First Date Conundrum

To clean or not to clean? That is is the question we got from John, on this week’s encore edition of Car Talk.

Should he call in FEMA to help restore order to the interior of his '94 Pontiac Gran Prix, in preparation for an upcoming date with a “classy” Lexus driver? Or, should he forget the facade, and let it all hang out – food wrappers and all? After gathering the pertinent facts about John – age, dating history, and overall body condition, we came up with one answer: "Lie, lie, lie, and do whatever it takes to create a good first impression. After all, it could be his last chance! What would you do? Go for the great first impression – or show off the real you from the first moment – and let the Doritos fall where they may?

Share your thoughts right here.

Yours in automotive dating bliss,

Tom and Ray

Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers

Anything other than cleaning his ‘car’ up will result in rejection. Hell, just showing up in whatever car it was will likely turn off any prospective date, especially when said date drives a Lexus.

Besides, why’s he asking Tom & Ray? One’s been married for a number of years (and so has little dating experience) and the other has been married a number of times (meaning lots of unsuccessful dating experiences.)

Well, if he cleans the car and is rejected anyway, he won’t have that excuse. If he doesn’t, she will think he’s a slob and/or he didn’t care enough to clean the thing. Tough call. Maybe she should drive her car?

First impressions are paramount. Clean the car. Who knows, maybe he’ll enjoy a clean car and keep up the good work - especially if they hit if off.

Anyway, how long does it take to clean the car?

Trash: 5 minutes
Vacuum: 15 minutes
Wipe windows: 15 minutes

About a half-hour without a wash; get it washed at a full-service carwash for $8 and your in business!

Why is this even a question? Is this guy clueless? For heaven’s sake, learn to keep your car clean. You’re 38 years old!

Clean it out, take it to the car wash, get it detailed. Then next time you come home, look at the trash you’ve just created, pick it up and take it inside to the trash can.

Why am I so adamant about this? Because I am a recovering slob, and converts are always the most strident advocates of their newfound beliefs.

But seriously, dude…pick up your crap!

Yes!! Clean up your act!! Clean up your car AND your apartment! If things go well between you, she will probably be seeing your place sooner than later! After a few dates, I would tell her this whole story. As a single, classy, older woman, I would love to hear this FUNNY story from a guy and be impressed that he CLEANED FOR ME! Best of luck to you Oscar Madison.

Love, Felix

I say, clean it up FOR YOU.
Wife says, Let her know what a pig you are, and see if she still likes you.
It’s not the car, it’s the man driving it.

Getting a 94 Pontiac Gran Prix detailed will probably double its value.

Of course you clean the car.
Every knucklehead knows that you wash the car, fill it with gas and hit the ATM before you pick her up. Always.
Women take notes.

Get your car detailed. You can score points by being honest. Tell her your car is usually a mess, but you had it cleaned for her.

Never one to shy away from controversy, I say let the chips [or cheesy puffs or nachos or pet hair or coffee cups] fall where they may. As a single soccer mom [who happens to look 15 years younger than my age!]and,who’s had various and sundry examples of car care, or lack thereof, on dates, I’m for the push the grot aside and tell her “m’lady, your carriage awaits you”. I say, he who has very clean car, has a very sick mind. And don’t get me started about his apartment/condo/house. I bet you if his car is spic and span, he will a]treat his car better than you
b]make you use hand sanitizer everytime you touch anything in/on his car c]never, ever ask you to go to a drive in movie d]may be even worse about his “home”

A lived in car guy has a lived in life - I say, I’m yours, guy.

No brainer.

Clean the car and the apartment. If you’re lucky and hit it off, there will be plenty of time for her to discover what a pig you are.

By the way, a landlord once told me: “if the car’s a mess, I won’t rent the apartment, because that’s the way he’ll keep the apartment. Old or beat up means nothing, but clean…then I’ll rent to him.”

Being a classy gal myself, I always appreciate a guy who tries to make a good first impression. I am also not the neatest person, so that increases the value of the effort. You only get one first chance.

prairie cat

I love you!

By all means, get that car cleaned up! What women wants to get into a filthy car. If that was me, I would think he didn’t care enough to clean it up to try and impress me.

This guy asking this question shows right away that he and this woman are not meant for each other, at least if we assume that she is classy for real (driving a Lexus doesn’t necessarily imply that.) I hope they both move on quickly to find more suitable partners. Plenty of nice girls don’t care about Doritos on the car’s floor, and plenty of classy boys are out there looking for classy girls. Besides, be careful with false advertisement… Be aware that if your clean-up act goes “too” well, you’ve committed yourself to keep your car tidy and clean for life. Anything less will be a bitter disappointment for her in the future and she will make sure to let you know so.

Since this was a recycled, uh, “encore” edition of Car Talk, does it really matter? John was even on a “Stump the Chumps” segment some time ago…


are you kidding? it’s a 94 grand prix…dirty or clean doesn’t matter. if she likes you despite the car, marry her.

Is he crazy in even asking? Of course, clean up the car. I know I’m not a perfect housekeeper and I don’t expect everyone else to be, either, but fast-food cups in the car? I mean, that’s a little extreme, especially at his age.

Has everyone gone crazy? Clean your car?? For a DATE??? No, no … you rent a car. If she’s classy, rent a classy one. If it doesn’t work out, you won’t have wasted any effort, and can drown your sorrows in the familiar comfort of your trashed '94 Gran Prix. If it does work out, you could think about cleaning out your car … maybe even get her to help you … or get her to do it herself.