Oh dear... I think there may be a few things hiding in my closet. For a while I had thought my gayness extended only as far as being jealous of Jake Gyllenhaal's hair. And finding Notting Hill, erm, entertaining. But I've always taken comfort in the fact that you'd have to pay me a helluva lot of money to go watch Pierce Brosnan sing in Mamma Mia. And mostly, obviously, that the only man I'd ever consider kissing would be the one presenting me with my Powerball Lotto winning cheque.
But now I'm quite worried. I've had a weekend of quiet introspection and realised a number of things. When most men drink beer, I drink red wine. Given a choice, I'd prefer a slice of quiche over a steak. I love pink shirts. And I like listening to Katy Perry. Obviously, I'm so gay. And I don't even like boys!
The final nail in my closet has, however, been a car that nobody else in the office have been willing to drive during daytime - the Fiat 500C, recently awarded the title of 2010 Gay Car of the Year by Ledorga, the organisers of an annual meeting for gay vintage car enthusiasts in Europe. It defeated cars such as the Aston Martin DBS, Alfa Romeo 8C Spider and Chevrolet Camaro on the way to the title, by the way...
Our 500C test car is painted in the brightest canary yellow you could ever imagine, so there's simply no chance of missing it. For some of the macho men in the office, especially them unmarried lady-killer blokes, driving the 500C is seemingly guaranteed to lead to the front door of Bronx. And social suicide.
I haven't had the luxury of choice in the matter - I was between long-term test cars at the time and needed to stay mobile. So, off I ventured into the Mother City, one of the world's pink capitals.
And you know what, not even one man winked at me. Girls, however, were pointing and smiling. This hardly ever happens to me. After all, in the words of my standard four science teacher, I have the face of a "burst open watermelon". And yet, here attractive ladies were making eye contact after giving the car a loving once-over.
This is not the reason why I fell head over heels in love with the 500C though...
Although you can sense a slight loss of rigidity as a result of the roof being cut out, this cabriolet version retains its solid-roofed sibling's fun-to-drive character. It's got the marque's willing 74 kW 1,4-litre engine, a slick six-speed manual gearbox with the lever placed nice and close to the steering wheel and a minimal weight gain over other 500 models.
It's not a terribly fast car, of course, but it's so responsive and the engine so willing to rev that an engaging piece of tarmac immediately turns into a racing circuit. Fiat claims a top speed of 182 km/h and a 0-100 km/h time of 11 seconds. It feels faster than that. It handles nicely, too.
For a car with such a short wheelbase it also offers a remarkably compliant and composed ride. This makes it quite a good boulevard cruiser, to be enjoyed past the Camps Bay beachfront cafés, for example. The soft-top roof works easily. You can operate it via buttons near the interior ceiling light or even from the remote control.
And you can alter its position even when driving. I found that when it wasn't open completely there was more buffeting around one's head than when it was open completely. So if you've got an impeccable coiffure, you'd better keep the roof either closed, or open it completely. When one is as follically challenged as I am, this matters less, obviously.
So yes, I love the Fiat 500C. Gay jokes aside - who cares anyway - I found the 500C actually being a stern test for any straight man's, erm, manliness. But the rewards are great. Once you've overcome and discarded your prejudices you'll discover a car that is enormous fun, possibly a future classic and even one that lures the ladies.
So, then, are you man enough for the Fiat 500C?
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