Good news, everyone! Today is FRIDAY! Actually, it's now Tuesday, and I'm writing this like 11 days in the past. That's because I am currently on vacation in a country where Internet is reserved for a lucky few, such as cafes where they make you order a baba ghanoush to get the WiFi password.
But it's Friday where you are, and that means the time has come for this week's version of Letters to Doug, a popular weekly column wherein you write me with a car question and I answer it in a rambling, incoherent manner.
Today's letter comes to us from a reader named Paul, who is located in an unknown place, so I'm going to assume Calgary, Alberta, because it's the first place that popped into my mind. Paul writes:
I'm getting married. Since you're a family man who managed to own a Ferrari 360, I have a question for you - how / when do I justify purchasing a toy? I've been aching for a 944 / Miata / Fox Mustang / generic weekend car for quite some time - how does one get a non-car-enthusiast wife to go along with this idea?
PS - We didn't buy the house yet - if that changes things.
I'm actually really glad that Paul wrote in today, because his letter gives me a chance to really explore the ins and outs of a bona fide family for the very first time since I went to college and moved 2,000 miles away from mine.
And that's why I should start my response to Paul's letter by announcing that I don't really consider myself a family man. I mean, sure, I'm a member of the human family, but my current "family structure" consists solely of me and my girlfriend. We have no kids. We have no pets. What we have is a large number of recessed light bulbs that occasionally burn out, a microwave that sometimes overcooks our food, and a stapler that we can never seem to find.
I say all this because I don't really have much experience when it comes to justifying my purchases to my significant other. In fact, I would say I have absolutely no experience with this topic; so little experience, in fact, that I think my level of knowledge is roughly on par with my knowledge about nuclear physics, which is: it should be left up to trained professionals.
And so, given my lack of knowledge on this issue, I felt I would be the perfect person to address it.
Here's what I've learned when it comes to spousal issues, Paul: your main play is to just deny, deny, deny. So my number one suggestion is to purchase a fun car and then completely deny its existence. For instance:
Wife: Honey, why is there a Miata in our garage?
Paul: There is not a Miata in our garage.
Wife: Did you buy a f***ing Miata without telling me?!?!
Paul: Sweetie, you're delusional. There is no Miata.
Wife: HOW THE F*** COULD YOU DO THIS!?!?!
Paul: Did you know that Calgary is the fifth largest metropolitan area in Canada?
The only problem with denial is that eventually your wife is going to figure out that she isn't mistaken, because you will want to drive your vehicle, and it will be hard to deny the existence of something that you've received a speeding ticket in.
So I would say your next best option here is to convince your wife that the fun car would be something that the two of you can enjoy together. I imagine that conversation would go roughly like this:
Paul: Don't you think we'd look so great in a Miata?
Paul: We could spend time together, wind in our hair, sun on our backs?
Paul: Heading through the mountains, laughing and listening to the stereo?
Paul: We're way cooler than those losers up in Edmonton, eh?
Now, the problem with this strategy is that sometimes you might not be able to convince her to go along with your idea, because she is using logic and good sense, whereas you are asking to purchase a large, impractical toy – a toy the size of a guest bathroom – that will only end up costing you money. So if this also fails, I think we can all agree that you have only one more option, and that is to simply make more money. Here's how that conversation would go:
Paul: Hey Wife, remember when you told me I couldn't buy a Miata?
Wife: My name isn't Wife.
Paul: Well, I won the Canadian lottery and now I'm a millionaire! I'm going to buy TEN Miatas, and drive them all to Chinook Centre, which looks like it should be pronounced "sentry" but is actually said like "center." So there!
And if none of these tactics work, then I think your only remaining safe bet is to try emotional manipulation, which 9 out of 10 psychologists say is a strong tool used in virtually any healthy marriage. Failing that, it looks like you're headed for divorce. Then you must move to a state where you can marry your Miata.
Remember, ladies and gentlemen: you, too, can participate in Letters to Doug and have your question answered just like Paul's! Just send me an e-mail at Letters2Doug@gmail.com, or Tweet me at @DougDeMuro. And don't forget, as Paul would say: "Go Flames! And let me buy a Miata, or I'm divorcing you!"
@DougDeMuro is the author of Plays With Cars. He owned an E63 AMG wagon and once tried to evade police at the Tail of the Dragon using a pontoon boat. (It didn't work.) He worked as a manager for Porsche Cars North America before quitting to become a writer, largely because it meant he no longer had to wear pants. Also, he wrote this entire bio himself in the third person.