A new front in the war on men

Currying favour from the cliterati, feminist stooge Drew Gough is taking aim at masculinity, suggesting we succumb to our double-x overlords:

Driving a standard-transmission vehicle is stupid and dumb and hard…Yet some Canadians get anxious as driving standard becomes obsolete…The view of standard driving as a dying art for a dying breed of manly men is common…I got it, that ancient, nonsensical masculine drive to drive…That understanding was fleeting…But this isn’t a loss. This is evolution…Yet machismo and bravado prompt men to praise the sensuality of stick-shift driving

How do we know that “Mr.” Gough is a walking blue pill?

Also, my left foot hurt.

I weep for the loss of men.

Please do be so kind as to share this post.
TwitterFacebookRedditEmailPrintFriendlyMore options

55 thoughts on “A new front in the war on men

  1. Driving stick shift in San Francisco is a generally dangerous proposition especially when at a redlight on a very steep incline.

    I never learned to drive stick. No one taught me and I never felt less masculine for it.

    I find these arguments kind of odd and funny. I’m a guy. I bookish guy but I identify as a guy and like being a guy. I don’t think of myself as being particuarily feminine yet there are a whole range of macho/he-man activities that I can’t do or have never done. I have never hunted or fired a gun, I’m not huge on sports (watching and playing, I go to the gym for health reasons), I don’t really care about cars and don’t know mechanics (most of which are outdated because cars are now computerized wonders).

    Yet there are lots of people who think all the stuff above is a product of being a real man (TM). Where did they learn this stuff?

    I also don’t feel less than masculine for having an office job/white collar work.

    Report

    • I don’t think I’ve ever driven stick in SF, but I’ve often done so in other hilly cities (though not QUITE as hilly as SF ). The trick is often to skip the brake altogether, and let the clutch out just enough to keep you from rolling back (but not enough to stall).

      And yeah, it can add an extra element of stress, especially if someone pulls right up on your tail, as you wonder if you are gonna roll back into them.

      But, a stick in the mountains is preferable.

      But, it can truly suck in flatland traffic jams.

      But, in minimal traffic on curvy roads, it rocks.

      I kinda miss ’em.

      It really does demand a level of physical coordination that *feels good* when it’s *done well*; like playing a good tennis match, or a round of pool or whatever. You get into “flow state”.

      My current ride has some sort of manual shift option, but I’ve never needed/used it yet.

      Report

    • Driving stick shift in San Francisco is a generally dangerous proposition especially when at a red light on a very steep incline.

      It’s actually a lot of fun, and using engine braking on a steep downhill is both safer and better for the car than riding the brake.

      Now, doing it in Montreal when in addition to the steep hills there’s ice and snow? That’s insanity.

      Report

      • I have driven stick shift in San Francisco and enjoyed it. Parked and later re-started my vehicle while pointed uphill. Nothing more than a love tap on adjoining vehicles.

        Relevant to the OP, I felt a distinctly masculine kind of pride after accomplishing this feat.

        Report

      • Indeed. Driving a stick, like many useful things, is not effortless. It doesn’t make you a better driver because it’s hard, it makes you a better driver because you have to be attentive to your vehicle and its surroundings to operate it smoothly.

        Report

      • Mike,
        we block off Negley Avenue when it snows. Too dangerous to risk the stop at the bottom.
        I’ve used enginebraking on automatic cars (when the mountain has a 15mph hairpin at the bottom, you want your brakes cool and fresh!)

        Report

    • I’m pretty much on board with you, except there was a time when I felt masculine challenged for not being able to drive a stick and for not liking driving in the first place. As for the latter (not liking driving), I’m always afraid I’m going to get into an accident or worse, hurt someone.

      I do in fact have a license because it’s damned* useful to have one (state I.D. cards don’t always work as they’re supposed to**) and because you never know when you’ll need to drive in an emergency, but in general I don’t drive at all and I love walking (my chief form of exercise) and using urban mass transit.

      I have heard–and Patrick’s statement below seems to corroborate it–that there are distinct advantages to driving a stick shift. But I wouldn’t know.

      *Sorry for the swear word.
      **When I was a bank teller, I was told to regard with greater suspicion any state I.D. (as opposed to drivers license) because for some reason they were seen as less reliable. One reason supposedly was that, at least in my state (Colorado) at the time (1990s), a large number of state I.D.’s did not expire, so we weren’t supposed to “trust” that any given i.d. reflected the person who presented it. All that may have been true, but I thought it was unfair to state i.d. holders and that a truer motivation may have been just a distrust of people who didn’t drive.

      Report

    • My wife and I both drove stick in San Fran in her old Subaru. I’m not sure it’s a “manly” thing, since she’s not exactly a dude. I miss driving stick because it’s fun, a feeling of accomplishment (not manly accomplishment, just the satisfaction of accomplishing any task that takes practice to become good at). I also find driving monotonous in general, and tend to lose focus, but a stick gives me something physical to do (assuming not on wide open freeway) other than stare dully at the road ahead.

