Gear: I Am the Wife of a Petrolista

I Am the Wife of a Petrolista

By Hellena Miron
March 5, 2015
26 Comments

Story by Hellena Miron

Photography by Lucile Pillet & David Marvier

Sometimes when I walk into a car event, or a car show, or anything pertaining to cars with my husband, I find myself searching for others like me, as if it was a support group. I feel the need to introduce myself by saying, “My name is Hellena…and I am the wife of a car nut. Are there any friends for me here?”. I dream that the crowd might reach out to me and say, “Hello, Hellena. We’re here for you.” In need of a sympathetic ear, then, I’m here today to share my experience as the wife of a Petrolista.

My husband drives a 1997 Porsche 993 4S. The “4S” is important somehow, and the “993” is apparently even more important. I just know it’s black, has tan seats, a stick shift, and is air-cooled. It even has a fire extinguisher – I’m scared to ask why – and I know I’m not allowed to open the sunroof, lest it jam. Other car-lovers wave or give the thumbs up as we’re driving by sometimes. Other times, they start babbling at my husband, talking in this strange form of automotive-speak to him as if they’re fellow members of some secret society. I just stand there and smile… patiently waiting for them to finish.

He talks too much about his Porsche, and he buys me too much car-related gear. If I wore every piece of car-themed clothing he bought me, I’d start to look like him. Instead, I’ve taken to wearing the clothes to bed so that I won’t hurt his feelings.

On our first date, he drove his 993 to meet me, but he was late because he’d parked blocks away from where we were meeting. Whereas I always try to park on the same block as the restaurant, he always has to find the “perfect parking spot”. When he did finally arrive at the restaurant, I thought he was nervous because he was excited to meet me, but now I see that he was probably just worried about his car’s safety.

He won’t valet our car, unless it’s mine. He says he needs to see the valet’s resume. I find this hard to understand.

My husband spends many, many hours, and much, much money on car-anything. Countless magazine subscriptions keep our house inundated with car-related reading material. Our counters, kitchen, and bathrooms are overrun: we could open our own newsstand. And don’t even get me started on the Rennlist and the forums he is tapped into like an IV drug user. Our DVR is cluttered with car-related shows, and my Grey’s Anatomy always gets deleted. Patrick Dempsey would be very upset (though I hear that he’s one of these car guys, too). When I question him about it, my husband reassures me that it’s good for me to learn about cars. Yeah, sure, like learning about tooth extraction techniques. I’ve learned to accept this lifestyle, but I now mostly view our TV as a sleeping aid – a 60-inch, high-definition tranquilizer.

The first argument we ever had, very early in our relationship, was about what my next car would be. I was driving a Prius at the time and wanted something safer. I explained to him that I had done extensive research on safety, and that Volvo had always been on my list of cars to own ever since I was a little girl. My wonderful, calm, and seemingly polite boyfriend, however, soon began to assume the loud, annoying, and repetitive tone of a dictator. 

“You can’t buy a Volvo!” he said. “You have to look at this, you have to look at that. Hey, how about a 993?”

Hours and hours later, I had a headache, and I’d had enough. I may have even told him to shut-up. We had just started dating and it was my money, so who was he to tell me how to spend it?

He managed to win me back as he haggled the dealer down on price while leasing my Volvo, and I am happy with the car. In fact, I began to suspect that he was even beginning to warm to it – maybe a little too much – but then I realized that he simply didn’t want to put the extra miles on his precious 993. My lease on the Volvo ends later this year and that aforementioned headache has returned, this time prompted by words like “the velvet hammer” and “BMW M-Sport wagon,” whatever those phrases are supposed to mean.

So there you have it: a bit of insight into the challenges of living with a car guy. Does anyone else out there have a similar headache….er, story? 

