanksgiving….but that’s a different post entirely….
But I digress.... all of this just reminds me of the long and protracted car buying process that we went through at this time last year. My husband - who believes that I should learn to do things like this without his help, like negotiate a car deal, jump start a battery, pee standing up, etc. because the sheer stress of living with me is taking years off his life or so he claims - armed me with stats and web site comps and wanted me to check out a pre-owned vehicle with very low mileage.
There I was, 20 miles from home with 3 children in tow, an oddity at the dealership. I don’t know what they thought, but after 15 minutes of loudly telling the kids “Yes, we’re here to buy a car,” I had to go over one of the salesmen to get his attention. He was an older gentleman and looked very perplexed. You know he was wondering what the deal was. Where is the husband? Is she divorced? Or is she the "guy" in the all-female relationship? Bottom line, they were all wondering, where is the penis?
And when you don’t have the penis, you are expected to sit there and smile and be nice. Feign interest in the man’s diatribes on the heated seats and make-up mirror, as you glean info on the vehicle’s service history and list of prior owners. Nod when he shows you how to set the child locks, open up the back hatch and change the position of the driver’s seat.
Maybe he was confused, when I started to talk in big words about the drive-train, anti-lock brakes, warranties and gas mileage. But he should have known better than to try to pull a fast one on the woman in naughty librarian glasses with her head on a swivel shooting dirty looks at her three children while simultaneously asking very specific questions. And he really didn’t have much of an explanation when I caught him putting the wrong make, model and year of my trade-in on the Kelly’s Blue Book website.
I couldn’t even get past my first objective, to negotiate the sticker price. The sales manager came over angrily to discuss the discrepancies with their price and my offer. “Isn’t this a negotiation? Isn’t this just a jumping off point to meet in the middle?” I had said. Apparently not, because after 2 hours of mind numbing small talk, I walked. Frustrated, I drove home and called my husband to recap the entire episode. “Sorry, looks like you learned a tough lesson: they don’t pitch the bitch,” he said. Then it hit me like a freight train, the bastard knew the deal was not going to happen. No penis, no deal. He had sent me ahead to do all of the leg work, to get all the right info, so that he could take it and his penis to another dealership and get the car. What a dick!
Truth be told, everything turned out okay in the end: my husband made the deal he wanted to make and I got the car. As a way to celebrate, I told him I had a "special thank you" planned for him the night he brought the car home. He carefully pulled our new vehicle into the garage and sauntered into the house like the returning conquerer, twirling the keys happily. The look on his face was priceless when I snatched the keys from him, gave him a peck on the cheek and told him I was letting him put the 3 kids to bed that night so I could go out with my girlfriends in the new car. Payback is definitely a bitch!