By Dakota Pierce

Upon reading last week’s column, a friend asked me, “So, you like to take the car out for a test drive before you buy it, huh?”

At first I didn’t know what to say, so instead I sat grappling for a clever response to his pointed and leading question. When I didn’t say anything, he continued with, “You know what I mean; you’re trying to decide if you want to buy the Cadillac, the BMW, or the Mercedes.”

I finally found my words and said, “Please, like there are any Cadillacs around here. I’ve had the misfortune of having to slum around with the 1995 Hondas and second-rate Ford Explorers.”

Now originally, I just meant that to be a sarcastic and scathing retaliation in the heat of battle. I’m not a particularly conceited person and wouldn’t consider myself a “Cadillac.” I’m also not trying to damage egos here, but to answer the question that so many have asked me—when it comes to finding the right person around UCSC, where are all the luxury vehicles?

Maybe we’re looking in the wrong car lots, or maybe we’re not paying enough attention during our various test drives. It’s also quite possible we should just be happy with the beat-up Volkswagens and Toyotas. Occasionally though, we see the Bentleys rolling around campus and think, “Huh, interesting. Where did they come from?”

When we go to inquire about the more expensive vehicles though, we’re always disappointed to find one of three things. One, this car is NOT for sale; it already has a more attractive owner. Two, it is still undergoing repairs from previous ownership. Or three, it’s off the market because the company is interested in another buyer who can offer a higher bid.

As a single person not really sure what she’s looking for, I’m always disheartened to find that a lot of the men who seem to be a “great catch” are in a relationship, are damaged goods, or interested in other women. Furthermore, I know I’m not alone in this dilemma. Other women I know feel the same, and I know the men on campus aren’t too pleased with the selection of cars the dealership has to offer, either. The problem then changes; where are the prized men and women, and why can’t we find them?

One could say that we’re looking too hard—while we are college-aged kids with sex drives that are seemingly endless, we’re not ready to buy cars anyway. It’s also possible to argue the point that “it’s not the outside that counts.” But if you think about that one for a second you can disregard it—most of us are willing to admit that we don’t bother hitting on people we don’t find attractive. To me, the argument that makes the most sense is that the cars we’re all looking for are right under our noses.

I’ll admit, with my “test drives” I’ve found that even cars which don’t seem so glamorous at first end up coming with extra perks. Maybe if they don’t have a Porsche logo on the hood, they can offer a higher MPG, a leather interior, or a great sound system.

Maybe I can settle for less than the Cadillac, but more than the Honda. Maybe, somewhere in between, there lies waiting for me a comfortable middle-class convertible, or even a motorcycle, both of which offer a thrill and are far more accessible than high-end, luxury vehicles. Maybe the right car is out there somewhere, right under our noses, and we just have to wait until we find it. Or maybe, we’re all Cadillacs on the inside, just looking for the right key to fit in our ignition.