Does ‘Please Do Not Touch’ have a silent ‘Not’?


WE’RE pretty blessed these days to have so many car events to attend and enjoy. Nary a weekend goes by without something happening locally, be it a full-blown static display, drag meet or low-key car park hang-out. It’s the perfect opportunity to clock up some miles and show off your pride and joy with likeminded folk.

But what in the hell has happened to car show respect?

When I was a young tacker, my dad would threaten to chop off my fingers if they came within a whisker of someone else’s car. It’s not that he’s a hard man – far from it – he just wanted to instil in me an appreciation and respect for other people’s property and hard work.

Nowadays, however, silky-smooth paint or a plush interior is a virtual magnet for wandering hands, and a Please Do Not Touch sign is treated by some as a challenge.

The offenders come in four main guises.

The Leaner: They’re the type who feels the need to inspect your transmission pan bolts via the engine bay, usually while wearing a pair of multi-rivet jeans with a studded belt and EH hubcap belt buckle. If they’re super-important there’ll be a large wad of keys hanging from a belt loop that’ll clang like a wind chime while crop circles form in your front guard.

The Toucher: It must be some kind of deficiency with one of their remaining four senses that compels some people to touch everything they can get their mitts on.

“The paint on this car is amazing; it’s like glass,” you can almost hear them thinking. “I better not taste it, but watch me rub my fingers here to feel how silky-smooth it really is.”

If you’re lucky, their unwanted ministrations will just snot up the four-hour polishing job you gave your ride earlier in the day, but if there’s rings or, erm, gritty crust involved, it can get messy.

Having a panel van with a soft, porno interior makes me a prime candidate for inappropriate touching [hang on, are we still talking about car shows, Simo? – Ed]. To see a punter going in for the grope with a sticky ice cream – or worse still, a fabric-burning durry – in hand is to know a crushed velvet violation is painfully imminent.

The Tapper: Like a rabid WWII Morse code operator, the tapper feels the need to knock on every surface of your car, apparently in the pursuit of new materials-science breakthroughs.

“Hmmm, your roof feels like steel, but the spoiler feels like fibreglass.” That’s because it is, dipshit! And you could have just asked me that.

The Neglector: An indirect threat, but by far the most dangerous. The neglector (who may also display traits of the leaner, toucher or tapper) goes on their merry way while neglecting one or more children and/or a naïve partner or friend, all of whom have no idea about car etiquette, but came along to be supportive, or because they had to.

In the meantime, said children can’t help but run their Hot Wheels cars along your front guards or use your bonnet scoop as a Dukes of Hazzard-style jump, while the sharp edges of umbrellas or prams come dangerously close to road-raging your precious metals.

What do these four main offenders have in common? They nearly always don’t have a car on display – but they’ll be sure to tell you what you’ve done wrong with yours.

Will it stop me displaying and enjoying my car? Hell no! But it has made me far more proactive when it comes to telling people to show some respect.