Usually the Internet is good at taking jokes. Not especially this time.
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.”
That quote comes from the piece that started us talking about the Dad Bod, written by rising junior Mackenzie Pearson for Clemson University’s student newspaper. Drinking heavily and eating grotesque amounts of pizza? That describes a certain type of dad, but it better describes your token frat boy.
That, of course, is what the piece is about. It’s fluff; it’s funny (sort of); and it has definitely exposed our deep insecurities and loud opinions about body image in the age of consumerism.
Responses have varied, from Time Magazine‘s overreaction (“Sexist Atrocity“) to New York Magazine‘s ironic take on using your purchasing power to buy a sexy body: forget buying a gym body; buy the Dad Bod. After all, it’s the new gym bod.
And as apparent proof that girls love the Dad Bod, there’s shirtless Leo (who is not a dad).
Scant mention through all this fodder why dads have a Dad Bod in the first place. Many don’t have time to exercise. The same is true for many moms. Hell, between keeping something that vaguely resembles a social life and paying rent in DC’s inflated property market, I’m lucky if I get to break a sweat a couple times a week. Even then, I’m just trying to stay mentally healthy, never mind getting ripped.
But this must ultimately be our attraction to the Dad Bod: To have one, unless it’s truly born of heavy drinking and pizza slices, is to live a busy life in which preoccupation with one’s body image is low on the list of priorities. Let’s hope that if you have a Dad Bod, you are doing fatherly things: nurturing, having patience, teaching lessons, and so on.
For all of you considering getting Dad Bods yourself, here’s author Sherman Alexie on how becoming a father changes your working habits.