More than one dude has fallen in love with the female voice on his GPS unit. She's so trustworthy, so calm and reliable! But these matters of the heart could screw up men's relationships with real women.
Bruce Feiler writes in the Times that he's "fallen for my GPS voice. And I'm not alone, it turns out." Indeed note. In addition to the "lewd" commenters Feiler finds at "sites like gpspassion.com and pdastreet.com," we've known several dudes who've developed a crush on the disembodied voice that tells them where to turn. My own parents, I recently discovered, refer to my dad's GPS completely unironically as "her," even (especially?) when they're arguing about whether to follow her directions. Feiler speculates that such GPS-love could "be rewriting the rules of male-female relations," by making men actually enjoy having women tell them what to do (has Feiler never heard of a dominatrix?). But this is how his GPS supposedly helps his marriage:
Unlike my wife, my GPS voice is completely subservient. She gives me something I want and doesn't ask anything in return. All I have to do is plug her in every now and then and she's happy.
Our relationship is all about me.
And therein lies the boon to my marriage. Having someone around whose sole role is to serve me gives me what I want as a man (efficiency and attention) while not threatening what my wife wants as a woman (kindness and equality).
So what the GPS truly offers is not dominance, but submission. And the men who love "her" are learning to crave a woman with no trajectory of her own, someone whose entire life consists of reassuringly telling them (as one GPS voiceover actress actually does in motivational speeches), that any wrong turn can be "recalculated." Is there anything to prevent men abandoning relationships with women entirely to spend the rest of their lives jacking off in their cars? According to psychologist and "alarms, auditory warnings, beeps and buzzers" expert Judy Edworthy, maybe. She tells Feiler,
I would use my GPS only sparingly. Especially if you know where you're going. Soon you'll start to feel that she's nagging you.
Turn Right, My Love [NYT]