By JULIA ALEXANDER
I have recently become obsessed with personalised number plates. Obsessed. In fact it has almost become my new favourite “love to hate” with certain friends receiving constant MMS updates of my latest sightings.
It’s hard to know when it started. Was it the run down red Honda on the Gold Coast with a “Playboy” sticker bearing the numberplate “MOIST”, or was it the balding man in the convertible Porsche boxter with “U WISH”. In all honesty it probably started when I first heard of the Black Jeep with the number plate “BAA BAA” .
I admire the brazenness of people who “put it out there”. You have to be awfully determined to send a message in order to voluntarily deal with the Department of Transport.
Effort and expense aside – what of the public scrutiny? Its one thing to experience that moment of hesitation when posting a slightly controversial Facebook post, but entirely another level of commitment and expense to nail it to your car. I mean, who really wants an “I thought it was funny at the time” pun following them around every day for people like me to mock?
Mock, I do.
To be fair, not all owners/authors of personalised plates are wankers. There are different categories of plates and varying levels of tack or humour associated with them.
1. Initials and birth year or favourite number – Relatively inconspicuous and, in fact, almost standard in my family. Although beware the use of numbers as letters. The joke can be lost when “5” does not actually look like an “S”, nor “3” and “E” etc.
2. Vanity Plates – In my opinion this is where things start to get a little tragic. “MY BMW” or “HER CAR” for example. Well, thanks for pointing it out, but if you are unsure of the make of your car or worse whether or not it is yours, probably best to stay off the roads.
As to the owners of “INURDRM (in your dreams), “NOT 4U”, and “U LOOKD”, you are quite sad. Even on the world’s most prestigious cars (and ironically they usually aren’t) this is just a bit too wanky for me.
3. Source of Success – These are the plates that name the brand name or nature of the product that afforded the (usually) luxury car. All marketing is good marketing, so put it out there, my friend.
It can also become somewhat of a guessing game for your fellow motorists. Did the black Austin Martin with “H20” bottle half of the French alps? Does the driver of “GUILTY” act as a criminal defence barrister, or does his or her lucrative lifestyle require one?
A word of caution for professionals however – decorum is still required. Upon realising his orthopaedic surgeon had the numberplates “HIPS” and “KNEES” my step-father subtly enquired as to whether my OBGYN had a personalised plate. Perhaps best not to ask.
4. The Pun – this is the litmus test of humour. I acknowledge it would be very difficult to crack a joke in 8 letters or less, and take my hat off to those who can. “ALL OVR” on a Red Land Rover, “NOT OJ” on a white Ford Bronco in the USA. Thanks for making me smile.
Drivers of, “PMS 247”, “D-WIFED”, “LE STIG”, however… time to move on.
Julie Alexander is a former lawyer, stay at home mum, documentary producer and wannabe Alpha Wife.
Do you have a personalised plate? What’s the best one you’ve seen