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June 30, 2016 10:40 AM   Subscribe

What is the meaning of this declaration by Jeremy Clarkson?

In this Top Gear clip, I can't tell whether Mr. Clarkson is being serious or facetious when he says, "Now, as we know, once a man is past the age of twenty-eight, he may not--under any circumstances--drive through a built-up area with the roof down on his convertible car."

I remember my dad making a similar joke when I was young. Is Clarkson joking, or does an older man driving through a built-up area with the roof down look tacky or foolish? Is it an etiquette or style faux pas, like wearing a mobile phone holster or a belt with suspenders? What's the story? Is that A Thing?
posted by mattdidthat to Society & Culture (8 answers total)
When I've heard things like this said it's always been in reference to it'll blow your hat/toupee/combover in such a way that gasp errbody'll know you're balding.
posted by phunniemee at 10:51 AM on June 30, 2016

More importantly, you look like a collossal knob sitting in a convertible stopped for a red light.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:53 AM on June 30, 2016 [7 favorites]

I don't think it's A Specific Thing so much as it's seen as a sign of trying to reclaim lost youth or the like (call it a pre-mid-life crisis). Clarkson is famous for simultaneously doing and decrying such tryhardism.
posted by Etrigan at 10:54 AM on June 30, 2016 [12 favorites]

Living in Los Angeles, a middle aged man (usually tanned and manicured, wearing the sort of designer clothes that are supposed to look casual but somehow never do) driving around in a convertible with the top down is kind of a Thing. In my opinion it's not an entirely good thing, but it's also possible that we run in totally different subcultures, and he and all his friends think it's definitely a good thing.

Tacky might be the word for it, but it's something different from that. Flashy? Trying too hard? A gigantic cliche?

It's like a fedora you can drive around in.
posted by Sara C. at 11:30 AM on June 30, 2016 [5 favorites]

Have we ruled out "fun?"
posted by mule98J at 12:15 PM on June 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Socially, such a thing says "mid-life crisis." Practically, it highlights the sad state of one's hair. Neither of those is a good thing.

Note: I started noticing my own hair loss around 26, and bought a Honda del Sol at 27, because fuck it. I learned to keep a hat in the car, because sunburn. I started shaving my head at 36.
posted by fedward at 12:42 PM on June 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Is Clarkson joking, or does an older man driving through a built-up area with the roof down look tacky or foolish?

We can surmise that Clarkson thinks an older man driving through a built-up area with the roof down looks tacky or foolish.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:31 PM on June 30, 2016 [3 favorites]

I've never really heard this before about age or anything. I have seen it observed, of course, that you are obviously more visible/etc riding in a convertible and so if you are self-conscious about your appearance, you lose some of the anonymity of a normal car.

It's worth noting that Jeremy Clarkson is a massive tool at all times, whether or not he is driving a convertible, which might color his perceptions.

As a middle aged man who drives a convertible in LA, but who dresses like an engineer and hasn't washed his car in 2 years, I haven't ever gotten comments one way or another (other than generic nice car comments, or exhortations to wash my car). Also I don't have any hair loss, but I don't think that would affect my behavior in this regard.
posted by thefoxgod at 11:25 AM on July 1, 2016

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