The Other Woman

Dear Amy:

Why will men follow a GPS that has a woman’s voice, but will not listen to their wives give them directions? I’ve been told that the tone and sound level had something to do with the willingness to listen.

A Frustrated Wife and Passenger in Alabama

Dear Frustrated:

It is a time-proven fact that when it comes to directions, a man will listen to any voice other his wife’s. Enter the GPS.

On our trip to the mountains in March, I referred to the GPS woman on my husband’s magical phone as a “[name calling deleted].” My husband defended her. Way too often.

I had my paper Google map, printed out, easily available. My map and directions to every turn, stop, restaurant and attraction were right. Every. Time. Not so with the [name calling deleted]. She misled us more than once, yet he fell prey to her wiles every single time. She would lead us off the beaten path to parts unknown, children in tow. Like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. Home wrecker.

While I honestly can’t stand her, however, I do see her appeal. She offers directions in a soft-spoken, non-threatening way, but filled with an obnoxious certainty that you will follow her. Like she has slipped something in your drink and is just standing in the corner, waiting to drag your sorry butt to the alley and rob you blind.

That’s not at all where I was going with this.

What I meant to say is that male drivers seem smitten by her sincerity and confidence. Men like confident women, I’ve been told. In general — and I am just guessing here — men do not care to drive alongside a woman who plops her elbow on the passenger door and stares out the window with her hand covering her mouth after her driving directions have been repeatedly ignored and the entire carload of passengers is being led down a two-lane road that is clearly marked “south” when you should be traveling “north.”

Another thing I’ve learned is that men don’t care too much for women who insist on ending their instructions with, “Maybe you’ll listen to me this time so we don’t end up in Egypt,” or, “I think I know left from right. I do have a college degree, you know.”

I don’t know if GPS Lady is interfering in your relationship and threatening your marriage, Dearest Frustrated, but to be safe, you might consider installing an alternate voice to your TomTom, Garmin, iPhone or other such thing that I neither own nor understand. It’s an interesting premise. You can choose from big names like Homer Simpson (could he possibly be good with directions?), Kim Cattrall (men would never come home; they would drive cross-country just to make a bread run) or even Gary Busey (whom I would imagine could lead an unwitting driver astray and into a pool hall or two).

I am holding out for technology that will pair voice with personal interaction. If I needed a co-pilot’s voice, I would opt for Gregory Peck.

“There’s a lot of ugly things in this world, Amy. I wish I could keep ’em all away from you. Take a left at the top of the exit ramp.”

Or, as I crank the car, “Good afternoon Miss Amy … My, you look like a picture this afternoon. Where might we be going on such a fine day? To the grocery store! That’s a fine idea, Miss Amy. A fine idea, indeed.”

But back to your question, Frustrated. Don’t knock yourself about tone and sound level. This is not about infidelity or a wandering eye. It’s about the stupid technology. (It always is.) Your husband may turn to the other woman for her satellite connection and strong leadership skills, but it’s you he shares the car with. Besides, she’s a tramp. She’s feeding lines to men the world over, and they’re all falling for it. Some day, they will remember the simple joys of stopping at the state line to pick up a sharply creased map or to ask a shopkeeper where he might find the nearest Krystal.

I know–that last part about maps and asking for directions was funny.

Safe travels,