Matt Gemmell

TOLL is available now!

An action-thriller novel — book 2 in the KESTREL series.

★★★★★ — Amazon

Car Protocol

personal 2 min read

I got my Peugeot 206 today!
Silver, 5-door LX, air-con, twin airbags, CD player, remote central locking, electric windows 
and mirrors, power steering, and so on and so forth. Beautiful. :)

Here are some pics. Standard photographic apologies apply (<a href="">Paul</a> 
must grind his teeth when he looks at my pics).

Anyway, to the subject of this post. Fiona and I were talking last night about today's trip to pick up the car (and indeed to pay for it), 
and we wandered onto seating arrangements in a car for various combinations of passengers. I mentioned my belief in something called the 
Car Protocol (my name for it). It concerns situations where a male is driving, his female partner is a passenger, and there's at least one 
other passenger. It works like this:
  1. If the 2nd passenger is female, she sits in the back. The guy's parter sits in the front passenger seat.
  2. If the 2nd passenger is male, but not a close friend of the driver, he sits in the back.
  3. If the 2nd passenger is male, and a friend of the driver, he sits in the front passenger seat.
  4. If there are 3 passengers, comprising the driver's partner and a couple, if the couple are friends of the driver, then see point 3. Else, see point 2.
If a female is driving, it's easy - her male partner <em>always</em> gets the front passenger seat, no matter what (even if someone is dying, 
and you're driving them to hospital).

This may seem unintuitive, and perhaps even annoying, to female partners of the driver. After all, you're his S.O., so surely 
the front passenger seat is your sole domain? I agree with the principle, but it fails to take account of the following fact:

<strong>Men hate being in a car when they're not the driver</strong>.

Hate it, utterly. We feel foolish, and somehow immature. 
If we could get away with it, we'd sit with our driving license pressed up against the window, so that passing drivers or pedestrians 
could at least see that we <em>can</em> drive. But we'd rather just be driving.

If protocol, or indeed insurance (damn you, bizarre UK vehicle-specific insurance system), prevents us from being the driver, we <em>insist</em> 
on at least getting the front passenger seat. That way, we could be seen to be "helping" in some way. Navigating, guiding, standing by to grab 
the wheel at a microsecond's notice, or whatever. At least we're not sitting in the back, hands clasped uselessly in our laps, feeling like we're 
ten years old again, being run to school in the morning. We men! We <em>drive</em>!


Fiona did not agree with the Car Protocol. Truth be told, she got a bit indignant about it. But just consider those poor, back-seat-passenger men, 
sitting there mortified and feeling real pain whenever some pretty female passes by. Ladies can sit quite happily in the back seat, talking away. 
Men must be at least within reaching distance of the wheel and gearstick in order to be at all comfortable.

So, ladies, next time you're about to jump into the front passenger seat, spare a thought for any poor, suffering male passengers who might 
be coming along for the ride.