Yes! A hot take! Bear with me, though, because I have a lot of very honest questions. (Also, you really don’t have to stop talking about dads. Just know I won’t understand unless you’re telling me how awesome your dad is. My dad is great, I feel you.)
I’ve been seeing the dadness phenomenon manifest itself on my Twitter timeline, and continue to manifest itself after the one day I had predicted it would take for it to bore everyone, and so I’ve been very confused about it. I’m in the peculiar position of being a European following an almost exclusively US and Canada-based group of people on Twitter (being that none of my real-life friends bar one actively use it), while not being particularly invested in the US news cycle. I can only tell you this is an incredibly weird and sometimes alienating experience: at least once a day, I find myself suddenly in the midst of a conversation that seems to have started in medias res, and seemingly out of nowhere, though everyone on my TL evidently knows what’s going on and how they feel about it. (The Jinx, oh my god. The Jinx. For hours, I thought Fred Durst had gone on a killing spree.) Dadness happened to me exactly like this. I still don’t know from whence it sprung, or why, or whether dad jokes, dad bods, and other assorted attributes of conceptual dadness are as hot a topic in the brunch locales of America as they are on its internet (this is not shade, I’m just told Americans brunch a lot). All I know is that I feel weird about it.
For starters, I’m kind of wondering what it means that we all suddenly get to be into dadbod, specifically. It feels suspicious because, at least on the internet, the big conversation about women’s appreciation of men’s bodies is now not about men’s bodies but about dads, and because dads are talked about like they exist in a sort of weird vacuum that other men are excluded from. Because, really, why is it that we apparently feel so much less conflicted (and so much more smug) about being into dads than about being into any other kind of man? (I mean, let’s acknowledge the vast exception of fandoms here, but I feel like that is almost a given, and I also feel like the dadbod convo is happening very resolutely outside of fandom spaces.) I’ve developed a few half-baked theories about The Dad Conversation, which I will now unleash on you:
Dads are safe to be attracted to and talk cooingly about because???:
- We conceive of dads as kind of emasculated, and so we feel less conflicted about wanting to bang a tool of the patriarchy? (Awkward.)
- Dadness as a concept involves being bumbling and endearing, which makes being attracted to dadbods also harmless and endearing, instead of rampantly sexual and potentially threatening to male equilibrium? (Awkward.)
- Normcore? (Sorry: awkward.)
- The established hip young men of the internet are aging, and we are surprised we’re still attracted to them? We must find an explanation for this that is specifically rooted in dadness because otherwise attraction and dadness are mutually exclusive? (Because dads are emasculated?) (Awkward.)
- Dads are family men and thus have some kind of emotional or moral substance, and so liking dads means that our sexual desire also has some emotional or moral substance? (Please don’t be the case. I hope everyone into the dadbod feels cool thinking about sex without justifying it. I’m doing it RIGHT NOW.)
- Being super sculpted actually means you put a lot of effort into your looks and so, in a shocking twist, dads are the real men because they don’t groom as much, and so our apparent low standards in fact mean that we like Real Men? (Aaaaaaaawkwaaaaaarrrrddddd.)
- You’re already imagining all the hot sex you will have even after you have children, and feel confident you will still laugh at your partner’s jokes? (I like this explanation, but: does the dad need to be the focus here? Get yours!)
- Edit! Edit! I’m adding one! It was just pointed out to me that the dadbod is supposed to make women feel like their own bodies won’t be judged as harshly. In response to this, aside from “awkward” and “I’m so sorry, you are beautiful,” I can only say: #Gamergate. There is nothing a homely man will feel entitled to more than a decidedly unhomely, but not too confident, woman.
To be honest, the purpose of this post is pretty much to see if anybody wants to hash out their thoughts about the recent uptick in dad obsession with me, because I am lost at sea and to make it worse it’s a sea of fucking dads. Of all the boring ass things! Someone throw me a line.