Advice From the Trenches: Baby You Can’t Drive My Car


Welcome to Advice From the Trenches, a new feature starting this week on NRI NOW

Advice From The Trenches is advice with a different twist – it combines the clinical experience of a double boarded psychiatrist, with a slap-in-the-face dose of reality from an artist and writer who has gathered her wisdom from the school of hard-knocks. Thought provoking and often hilarious, this column always hits home, giving you a unique perspective on everyday problems that just makes common sense. 

Writer Cathren Housley is a past contributor on NRI NOW, covering the local arts and music scene. 

Do you having a burning question for the duo? Send your thoughts, ideas and woes to Don’t forget to mention that you’re an NRI NOW reader so we can be sure to publish the answer here!

Baby You Can’t Drive My Car

Dear C and Dr. B:

I don’t get it, but I am trying to understand. Right now, I am totally pissed off, but maybe you can make some sense out of this.

My husband won’t let me drive his car. And to make matters worse, now his son won’t let his wife drive his car. In fact, my stepson’s mother and I are the ones that are teaching the wife to drive. What is wrong with these men? Don’t they know that when they have a heart attack, it will be us women who have to drive them to the hospital, in their car – and at high speed, without any prior experience with the car?  

My husband has this lame excuse that he just doesn’t feel comfortable with me driving his car. He says his job depends on him having his car and if he crashed it he would feel bad but if I got so much as a dent, he would be angry, and he doesn’t want to be angry at me.  

Please explain this insanity to me before I put him out in the dog house or at least make him sleep on the couch.                                                                       

– Manic Margaret

Dr. B says:

Once married, a man really has nothing all to himself that is 100 percent his. This is the reasoning behind the origin of the man cave. But a lot of men don’t have a man cave – and for them, their man cave is their car. It is an extension of their personal space, free will, and identity.  A lot of men treat their car like a woman. It’s not that they don’t want you in it. They just don’t want you to drive it. That diminishes their control over it and their sense of freedom and identity wrapped up in it.   

I am sure women have something similar. Wouldn’t you feel violated if your husband wore your nice shoes?  I say let him have his space. This need to have something to control and wrap one’s identity around can mutate into more dangerous forms – such as becoming another woman’s hero or white knight. You don’t want him developing an identity around that. Better a car. 

C says: If I had a husband and he wore my nice shoes, I don’t think that “violated” would be my first reaction. I’d be flabbergasted that he never told me he is a cross-dresser. Then I’d wonder what else he wasn’t telling me.

So, Dr. B’s advice is: let the guy have the car to himself or he’ll probably cheat on you. Really? No wonder I’m divorced.

Here is my problem with your husband, Margaret – that is one of the silliest rationalizations that I’ve ever heard. I’m sure Dr. B’s explanation is likely the true cause, but the excuse your husband came up with is nuts: “I’m really just trying to make things nice for you, honey! You don’t want me to get pissed off at you after you wreck the car. Do you?”

Unfortunately, this seems to be a characteristic of men in general – they can’t admit to anything. Your husband reminds me of a reader from a few months ago who blamed his weight gain on the family’s pet bird: “The bird really likes cereal, and it’s so cute that I have no choice but to pig out along with him!” If my 6-year-old granddaughter told me that I’d laugh at her. But it’s not so cute when it’s coming from a grown man with a weight problem who just can’t control himself.

Dr. B mentioned that men have nothing all to themselves after they get married, and I find that so sad! It seems unjust too, especially considering that everyone else in the world does get to have everything to themselves. Men DESERVE their man caves, their sacred cars. But do not misunderstand: it is not for the men. No, no – it is for their wives. So that the men do not have to get mad at them.

Do you have your own car, Margaret? Let your husband have his car to himself. Obviously, it represents his manhood, and to take the car would be like cutting off his d&*k. When he has his heart attack, call him an Uber. He may not make it to the hospital in time, but thank god his car will be OK.

– Cathren Housley 

As originally published in Motif Magazine.

You can visit Dr. B’s blog at

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