The Manly Awesomeness of Driving a Minivan
Fatherhood can definitely have its downside. One of those negatives is the liklihood of driving a minivan. Next to a penisectomy, there is nothing more frightening to a man than being seen driving a minivan. To single men, it represents everything that's wrong with parenting. Parenting means you lose your manhood. Parenting means you wear stained clothes, go to bed at 8pm, and worst of all, drive a crappy car.
However, I submit that those who denigrate the minivan have never actually experienced driving one - or a good one, at least. I submit that far from being a symbol of neutered fatherhood and depressing parenting - representative of a man who has lost his will to live - that the minivan be recognized for what it is: AWESOME.
That's right, you heard me, all you men in your Porsches, your Corvettes, your Ferraris. Fatherhood and the sports car just don't mix unless you are wealthy and are driving one as a second car. Fatherhood is about accommodation. Parenting is about learning to enjoy the things that make you a dad. What dad can get a child's car seat in the back of a Miata and what dad would even try? Fatherhood is about the minivan.
You have no idea what you are missing. After all, what is a man? Is he not a slightly overweight, beer-swilling, relaxed slob? And is not the image of that man most often imagined sitting on his couch or his Lazy Boy, watching television? Yes it is. And what is a minivan, my friends? It is a couch on wheels. And what man, given the opportunity, would not drive his couch?
So before I fully engage my defense of this wonderful vehicle, the minivan, let me provide a bit of driving history.
I like to drive. I've owned a number of cars during my life, including a Ford Cortina (my first car), a Toyota Celica, and most recently: a Mazda Miata and a Honda Civic Si. The latter two are what could fairly be called sports cars. Oh sure, they're not Corvettes or Porsches, but they're middle class sports cars. They are finely tuned vehicles. They hug the road. I drove my Miata across the country on roads that make other cars wheeze. I once came out of Glacier National Park in Montana after driving up and over the "Going to the Sun" road and passed a Jetta on a stretch of winding, curvy road where I thought that car must have had something wrong with it, it was going so slow. But that was the beauty of the Miata. It might not have a ton of power, but boy could it corner.
So I guess what I'm trying to say here is that I know how to drive. Furthermore, up until I owned my minivan, I always drove manual transmissions. I was, and still am, a manual transmission snob.
Furthermore, though I have denigrated the average, American male by implying that he is a fat, beer-swilling buffoon, I am not, myself, a fat, beer-swilling buffoon. At least, I don't think I am. In fact, at 44, I'm in very good physical shape. I ride my bike to work most days. I exercise regularly. I like beer, but I don't drink that much of it. That being said, having two kids, I really like a good sit on a soft couch. I submit that there is no dad in this land that does not like to relax on his couch. Especially if you have kids, you are up on your feet all day. You are tired. You want comfort.
And this is where the minivan comes in. It is purely awesome in its comfort features, which is vital in any family situation. I want to get in and out of that thing as fast as possible and I want to get my family in and out of it as fast as possible. My wife has a nice SUV, but you know what? There's no way she can get the kids in that car as fast as I can get them in the minivan. And that's what we want, right? To get going as fast as possible because we're wasting so much time everywhere else begging the kids to do this or that or watching them take ten minutes to get on a pair of shoes. And if Grandma wants to join us, she can. In fact, more than one grandparent can get in the minivan with us. Try that in an SUV.
Then there's the plush, leather, couch-like surface that gets to house my rear-end for trips of whatever duration. And there's the DVD player in the back, which I know is going to come in handy when the kids get older.
But let's forget all the comfort advantages for one second. The minivan is also a man's vehicle because of all the stuff you can haul around in it. I have put a recycling load in that thing that would have fallen out of a pick-up truck. I can get a piece of 4x8 drywall in the minivan. I can cut down a tree in my front yard and get it in there. I can throw two, three, four bikes in the back with their wheels attached. I can throw my skis in there without having the tips hitting me in the head because they're slung over the back seat. And I can do all this without damaging anything because the seats all fold up and disappear.
That's what it is. The minivan is awesome. And it's pretty damn fun to drive too. And I pretty much don't have to worry too much about safety or accidents because it's big and bulky and little cars stay the hell away from me because they intuitively understand that a minivan packed with kids and bikes and adults and dvds and groceries and whatever else has enough mass to squash their little Kia whatevermodel like a grape.
So you know what? Go ahead and make fun of me and my minivan. The next time you try to get out of your car and you pull a back muscle, the next time you buy something that just won't fit in your trunk, the next time you want to take one car to go somewhere and realize you need two, the next time your kids are screaming their heads off because they're hot or uncomfortable or bored - whatever it is - just remember me and my minivan and my awesomeness.