      I mourn the loss of the stick shift, but the only “manly” connection to it I can find is the all-too-obvious penile substitution business.

      Report

  2. Guess I’m a manly man I love driving….a manual transmission car, I learned to drive on a stick and really miss it we just bought a car (used) and you can not find a stick to save your life

    Report

  3. It doesn’t have anything to do with machismo and it has everything to do with increased ability to control the vehicle.

    I hate my automatic car.

    Report

      • Another entry, in the continuing series of “Things That Sound Dirty, But Aren’t Necessarily”:

        In college, I taught a good female friend of mine to drive stick (not yet, wait for it), in Beetle #2.

        I later had to explain to one of her boyfriends, why I sometimes referred to her as “Ol’ Buck’n’Squeal”.

        Strangely, he thought I might have meant…something else.

        Report

      • When my sister was teaching me to drive stick, she used to joke that I was giving her a bad case of “Whoa-Whoa-Whiplash”.

        I did eventually master the manual shift, when I started riding motorcycles.

        Report

    • This. My first two cars in HS and college were automatic. I totalled them both because I was stupid and young and inattentive.

      Then my father took $500 and bought me a rusted out Jeep Cherokee 5 speed. I spent that Saturday and Sunday learning to -drive-, not just steer, as the OOP correctly draws the distinction. I’m proud to say that I haven’t been at fault in a motor vehicle collision in the decade since.

      I firmly believe that the DMV should only permit applicants to take driving practical exams in standard transmission vehicles. The roads would be much safer.

      Report

  4. Driving a stick is going to be like operating a slide rule soon enough. It’s a shame, though all the girls who let me try to drive their Mustangs back in college would be pretty bemused at the notion that the purpose of the manual transmission is to shore up one’s masculinity.

    I know Gough is attempting to be funny, but his essay is of a piece with these annoying features that journalists whip up, with instant analyses of something—dub step, soccer, sexual appetites of the Japanese—that they knew nothing of this morning and little more now.

    Report

    • I would argue that driving a stick and using a slide rule are already the same: useless skills in 2013.

      When I bought my cars, the only features I absolutely insisted upon were A/C and automatic transition.

      In my life, I have noticed a positive correlation between driving a stick and being an obnoxious asshole.

      Report

      • In my life, I have noticed a positive correlation between driving a stick and being an obnoxious asshole.

        That is, indubitably, one way to look at it.

        For my part, I’ve spent too much time in places where if you wanted a custom surfboard made (in the desert), or wished to employ the services of a pet psychologist, practitioners would clamor to your door, but if the A/C went out in your car, you were SOL for a week or so until someone that knew how to do shit and fix shit came in from somewhere that the rents weren’t so high.

        Report

      • “In my life, I have noticed a positive correlation between driving a stick and being an obnoxious asshole.”

        In my life I have noticed a similar correlation between driving any non-OG (’65 or ’66) Mustang model and being an OA.

        Report

      • – used to be you could save gas (and brake) usage by careful stick driving. I believe automatics now outperform even the best stick driving gas-efficiency-wise, so some of that cost differential may balance out (I assume the brakes thing still holds, though brakes are cheaper to repair than transmissions, so that could go either way).

        Report

      • Heh. All I means is, you gots a vintage Mustang of those years (or even say a ’71)? You’re probably just a gearhead or vintage auto enthusiast. Cool. Used to be a beautiful car.

        Any more modern model, you’re either a 17-year old boy (and thus an OA pretty much definitionally) or someone who wanted a sports car with which to drive faster than everyone else, but doesn’t have the sense or ability to get a real one.

        Yes, I suppress a gag reflex when I consider the modern Mustang owner. I am aware of confirmation bias, but I can’t count the times I have seen someone driving like an OA, noticed it was a Mustang, and said…yep.

        Report

      • I don’t believe manual transmission… is available in a Prius.

        Broadly speaking, manual transmissions aren’t ever going to be available on a parallel hybrid like a Prius. Keeping three pieces — gas engine, electric motor, wheels — running at compatible speeds is beyond people. Especially when you add in that both the wheels and the electric motor may be, at different times, a power source or power sink. IIRC, GM published a piece a few years back that said two-thirds of the engineering hours for their then-new SUV hybrid transmission went into writing and debugging the software that ran on a processor dedicated to the task of keeping all the sources/sinks running efficiently together.

        Report

      • used to be you could save gas (and brake) usage by careful stick driving. I believe automatics now outperform even the best stick driving gas-efficiency-wise

        Exactly like you used to be able to get better efficiency with hand-coded assembly language, but these days compilers are a lot smarter than people are.

        Report

  5. I’ll second the comments about manuals, especially in SF. I’ve never driven there, but have in hilly places and it’s not hard. Hell, Iearned how to drive a manual ON A HILL because the instructor said “if you can get a manual moving going up a hill, doing it on a flat surface is easy.” He was correct. I’ve always driven manuals. I enjoy driving, and if my commute is an hour, you’re damn well sure I want to enjoy that time. Yep, it sucks in stop and go traffic, but then you get to open it up and shift going around switch backs and rev up the engine, so I guess it balances out.

