My husband and I went out for breakfast the other morning. We had a great meal, chatted and laughed, walked back to the car holding hands, used the key to centrally unlock the car and headed for home.
It struck both of us at the same time that it had been a long time since he’d opened the car door for me.
When we started going out in 1980, we had a get-in-the-car ritual that carried us through dating, engagement and early marriage – he would unlock and open the door for me and I would get in and reach over to unlock the door for him.
By the Nineties, when we got our first centrally locked car, it was so tricky to load half the house into the car if we wanted to go anywhere with our two young kids that unlocking the doors with one push of a button was welcome relief.
“Remember when you used to open the door for me?” I asked. “I do”, he said. Cars with central locking took the chivalry out of our relationship. And it got me thinking about our various family cars and how each one has reflected our time in life.
We each had our own car in the beginning. Mine was a 1974 Mazda 1300, full of shoes and rarely washed. It got me where I wanted to go. I desperately wanted a Suzuki Hatch but a new car was out of the question on a 17-year-old’s wage.
He longed for a 4-wheel drive but drove a 1980 Gemini SL-X, always washed, polished and tidy to a fault. This was the first guy I went out with who had his own car and when he opened the door for me I swooned. Calculating on his part? Maybe. But it worked. This was the car we took on our honeymoon.