When it comes to women, how do you or I know what we want?

I mean, have I ever really known what I want?

A random example – involving inanimate objects – that reminds me of just how fickle I can be…

Many years ago, I bought my first car. It was a very exciting moment, a real “coming of age”. After doing my homework and having the tough discussions with the bank manager, came the Saturday morning I headed down to the showroom. My eyes lit up when I saw the selection of fine machines parked on the shop floor. Then it hit me that I would be handing over my life savings and taking one of these babies home! This was for keeps!

Mistake number one was to summon a salesman. I had already decided that the basic model of the car I had chosen was within my price range. But, to my dismay, none of the models I was busy eyeing in the showroom met that description! So, instead, he takes me out the back door to a holding lot. A selection of much plainer looking cars crammed into a small space. And no spotlights making them gleam.

But then I saw her. The 130i. I knew she was an option and wouldn’t break the bank. Not in the colour I had wanted, but she was cute nonetheless! I stepped up towards her with a smile on my face that soon disappeared.

“This one does not have the rear window wiper. It’s the standard wheels. But there is a rev counter… oh, beg your pardon, that’s only on the Sport…”

And what was with the instrument dials?!! They were this freakish turquoise blue colour – far from what I had dreamt of staring into while gliding my car around the hairpins of the Swiss Alps on a spring morning! Why is it that they always seem to have to compromise the entry-level models with strange designs that have nothing to do with cost-saving but are really just there to force you toward something more expensive…

 “Sir, maybe you’d like to check out the 130i Sport?”

In a moment of weakness, we were back on the marble floor of the showroom. It did not take much for him to convince me. The 130i Sport. In silver metallic. Hmmm, baby! 15-inch alloy wheels. Colour-coded bumpers. Rev counter. Rear window wiper and washer. Digital clock. Courtesy light. And much smarter instrument dials!

“Could you please tell me how much deposit for this one?”

Everything started telling me that I needed this car. The basic model was just a little too basic, come on! Fortunately, I had the good sense to defer my decision to another day. But I stayed up all night calculating monthly premiums and living expenses. By the time I was done, I reckoned I could soon be driving around in my silver 130i Sport if it meant that much to me!

But then reality caught up with me. These cars were mechanically identical. Could I really justify throwing out all that extra money each month for the sake of a few extra features I would hardly use?

And so, I ordered up the basic model. In blue, to match the instrument dials.

And I never looked back.


Now I hear you telling me that it is going to be very different from choosing cars when you’re finding someone to become family! I hope you’re right. But, to be fair, how often are we not evaluating the local female talent like we’re in a showroom? The things of real consequence – like practicality and affordability – being sidelined by paintwork, leather and engine sizes!

What we want is seldom what we need… and seldom what we ultimately want.

When it comes to choosing my future wife – one human with whom I’ll sign up to share more than I’ll ever share with any other organism on Earth – there are no easy exchanges and no refunds. And the payment terms are steep. If there is ever need for getting a second opinion, this is it.