    The problem I am starting to run into, however, is that there seem to be fewer mechanics who know how to work on them and/or “those people that move cars around at a repair shop” who know how to drive them. I had to wait about 20 mins longer after my car was fixed because no one could be found to move the car out of the bay….

    Sad.

    Report

    • My first car was a ’69 VW beetle with “Automatic Stickshift”: it had a stick, but no clutch pedal (you let off the gas to shift). They only made them for two years, so even many mechanics weren’t familiar with them.

      I always liked watching somebody get in my car and start searching around, confused, for the clutch pedal. If it was a mechanic, I’d tell them stuff like, “yeah, that broke off….what do you think I’m here for?!”

      Then I wrecked that Bug, and got another with a standard stick.

      After that, I followed an alternating pattern for several years – small car/stick, alternating with large car/automatic (Civic – Pathfinder – Accord – Xterra).

      My last two cars have been auto though – an Element, and a CX-9.

      The CX-9 does have a manual shift option – but no clutch pedal.

      So in that way, I’m back where I began.

      Report

    • but have in hilly places and it’s not hard. Hell, Iearned how to drive a manual ON A HILL because the instructor said “if you can get a manual moving going up a hill, doing it on a flat surface is easy.” He was correct.

      The second part in bold seems to contradict the first part in bold. If learning on a hill makes it easier to do it on a flat surface, then that, to me, suggests hills are harder. Otherwise, there’d be no difference in learning on a flat service compared to learning on a hill. I guess one might object that hills are always harder, in either automatic or manual modes, and that it’s always better to learn on a hill and that there’s nothing uniquely difficult about using a manual on a hill.

      Sorry about the pedantry.*

      *Actually, I’m not that sorry. But I am being a pedantic nitpicker.

      Report

  6. Real men don’t even have left feet. Two right feet. The better for kicking ass with. Plus, it insures they will never do something as foolish as dance.

    Report

  7. [yawn] Manual transmission, 9 forward gears, two reverse. Unless I’m starting or stopping, I don’t normally bother with the clutch. I’ve driven rigs with as many as 18 forward gears.

    You may now worship my testeronic majesty.

    Report

    • I forget what movie it was where Coddled Wealthy Suburban Woman was forced team up with Unsophisticated But Lovable Truck Driver and she had to drive the truck. Nervous about driving a large vehicle with a manual transmission, she whooped and hollered in self-congratulation upon attaining fourth gear, mistakenly believing she had reached “overdrive” and could thereafter simply cruise. Of course, when Unsophisticated But Lovable Truck Driver said, “Calm down, there’s still ten more gears to go through,” she flipped out and panicked in a fashion the audience was supposed to find endearingly funny. (Of course, they overcame the bad guys and fell in love because that’s how it works in the movies.) This probably wasn’t a very good movie, but I did remember that “Oh, wow, that’s a lot of gears those drivers are working.”

      Report

      • It’s not as bad as it sounds. It’s a pretty standard four gear shift pattern but then you flip up this little lever with your finger and run through it again. (And the lowest “granny” gear you don’t really use much in case you were doing the math.) On the 18, again skip the granny gear, and in addition to the above there’s a little slider you work with your thumb that “splits” each of those eight gears. The split is optional and you wouldn’t normally bother with it if you were empty or lightly loaded.

        Where I really liked the 18-speed was climbing hills, like 7%, 8-mile mountain grades, like the Grapevine on I-5 north of LA. Diesels have a sweet spot for torque/power at around 1400/1500 rpm. That 18-speed gives you 200 rpm shift points and you can put it right in that zone no matter the hill or how heavy you’re running.

        Report

      • It’s not as bad as it sounds. It’s a pretty standard four gear shift pattern but then you flip up this little lever with your finger and run through it again. (And the lowest “granny” gear you don’t really use much in case you were doing the math.)

        I was, and unless I’m doing it wrong, that makes seven :-)

        Report

  8. Random notes…

    My cars with manual transmissions have all had the emergency/parking brake lever mounted on the center console, so I cheated when I had to start facing up a steep incline.

    Drove a friend’s ~1951 Chevy pickup back and forth across Nebraska a few times. Three speeds and square-cut gears. Double-clutching made the downshifts a lot smoother. There was a small crack in the engine block so you had to top off the oil and water every 300 miles or so. They built ’em to be almost indestructible in those days.

    My Honda Fit has a “sport” mode and paddle shifters. The software limits the RPM range for each gear, but it lets you operate any particular gear over a much wider range than the software normally uses when it gets to make the entire decision. It’s not the same thing. I only resort to it on days when the Fit and I are having bigger disagreements than usual about what gear the car ought to be in to coming out of a corner/curve (the typical disagreement is that I want to be one gear farther down sooner and the RPM’s about 750 higher than the software wants).

    Report

Comments are closed.