Wants Vs Needs When Shopping for Cars, Apartments and Men

I did it.

I finally bought a car.

It’s a Honda Civic Hybrid, and it’s exactly what I need–even if it’s not what I originally thought I wanted.


Let me repeat that: it’s exactly what I need,

Even if it’s not what I originally thought I wanted.

You know what that reminds me of?

Y’all know it’s coming:

Finding a guy.

For the past two, three, four months, I have been actively looking for my perfect car, and when I finally found it and it was all said and done, I couldn’t help but to think of how much the process of deciding on what your needs are and finding the best thing to suit those needs applies to both cars and men.

When I started looking for a car back in October-ish, I wanted a pickup. I wanted a pickup, I wanted a pickup, I wanted a pickup. My rationale for this desire was…that would make me a complete badass, for one. I’d always be able to move things when they needed moving. And I live in a flood zone, so I needed something that was a bit more off the ground than most.

Slowly, as I began researching price, gas mileage, etc., that desire began to morph from a pickup to an SUV to a Volkswagen Jetta.

I wanted a Jetta,  I wanted a Jetta, I wanted a Jetta. They look really cool, they’re the perfect yuppie grad student car (*I’m really working on my hipster/yuppie grad student image), they’re German…that basically makes them a Mercedes. I don’t know. I wanted a Jetta though.

And so I began looking for a Jetta, but somewhere down the road (no pun intended), it occurred to me that with my budget, etc., searching for only one type of car could be not only really limiting, but actually really prolong the search and it was kind of important that I find a new car sooner than later.

And so I began to expand.

What is it about the qualities of a Jetta that I find so appealing?

Cute little four-door? Check. Good reputation? Check. Not American-Made? Check. Safe? Check.

And in what areas does the Jetta actually fall short, since I’m now thinking about how the Jetta applies to what I want instead of how what I want applies to the Jetta?

And that’s when I started hearing all the rumors about gas going up to $5 a gallon in a couple years and started thinking that…really…if I’m buying a car I plan to keep for a while…it should probably be a Hybrid.

And something crazy happened. For two, three, four months, or however long, I’d been sifting through all this car b.s. that I didn’t understand on the Internet, but when I actually went to a dealer’s lot I was able to recognize my car immediately and feel comfortable making a commitment to it because I knew what I was looking for.

It wasn’t a Jetta, but it was a 4-door. It wasn’t a Jetta, but it was Japanese-made, which is even better. It wasn’t a Jetta, but it was a Hybrid.

I think there have been times when I was dating for something so specific that I wasn’t able to recognize that he wasn’t going to make me happy. “He’s got to be a rapper,” “He’s got to have Locs,” “He’s gotta have that Pharrell b-boy style,” versus “He’s gotta be able to express himself creatively and/or constructively,” “He’s gotta be conscious of his look,” “He’s gotta be able to dress himself or be open to letting me dress him in a manner that I find pleasing to the eye or at least unique to him” (or at least, at very least, not be a hot, clueless, dirty-looking mess).

I guess it’s just funny how, as you become more conscious of your needs and/or dealbreakers, your wants evolve and the things that do not align with those needs and/or dealbreakers fade in importance. I experienced the same thing not long ago with my apartment–what I WANTED was an apartment with a wood floor and gas stove, but what I NEEDED to be happy with my choice was a beautiful neighborhood, responsive and competent property managers and a clean, spacious and pleasant-looking interior. When I began shopping for THAT I happily chose an apartment with wall-to-wall carpeting and an electric stove, and I absolutely love coming home to it.


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