All men are either Car Guy or Sports Guy, Patrick Smith writes. Guess which one has the advantage.
There are 3.5 billion women in the world. And there are two men.
Actually, there are more. But two heterosexual men.
Car Guy and Sports Guy. That’s it. If you’re a straight man, you’re Car Guy or you’re Sports Guy. You were born that way and you’ll die that way.
That isn’t to say there’s no crossover. It’s not entirely about sports or cars. Sometimes Car Guy likes sports. And sometimes Sports Guy likes cars. But similarities end there. Pretty much.
Sports Guy is your pal. He’s happy, he’s outgoing, he wears his emotions on his sleeve. He’s cool, but in a dress-socks-and-sneakers kind of way. He sings the first verse of the Notre Dame fight song in a helium-balloon voice, and he thinks it’s hilarious.
Car Guy is quiet and moody. He’s distant and sometimes dark. He’s not funny. Ask him where he’s been for the last four hours, and he’ll mumble, “Out in the shed.” Or just, “out.”
The categories predate both cars and sports. Well, cars anyway. Euripides? Total Car Guy. Demosthenes? Enjoyed putting a drachma or two on the javelin throw.
Teddy Roosevelt? Duh. Sports Guy. Abraham Lincoln? Car Guy.
It’s not always obvious who’s who. President Obama’s a big sports fan. But he’s Car Guy.
Car Guy tinkers with things. He takes them apart and wants to know how they work. He can pitch a tent and build a fire. Give Sports Guy enough tries and he can catch a ping pong ball with his ass cheeks.
But it’s not a yin-yang thing; one’s winning. By, like, a lot. Though the competition can be fierce, one of these guys is clearly defeating the other guy.
Three guesses who’s winning. (That’s a trick.) The answer’s Car Guy.
Why? Because he can fix your car.
When Sports Guy proclaims Barry Sanders the greatest ball carrier in the history of the game, Car Guy doesn’t care.
But when Car Guy starts talking about a Chevy 383 with cast iron cylinder heads and a roller crankshaft, Sports Guy seethes. He knows he can’t compete.
And what does Car Guy win for defeating his rival?
The grudging attention and admiration of A) the earth’s 3.5 billion women and B) Sports Guy.
Women don’t want to like Car Guy. But dammit, he’s good at so many things. They’re powerless over the car-fixing thing.
Fortunately for Sports Guy, though, Car Guy is either not interested in or unable to pair up with all 3.5 billion women. Thus, Sports Guy lives a moderately happy life in the shadow of his nemesis.
I come from a long line of Sports Guys. And for several months now, I have lived at the total, complete mercy of Car Guy. My wife instigated a home renovation that involves the front of our house becoming the side of our house and required us to move out for six weeks.
Throughout this project, I’ve been worried about my image, next to some imagined ideal of a shirtless, glistening Car Guy tearing my house down from the inside and rebuilding it with his bare hands. I figured that when the project ended, I’d hand him a huge check and he’d smirk at me contemptuously.
But it turns out, Car Guy isn’t perfect. The contractor, while competent, has made more than his share of errors along the way. The job has run way past the date it should’ve ended. And he gets weird when you ask him questions. These last weeks, I’ve been heartened to see, right up close, so many of Car Guy’s shortcomings. I have a fresh, new hope.
The home renovation will be over soon, it appears. And I’ll return to my happy Sports Guy life.
Now toss me that ping pong ball.