Denny Scott Editorial - The Dad Bod, The Mom Bod and You
Honestly, I was skeptical when I read several stories about the “dad bod” being the next big thing as far as hunks go, but the second it began being criticized for gender inequality, I knew it must be real.
The dad bod, if you’ve been living under the internet’s version of a rock as of late, is a term that was coined by Clemson University (in South Carolina) student Mackenzie Pearson.
In her own words, the dad bod is the following: “The dad bod is a nice balance between a beer gut and working out. The dad bod says, “I go to the gym occasionally, but I also drink heavily on the weekends and enjoy eating eight slices of pizza at a time.” It’s not an overweight guy, but it isn’t one with washboard abs, either.”
Pearson goes on to say that women love the dad bod because it’s real, honest and worth cuddling with. Odds are, if a guy has a dad bod throughout his early 20s, he’s going to be similarly built later in life.
Now, I’m not sure where I fit on the scale to be honest. I might be a bit past the dad bod or right on. Who knows and who cares?
Pearson’s statement is more than liberating, it’s down-right honest and real and, unfortunately, one of the best-kept secrets in the world.
Women, I may be speaking for a small sub-set of men, but I know at least a few of us guys know that dad bod is better for finding the love of your life than abs.
I know that there are others because people like Peter Holley, a reporter at The Washington Post, has written about how the secret has finally been cracked on the internet.
Holley states that, throughout his life, he has been on both ends of the spectrum. He has had the chiseled look that takes hours at the gym and he has allowed himself to enjoy life and ended up a little more realistic looking because of it.
He says, in no uncertain terms, that as far as making a connection with a woman, the dad bod is the way to go.
(Note that the term making a connection is there, not the term ‘picking up’.)
Holley writes that when he spent hours in the gym, his physique could actually act as a barrier to connections.
“At times, it even... unwittingly revealed me to be the insecure boy that I was,” he wrote.
Holley goes on to speak about the destruction of “men”, though he says that’s not accurate. It’s the destruction of macho men we’re recognizing.
Sure, advertisers will still use ‘jacked’ models with six packs that quarters wouldn’t just bounce off of, but potentially crack when coming in contact with, but women are no longer looking for a brute to slaughter a sabertooth tiger or even a man to work in a field or mine, but someone who can provide a life and a family says Holley.
The dad bod isn’t sexy, it’s a message.
It means that a man spends time enjoying life, he won’t be at the gym at all hours making sure he looks like an American Eagle or Calvin Klein model. He will be at home, maybe helping with the chores, playing with the kids or just there to cuddle up with at the end of the day and watch a movie.
So there we had it. After years of watching the fairer sex try to destroy the image of womanhood that was based in size 0 clothing and blonde hair, someone destroyed the image of the perfect man in one 500-word article on the internet.
Unfortunately, the best-kept secret of why women find comfortable-looking men attractive didn’t bring the welcome relief for normal-sized men that people thought it might.
It didn’t take long before some women were stating that men shouldn’t get this kind of ‘pass’ if women weren’t given the same thing.
The ‘dad bod’ trend might just be sexist.
Okay, I don’t believe that. Not for a second.
While I admit that many men with ‘dad bods’ may be shallow and expect women to reach that size 0 dress if they’re going to be his significant other, I have to believe that those of us who are a little larger than an Abercrombie and Fitch model appreciate real people.
A lot of the backlash is coming because of the idea of a mom bod, which could be talking about someone who just gave birth.
Apparently there’s a lot of pressure on new moms to lose weight after giving birth. Personally, I think that’s stupid. On a more global level, I think that there are probably a few idiots saying something about it and making women feel bad and that’s what’s leading to this.
But I want people to think about this: Men aren’t the rocks we may try to let on.
When we notice our shirts getting a bit more snug, when we see a woman we care for ogling some model, when someone keeps saying they can’t believe a pair of pants don’t fit, we feel it. We have a desire to do something about it, but to be honest, there isn’t always the time or the opportunity to do so.
We feel just as slighted and when we are finally given a nod that says we might just be okay as we are, someone else has to feel insulted and take it away.
The fact that some of the people trying to take it away are mothers who have been ostracized from “the beautiful” groups because of their own struggles makes it that much more hurtful.
We all have struggles. For me it’s time. I could be ripped, but when you discount the nights I spend working, the time I put in scheduling soccer and referees and the fact that I do enjoy watching television or movies with my wife, the half hour I have on my exercise bike each morning is really all I can do. To be told that’s not enough because someone else was told not to like their body is downright mean-spirited.
Last week, for example, of my five weeknights, I spent two in council chambers and two on the soccer field, one coaching and one refereeing. When Friday night rolled around, all I wanted to do was rest.
It all goes back to what I wrote about before: we shouldn’t be trying to drag people down to make them equal, we should be building people up. I don’t expect a new mother to be ripped and the same shouldn’t be expected of me.
This opinion piece first appeared in the May 14 issue of The Citizen.