This week’s blog post is by The Paternity Test co-host Matt Boresi, who lives in the Edgewater Glen neighborhood of Chicago with his wife (“Professor Foster”) and their 3-year-old daughter who already knows that things her dad does are the ne plus ultra of things at which to scoff, ‘whatevs.’
Take a word, stick “Dad” in front of it, and the original word is now modified to mean “the lamest possible iteration of that thing.”
Exhibit A: “Dad Jokes.” Those are puns, one liners and other rusty comic detritus. “Would you like your milk in the bag?” “No, thanks. Leave it in the carton.” *rimshot* (Dads love to bother service employees with their lameness.)
There’s “Dad Dancing,” which the talent-challenged talk show heir Jimmy Fallon has spoofed using such terpischorean virtuosi as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. And the “Dad Dancing” championship held in South Devon, UK, which is a contest for “Worst Dancer.”
I get it – the dances we did in high school are old now, and we look stupid dancing because our pants are too high, or too low, and we’ve lost elasticity in our … everything.
There’s the “Dad Bod,” which is defined as a formerly respectable physique now gone to seed – former muscles now camouflaged by fat like chicken wrapped in bacon. Nothing to be proud of.
And, yes, moms are having conniptions that the “Dad Bod” definition is a double standard – that the narrative states that nubile co-eds are somehow attracted to “Dad Bods” and find chubby torsos endearing, while their male counterparts would never feel the same way about the c-section scars and cellulite of a “Mom Bod.” Let’s get real, though; the daughters of Delta Nu aren’t jumping at guys with beer guts, man boobs and hairy backs. The “Dad Bod” phenomenon is just a coded way of asking, “You ever notice how dads look like maybe they used to be attractive but now they’re kind of fat? LOL.”
And then there are “Dad Jeans,” of course – a shapeless denim void from which no dignity can escape.
Let’s face it, everybody likes to mock dear old dad. The sitcom landscape has long been about incompetent buffoonish patriarchs and their sharp, gorgeous wives. The laugh tracks tell us this is very funny.
Father’s Day cards really only say a few things: “Enjoy the barbecue,” “Sorry I borrow money all the time,” “I can’t think of what to get you and I always get you dumb stuff,” and “You are flatulent.” That’s how we celebrate fathers.
There is already a movement afoot (if bloggers making up fake stuff to generate more blogs can be called a “movement” – when I make up fake problems I just call it “Tuesday”) to stop “Mom Shaming,” a completely imagined phenomenon in which people (usually moms themselves) are mean to moms. You know, cuz if there’s one group regularly judged and humiliated in this country, it’s the sainted women who give birth to us. Please, sign the Change.org petition to stop talking smack about mom – then maybe sign my petition to make people realize puppies are cute and that gravity makes things fall to the ground.
And it’s not just mom – Everybody gets pity before dad. There’s the original sin: “Sl*t Shaming,” for when you make fun of people who dress like Bratz dolls. There’s Tattoo Shaming for people with ink, Privilege Shaming for people with money, Single Shaming for people who still get to have fun and even “Filter Shaming” for people who … try too hard in their Instagram photos??? Seriously, my daughter can turn off my Led Zeppelin and call me out-of-touch whenever she wants, but people who put sepia tone on their selfies get a victim hashtag?!
I guess when the good Lord was passing out hashtags, he got to dads last.
Can we please recognize who the real victim is in all this? Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Or, at least, me as a member of the group known as dads. We take out your trash, we get the Christmas tree from the basement, we assemble your impossible My Little Pony bikes and still everything we do is judged.
Maybe doing the Running Man at weddings is refreshing. Maybe jokes about mushrooms walking into a bar are classic. (He’s a fungi. Get it?) Maybe jeans should be roomy in the seat to leave space for equally shapeless bodies. Maybe “Houses of the Holy” is still a masterpiece of both composition and production technique. And, dammit, maybe cargo shorts are AWESOME for holding cargo.
Have I never made a “Dad Mistake?” I’ve made a few. Sure, I didn’t give up pleated pants until 2006. Sure, I usually feed the baby Italian beef when mommy works late. And, yes, I once let my daughter wander down the street while I vacuumed the inside of the car. But she’s okay, isn’t she? We’re all okay.
So, please, stop the Dad Shaming.
As the pirate who walked into a bar with a steering wheel in his pants once said, “It’s drivin’ me nuts.”
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