In Praise Of The Dad Bod

Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Forgetting Sarah Marshall

It might be considered a sign of the times that the two most attractive features a man can have are a man bun and a dad bod. What does it say about the current state of affairs where masculinity is concerned? It is a total repudiation of the 90’s and early 00’s metrosexual – a man made of pomade and guyliner. The current man is woodsy – he’ll chop down a tree, build a fire and have his way with you on a bed of leaves.

While my own foray into man bun territory revealed that long hair is about 400 times as much work as short hair, the dad bod is the opposite. It demands nothing. It is, rather, a naturally occurring phenomenon, brought on either by age or indifference to working out. The dad bod doesn’t inspire envy – you don’t look at it and wish to acquire one. It doesn’t belong on the cover of Men’s Health, there are no instructions about how to build the perfect dad bod chronicled in Men’s Fitness.

And yet, that is exactly its subtle allure. It is natural; it’s humble and hedonistic at the same time. The man with a dad bod has better things to do than spend two hours in the gym every day. He’s not on your stupid gluten-free bandwagon. He’ll have his cake and eat it too. He might even eat your slice.

Is there anything more unattractive than a guy in a gym taking a selfie to upload with the caption “leg day”? You can keep your biceps, your bulging thighs and washboard abs. The man with a dad bod knows how to be a man – he doesn’t feel every meal has to be followed by penance on the StairMaster.

The man with a dad bod is sincere, he’s also probably a little dorky. He isn’t trying to show off or preen. He is probably more monogamous than promiscuous. He might be more reserved or he could be jovial and full of life. Whatever he is, he is not trying to be something else.

Give me a man who doesn’t develop an inferiority complex over a Calvin Klein ad. It takes real confidence to rock a dad bod in a media sea of washboard abs. It requires a sense of self beyond the body. The dad bod projects you have something more to offer the world than vanity muscles that couldn’t lift a mattress.

After finding a man with a perfect dad bod – one with a solid, robust frame – I understand how my dog feels about his favorite rabbit squeak toy. I am equally unable to resist sinking my teeth into its meaty exterior. I want to grab it, squeeze it, embrace it. It is substantial, exerting a gravitational pull on me.

It is a rarity to find a dad bod among single men. It has a certain lived-in quality that generally comes with being a dad, or at least being in a relationship for a long time where the need to seduce falls away. So if you are so lucky to find one, don’t let it go. Don’t let it out of your sight and don’t let it anywhere near the gym. TC mark

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