The time had come. My beloved VW Passat, the car I’d bought with the last vestiges of my trust fund, was dead. After nine years, her charming Windsor Blue exterior (with just a hint of eggplant) belied the fact that she was no longer a smooth ride. And with two kids, a persistent influx of visiting relatives to ferry about, not to mention play dates, I simply needed a bigger vehicle.
My husband released his inner price-gouger along with our neighbor who worked for a dealership and trawled for a screamin’ deal to meet our family-of-four-plus needs. He returned with a sardonic glint in his Irish eyes.
“You’re getting a mini-van.” I gasped. No! Never! Mini-vans are just so… Un-sexy. Boorishly maternal. Fat. Not that the Passat was all that cool, but getting a mini-van felt akin to a form of female castration. A talisman that my disco shoes would be hung up forever. Let’s slap on some wood paneling and get me a polyester pantsuit while we’re at it.
In the end, the fact that I didn’t have a working car rendered my protests lackluster. If a mini-van was my destiny, then I wanted it fully loaded – leather interior (to help with the inevitable food and drink spill clean-up) and a DVD player for long journeys (family bonding could wait until the rest stops). And it was a screamin’ deal. Thus, I surrendered.
The borderline hostile reaction from my bourgeois formerly punker-than-thou mommy friends surprised me. A self-righteous, “I’m sorry,” was quipped repeatedly. This even came from my friend Mieke, who rolls in a Subaru wagon (hot!). When I wanted to get a studded license plate holder as an ironic joke, my friend Elizabeth peered at me from behind her Betty Page bangs and sniffed, “That’d just be pathetic.” Don’t hate me because I drive a mini-van, ladies. You know they all lined up to pile into the grocery-getter when it was time to hit the pumpkin patch.
A couple weeks after I lost my mini-van virginity, some rocker buddies from my Seattle days had a reunion gig at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip. Defiantly I pulled the White Whale into the valet, grabbed my backstage pass and headed up to the Foundation Room like I owned it. Mini-van neutering stigma be damned.
Liberty Bradford is many things, including a grateful member of The Women's Conference team.
Read Liberty Bradford's earlier post Mommy's Dreams