The glee written all over the little boy’s face, the brightness in his eyes, and the motor-motion of his hands as he operates his toys—dinosaurs, robots, transformers, race cars— are, clearly, sheer acts of fantasy. A toy is a realization of his pipe dream, or a vicarious thrill he entertains in his fertile mind.
The kind of toys a child loves to play with is a statement of his gender. Space guns, rocket ships, “Star Wars” swords, and desert storm soldiers mean the child is definitely male, with his pair of X and Y chromosomes properly arranged.
If the child likes dolls, mini-milk bottles, ribbons and toy mirrors, the child is clearly female, with her cell nuclei containing two X chromosomes. (Don’t make the mistake of giving a toy machine gun to a daughter like I did.)
Grown-up men, like me, buy their own toys. Wives don’t buy their husbands toys like they do for their children. Wifey prefers to gift me with ties, soxes and sexy bikini briefs to get rid of my lousy, loose boxers.
Today’s chic for adult city seekers are mountain bikes that go with eye-catching urban warrior look—body tights with reflectorized colors (green, yellow and orange) with matching head gear, curved sunglasses, leather gloves, and spiked shoes. He certainly should not look like a drab and plebeian mail carrier in the 1950s.
The noveau rich group and the sons of old money buy expensive wheels and woo trophy wife types. One group buys Porsches like the sports car President P-Noy bought, but had to discard due to the furor over his insensitivity to mass poverty existing by the banks of the Pasig River, just a spitting distance from Malacañang Palace.
The Porsche group can be seen zooming past, like privileged elites (wangwang na lang ang kulang) in the long stretches of SLEX and NLEX during weekends. They’ll have breakfast in Tagaytay or Subic, exchange tall stories and bragging rights, then zoom back home to be with their wives before lunch. Them lucky sonamagans!
Collectors of vintage cars gather at the Fort on weekends. They never get tired of drooling and gushing exclaims at old models of Mercedes-Benz, BMW’s, vintage British and Italian sports cars, and American gas-guzzlers of the ’50s and ’60s. These are dream cars of men who were either deprived or working their asses off in their early struggling years. Obviously, they made it. They bought their dream cars with a vengeance. Better late than never.
I’ve got mine, too (hehe)—a 1967 Ford Mustang convertible, sky blue, white top retractable roof, wire-wheel hubcaps and white side wall tires, straight from the male chauvinist era of Hollywood in the ’60s. I got it in 1984 when I was 48 years old, a widower, and president of Basic FCB, the hottest ad agency in town.
My fascination with the Mustang springs from the relevance of the creativity involved in advertising the car. The Mustang’s phenomenal success in 1964 was due to its brand positioning and image projection.
The Mustang was the brain child of Lee Iacocca, the sales and marketing hotshot at Ford Motors. He conceived a racy, sporty, masculine car named after wild horses that roam the American prairie. The geniuses at Madison Avenue, the kind you see on TV’s “Mad Men,” did one better. They injected a Freudian slip into the Mustang’s advertising by creating an auto-suggestive image of a man’s mistress.
Mustang sales broke records, turning around Ford profit revenue for years. Lee Iacocca developed his hubris, upstaging Henry Ford III, his boss at Ford Motors. Henry Ford fired Iiacocca. He just didn’t like the way Iacocca combed his hair.
I’ve kept my Mustang for 28 years. It’s still a head turner whenever I drive it on Ayala Avenue. Great for riding open-top along the Lucban-Majayjay eco-tourism roads, amid rainforest greeneries. I’ve got offers from other Mustang nuts. No deal!
My other car is iconic. The Mini Cooper is a small, squarish, box-like British car which gained stardom in two action-packed movies, “The Italian Job” and “Bourne Identity.” They were featured as escape cars deftly maneuvered in the most breathtaking chase scenes that showed the Mini Cooper’s speed and agility in small alleys, stairs, and sidewalk driving. Fantastic!
Mini (without the Cooper) is the funny car of Mr. Bean, the funny man of British television.
My Mini Cooper’s the one for someone with a racetrack fantasy (me). I had it installed with a 1.366 HP super-speed engine, the closest for racetrack thrill. The drive on SLEX or the Pililla-Siniloan winding mountain road is a cinch. I can feel the stick shift dictate the engine surge, speed sprint, and quick acceleration. The groan of engine breaks is music to my ears.
The mini hugs the road tight with nary a sway on quick turns at the curve. As a sign of rebelliousness, the Mini Cooper wears the Union Jack flag on its roof.
And last but not least. The wifey’s pet peeve, my big bike. To a woman, my 2010 BMW GS 650 (800 cc) on/offroad sports bike is a threatening steel animal ready to jump out of our basement to escape to the urban jungle. Its roar proclaims that her hubby (me) is matigas ang ulo.
The BM GS dares me a lot! How dare I court death on the road! And how dare I make like nagmumurang kamatis at my age! Magbinata? Precisely. When I ride my BM, my adrenaline rush obliterates the mental tendencies of gerontology that accept lethargy (mabagal) and drowsiness (antukin) as the penalty for aging.
Riding the BM awakens my senses (eyes and ears), heightens my vision, sharpens my spatial awareness (front, right, left, and rear peripherals), and defines my distances upfront, sideways, and rear using side mirrors and quick glances. One cannot bike safely and gracefully with slow and lazy faculties. You gotta step up.
Wifey says I look young (in my helmet), in my black jacket, shoulder, arm, knee pads and high boots.
Escape is the psychic reward. On a lonely country road, the wind that hits you is nature’s tactile presence. The bike is a machine made to thrust forward. Speed gives you an adrenaline rush. But speed must be managed, not indulged.
Randy David, my esteemed Inquirer columnist, a veteran bike nut, describes the profound thrill and skill in the art of riding.
“To ride smoothly, you need to bridge the discontinuity between man and machine so that your pulse and the engine vibration merge into one continuous purr,” Randy says.
And may I add, say a prayer to your guardian angel before you mount.