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Dear Joanne,

I've been happily married for two years. I brought my F-250 pickup truck into the marriage but now that it's time for a new vehicle, guess what? She wants a car. My job changed and we moved from a small town to the big city, so she's got a point. I just don't know if I'm ready to give up the versatility of my truck. Any advice?

- Urban Cowboy

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There's a certain kind of woman out there, one who wants a man with a truck as much as she wants a man with a mustache. I'm going to take a guess here -- you probably don't have a mustache.

Women against pickup trucks could be a national movement. To a degree, I understand where your wife is coming from. Sometimes it's a struggle to get into a truck. Then there's the styling and the redneck stigma. If you were really trying to impress her, maybe you've got a gun rack in the back window.

When she married you, she married your truck. But people and circumstances change. I grew up surrounded by trucks, but I can't imagine handling one in the city. I learned to drive in a 5-speed red Datsun diesel. It was so rusted out the box had to be replaced - with a 'new' one, from the dump. Small but mighty, it once hauled a 60-foot grain auger across southern Saskatchewan. If you've never seen an auger and want a visual - imagine an ant pulling a fencepost.

Certain things are much better accomplished with a truck. A farm neighbour once declared: "If my truck stopped, everything would stop." Some people, some professions need trucks. So do some lifestyles, such as driving the logging roads from the Ditidaht Reserve to Nitinat Lake on Vancouver Island to go windsurfing. The side of that road, littered with vehicle parts, is a testament to the little cars that tried to make the trip.

But a full-size truck for pleasure driving in the city? You'll be as rare as the Ferrari set on a logging road, and parking is always an issue. You have to map out in advance where you're going to leave that thing. And just because you're in a truck, don't think the 'might is right' rule applies in the city. You've got to be extra careful or you'll run someone over. You might end up turning pedestrians into road kill.

If you have a valid reason for a truck in the city, there are some options. Maybe trading for a compact or mid-size truck is the answer. Have you checked out pick-up prices lately? They've fallen faster than the stock market did last year. A new Ford Ranger costs less now than it did five years ago.

Another thing -- do you live in an apartment or a house? If you don't have secure parking, you can't leave anything in the box without a canopy. And if you live in an apartment, what possible use do you have for a truck? Unless, of course, you're hosting Grey Cup tailgate parties.

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She wants a car. You want a truck. Maybe you can compromise, like a good married couple should. What about an El Camino? Or Ranchero? Then you can have the worst of both worlds. Or, on the few occasions when you require more space than a car trunk offers, a utility trailer may hold your answer.

If you just need a part-time truck, have you considered group-ownership? I have friends who share a pickup among 4 families. They all chip in for the bills. That way you'll always have a truck for hauling junk, a Christmas tree, or maybe even the Grey Cup on the weekend. Unless, of course, you're a Saskatchewan Roughriders fan.

If you're really built Ford tough, do you need a truck? If the answer is clearly no, listen to your wife. Get the car, and a new friend - with a truck. Maybe you two should talk about the mustache next.

Need some Auto Therapy? E-mail Joanne at globedrive@globeandmail.com

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