Debate Magazine

R Teenagers 2 Cool 4 Moped Scooters? Encouraging Thrift and Austerity in American Youth

By Legosneggos @LegosnEggos

First, let’s start this story off with the fact that we Americans can no longer fight the delusion that we are not in a recession…because we are.  Second, consider a family like mine with twin male teens, both of whom are itching to drive.  Third, consider that they require, for now, only to navigate in a motorized fashion around only local neighborhoods and familiar thoroughfares.  And, finally, consider the savings in car insurance and gas!

For American youth, just like ourselves, it is good to begin encouraging thrift and austerity, especially when the weather’s right and saving gas is necessary.  We parents can’t afford teens everything they want — nor do some of us even want to — like a car, but we can meet you halfway…and kids have got to compromise.

Now you’re ready for my argument as to why a motorized moped-scooter is not only acceptable but downright smart for young teens.

Obviously, a lot of people out there adore their moped scooters.  So can someone tell me what it is about the idea of riding a moped scooter (even a brand-spanking new one) that makes a teenaged boy think “lame?”  We’re talking about a faster gas-powered 150 cc or so, though I also think the 50 cc is just as fine.  I mean, I understand why not the electric moped scooters just yet because, hey, a teenager wants a little more HRMPHHH than 21 miles an hour max in speed.

Still, even I become giddy when I look around Scooter Depot, with thoughts of wind in my hair…at a safer speed.  So maybe that’s the problem in selling my sons on the idea, which is certainly cheaper than a car and could follow them to college campus life, which is right around the corner.

And tell me why they’re fine with a moped scooter as soon as they hit college.  ”Oh, it will be fine then, Mom.”  What is it about high school social life that discourages practicality?

Also, aren’t we supposed to be raising ecologically responsible kids?  I’m doing my best, but their egos are getting in the way.  Less gas, more room to park, option to own brand new, ease of use.  I mean, I understand the “being out there” notion — riding in front of everyone, using a helmet, appearing different, being unable to transport a carload of friends, and the loss of the option for a killer sound system…but, being honest, my kids don’t have those options anyway in a car, so why not a moped-scooter?

Also, as a to-boot, I think it frees up a male from having to impress a date with an awesome car.  Or is THAT the problem — there’s no make-out space on a date?  I might be onto something.  And, in that case, maybe more parents will consider this mode of transportation now that they’ve read this!

So let’s get to the heart of the problem — and that’s by asking what it is about a moped scooter that seems emasculating to a high school-aged male.  Why is it that a high school guy being required to put on a helmet to ride a reasonable-speed gas-powered moped scooter conjures up fear in him of ridicule from classmates?  Are young men as vain as I’m beginning to think?  It seems so, but more in terms of virility than beauty.  Why is it that using a moped scooter on a college campus is the only acceptable reason to an average male between the ages of, say, 14-25?

For a girl, I think, the notion of owning a scooter seems cute and kind of hipster — like this…

R Teenagers 2 Cool 4 Moped Scooters? Encouraging Thrift and Austerity in American Youth

…and that’s fine and all, but for a young man in high school, owning a moped seems to be the promise of becoming social pariah.  Even my daughter agrees?  I think that she thinks of being a date on the back of one and what a mess she would arrive in, but a guy shouldn’t care.

And one would think that any teenager with absolutely no mode of transportation (save his longboard or bicycle) would jump at the chance to own at least a 50-cc gas-powered or electric scooter, even used, that could help him navigate about town, but I guess I’m wrong.

Are American teenagers seriously so peer-conscious — wait, so self-conscious — and vain that they choose form over function?  I mean, I’ll admit that a moped is not quite a streamlined and speedy as a full-on street bike, nor is it the most manly mode of transport for a young man (what, with no place to put his legs but in a seemingly feminine pose when in motion), but a parent would think a kid wouldn’t want to miss out on getting places a bit too far to walk or pedal due to how cool he appears upon arriving.

And forget about telling him he must wear a helmet when riding it.  That’s apparently just nuts, Mom.  I mean, even a 50-cc can go up to 45 miles an hour.

Has any other parent run into this inane logic (or lack thereof) with her or his kid?  I think it’s hilarious that American teenagers (and not just the guys when it comes to arriving on the back of one) are so concerned with how they look on a scooter-moped that they would eschew owning a scooter-moped altogether until they can buy themselves an old, battered used car, which is what mine will have to do if they pass on a new motor-powered scooter.

Call me crazy, but I think American kids can be awfully spoiled and superficial.  Where in the world did they learn that?  Oh, yeah…from us grown-ups in our SUVs with the dark-tinted windows.  Maybe the problem is cultural, but I think we’ll start seeing more of these vehicles on the road as people discover that thrift and austerity will come to rule their budgets.

Still, had my parents ever offered me a brand-new moped-scooter, I would absolutely have heartily accepted it, so I’m just confounded as to my boys’ attitudes.  Maybe we just don’t see enough young men around here riding them.  I think that both the constraints of today’s economy and the needs of the environment call for a change in this attitude in American teenagers, especially the males.  And, personally, I don’t think the moped-scooter companies are trying a hard enough sell to this demographic.  Maybe they think it’s a lost cause not to have a young man go straight for a full-on motorcycle, but I think it’s more that they encourage it to sell more expensive stuff.  But, to be honest, some boys don’t have the option for something more expensive in this economy.

R Teenagers 2 Cool 4 Moped Scooters? Encouraging Thrift and Austerity in American Youth

Yeah….that’s more like it!  See?  Mopeds aren’t just cute.  I mean, I don’t want my boys in a moped gang or anything (click pic above if that interests you, though), but I do think the vehicles are just as cool as anyone else on the road.

So Vespa, are you listening? You’ve got to do better than a Boys of Vespa ad featuring older males. (For one, Mickey Rourke is not a boy, but if Brad Pitt and Owen Wilson think moped-scooters are good enough, then that explains why we love ‘em.)  We want to see a new ad campaign for American male teenagers, one where, for once, speed and danger are not components to simply getting around town.  I know women can’t be cornering the entire moped-scooter market here.

Also, if you’re a younger guy who LOVES his moped-scooter and finds that it fits in just fine with your culture, or if you know one, then please let me hear from you!  If you submit a killer picture and your reasons for your scooter worship (provided it contains no nudity or obscenity), then I’ll absolutely include it in a follow-up post — promise!  Sell my boys on the finer points and nuances of scootering-moped life.

Also, being what I consider to be an objective individual, I will admit that I would occasionally ask to borrow said moped-scooter on the weekends, just to pick up a baguette or to wind-dry my nails.  Is that so bad?

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog