If I’m not mistaken it was Alfred, Lord Tennisball, who so famously wrote: “In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love”. What Sir Alfie Tennisbaum didn’t know was that in the part of the country I come from, the unsophisticated blue collar south side of Atlanta, those thoughts of love are enhanced by a bitching car stereo.
The mating rituals of the modern, automobile-blessed male include the use of excessively loud car stereos. We drive down the road with our radios cranking major tunage, hoping to encounter pretty girls on the sidewalk or in neighboring cars. As soon as we spot one we jack the volume a little higher, lean back with one arm draped nonchalantly over the steering wheel and look tough as we cruise slowly past. This is our way of letting girls know that we’re very interested in meeting them and wouldn’t mind getting to know them a little better, oh say, over a few drinks down at the…..
By the time you get to that point in the fantasy you’ve almost always driven past them because the light changed or they got on their bus. Just because they’re hot doesn’t mean they can’t use public transportation.
Eventually we guys go through this routine a sufficient number of times to realize that the only thing a girl on the sidewalk could possibly hear when we roll past them is a muffled “whoomp, whoomp, whoomp, whoooeeeeeiiiiiuuummppp, whump, whump, whump”. And yet we can’t resist flirting with girls via our car radios on busy downtown streets, we’re just that stupid. It’s kind of like flirting with girls on the elevator; by the time you’ve worked up the nerve to comment on how hard it is to strike up a conversation with a girl in elevator she’s already stepped off on her floor (thankful that you didn’t try to strike up a conversation with her).
But back to my car stereo.
It’s taken awhile but I’ve started to notice a pattern:
1. I’m flying up the downtown connector into Atlanta with great music on the radio, wind in my hair, life is good.
2. I exit onto surface streets: we’re getting to the best part of the song, the crowning glory of my musical library is evident for the world to hear. I am a Rock Star.
3. I approach an intersection where a pretty girl stands waiting to cross the street. The light turns red, I slow down and at exactly the moment I’ve stopped beside her is when the song fades to silence. I mean it just quits. No sound comes from my car except that of my idling engine.
Slipping up to a redlight with your head flapping back and forth, your fingers twitching all over your steering wheel to the soft sound of an idling engine is hardly going to impress the hot girl waiting there. At best she’s going to take pity on me and look the other way, assuming that I suffer from some incurable degenerative neuromuscular condition (the medical term is “Sucha Dorka-mungus”).
I have to admit that these recent stereophonic defeats have all but crushed the expectations of my eternally 16 year-old libido. I was raised on ZZ-Top music-videos which promised that sex-crazed, lingerie-clad girls would fight (like girls) to climb into my sweet ride if I had my tunes a-blasting. I totally bought the dream of “She’s Got Legs”.
What’s even worse is when the CD changes over just as I pull up in front of the hot girl. Instead of some hot tracks from Coldplay I’m suddenly pumping out the theme song from The Waltons or Darth Vader’s March…. after all, this is me we’re talking about. Sometimes it’s an Irish drinking song chorus like “hey derry do” or “jig-a-little-piggy” and sometimes it’s just the plain old stupid disc jockey on the stupid old radio saying the name of the stupid old song we just heard.
Fine. I give up. I’ll be the guy with the tacky music; the one whose car the girls don’t want to climb into when I stop at lights. Do you hear that ladies? I’m letting you off the hook. Feel free to dream about getting into cars with all the other guys driving down Peachtree Street with their music cranked up.