How a girl gets around

bg_vp_benz.jpgI’m in Los Angeles (on my extended stay) and I find that I’m in need of a) an entourage and b) a car. Now, I understand the entourage part will require some time, as it took me years to gather the following I have back east. (Look at Vince, on HBO’s Entorage. He imported his peeps, I’m just sayin.’) But having limited passengers made my decision to buy a convertible OOOO so easy. And naturally I would buy a Mercedes-Benz. After all, we have history, and what better than a Benz, to make up for lost peeps.

I had my first emotional collision with a Mercedes when I was just a tiny, chunky kid. There we were, at a family cookout – grownups hovering around the grill while the kids crowded the yard, throwing Frisbees and footballs at each other. Suddenly, the throaty roar of a diesel engine came over the crowd, and the adults fell into reverent silence. My aunt and uncle pulled up the driveway in their blue Mercedes-Benz. I knew at the time that these were the rockstar relatives – the ones with the money and only two kids to support, as opposed to the eight in our family. Their Benz eased up the driveway, past all the Ford wagons and Chevy sedans. The happy foursome glided out, and the doors shut behind them with a heavy German-engineered clunk. All Frisbees and footballs fell silent as we observed the car’s no-fly zone. We weren’t told to behave, but instinctively, we knew: don’t mess with the Mercedes. And today it still speaks.

During the years I owned my first Mercedes (Silver CLK) and parked it in my beloved Tribeca garage, my car, along with the Jaguars and Porsches, was one of the most pampered ones in the lot. And as a result, so was the girl. (I’m all about win-wins.) The car, like its owner (b/t/w, no longer tiny and chunky), was perfectly groomed and placed in the best spot. I never had to ask for preferential treatment. The garage staff always took great pride in handling both me (metaphorically) and my car (mechanically), and either way, I was always the first one out of the parking lot – rush hour be damned. As I have seen the power of a beautiful pair of black vamp boots in action, I have seen, felt and personally experienced the power of the Mercedes. They are perceived as one of the automotive leaders because, quite simply, they build good cars. They have earned their prestige. They look the part, but more importantly, they also walk and talk – and drive – the part. And despite Mercedes merger with Chrysler and the ensuing buzz about slipping off their game, this brandinista can tell you that the brand experience today, in 2006 was comparable to my first buy a few years ago. The only difference being… well, my motive for purchasing. Today it was a pre-meditated spoil as I knew instantly that it was the perfect vehicle in which to toil around in LA, given my vamp boots swing out oh so nicely. Back then, well… impulse.

I know, I know, it’s retail therapy at it’s worst, but I was stinging from the aftermath of a (recurring too often) argument with the boyfriend who drove off with the car to the beach for the weekend, leaving me behind and landlocked. Let the blog reflect that he was also the live-in boyfriend, whose only material contribution to our co-habitation expenses was the car (my bad) – which he owned and clearly monopolized (his bad). He had a car. He also had a boat. But our relationship never really went anywhere. (How ironic for a guy with so many modes of transportation).

Self talk: Would you continue with a client that wasn’t paying their bills? No, you wouldn’t. Early in my business career, I learned that you can’t be afraid to lose the deal. You can’t operate under fear that the client will walk out on you if you speak your mind or say “no, that background can’t be blue.” You need to be willing to lose the deal and to have the courage to express yourself. Yet why do so many of us in personal relations not hold out until there is a win-win on the table? Why do we cave in?

But I digress.

Tired of being car-less and in my eyes powerless, I woke up deciding that I needed my own wheels. Never mind that it was 7:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning. I wanted a car, and I wanted it now. Enough was enough! So what did I do? I didn’t get out the Blue Book, or Google, or look in the paper. I called my best friend. I woke her up, and said, “a girl needs a car.” Half-asleep in her bed, and wanting to solve my problem, she gave me the most straightforward advice she could muster. She told me to call her car dealer and get a Mercedes, because she had one and loved it. The mere mention of Mercedes set off a string of memories that commenced at that cookout when I was a child: Mercedes are known for their quality, performance, service, and great style. That was exactly what I wanted. So I waited for the dealership to open, called her dealer, flagged down a cab, and an hour later I smugly drove my silver CLK off the lot. And waited for car boy to show up.

Quality, performance, service, and great style – from beginning to end. And that got me thinking…

Self talk: Why can’t a guy be as reliable as a Mercedes? Would life not be easier? I’ve met many men who look the part and talk the part and even act the part – for a week. Take, for example, the tango partner who rented the top-floor suite at the Soho Grand hotel… wooed me with international trips and dinners at Bouley… and then ran out of gas once we were several time zones apart. The reason we invest in brands like Mercedes is not only for the short trips; it’s for the incredible crash-protection and the long-term allure and durability. The right man, like the right Mercedes, knows that although you might have to pull off the road for a little service every now and then, once you’re back on the road, it’s smooth sailing.

But again, I digress.

Impulse or not, I have no regrets about how I came to own and know Mercedes, and how I sent car boy away. (Nobody likes to be landlocked or abused.) And just like my black vamp boots, it all helps me get around. And outside of wanting a square cup holder for my Fiji Water while in transit (no moving bottles in the Benz), what more could a girl want?

Filed: boys, branding, fashion

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