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Sandra Baker
Sandra Baker
9 years ago

My husband just forwarded this article to me yesterday because he knew I would relate, and I felt overwhelmingly compelled to respond. I finally have found a female that feels my pain and agony. I have been to countless car shows with all the European flavors on display, and the luster of it all disappears within five minutes of perusing the parking lots. I would rather go through a tooth drilling than have to listen to the endless babble of HP, torque, engine mods, E this and that, yada yada. I, too, receive car-related gifts just so that when I don’t use them, my husband can have them for himself–he thinks he’s being sneaky ;0) At first, we would argue endlessly over why I’m not driving a BMW M anything, but that has recently stopped now that he drools over the countless new Porsche GT4 videos on YouTube. May the Dear Lord help me if he is actually successful in purchasing one from the many wait-lists he is on. I fear my two legs and I may no longer be able to compete with the sexiness of those four-legged curvy beauties, and I’m preparing myself for the night I catch him cheating on me with his new baby in the garage. He wants to sell our new home we purchased that backs up to a beautiful lake because the garage is not large enough to store a new Porsche and his other two BMWs–not because of unruly children or neighbors with poor lawn care habits, but simply just the lack of garage real estate. Realizing this sickness will most likely get worse as we move up in the world financially, I have decided it’s better to accept it and make him think I have joined his madness. Instead of dragging me along to car shows, I will go for a few minutes and then head off to the nearest mall for a fun few hours of shopping. Since I love numbers and love to haggle, I’m the one that masterfully handles the wheeling and dealing at the car dealerships–and I usually get my price (of course, this won’t be the case with the GT4). I, in turn, get to pick out something pretty at Tiffany’s with the money that’s saved. The BMW gifts he buys are picked out by me and are used by me. If I want to plan a nice getaway, I find the nearest Porsche dealership and a few “For Sale” ads nearby to entice him and make those our first stops. Although I realize he truly does have a sickness, I do enjoy the attention we get when he spanks some “wanna be” silly with his powerful wheels and skillful driving–and let him know it’s a bit of a rush! Perhaps his sickness is cars, but I guess my sickness is him–there is just no other reason to explain why a woman would put herself through such nonsense.

Charles Ferraloro
Charles Ferraloro
9 years ago

Oh boy does that sound familiar. Not a Porsche but a 1934 Ford and while not my wife but lovely partner she sort of likes it but can’t understand all the admirers waving and wanting to take photos. She describes my house as a bachelor’s pad with all the hotrod models,pictures,memorabilia and so forth throughout the house. I don’t understand her because all my mates think it’s great.
One morning while in bed she said you need new curtains because they are old and faded,I took one look and said they are okay you cant see through them yet. She replied you wouldn’t hesitate to spend a fortune on a new shiny muffler for your car but couldn’t care less about a few bucks for new curtains………I turned and looked at her and said do you think the shine is going off my muffler. hahahahaha she didn’t find it funny. Yeah a lot of us can relate to that story.

Darel Matthews
Darel Matthews
9 years ago

My wife has a Volvo too….a ’65 1800S.

André Borges
André Borges
9 years ago

What a sad commentary about Volvos has the husband of this lady produced. He should indeed indulge in reading more about said brand and its plenteous history…

Alessandro Borroni
Alessandro Borroni
9 years ago

Ducati on the cover… check.
BMW M-sport wagon… check
P-car… check.
car-related jibber jabber with fellow gearheads at random times where she patiently sits and listen… LOL.. all the time.

great article.

Robert Cuellar
Robert Cuellar
9 years ago

Brilliant and hilarious! You read my wife’s mind! That just described what it is like to live with me. And if she were a regular visitor here her correspondence would sound just like that!

Keep up the great articles and videos! Best website on this planet!

Mike Yates
Mike Yates
9 years ago

It appears he has a fairly advanced form of the disease. You & my wife would relate well.

Andrew Salt
Andrew Salt
9 years ago

I’m not sure if the same kind of saying exists anywhere else in the world, but here in the UK, people say that you’re not a real petrolhead until you’ve owned an Alfa. Well, i’ve never really wanted one, but last year my wife bought an 2007 Alfa Brera, a car she’s wanted for quite some time, so here in England at least, she’s a petrolhead – and I am not. That said, I am currently trying to get her out of bed so we can drive over to the Shelsley Walsh breakfast club, before the queue gets too long…
For those of you wishing to tell me that a Brera isn’t a real Alfa, leave it! Keep any smart-assed comments to yourself. She’s proud of her ‘petrolhead’ status and I do’t want her upset (she ‘secretly’ visits Petrolicious when she thinks I’m not looking). It’s taken me years to nurture a passing indifference to what, in the feminine world, now passes as enthusiasm for classic cars. If you do, I. Will surely find you and punch you until you are better looking.

