Chelsea Kaplan’s Musings About Life... After Birth
Posted by Chelsea on June 24, 2008
Momtourage member Alicia recently did the unthinkable.
Oh yes, she got a minivan.
“It’s really nice,” she explained, as the Momtourage listened, eyes wide as she confessed her recent purchase to us. If she had told us she was joining the circus, we probably would have had a greater understanding of her decision. “The doors open automatically, and it’s so roomy!” she said, giggling at us. I, for one, was not laughing. I didn’t care if the doors opened automatically to reveal George Clooney, who would then massage my feet each time before I put the keys in the ignition. No. Effing. Way.
You see, The Momtourage (with the exception of Alicia, naturally) is decidedly anti-minivan. Vehemently, passionately so. Jen, Dana, Alison, Amy, Courtney and I are all SUV folks, and I think it’s safe to say you’d probably sooner find us walking than behind the wheel of a Town & Country. Though we’re aware that our SUV ownerships aren’t going to win any kudos from Leonardo DiCaprio anytime in the near future, we love them; you can fit a couple of kids, a bunch of crap from Target and your stroller in them. They’re mom cars, but not Mom cars; when you drive an SUV, few would argue that you’ve succumbed to uncoolness in the vehicular department.
The minivan, however, represents just that. “I don’t care how many kids I have,” Dana always says. “There is NO WAY I will ever drive a minivan. Tahoe, Suburban, Yukon…even a pimped-out Escalade - there are so many acceptable alternatives.” Jen echoes, “Minivans are for our generation the equivalent to the station wagons our moms drove. Those were awful then, and minivans are awful now. My mom never drove a station wagon - she schlepped my brother and me around in a sedan, and I applaud her for setting a good example for me.” In the interest of full disclosure, with the exception of Courtney, none of the Momtourage members have more than two kids. Even she, though, squeezes 3 car seats into the back of her Volvo SUV, refusing to make the move.
When I think about what our real problems are with the vehicle-that-must-not-be-named, I know it has less to do with the car and more so with what it symbolizes. I’ll admit, I checked out Alicia’s new ride and it was nice. In fact, I am sure anyone else who saw it would agree with the fact that it’s seriously practical and far more roomy than any SUV. What it isn’t, however, is sexy. Or cool. Minivans are just so mom, and not in a good way. “To me, minivan screams ‘old mom’”, Jen said, as we discussed our mutual distaste for them. “See, when I think of minivans, I think of some dirty, crusty interior with sticky toys, spilled juice and smashed crackers all over the floor, with a bunch of sweaty kids inside listening to some God-awful tween pop band on the radio,” I replied. “I don’t want that life - literally or metaphorically, and to me, that is what minivans represent.” You know the Mom Jeans mom? In my mind, she drives a minivan.
The irony of Alicia being the only Momtourage member to cross over into the Final Frontier of Motherhood is that Alicia is hot. If there ever was a mom who was not a Mom, it’s her.
“When I bring up Alicia, my brother goes, ‘Oh, your hot mom friend?’ No offense, of course, I mean, that was before I knew you….” Alison once said to me. No offense was taken, and there was no need to add that little bit on the end. All was understood.
When I first met Alicia, I realized she was from the same small New Jersey town as E., my closest guy friend from college. When I asked him if he knew her, he started sweating, and got all nervous like he was back in 10th grade, hormones raging. “Um, yeah, she was only like the hottest girl in school. Everyone knew who she was, and all my friends (I’m gonna delete this part because I get that you see where it’s heading)....”. After I removed my hands from my ears, he went on to say that the cool thing about Alicia is that she was always super sweet and nice, despite her obvious attractiveness. “She was the kind of girl who could have gotten away with being totally nasty to everyone and people probably still would have been enamored with her,” he explained. “This wasn’t who she was, though.” Not much has changed, it seems. Nearly 15 years post- high school graduation, Alicia is still one of the prettiest people I know - inside and out. She’s one of those friends you can always count on to make you feel good about yourself, and to be generous and understanding; everything she does is kind, good and sincere.
So, I imagine, if anyone - mom or otherwise - can pull off a minivan, I guess it’s Alicia. If she starts wearing light jeans with an elastic waist, though, I’m staging a serious intervention.
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