Friday, March 18, 2011

There'll be no "Swagger Wagon."

Back in January, I stumbled upon a NY Times article that discussed how the mini-van was trying to make a comeback and automakers were employing new and creative advertising methods to help the mini-van shake off it's uncool, mom-mobile image.  I shared this link with a "Never will I ever" in my status, so I felt like it was only appropriate to include it in my list of "When I have Kids..." mantras.

I know minivans are incredibly practical and my husband and I are not on the same page with this one.  He doesn't think I should be swearing off minivans at all.  "Really, Susan, what else would we drive?"  Me: "An SUV."  Husband: "A gas-guzzling SUV?! I don't think so.  We aren't going to be able to fly anywhere with them. Maybe if we don't ever plan on ever taking them anywhere.  It's just so much more practical."  Me:  "I still don't want one."  By the way friends, we currently drive an SUV.

So, what is it about the minivan that makes the idea of driving one make, not just me, but several of my mommy friends, cringe?  I've been mulling over this one for the last couple of days, and this is where my layman sociological and psychological theories have lead me.

One of the very few things I learned from my high school sociology class, was how people use things to identify themselves in the world.  How you dress and what you drive are the primary ways people show their personality and in some degree, the status they have or that they seek.  When one of the primary social identifiers you have (your car) screams "MOM!" it conjures up a whole lot of assumptions about the person driving that vehicle.

Again, the biggest argument for the mini-van is its practicality.  It's undeniable.  But isn't that a huge indicator that we're getting old:  choosing the practical option over something much cooler?  And no one likes to think about getting older.

The minivan strips you of your identity in some ways.  Back to the using-your-car-as-an-expression-of-yourself notion, the mini-van only says one thing about you: Mom who doesn't care what people think anymore.  Next stop: mom jeans and appliqued jumpers.  Yeah, yeah, I know you're not supposed to care what people think in theory, but that's just crap.  If that was really true, well, that's a whole different blog post.

Also, I loathe getting stuck behind a minivan on the interstate.  It's usually a mother with a carload of kiddos, ON HER CELL PHONE, camped out in the far left lane going 50 mph.   Sorry ladies, I tried for years to defend our sex on the issue of driving, but I no longer can.  Women suck at driving.  I have  yet to ride in a car with a woman that I would consider a good driver, myself included.

Honestly, I will probably lose the minivan battle one day and I don't believe that I will take back anything I said here.  A lot of people on the web and elsewhere admit the defeating blow a minivan purchase makes on the ego.  I don't imagine that it will be any different for me.  Perhaps there are more benefits to the mini-van than I originally considered.  It also serves as a symbol of warning on roadways: "Caution: Distracted driver subject to erratic maneuvers and inconsistent speeds." I am sure that my driving sometimes warrants that kind of caution for other motorists.

So, when I have kids, there'll be no "swagger wagon."  I won't try to make a minivan cooler than it is and  I will do my best to fight the good fight against it as long as I can.

1 comment:

  1. I can see Stacey with a "Swagger Wagon" at some point. It is what it is, once you have children everything will change.

    Jason Thompson