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Tires = Mop?

Are four new tires a poignant display of affection, or as brutally unromantic as a mop and pail?

This week on Car Talk, the vote was 3-0 in the “unromantic” column, when Patty called in to see if Tom and Ray agreed with her. (Hear her call with Tom and Ray here. It’s worth a few minutes, in our humble opinion!)

What do you think? Would you be touched by a partner who wanted you safe and sound during the new year, if you tore into four round gifts and saw “Dunlop” staring back at you? Or you would kick 'em down the hill and hold out for ten days in Cabo?

Does highway traction say “I Love You” just as much as Godiva? Let us know what you think!

Not in my household. She’d rather see a Dooney or Coach than Michelins under the tree.

Tires, bad gift but good sign.

This should be a study of some kind, but among the many guys I knew in the Navy, those who tended to give practical gifts, like tires, or a vacuum cleaner seemed to have more stable marriages. Now most of these guys, after giving such a gift would scramble and buy another gift to sooth the wound so to speak and try to do better the next time.

The guys that whose first tendency is to go straight for the flowers or jewelry also tended to be the romantic type, and they tended to be romantic with any woman available when the wife wasn’t around.

So to Patty, if you like this guy, then I think you have a keeper. You have a little training to do, but not too much training. You don’t want to train him for other women, just enough to satisfy your needs, but still keep him practical.

After 40+ years of matrimony I have learned that it is OK to buy tires for my kids as gifts, but a card and dinner is much much better than a brand new top of the line steam carpet cleaner. Don’t ask.

Wow, I was horrified when I heard this woman’s reaction to her boyfriend’s proposal to buy her new tires for her car for Christmas. “Unromantic and comparable to a mop in a pail”???!!! To me she sounded ungrateful and completely unappreciative of her boyfriend’s thoughtfulness. I think this dude should re-think whether he wants to continue to date her. Okay, so tires may not be considered “romantic,” but so what? It’s sweet and wonderful of him and clearly shows his concern for her and her safety. I think that’s pretty darn romantic. And, come on, we’re talking about a Christmas gift, not frickin’ Valentine’s Day or something. If my boyfriend wanted to do this for me, I’d be ecstatic! Honestly, I think the boyfriend is awesome for wanting to do this for his lady. Not all women would be put off by this, some of us would actually be very appreciative of such a great gift.

The answer here depends on the lady. Personally I think a vacuum is a fine Christmas gift but I’ve had this discussion around a table of about 80% women and they pretty much told me it is a very bad idea. I feel the same group would nix the tires just as much. Yet, I’m giving my wife an Eden Pure heater for Xmas so I’m still treading in dangerous waters.

If the boyfriend gave multiple gifts the tires might go down better. Perhaps a ring, or bracelet in one box and a gift card for tires in another?

Or he buys the tires and then they use them to drive to a romantic B&B for the weekend.

I’d just like to point out that buying tires as a gift is definitely not the same as buying a vacuum cleaner or some other household appliances (which implies that you assume she’s going to do most or all of the vacuuming/cleaning/cooking…something like a vacuum cleaner should never really be a “gift,” since it something that both partners should be using equally in a household). New tires for her vehicle is a thoughtful, practical and useful gift, especially for her use and her safety. Smart, non-material women know this and also know that someone who would give this to them really cares about them. If you want to go on a romantic holiday or get jewelry, then by all means go and pay for it yourself and invite your guy. Who cares if he doesn’t think of it? Why does the guy always have to think of and give such gifts? And, if you want something, just say so! Really, it’s not that hard. Men (and even women, though they don’t like to admit it) aren’t mind-readers! And things like jewelry…I’d rather pick that stuff out myself, anyway, since everyone has their own taste and it’s unlikely that most people would pick out something I’d like. Almost any gift is great, though, as long as it’s fairly obvious the gift-giver put some thought in to it. And tires are fit that, for sure!

I'd just like to point out that buying tires as a gift is definitely not the same as buying a vacuum cleaner or some other household appliances (which implies that you assume she's going to do most or all of the vacuuming/cleaning/cooking...something like a vacuum cleaner should never really be a "gift," since it something that both partners should be using equally in a household).

I’m mostly with Hattie Mae on this - tires for Patty’s safety are not remotely equivalent to a gift that implies that domestic chores are entirely her responsibility.

I certainly agree that a more personal item might be better, but perhaps the BF is also intending to give Patty something romantic as well. We don’t know, and neither did Patty when this call was recorded (probably many years ago), yet she’s already dissatisfied. Good grief!

I can imagine - without knowing the truth of course - that the BF is genuinely concerned about her safety. Maybe Patty is on a tight budget and is trying to hold off on buying tires even though she knows she needs them, and he’s taking a risk and showing that her safety is his top priority, fully aware that his gift is not sweet and romantic. Instead, he’s hoping she’ll get the message about his priorities, and his practical tendencies. Or maybe she doesn’t think her worn out tires are a big deal, and he disagrees and is willing to put his money where his mouth is. Either way, I think what Mr. Right is doing is admirable. Or maybe it’s a lazy cop out because he doesn’t know how to buy gifts for his GF. I’d guess it’s some of each.

Bottom line for me is that I think it’s a shame when we are not satisfied by gifts we’ve received. It’s a gift. Be a good receiver.

Its a faux paux,an understandable one,but a blunder none the less,seems to me like the guy is levelheaded and practical.Remember men are from Mars-Kevin

As a (very pragmatic) woman, I would MUCH prefer new tires to flowers (a-choo!) or jewelry. A mop/vacuum cleaner would actually be okay IF I had been complaining bitterly about the ones currently owned; otherwise I would take either as a slam on the current cleanliness level if in separate households or an implied assumption that cleaning the house is the little woman’s job rather than a shared responsibility if we lived together. New tires show thought and concern, flowers/candy/jewelry are knee-jerk. But then, I rarely wear jewelry but I do drive every day. A Coach bag? When you could get me a Ron Arra for the same money? Surely you jest!

My first reaction is “man, what a sweet gift” (assuming that this lady did in fact need new tires) this is a rather generous (tires are expensive, and there are a lot of people who are frightfully unaware of this impending maintenance item) sounds like this guy needs to find a sweet girl from up in the snow belt!

New tires occasionally is part of the basic maintenance of owning and using a car. It’s as appropriate a gift as an oil change or paying the household electric bill. Might as well just give cash.