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Iliana's Parking Fixation

You heard right. This week on Car Talk, we heard from Iliana, who feels a special attraction for guys who can parallel park with style. She's found Mr. Right -- only now, he's come down with a bad case of parking anxiety. Can this relationship be saved? Tell us what you think! You can hear her story right here.

Now that he knows about her special attraction, subconsciously he’s checking to see if she likes him for himself or only for his parking ability. If she cools off because he can’t park, then the relationship wasn’t meant to be. If she still loves him even through a case of performance anxiety, then they’ll probably make it through anything. It all boils down to the question “Do you love me for me, or for what I can do for you (or because I remind you of Daddy)”?

Dear Iliana,
you have found, “the one.” I know this because I am a great parallel parker and my now wife mentioned that early in our dating. Of course that made me nervous resulting in parallel parking interuptus and the infamous 56 point turn in front of our favorite pub packed with observing customers. This was because I was smitten with love. Fortunately she realized that and gave me a chance. Plus, she got the added bonus of being able to kid me about it, every time, for years and including this morning when we heard your story. She thinks you have met “the one” and should give it a serious chance. It may be true love!
Good luck,
Jonathan and Lee Ann

This is to help Mr. Right parallel park with style, perfectly, every time! The day I turned 16 years of age, I went to the West Virginia State Police Barracks near my home to take the Driving Test, to obtain my license. I passed everything with flying colors, including the entire driving test with a State Trooper in the passenger seat. Everything, that is, except the parallel parking test, which required parking between two big orange-painted 55-gallon drums. My first try was a miserable failure. The trooper said, “I’ll bet your mother taught you how to park that way, right?” Yes, sir. “OK, Here’s the way REAL MEN do it!” he exclaimed. He proceeded to show me the “45-degree-straight-back-in” method, turning the wheel hard left only after the right rear wheel was very near the curb. I tried it. The car ended up 1/4" from the curb, exactly in the center of the parking space! Wow! “Excellent,” he cried, and I had my new license in no time! OK, Mr. Right, fear performance failure no more! Go for it, and join the ranks of us REAL MEN who parallel park with STYLE!

Have him buy one of those Smart cars. He can back in perpendicular to the other parked cars and be within the law. That ought to make his honey HOT for Amor!!! He has a much better view of traffic allowing him to merge, or in other words, pull out in time!

Big Dan

The woman with the parking fixation simply needs to employ a simple psychological technique called reframing. Next time her boyfriend is parking, she should simply close her eyes and just notice the motion of the car, as it moves back and forth, in and out in order to get into the tight space. She should let her mind wander and come up with more pleasant associations. She will soon notice that she will no longer be interested in those parkers who are may we say, quick and efficient.
Robert in Denver

I know where Iliana is coming from…“my turn on” is (was) when a guy palmed the steering wheel with the heel of his right hand to turn.

Iliana, please give your guy a break, the parallel parking was just a way to begin the relationship and since you’ve discovered many redeeming qualities about him right? So go with that. Trust me, no matter how persnickety you are in your selection of a mate, marriage will always prove that you knew nothing!

By the way, I married a man who uses both hands to turn the wheel, just like we were taught in Driver’s Ed. I’ve only seen him palm the wheel once but I’ve never told him about the effects of this particular activity. To be honest, I’m afraid that he would abuse this new found power.

He should get one of those cars with the rear bumper camera that shows where you are going when you back up (or she should get one for him, it would be kinda romantic). And if Iliana feels like this is too “artificial,” tell her to think of it as Viagra!

My daddy taught me to parallel park, too, Illiana, right in, a couple inches from the curb. He & mom were together 54 years. My husband could park right fine, but left me for a hot chick when he was in his 50’s. Now I park my little Echo all alone just fine, and he parks his little Prius with his chickie just fine. What’s parking “got to do with it”?

What I think is, Don’t let a womans desire for you or rejection of you affect your clear thinking.

