I owe the producers of CBS News an apology. I thought that only lazy, cynical reporters pre-chewing content-free pablum for a aging audience of out-of-touch Boomers made annoyingly obtuse references to the twenty-five-year-old Michael Keaton movie, Mr. Mom. I was wrong. the designers of GM's full-sized SUV's do, too.
Here's GM vehicle line director named Mary Sipes, the only woman in the GM village, explaining how family-friendly the new rigs are at a recent press junket at the company's Milford Proving Grounds:
"A few times a year we go off-site and try to have a learning exercise that is a lot of fun," said Sipes. "We took our group to the proving grounds and broke them into teams. One guy on each team had to be Mr. Mom. We dressed him in a garbage bag to simulate a tight skirt. We gave him rubber gloves with press on nails, a purse, a baby and a baby stroller and some chores like loading groceries."The result of the skirt-donning exercise: a console bin big enough to hold the "purses" all the broads are carrying these days. Also an appreciation for the maneuvering required to get out of an SUV that goes far beyond the hours and hours spent researching paparazzi photos of Britney Spears' c-section scar. Also, they all really enjoyed peeing sitting down.
The men were then required to go through what women do routinely every day. They had to put the baby in a car seat and buckle them in, fold up the stroller, pull up the liftgate and stow the stroller, put grocery bags in the back.
GM Engineer Mark Cieslak:
"I took for granted that my wife had all these things to do like put our child in a child seat," he adds. "It isn't that easy in pumps and a skirt."Don't tell the fellas at work, but Mark is considering actually putting his own kid in the car seat sometime. Just around the house.
Cieslak's big moment came when he got home that night and told his wife and daughter what he'd been up to.
"They were really impressed that we did something like that and that finally we were designing a vehicle that accommodates everybody. It was so rewarding to see how it resonated with my daughter and my wife."