Part 79: Learning to Drive

There is quite literally nothing sexier than being in a car with a man, as I’m sure you’ll agree straight single ladies, especially when he’s driving it – watching his hand clutch gearstick. His knuckles undulate as he moves into fifth. Even better: when it’s late and you’ve both been drinking. Ooh the thrill! The very naughtiness of it all. The life or death adrenaline rush. The haze of cigarette smoke. The bass of the music throbbing like your very own disco heartbeat. The skidding of the tyres as he takes a corner in the oily rain.

Being driven by a carefree cad is just endlessly decadent, apart from the fact that you might die a burning death in a flaming ball of twisted metal. This is not really a risk worth taking, unless he’s driving a soft-top bimmer. (Although it’s one I haven’t needed to take since I was twenty-one anyway, because at that point all the carefree cads started driving sensibly. Or found other girls to career around being dangerous with).

My penchant for being driven has meant that since becoming a single lady I have spent a fair amount of dollar on taxis – both to sate my appetite for masculine motoring* and to get me to work on time. It has also meant that I’ve made it to the age of not-quite-thirty without the ability to drive a car. And my firm belief that a lady most certainly does not need a man (not even for baby-making now that those biologists in Oregon have managed to clone a human embryo), has recently led me to have a word with myself in the bathroom mirror and book some driving lessons. After all, a grown up woman should not throw her hard-earned bank notes at taxi-drivers. She should use them to learn to drive instead – in case she should have to make a sudden getaway on a Friday after midnight, when taxi cabs are notoriously impossible to locate.

If you’ve ever had a driving lesson yourself, it won’t surprise you to discover that driving instructors are the exception to the rule I began this posting with. I can report with some confidence (after three instructors and nearly 200 lessons), that there a lot of things sexier than being in a car with a driving instructor – including being in a car with a rotting corpse in the boot. And I’m no necrophiliac.

Driving instructors are the least sexy thing you can be in a car with, and not just because they’re overweight and spend at least half the lesson on the phone reminding their wife to renew the TV licence. They also criticise you pretty much non-stop – niggling over every tiny little time you get distracted by your smudged eyeliner and don’t notice the red light, or the road works, or the Chinese student on a bicycle – which makes driving lessons feel like being trapped inside a moving vehicle with all the evil voices who have escaped from your head and turned into a nasal, conservative pedant with terrible breath.

Of course, there are dating options outside driving instructors. I am aware of this. It’s just that learning to drive has forced me to add one more profession to the ever-growing list of ‘jobs held by men I’ll never date’, which I keep in my purse as a handy aide-mémoire, and which I have decided not to post here in case it makes you hate me. Suffice to say it started with ‘no actors, no army’ and expanded out to include pretty much all the professions with the exception of criminal lawyers and Olympic athletes – and I’ve heard rumours that both these occupations require long hours, and don’t pay as well as you might imagine. So even if I do find a suitable lover, I’ll probably have to drive myself home and purchase my own soft-top bimmer.

As Jake Gyllenhall once said (under very different circumstances), this is one goddamn bitch of an unsatisfactory situation.

*Except on the rare and disappointing occasions that they send a woman driver

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