Masculinity… the optional extra for BMW drivers

Increasingly in life what used to come as standard is now an optional extra… I’m not against this as I don’t like to pay for things that I don’t need or use. But some things are essential. As a man, for example, I want to feel masculine and just like any other guy I want that feeling as standard and not as an option. But my masculinity was recently challenged and maybe eroded slightly… forever.

Before I share, I need to give you a bit of background. We all know that car makers are well known for the optional extra and BMW, the maker of my particular chariot and the source of this story, has a history of making you pay extra for just about everything. I’ve never owned a BMW before and up until recently I was very happy with it – I think a car says something about its owner, a BM; sporty, well engineered, stylish… yeah… that’s me… arrogant… no.

Anyway me and my ego have enjoyed the car… but I recently had a puncture. No big deal I thought. I opened the boot, lifted up the carpet and looked down into the ample space that housed the spare wheel. But where was it; had they forgot to put it in… no, not the Germans… there sitting in its place was a little white box and a mini compressor – the emergency tyre repair kit. I can hear all you BM drivers shouting at me now telling me I don’t need a spare wheel, the emergency repair kit is all I need. Well, we may have swallowed the sales spiel in the showroom… I remember the salesman massaging my ego, spewing the features and benefits and telling me how well engineered the car was and what an inspired choice I was making… but when you’re standing there having been stroked for an hour, with a semi-erection, no man is equipped to make a decision about anything… at that point it’s all about the grunt and performance. So even when he’s telling me about the emergency repair kit we believe him, we believe there is no room or point for the added weight of a spare… after all why would you want to compromise on performance.

Well I’ll tell you why the spare is an essential and not and optional extra.

My puncture… It was dark, cold and wet. I was returning to my car in a Morrisions car park. And it was when I open the boot that I noticed my tyre was flat. Other than the inconvenience of a puncture, a wheel change is a standard piece of maintenance which is performed by the machismo side of my person… a challenge that reminds me of what it feels like to be a man. In control; I know what to do. Strong; lift out the spare. Technical; expertly jack up the car, remove the bolts and replace the wheel… job done. Oh yes, this is a blue job, one of the few opportunities that a man can and is expected to exercise his masculinity. But on this occasion I had been robbed of doing my duty and being a man… with the emergency repair kit things don’t quite run the same way.

It’s dark… I take the little repair kit out the boot and attempt to read the instructions… mmm, without the aid of my “middle-aged” reading glasses and in the dark this was a bit tricky. Then the first of the Morrison shoppers walks by, not marvelling at my manliness but wondering if I needed a hand reading the little label… I’m now feeling like an old woman. After managing to read some of the instructions I hook up the compressor to the cigarette lighter and the special gunk container to the deflated wheel. I was hoping not to draw the attention of anymore shoppers but then I turned on the compressor. Oh dear… the noise… it was like a beacon, I got the attention of everyone and was now beginning to draw a small crowd… the women in the crowd looked on with an ahhhh face “I wonder if he’s alright” and the men looked on with a “you tosser what’s the matter with you… can’t you change a wheel”. The little compressor didn’t have much puff and took a while to re-inflate the wheel. As the wheel inflated my ego was deflated. I felt a total “man failure” yes the repair kit worked but BMW had failed.

BMW promised that the car would say everything that anyone would need to know about me – well engineered, sporty, sexy, and technically brilliant. But when they took away the spare wheel they robbed me of my birth right… the opportunity to be a man… yes I was a still reflection of the car… but not the man I thought I was… I was now Gary, the middle-aged effeminate hairdresser who was fighting a losing battle with old age and refusing to except that he needed to wear glasses.

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17 thoughts on “Masculinity… the optional extra for BMW drivers

  1. Oh, yes, your story rings a lot of bells. I once had a 12″ piece of sharp pipe in one side of the tyre and out of the other – a little mini compressor wouldn’t have been much use for that job. I previously had the same model as your very masculine photo shows…it had different sized front and rear tyres – 2 spares??

  2. Jim O'Connor says:

    Marketing discussion with humour – a rare thing indeed. Great article.

  3. Michael says:

    Oh dear, you have been subject to a poor salesman, Dave. He should have sold you the optional extra of a far too expensive BMW mountainbike, plus an equally overpriced BMW roof rack holder to take it with you! Then you could have proven your masculie strenght by bicycling home and have the car to be picked up by the garage!

  4. Clive Ball says:

    That really is a long drive home every night, isn’t it?
    My only observation is that you should still count yourself lucky: a) you can still get semi erections and b) you only need to use reading glasses. The slippery slope goes far further my friend ……..

  5. A very funny read indeed! I have a female perspective to offer on dreaded puncture scenario:

    Having had to finally give in to practicality & retire my chic & much loved (if a little old) Alfa Romeo 156 and chop it in for a “dog taxi” (2 fully grown huskies & a 156 are a recipe for disaster), I now drive a beast of a car that has tyres the size of a mini tractor. I dread the day that I ever get a flat on that monster when I’m out & about, as maintaining any semblance of FEMININITY is sure to prove difficult as I grunt & groan to switch the offending articles. At this point I think I would be mentally kissing the Mercedes design engineer who decided to propose the emergency repair kit at point of concept. Alas that is the stuff of dreams. Having always been perfectly capable of maintaining my own vehicle within the bounds of reason I have decided that, in the future, Mr RAC is going to become my new best friend in the case of the puncture.

