Men and GPS. Will They Ever Get Along?

 In Seriously?

The other day, I was thinking about the driving force technology has in our lives and how men often feel more at home in the world of technology than women. If you think about it, men have traditionally always liked to play with cars and machines. I imagine this may because they have control over most types of machines and technology. Men like control.

And this may be the very reason why many men hate GPS.

Think about it. The fact that men hate asking for directions is hard to dispute. This seems to be hard wired in them, its root deeply ingrained in their testosterone filled pride; I think many men feel that wavering and appearing  uncertain when they are in a leadership position speaks weakness. Therefore, they’ll drive around for thirty minutes rather than concede that the homeless man on the street may know something they don’t.

Like many men, my husband hates to ask for directions, but he also hates technology. In fact, for a long time he was afraid of the Crest Spin brush. So, you can just imagine how it went when I tried to introduce him to the GPS.

Not well. The latest episode unfolded in the city of Syracuse as we were attempting to find out way home from a soccer game. Here’s a brief rundown of the conversation between my husband and Jillian, our GPS voice:

Jillian:             “In 500 yards, turn left.”

Husband:       “That can’t be right; we came from the other way.”

Jillian:             “Turn left now.”

Husband:       “I’m not turning left; you don’t know what you’re talking about! I’m telling you, we have to-”

Jillian:             “Make a legal U-turn now.”

Husband:       “The Hell I will!”

Jillian:             “Recalculating route…”

Husband:       “Recalculate all you want, you little…”

Jillian: “In one half mile, turn right.”

Husband:       “Oh, yeah, now I turn right! I’m telling you, we need to go west. Wait, isn’t that the thruway ramp? Do I turn? Do I? Do I?”


Husband:       “What, she’s not talking to me now? Son of a…”

What followed was a list of expletives, but this is a family site, so I won’t elaborate. You probably get the picture. My husband hates Jillian. He has tried to throw her out of the car on numerous occasions.

It’s to be expected. Men don’t like having to rely on anyone else for directions and to rely on the voice of a woman…well, that must be a blow to their pride. I asked a coworker if he felt men hated GPS because it was often the voice of a woman. His face lit up.

“You know! You’re right! That’s why she’s always wrong! It’s because it’s a woman…”

So, that pretty much confirmed the theory in my mind.

If men consider it an assault to their manhood to ask someone for directions, it should come as no surprise that the female GPS has wounded them, hitting just where it hurts most.

I wonder if men would adjust to the GPS better if the voice was male. You’d have to pick carefully, of course, as a real man won’t take directions from just any one. The voice would have to be commanding and masculine, one a man would respect and be proud to follow.

Like, perhaps a football coach! Someone who is hard lined, someone you could believe in when he says

“You, Bob! You’re the man we need for this job. Stay in the passing lane and when you can, you break through onto exit 24 and drive, son, drive!”

Or, maybe a drill sergeant. Some men need that kind of structure.

“When I say turn, you turn, soldier!” he would bark. Sure, there’d be verbal abuse, but there would be that acknowledgment of respect when it was over. Sergeant GPS would say “You’ve arrived at your destination. Fine work, soldier.” And your husband would feel good about himself and what he has done for his country.

You know, come to think about it, I think women could do with some better voices as well. This may sound crazy, but I think that Jillian has a sarcastic side. When she says “Recalculating route,” I’m pretty sure I hear tone. There is a subtle pause before she says it, an implied sigh of frustration and I am pretty sure she is thinking “Stupid idiot. I told her when to turn. She can’t even find her way with a satellite view and me telling her what to do.”

Yeah, I hear tone, alright.

Maybe women would prefer to follow a male voice, too.

Personally, I could follow Liam Neeson’s voice into the jaws of Hell. I might even make a few wrong turns on purpose just to hear him talk to me some more.

He can recalculate my route any day.



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Showing 4 comments
  • Jill

    I find the information in this piece strangely interesting. After all, her name is quite similar to mine, and Bob refuses to listen to her?!? In his defense, I must add that I would utterly refuse to take directions from me too. Absolutely no good can come from it.

  • Sandra

    Contrary to your theory, my husband developed an unhealthy relationship with our GPS. Her name is M’Shell and he refers to her as his “honey.” During a recent cross country journey, he desired her ethereal presence the moment we got in the car, even if we remained on the same interstate for the entire day. Just knowing that she was there with him gave him some sense of security.

    I on the other hand do not appreciate M’Shell’s direct orders. “Honey” is the last word I would use in referencing her. Is it possible that I in some way feel threatened by her presence? Would I feel different if my GPS had the voice of Sean Connery?

  • Matt

    My phone’s GPS has the voice of a British Butler. I refer to him as Jeeves and he can tell me all about the weather, the news, and read my emails to me as I drive around. He’s very capable.

    • Jennifer Hanno

      I always wanted a butler! Interesting…

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