Scott Allen
Scott Allen
9 years ago

Also for me, the best article and writing that I have enjoyed on this site.
Brought me happiness. Some day I will share it with my wife.

Tom Schmidt
Tom Schmidt
9 years ago

A couple of years ago I took my wife’s 135i BMW to the track and went “agricultural” as they say causing some damage. She was ultra furious and said these exact words to me; “If you want a race car, go out and get yourself a race car, because you’re not using mine.” Whatta gal. Got a 997.1 GT3 now. Yay.

Dennis White
Dennis White
9 years ago

OMG, my wife has posted to Petrolicious under the pseudonym of Hellena Miron!

Kuroneko
Kuroneko
9 years ago

Excellent story, and one to not only amuse, but to also provoke. Thank you! He says, as the weekend plans have otherwise been cancelled to allow just one partner to wake the neighbors at 06:00 for a commemorative F1 team blast…

One day, on the way to work, I saw these two and thought similarly:

Joe Nuxoll
Joe Nuxoll
9 years ago
Reply to  Kuroneko

You do realize that is Sir Stirling Moss, right?!!

Andrew Salt
Andrew Salt
9 years ago
Reply to  Joe Nuxoll

No, he’s on the left.

Kuroneko
Kuroneko
9 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Salt

Bwa ha ha haaaa… Good one. Yes, that was why I took their photograph, after asking of course. They were both polite enough to laugh at me saying, ‘Well, there’s something you don’t see every day…’

Tracy Brandt
Tracy Brandt
9 years ago

In 1999 I turned my prized gold ’86 Alfa Spider into the diamond ring on my wife’s left hand. Best decision I ever made on all levels. She has always been remarkably tolerant and understanding of my car habit. I totally get Hellena’s point of view and I’m glad she has shared it with us. It is a reminder that our love of the automobile should never overshadow our love and respect for our wife, because unlike our cars, she can love us back. Thanks Hellena.

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay
9 years ago

Well done, Hellena. Fantastic wit.

This is the best writing I have encountered here thus far. 😉

Ken Shahoian
Ken Shahoian
9 years ago

On the flip side, I had mine buy a ’92 C4 in ’98, the day she moved in with me two months prior to marriage. On track the next spring for more or less two years of track duty. Then she got bored. She’ll reluctantly drive any of the 911s, including now an ’03 Turbo with a Ruf R550 conversion. And I’ve got a Radical she probably would have taken out it her tiny self could even remotely reach the pedals, or see over the windscreen.

But yes, now, when I get into a car discussion she tunes out.

JA Garfield
JA Garfield
9 years ago

Funny post Hellena, my wife is right there with you. To really get your husband going ask him why he got the heavy, problematic, 4S version. 😉

Marc
Marc
9 years ago

Ask my wife what the boys are talking about and she says “number number letter letter”. I’ve had dozens of very cool collector cars and the only one she remembers and is angry I sold was the “outback” family wagon. To this day she doesnt recall the 930, 356, 308, 916, FZR, P1800, 911, 3.0CS, or GTV6 to name a few.

Benjamin Pette
Benjamin Pette
9 years ago

Even if I just have a Simca ([url=”http://newsdanciennes.com/2014/06/27/nouvel-essai-video-la-plus-produite-des-simca-la-1100/”]this one[/url]), not a Porsche, I reconize my girlfriend in this words.
Very good post !

Jack Olsen
Jack Olsen
9 years ago

What’s going on here? My wife says the 993 4S was only a 1996 model. 🙂

Benjamin Shahrabani
9 years ago
Reply to  Jack Olsen

Is your wife a Petrolista? Unfortunately, she is incorrect in this case. 4S was made for ’96 and ’97. 2S was for ’98.

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