Although the term barely fits in the slim space between true and unkind, the phrase was not actually coined to shame a man. At least not on the surface. The code-word came into being recently when a college sophomore wrote a story about college boys with dad bods for her school paper. (Therefore adding it is not just reserved for actual Dads but anyone past puberty who is feeling good with the jello-belly look.)
The author of said article and name-maker of the dad bod phrase used her piece to explain the type of body she likes… and all the good things a little flab says about a man. Since going to print, the title has gone viral and is now being used to describe every single comedian ever seen on television – except the actual overweight ones. And is also pulling into it’s undertow some dramatic on-screen heartthrobs (Jon Hamm) who before this (Leonardo DiCaprio) were not called out (Kyle Chandler) for being less than Adonis like (all the Jason’s) in the middle, but (Mark Ruffalo) are now getting a little poke, right there, (Woody Harrelson) in the middle.
Which is the root behind the real reason why I love this moniker so much. Because for at least the next five minutes it is still a comment on a man’s physical appearance rather than woman’s. Which we know is coming. And we all can guess what that little jiffer will sound like when it is first used – to crush a woman’s self esteem or keep her out of job, at least on television where most actress are usually expected to look hungry. But let us not fail to enjoy this one moment in time where a women’s looks aren’t on the chopping block. Before it is over.
Dad Bod also makes me wonder if the twenty-something scribe who has been watching television for something like half her life thinks this look is attractive because she has been force-fed it on TV – in every happy television relationship since the day she was born? Because isn’t that the norm for what the airways say makes a good pairing? He is round in the middle and she doesn’t have an ounce of anything extra anywhere. She finds him funny and she finds him in the way of the next task on her list and together, they live the american dream. Is that what we have been telling millenials happiness looks like?
I work in television and I often work in comedy. Rarely is my love interest younger than my father. Rarely is he an equivalent size to me. And yes it sometimes strikes me as odd that any gray hairs on my head must be hidden at all costs, or any blemish on my face touched up three times in an hour every hour, but a four to six month pregnancy happening on a man, is fine for prime time.
I can’t be sure. But I can at least be happy that one gender is allowed the freedom to show their worth in something other than the size of their waste line. And I applaud the title and hope it is spread with the love it was intended to show. And that an extra dessert or caloric beverage enjoyed my a man will make him feel and speak kindly to ladies of similar sizes everywhere.