Ugh, #dadbod. First of all, it’s annoying Dad Bod is a thing inasmuch as it reveals how desperate we all are for a not-a-thing to become a thing. Dad Bod isn’t really a thing. It’s a combination of a sophomoric post (literally!), boredom, and the need to drive page views to websites by showing photos of shirtless celebrities who allegedly suffer from Dad Bod (like Leonardo DiCaprio, above). But, it’s also a thing in the sense that it is the worst thing in the world.
Dad Bod was coined by Mackenzie Pearson, a sophomore at Clemson state. In Pearson’s definition, Dad Bod is defined as:
“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.”
Personally speaking, as a father, this is insulting. I’m a dad. I don’t have Dad Bod. I’ve worked hard to avoid Dad Bod, not out of vanity but because it is unhealthy and I have self-respect. (In fact, you can read all about exactly how hard I tried and how it almost ended in divorce.) But the flaw of the Dad Bod argument is to be found here: Pearson writes she’s attracted to the Dad Bod because, “We know what we are getting into when he's got the same exact body type at the age of 22 that he's going to have at 45.” I take issue with that logic. Let’s say 22 is the peak form in which a man will be physically. Simply because he starts at a lower, doughier point—a point at which one might erroneously expect a father to be—doesn’t mean the downward slope of his physical being somehow evens out. Pearson graduates in 2017. There’s a really great Applied Statistics class she should probably take before she leaves. No, if the slopes are the same—and there is no reason to think they will not be—a man with Dad Bod at age 22 will be simply a fleshy sofa in his 40s.
Now, there is one avenue by which Ms. Pearson’s arguments make sense, but it is so narrow to be more precisely called a dark back alley. Having children takes time -- time to be a good father, to read to your kids, and just generally hang out. Staying in shape also takes time -- time to do crunches, to do high-interval resistance training, and just generally beast things. Now, if Dad Bod is the result of the aforementioned gentleman replacing the time where he would otherwise be working out with time spent in the upkeep of the home and the care of its inhabitants, then surely Dad Bod could be seen as attractive.
Unfortunately, I think if you did a longitudinal study of Dad-Bodded dude-bros, few replace slamming beers and eating pizzas with their crews with a conscientious home life as an adult. I would say it’s time to kill off Dad Bod as a thing but, again, it was nothing to begin with.