It doesn't seem possible, but I did it--took a beaten down, pussy-whipped 2001 Subaru Outback, white for God's sakes, and turned it into a man truck. Or at least the station wagon version of such. Here's how I did it.
First, I cleaned the heck out of it, top to bottom, front to back, outside to in, for a man' truck is his most prized possession, and I wanted my Sube to get that same feeling of love. (I've just cone back from Florida, living the condo life, and the guy two spaces down from me washed his truck twice a week so that it looked brand new--whether he ever let his wife ride in it, I couldn't really tell.)
I started with a scorched Earth clearing out of everything that accumulated in the car during the last three years, including judiciously throwing most of the moldy food away. I removed history books and Cormac McCarthy novels, cookbooks and canning supplies. You know, guy stuff. The bike rack that I never could attach right and which required me to stop every 30 miles on a drive to Florida a couple of years ago when the bikes started disappearing from view. Nine crumpled ties. Five copies of the same music and lyrics. Scattered chocolate almonds my dad had given me last year that through heat and time had swelled up to look like truffles.
Next, I got rid of all the girl stuff. That meant getting all of the hair bands stored on the turn signal bar and the polka dot phone cases and any fleece accoutrements stored in various crevices, as well any lingering, potentially embarrassing CDs.
A large black trash bag got filled. Books intended for somewhere else returned to the basement. Clothes, pieces of plastic that looked important for some years, a portable vacuum cleaner that miraculously still held a charge, all gone.
Then I sprung for the $10 car wash down the road so I could use their super-suction vacuum. The poor guy in the stall next to me got there after me, so he had to pretend to wipe down the outside of his car with a cloth while he waited for my thirty-minute suck job. I stuck that powerful nozzle anywhere it would go and was way beyond caring whether what it was sucking up was valuable or not. I just thrilled to hearing that each sticky coin, leaf, receipt, piece of dirt or almond was gone forever.
Back home, and armed with Armor-All spray and wipes, I wiped down every surface inside the car, getting it clean(er) and shiny, with that good Armor-All smell. Until I got tired of doing it because there places--historical stains--where I just had to give up.
With the car finally clean inside and out, it was time to man it up. There were three things I knew I needed for sure--change, tools, and a cooler.
A man has to have change in his vehicle. He's got to have a place to keep that change, because he needs to have change in case he ever might need it, especially when another man is riding with him and the need for change comes up. "I've got it," a man says as he reaches for his idiosyncratic change holder with pleasure and satisfaction. His male passenger would have expected nothing less. Give a woman a change holder and she'll rip through scrounging for Diet Coke money
I knew right away that I needed a place to store my tools, so I went down into the basement and "borrowed" an antique wooden box of my wife's. It's pretty. I put my wrenches and pliers in there, the ones I found under the front seat from times I tried to get the cables off of a rusted dead battery. I put my jumper cables in there. And a socket set my neighbor gave me when he saw I couldn't get the cables off the rusted battery. And my cleaning supplies, paper towels and Armor-All products, in case I ever clean the car again.
The cooler came from the basement, where I have a closet full of them, since I buy a new one every time I forget to bring one. You never know when a man might take a drive down to Trader Joe's.
As I gave the Sub-Man-"Truck" a final once over, I discovered that I had paid no attention to storage pouches on the backs of the driver's seat and the front passenger seat. Each one contained a romance novel. But as I reached for them in the final act of purgation, I thought, 'Maybe I need them books in here to remind me of romance once in awhile.' After all, a man who's proud of his ride wants to take his woman out in it and show it off and show her off. At least in the driveway.