Let the women do the driving


My wife, Malathi, has a driver’s license and thank goodness for that,
because if she didn’t have one, she wouldn’t be able to buy any beer.Humor Column
You have to be 18 to shop at the liquor store. Malathi is much older than that, but it’s still conceivable that
a sales clerk might ask her for ID, considering all the liquor fumes in
the store. And when you’re standing in line with a bunch of hip
youngsters, who are listening to their iPods or texting their friends
on their iPhones, the last thing you want to be doing is whipping out
your passport.Passports are the uncoolest form of ID. You might as well bring your
mother to the store to say, “This is my daughter. She is older than 18.
Would you like to see some of her baby pictures?”

Yes, the driver’s license comes in handy, though, in Malathi’s case,
it ought to be called a drinker’s license. Not that Malathi drinks a
lot. She has a little wine or beer occasionally. A couple of times a
month, which means that she does a lot more drinking than driving.
Unless you count the type of driving that involves me and a wall.

When she goes to work, she takes the bus. It’s convenient,
economical and less stressful. She gets to do some reading on the bus —
and more than just all the tattoos.

When we go out as a family, guess who does the driving? Yes, Mr.
Imbecile. That’s me. Malathi sits next to me and tells me what I did
wrong: “Weren’t you supposed to turn left over there?” “Weren’t you
supposed to slow down for the yellow light?” “Weren’t you supposed to
stay out of the ditch?”

Just the other day, while we were heading to church, I drove too
fast on an icy exit ramp, lost control of our car and ended up in a
pile of snow down a slope. Fortunately none of us was hurt, but
Malathi gave me a look that said, “Weren’t you supposed to bring your
brain with you?”

Despite a few mistakes like that, I think I’m a pretty good driver.
I wish Malathi would compliment my driving now and then: “Sensational
parallel parking, honey!” “Beautiful U-Turn, Melvin!” “Wonderful job
getting out of the ditch!”

Better yet, I’d like her to do more driving, so I can do more
complaining. But it rarely happens. Even on long trips, I’m usually
doing the driving, and she’s usually doing the sleeping.

It’s so unfair, especially since women are supposed to be better
drivers than men. Yes, a number of studies have shown this to be true —
and some of these studies, believe it or not, were conducted by men!

The problem, it seems, is that men are always driving under the
influence. A few are guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol,
but most are guilty of driving under the influence of testosterone.

are still trying to figure testosterone out, but it’s clear the hormone
affects male drivers in ways women can’t even begin to understand.
Consider these situations:

—You are driving down a road when a
car zooms past you at a breakneck speed. Female response: “What an
idiot! I hope he gets a ticket.” Male response: “What an idiot! He
thinks his car is faster than mine. I’ll show him.”

accidentally cut off another driver. He shakes his head and blares his
horn. Female response: “Oh no, he must be really mad at me. I’d better
lower my head and look straight ahead.” Male response: “What an idiot!
He thinks his horn is louder than mine. I’ll show him.”

—A driver
tries to pass you, but loses control of his car, goes off the road and
slams into two trees, knocking them down. Female response: “Oh no, I
hope he isn’t hurt.” Male response: “What an idiot! He thinks his car
can knock down more trees than mine. I’ll show him.”

Photo by Paulo Brabo


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If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.


  1. Jigruksh says:

    You know the US better and hence I take your word for the driving ability of ladies in there.
    But back home in India, even lesser percentage of ladies drive, and a large fraction of the driving lot realize during their drive that they forgot to apply lip-stick. Of course, who remembers to use the rear-view mirror to check if the application was accruate or not, especially since they remember to dig out the hand mirror from the purse which is present on the back seat.

  2. Good one, Melvin. Wish you had few cartoons of mine on woman driving and woman on passenger seat along with your article!

  3. hi melvin,
    i am reading your blog for a bloooody long time. Just now, i have started writing blog by myself. ( In Tamil). Just thought of translating this particular one and putting it in my blog. I hope you don’t mind. let me know. offcourse, would mention the source ! I hope you wouldn’t dare to sue me for copyright offences.

  4. Melvin,
    Came across your blog today and i am fascinated! You have a wonderful sense of humor, and I am busy giggling at the stories.
    Wonderful blog..will tell all my friends about it.

  5. LOL! I do think women are better drivers, thank you. 😉

  6. Melvin – you wouldn’t believe what happened….Today I was waiting at the lights and a lady ran the lights becuase she was applying lipstick..!!! Luckily I saw her take a wrong turn and saved my head!!! I googled for female drivers and came across ur site!!! U r awesome…I was planning to write about this in my blog and hope I can match to this post!!! 🙂

  7. Melvin
    I do not know about women being better drivers than men. I’m South African, black and Venda. I have had the middle finger raised at me quite a few times by white women drivers in cases where I have clearly been in the right. Perhaps it has to do with the South African myth that Vendas and Shangaans have three legs, if you know what I mean!

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