Several words of advice for Ilian’s beaux and other PPPA (Parallel Parking Performance Anxiety) sufferers:

  1. Valet Parking
  2. She drives
  3. Drop her off and park in the next block.

The solution is simple. Ask Mr. Right to teach her to parallel park. That way he’ll review the steps he uses to park, and if the car isn’t perfectly positioned, it’s her fault. He will soon have his parking skills back. However if Iliana learns to parallel park and sees how easy it is, the mystery and allure of the parking skill may evaporate and Mr. Right may become Mr. Just OK.
Betty in Charlotte, NC.

What about a guy driving the lexus which does the automatic parking for ya … do they watch videos of parallel parking in movies in slow motion and repeatedly? do they plan their date while parallel parking? do they select their friends on parallel parking … what about if they own a company? do they hire after parallel parking test interview ?

Iliana’s attraction to guys who can parallel park is clearly a recent turn in human evolution. Because parallel parking is required for survival in modern human society, those who can successfully parallel park have an evolutionary advantage over those who cannot. Iliana is simply instinctively responding to this recent evolutionary trend. If Iliana follows her instinct and finds her Mr. Right who is an excellent parallel parker, then her offspring should exhibit the same excellent ability. Of course, this is assumes our children will actually have automobiles to parallel park.

Dear Illiana,
-Dr. Bob.

Iliana needs to distract Mr. Right and help him reframe the problem of parallel parking. Sit on his lap while he’s trying to parallel park. Distract him. No parallel parking job will ever be stressful for him again.

Thanks to your listener for bringing this relatively common, but unrecognized, condition to the public. As an amateur therapist specializing in vehicular neurosis, I have studied ?Parallel Parking Anxiety Disorder? (PPAD), which was discovered in 1958 by Dr. Solomon Brake and is commonly known as ?Brake PPADs.?

In males, the pressure of a new relationship can often cause reduced performance of the PP (Parallel Parking). Since ?Parallel? is one of the most difficult techniques, he should go back to basics. Start with simple front entry, then build-up confidence for a rear-entry into a conventional stall. Give him some alone-time in the garage to master the technique.

Once mastered, THEN refine his Parallel technique. Take is slow, talk to him lovingly and soothingly, and I?m sure you will see improved performance.

As the relationship progresses, couples use the PP less frequently. Marriage, moving to the suburbs, use of conventional parking lots, and children leave less and less opportunity for the PP?often only once per week. Some couples have been known to have not parallel parked for months.

WARNING: Do NOT attempt to use some of the PP enhancement drugs often advertised in the back of some Auto Trader magazines and the internet. They are only stimulants and there is no scientific evidence of improved performance.

I think that if she just lets him know it’s ok and she still likes him anyway, he’ll relax and he’ll go back to his former parking prowess (especially if she rewards him afterwards.)

Of course, if she can’t wait it out, has she ever considered a woman? I have a Master’s Degree and a lot of other pluses, but before I went to college I drove an 18-wheeler for a while and, in Missouri, in order to pass the test you have to be able to parallel park an 18-wheeler, both sight-side and blind-side. I did both without losing a point. :wink:

Even my wife is impressed with my parking ability. (She’d probably be less impressed with the last paragraph, so, just between us, eh?) :wink:

I don’t think Iliana’s boyfriend has performance anxiety, I think he is getting nervous. Maybe Iliana is reading more into this relationship, or moving too quickly.

Aaah, the lost art of parallel parking. Ironically enough, I passed my first parking test for a driver’s license, and failed the driving portion. Maybe a little “reward” should be kept there in the glove box,LLiana. In this way a gummy lifesaver or bit of chocolate will reinforce his excellent parking behavior. My wife doesn’t say anything while I park like a man, but in her heart of hearts she is spellbound and speechless …rapt in awe as it were of my own technique. So, I do understand what you are going through…just keep the loud panting and moaning to a minimum while your guy squeezes into a space. He needs to concentrate, so talk about baseball scores or something while he is driving it home.