“The car has become… an article of dress without which we feel uncertain, unclad, and incomplete.” – Marshall McLuhan

SubaruLast weekend as Jeanine and I picked up our rental car to drive out to the Berkshires, I laughed at seeing the Subaru sitting in the stall. Do straight people know that Subaru’s are considered lesbian cars?

Apparently so. According to The New York Times, Meghan Daum, my favorite op-ed contributor to The Los Angeles Times wrote a few years ago, “about a promising first date with a man that never led to a second one because, she later learned, the guy saw that she drove a Subaru Outback station wagon and concluded she must be a lesbian.”

When did a car become a declaration of one’s sexual orientation? Even Tom and Ray at Car Talk have assembled their list of The Ultimate Gay and Lesbian Cars. You can’t get any more hetero than Tom and Ray. But the gays weigh in too: Gaywheels.com publishes their list of gay-friendly car companies and Ramone Johnson who covers the Gay Life at About.com compiles his “Best of” every year.

Why all the lists? And why are car companies using a stereotype for identity? Is it branding? Is it greed? Are they designing products specifically for queer buyers? And when you think about it, are cars really any different from jeans, coffee, or mobile phones? So what’s all the fuss about cars?

Personally, I don’t get it. Plus all the niche marketing seems to have backfired. Or at the very least wasted on me: the lesbian. This was duly noted when Jeanine asked if I’d ever consider buying one. As I kicked it into overdrive, the concern wasn’t: does this car make me look gay? But rather: does this car make me look fat? Mainstream marketers take note.

Zoom, zoom, zoom. What are your thoughts on gay cars?