In many two car families, the automobiles are often designated as being Mom’s or Dad’s.  Such is the case in our household.  “My” car is the 2002 Honda Odyssey Mini-Van.  Dave drives the 2003 Nissan Murano.  When Dave has to suck it up On rare occasions, we switch, but most days I find myself behind the wheel of my silver, boxy ride, zipping along suburban roads and using the automatic doors with reckless abandon.

Pssst – for those MoB readers without children yet, there is something you should know.  Soon after your oldest child turns 3 and begins to attend pre-school, you will be abducted by aliens for a brief period of time.  Don’t worry.  They won’t hurt you.  In fact, they actually make you a pretty interesting offer.   The aliens will give you a free Honda Odyssey — in either silver or navy — in exchange for your sex appeal.  The Moms and Dads you see driving these mini-vans considered this a GOOD deal given the state of their libidos at the time.  Now you know why there are so many of these vans parked at the mall. Don’t even talk to me about what the aliens are doing.

But at some point, after years of driving the mini-van, you start to miss the sex appeal you traded in for the Odyssey.  It happened to me around the time I turned 40.  By that time, however, I had fallen victim to the Honda Stockholm Syndrome (HSS) in which I began to express adulation and feel positive about my sex appeal’s captor, a.k.a. my van.  I grew fond of the last row of seats where I could send my least favorite child on long car rides.  I could relate to the horrible beeping sound when I drove away from the school curb as the automatic door was still closing.  As for the scratches on side where I swiped numerous thorny bushes and the cute dimple on the rear hatch where I backed into a mailbox?  They became a part of who I was.  The thought of a new car was terribly unappealing – and remains so to this day.

But — truth be told — there is another reason why I am hesitant to move on from the mini-van.  It’s actually a SECRET reason that no Mom or Dad has ever admitted – even perhaps to themselves. And the aliens never saw it coming.   But I’m going to tell you now:

I’m too sexy for my mini-van.

Yes.  You read correctly.  Countless Moms and Dads are keeping their mini-vans well past their reasonable utility because they make us feel sexy.

I know it sounds completely absurd but it all has to do with expectations.  Think about it.

You see, the sex appeal bar is set so incredibly low for mini-van drivers that almost any driver can pull off “too hot and sexy” with very little effort.  The same can not be said for the drivers of Camaros, Mercedes convertibles or even Lexus SUV’s.  Ever pull up next to a completely cool car with an average (or worse, unattractive) looking driver?  Your first thought (admit it) is “THAT car is way too hot for THAT person.”

True enough.  On most days, I am no match for a BMW, Audi, or Porsche.  Shit, I don’t think I could pull off a Volkswagen Cabriolet anymore.  But I am smokin’ in the mini-van simply because I comb my hair and have some semblance of abdominal muscles.

In an age when expectations seem endless and unreasonable, the mini-van makes it a little easier for us non-Padma Lakshmi mortals to shine.  In the last 12 years, I’ve been cut down the middle twice, sleep deprived for months on end, worry warted on a daily basis, peed, vomited and pooped on more times than I care to admit, carried sleeping children that were really heavy and emotional burdens that were even heavier, lost and gained back the same freaking ten pounds at least half a dozen times, plucked brittle grey hairs from my head, developed laugh lines that made me cry, sweated my ass off weekly to burn a measly 210 calories on the elliptical, purchased my first secondthird pair of Spanx, pulled my back out on several occasions by standing up too quickly and have woken each morning to dog butt in my face.

I need to be too sexy for SOMETHING.

That’s why I’m keeping the damn mini-van.

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