I’ve always heard that “A man is like a bus, the next one is always coming.” I realize now, the key is making sure you catch the right one so you get where you’re going with minimal hassle or delay.

Recently, I bought a used car – an SUV to be exact. It was by far one of the most interesting experiences of my life.  I expressed my interest to my bank and dealerships immediately started calling me,  and referring me to their associates if they couldn’t help.

I knew what I wanted and was firm about it going in. However, after a few dealerships gave me the same spiel, I was convinced I’d had the wrong idea of what to expect.

It wasn’t until after my brother called to tell me that he’d just purchased a vehicle for substantially less money AND had gotten the kind of service I’d expected that I realized I’d been duped.

It also occurred to me that my car buying experience wasn’t the only area in my life where I was having this problem.

In my previous post, I shared that all I wanted for Xmas was a man. And not just any man, but a covenant partner who would share his life with me – building a foundation alongside me rather than for me.

As I considered my car buying experience, I noted that my love life looked remarkably similar. Though I’d returned to the dating scene with certain wants and expectations, upon encountering a few setbacks I considered that perhaps I’d been idealistic and unrealistic.  

Now, however, I understand that a compromise in any area will leave me with something I might like, but not necessarily the best of it. For instance, I’ve always heard that “A man is like a bus, the next one is always coming.” I realize now, the key is making sure you catch the right one so you get where you’re going with minimal hassle or
delay. The moment I compromise, I tell the Universe I’m willing to catch the wrong bus.

So, in an effort to help myself (and others who might be dealing with something similar) I’ve compiled a list of things I won’t compromise on in the future (whether buying a car or choosing a mate).

1. If you’re expecting me, prepare for me.
When seriously shopping for a new car, you usually make an appointment to see some options. The salesman asks you various questions to determine what you might be interested in buying. When you get there then, he should be prepared to show you vehicles that meet your needs and fall within your price range. He knew you were coming therefore he should be prepared upon your arrival, not scrambling or winging it after you come on the scene.  Granted, he could use the same list for other clients like you, but the point is that he should at least look like he wants your business and made an effort.

The same holds true for a potential mate. Whether it’s doing the heart work and dumping emotional baggage, cleaning house for exclusivity, making space in his schedule or planning a date; if he wants me he needs to prepare for me – especially if he claims he wants a woman or a wife. I’m here…ready, willing and able.  Where he at? (Bad English, but a great point.)

2. Give me what I want, not what you want me to have.
One of the things about going to a lot and test driving the cars is that you get to dream. Often the salesman will let you get behind the wheel of a car you (and he) know you can’t afford. It’s a way to convince you he’s on your side; that he’s more interested in your happiness than his commission.  And while dreaming is always nice, if you really want my business you’ll consider that I’m a mom – likely single since I’ve got the kid in tow – so my time is valuable and I need to get down to business right away. Since we’ve already spoken on the phone, I’ve given you a price range and a desired monthly payment amount. When you see the impeccable credit score, don’t try to put me in something newer (and more expensive), while trying to convince me that it’s in my (and my son’s) best interest. Instead, consider that I know what I want and that I’m smart enough to haggle and negotiate until I get it, though I shouldn’t have to. In fact, catch me on the wrong day and rather than debate…I’ll just walk away.

This goes for a man, too. I know what I want and if I’ve decided that it’s you (or not) then I’m not interested in negotiating or daydreaming. We can enjoy the new car smell for awhile, but at some point, I expect us to get to work. Just like a vehicle, we should be able to enjoy our ride, but there’s gotta be something practical about this thing. When we hit the gas with the car in drive,  we should be moving forward not stalling out. If every time I want to look at something, you’re redirecting my attention elsewhere I’m going to guess that either you’re trying to distract me from the fact that you’re a lemon or you think I’m one. Either way, I walk.

3. Don’t wait for me to walk away before you realize I’m serious about getting what I want.
Whether selling me on a car or a relationship, if you can only take me seriously when you see I’m willing to walk away and stop giving you my time, you’ve just proven you’re not worthy of it.

4. Let me look around uninterrupted.
Often when buying a car the salesman knows what’s wrong with the vehicle before showing it to you.  They know the passenger side door doesn’t lock automatically, so they press the key fob to open the driver’s door, manually unlock the passenger side while you’re climbing in, then inconspicuously hand you the keys. They know there’s an issue with the handle on the driver’s side, so they open the door for you and let you climb in first.

The problem is, when the car is all yours, you now own these issues. You can’t return the vehicle and these “minor” flaws aren’t covered under warranty.  You’ll have to pay a pretty penny to make some fairly small adjustments.

That’s why I want to look around on my own. I want to open and close all the doors, turn on all the lights, check the lighters and open the console and glove compartment. I want to walk around the car, test the trunk and pop the locks. I want to run the windshield wipers, blast the heat/AC and roll the windows up and down. I want the VIN (vehicle identification number) so I can run my own CarFax report from my cell phone or tablet rather than just accept the one I’m given.

When it’s a man, I want the spiritual equivalent of a comprehensive check. I want to be free to ask questions and expect to have them answered (honestly). I want time to see you in a variety of settings around different kinds of people. I want to see you interact with your family and mine. I want to meet your friends and introduce you to some of my own.  I want to evaluate how your actions measure up with your words over time. I want to learn your habits and patterns and see if it suits me before I close the deal…because once we’ve signed on the dotted line, all sales are final. 

5. All sales are final.
Just because you’ve changed your mind about the car you bought doesn’t mean you can just give it back. There are channels that must be traveled to make that a reality. In some states, there’s a cooling off period but after that time passes the vehicle is yours. Period.

If you’re unhappy with the vehicle you can trade it in, but the unpaid debt is then transferred to the new vehicle. It is only when the prior debt is paid in full and the car is appraised with value that it can be traded in for a credit. And considering that a car depreciates in value by several thousands of dollars the moment you drive it off the lot, the likelihood of getting your car’s total worth from a dealer is next to nil.

For this reason, many people are very reluctant to buy a new car. They lease, rent and borrow in an effort to avoid the longer-term payments associated with vehicle ownership. Disregard the fact that if you plan effectively, you can build or repair your credit with these payments; instead, most focus on negatives like repossession for nonpayment.

If only we’d go into our relationships with the same level of care, concern and caution.  If only we’d screen our partners the way we screen cars.  If only we’d do as much background research on our prospective mates as we do on our prospective vehicles; taking a moment to look at what they’ve been through: any accidents, injuries or substantial repairs; breakdowns, recalls or catastrophic collisions. Has the exterior bodywork been made to look nice so as to cover-up something potentially detrimental under the hood?

What if we thought of our mates as someone we can’t return after a certain point in the relationship…like marriage? How much more time would we spend ensuring that what we end up with is something we could be happy with until it’s depleted its shelf life and can’t run anymore…or as we say, “’til death do us part”?

In the end, it’s all about compromise… and our unwillingness to do it. That’s how I’m looking at it, and from this point forward I won’t compromise on the big ticket item – the frills, maybe. How about you?

As always, I hope this helped someone  in some way. Until next time, good luck and God bless.

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