    Just to end on a positive, it seems that you’ve hit on a great way to meet women DSS :-)

    • Do you mean cruising around looking for vulnerable ladies at the roadside… It would be my luck that I’d come across Michelle who would then demonstrate the revised use for the car jack. :)

      • I actually meant pretending to be stranded in a supermarket car-park amongst a plethora of sympathetic ladies. You’re not very good at this game, so to avoid you beiing incarcerated for cruising,.better stick to the articulate comedy….women like that too & you’re far less likely to get arrested for it :-)

  6. Michelle says:

    I think you’ll find that the puncture repair kit was designed by a woman, along with the baby carrier that looks like a rucksack & the Mankini, with the sole purpose of chipping away at any masculinity that us women have allowed you to retain in this modern age. I’m now off to the drawing board to work on my design for the power tool that requires you to read the manual in FULL before operating and the beer can that can only be opened with long acrylic false nails……

  7. I’m not ready to give up on being a man… ooooo the door bells going… it’s probably Gary, I’ve booked a manicure and some falsies… I can’t take any chances with the beer can situation looming.

    • Michelle says:

      I am concerned! Has your masculinity been so eroded that you are no longer able to blog in a manly manner?
      I am hoping it is just that life is getting in the way of other more light-hearted activities and that you will be back soon …..

      • hey Michelle
        Thanks for the dig in the ribs. Yes… life does get in the way of what’s really important.I guess I do blog in a manly manner… I’m inconsistent, a bit lazy, but worth the wait… as oppose to cryptic, impatient, high maintenance and female :)

  8. Peter Meaden says:

    Dave Dave Dave, one extra i can confirm has been worth paying is the run flat tyres. Although the ride is a little harsher, I can confirm you can travel over 150 miles on the motorway with a tyre measuring zero PSI!!! I dont need to tell you the benefits of avoiding a blow out on the motorway! I too felt a little machismo slip away when i had to refer to the manual in order to understand the light on my dash was telling me i had a flat tyre!

  9. Andrew Crawford says:

    Dave, my friend. I learned to stopped worrying about the interplay between deflation and masculinity after a flat on the M1. In the dark and the rain, just before services (Newport Pagnell I think) my first ‘unmasculine’ decision was to shred the tyre rather than bravely stopping on the motorway. Not having your girlie gizmo, I ignored the company guidance not to change wheels and did the usual suff. Couldn’t budge the uber engineered German locking nut and called the AA. Nearly 2 hours later (includes some waiting time) after 2 AA vans with big guys and stacks of tools, the wheel nut was eventually hacked off. Was worth it to see the first AA man’s initial pitying look and professional masculinity evaporate. Still glad they made it in the end, didn’t fancy a long van trip with my newly emasculated road buddy. From a marketing perspective, very secure wheels. From a personal perspective, another thing to stop worrying about.

  10. Steve Bland says:

    Dave, If that’s a 335i then what an excellent choice, albeit the engine sound is nothing like that of previous 3 litre BMWs, which is a shame as it was without doubt it best selling point. It was a wonderful sound, particularly in an open top. Do you remember the saying that unless it’s a 6 cylinder, it’s not a proper BMW… not worthy of the name. Oh, how true that rings today. I notice you keep on referring to how powerful, and utter superb your “BM” is. Well, if that’s a 335i, no less – and I mean no less, then that’s understandable. Now I’m a real car fan, a true petrol head, and will drive any car that is good despite the perceived image or badge. I feel lucky in that regard, not a label victim, nothing to prove, and not tied down and above all, thankfully, not a deluded snob. Hopefully you feel the same, if you too enjoy good engineering as you mentioned earlier. However, I’m sorry to say, that with regard to the image of BMW/Merc/Audi, it may have been relatively good up until 20 years ago, but I’m sad to say (and I really am sad)… no longer. The hoards of rep-mobiles and badged 4x4s blighting our roads with their slow (yes, slow) 2 litre diesels, arms on windows, “sun glasses make me look cool”, smug looking “Hyacinth Buckets” have long ago destroyed the image. Most of these vehicles are two years old (at least), and are worth little more than £12 – £14k, or are company rep-mobiles, but the drivers would have you believe they’re worth £40k – LOL. These people look down VWs, Fords, Toyotas et al, but are too ignorant to realise that many of those cars are excellent choices, and – wait for it – worth far more than their “badges”. Yes, the the rich people don’t necessarily feel the need to pose – they just buy what they prefer, and are relaxed about it. Most people who see these badged cars now believe they are chosen by absolute.. (“insert derogatory word here”). What these drivers do not seem to realise, is that having one of these cars no-longer says “I have money”. In fact, often it says the reverse, in that many people without money are to trying to prove a reverse of their actual circumstances. Many people driving other, equally good makes, feel at ease in their cars, arms relaxed on their laps as they wait for the lights to change, unencumbered by that awful pretence. Enjoy your 335i, and if you’re a true fan of car engineering then you’ll rightfully stick to your guns, but if it’s anything less, and image is important above all, then best to sell it and buy something better. Join the cause Dave, try to get these idiots off the road, and make BMW/Merc/Audi an image to be proud of once again.

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