The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

14 October 2006

Besides, they don't respond to "Hey, you"

All my cars have had names, and I don't always find out right away what those names are; it took about nine miles to get some ID from Gwendolyn after I signed the papers. (Where it came from is here, next-to-last paragraph.)

Ford-fan forum Blue Oval News attempts to explain why some of us do this sort of thing:

Why is it that you might name your car, but you would never give a name to your TV set, refrigerator or your sofa?

The experts have some theories: Cars move making them animate objects. People think cars are alive. We personalize our cars with our stuff. Cars are a thing of pride.

"Cars are certainly more personal objects than refrigerators are, and a source of more personal pride," said Cleveland Kent Evans, Associate Professor of Psychology, Bellevue University. "Vehicles of any kind are probably also more likely to be named simply because they move in the course of their normal use, and so are more easily to think of like they were animate objects instead of inanimate ones."

True. But lawnmowers and vacuum cleaners move, and it's not generally acceptable to say, "I need to vacuum, will you get 'Sucky' out of the closet for me?"

Truth be told, I wouldn't be surprised to hear that someone had named a car "Sucky." God knows plenty of them qualify for it.

Posted at 9:09 AM to Driver's Seat


I haven't named the Fury but I do talk to her and call her "she".

Posted by: Diane at 9:11 AM on 14 October 2006

Most cars seem to be "she," perhaps a remnant of nautical terminology, though I know one woman who drives a sport-utility named Earl, which possibly makes sense in the case of SUVs, rather a lot of which seem to be large and ungainly and thirsty, all stereotypically male traits.

Posted by: CGHill at 9:18 AM on 14 October 2006
Why is it that you might name your car, but you would never give a name to your TV set, refrigerator or your sofa?

Who does he think he's talking to? Talia the television and Sofia the sofa (to say nothing of Dominik the Hassock) are very cross with him. I overheard them consulting Travis the tractor and Chandler the chain saw about his just deserts. Better hide, fella.

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at 2:37 PM on 14 October 2006

I have an ottoman, but it never occurs to me to address it as "Mustafa."

Posted by: CGHill at 3:56 PM on 14 October 2006

Mustafa!?

Its name, I'll have you know, is Suleiman!

Posted by: McGehee at 8:13 PM on 14 October 2006

I didn't say it was a good ottoman.

Posted by: CGHill at 8:44 PM on 14 October 2006

Good!? Why, it's MAGNIFICENT!!!

Posted by: McGehee at 11:20 AM on 15 October 2006