Loving your car isn’t as crazy as it sounds

By Brittany Lavin
November 17, 2006

Owning a car is like owning a pet. Besides being huge responsibilities, they become a part of our everyday lives. Think about it- we clean them, feed them, yell at them when they act up and sometimes we even name them. But why do we treat them this way?

I bought my first car just a few months ago and already I feel as though we have bonded. You might laugh, but it’s true and I don’t think it’s weird at all.

Case in point, my older sister’s first car was handed down from my mom and then my brother. By the time she got it, it was practically broken down. However, my sister loved that car and affectionately called it Betsy.

Betsy was old and beat up and when she would have a bad day, I would pray for her to break down while my sister caressed the steering wheel and murmured words of encouragement. In the end my prayers were answered and my sister was devastated, but she knew that it was Betsy’s time.

Another example of this type of behavior that caught my attention would be those old movies where the cool guy has a beautiful bright red car named “Rosita” or something to that effect. Either way, the cool guy always refers to his car as “she.”

This type of behavior got me thinking: why do people love their cars so much?

I decided to consult an expert on the inner workings of the human mind and this peculiar trend.

“Through both good times and bad, our cars are sometimes the only thing that we share experiences with. We have what we call ‘pro-social’ relationships with them,” Dr. Melissa Terlecki, assistant professor of psychology, said.

Pro-social relationships refer to the giving of help that benefits an individual and society. This includes the values of cooperation, self-control and understanding.

“In general cars are dependable and we usually have our cars for a lengthy time, so we get attached to them,” Terlecki said. “We sleep in them, we eat in them and we are in them for hours a day. It seems almost natural to have a bond, however one-sided, with our cars.”

Of course, not everyone loves their car so much as to name it. However, I bet those same people yell at their cars when they act up.

Cars are a big part of our daily lives and we can’t help but think of them as a part of who we are.

Some of you might think I’m crazy and some of you might actually relate to this article, but either way, we can all agree that there is a definitive love/hate relationship between a driver and their car.

As for Betsy? Well, may she rest in pieces.

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Brittany Lavin

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