There are few remaining souls who have not yet stumbled upon the term dad bod – a phrase that though used colloquially in social circles across the nation for some time now, took on a new life after an Odyssey article written by a female Clemson student explained why “girls love the dad bod.” For the gym rats whose sole intention in “getting big” is to attract the sorority girls across the hall, this news is disheartening to say the least. Their work has been for nothing if a pizza and beer diet resulting in an ostensibly soft material body is equally favorable among the ladies. For others, this news is fantastic. The lazy keg-killer, apathetically content with his deteriorating body and disintegrating health status, all of a sudden has hope in the college hookup/dating atmosphere. What a treat(?).
Yet there are others still – myself included in this third party of onlookers – who remain fundamentally confused. And for these people, I share my thoughts.
1. Starting with perhaps the only redeeming factor of the dad bod trend.
Yes, it is of course important to combat body shaming and the pressure to feel like a chiseled Greek god amidst a sea of collegiate hormones and other social factors. The rise of the dad bod turns out to more than effectively rid the stigma of non-perfect bodies for college males – so much so that a rather un-preferable contentment with unhealthy eating and lifestyle habits may result from it. So this first point serves mainly as a disclaimer: I’m not for body shaming and I don’t think everyone needs to be a gym rat or be placed on the cover of Men’s Fitness. But I also want to avoid a habitual sinking into unhealthiness on the grounds that it’s trendy and looks good.
2. Let’s perform a little thought experiment.
Let’s consider a situation in which a college aged female is told she has a mom bod. My guess is that the vast majority of persons involved in such a scenario would take that phrase to be an insult. While somehow “dad bod” has been socially engineered to be taken as a compliment by certain people (I would still say that most people wouldn’t necessarily take the phrase as a term of endearment), female counterparts are left with no widespread socially accepted alternative to the ridiculously fit, busty archetype our culture has enforced. I’m not feeling the double standard.
3. There is a time and place when having a dad bod will be considered normal, cool, and even preferred to the clean and lean college look.
This time is called forty and usually coincides with fatherhood, or at least the time in one’s life that is traditionally associated with becoming a father. Thus, the dad bod works for, cough, dads. You’ll get your chance to bask in the glory of the dad bod and that chance will come when you hit forty. Let’s not rush things.
4. At least the author of the Odyssey article was rather transparent in her shallowness when she came right out and said she likes the dad bod in guys because she likes to be the pretty one and the center of attention in a relationship.
I hope I’m not being overly optimistic when I believe this intense and burning materialistic egoism is not the norm for college-aged women and that this espouser of the dad bod is a significant outlier. But when the foundation for your argument in favor of dad bods rest in such petty vulgarity, you really don’t have much to fall back on.
Essentially, let’s all just try to be healthy, cease with the body-type labeling altogether, and ignore any manifestations of petty egoism one finds hidden in the deep, dark boroughs of the internet. (I do hope someone writes a dissertation on this emerging social trend).