Dadbod or Bad Dream?

This guy could absolutely be somebody's dad. You don't know.
This guy could absolutely be somebody’s dad. You don’t know.

By Alexa Day

I discovered the whole dadbod thing this week. I hesitate to call it a movement or a phenomenon. “Thing” seems entirely appropriate.

So far as I can tell from casual observation, the dadbod thing is focused on the “average” male physique. The dadbod has, depending on how one views it, a bit of a paunch or a healthy gut. All the examples I’ve seen so far also sport that unkempt facial hair — less beard than a declaration that shaving takes too much time. Apparently, guys rocking the dadbod also need not bother with closed shoes … or closed shirts.

We’ve all seen the dadbod out there in the real world. Hell, some of us ladies even married guys with the dadbod. But the dadbod has not really been the object of female desire until just recently, when blogs and news stories brought its less-than-stellar silhouette into the light. These stories either celebrate the dadbod’s unique sex appeal (the flab quite literally rubs some people the right way) or emphasize the effects of dadbod on a woman’s self-image.

I’m okay if you’re into the special way the dadbod is landing on you. You know how I roll. If you’re both consenting grown people, go for it. I was, however, bothered by the idea that a dude’s body is supposed to make me feel better about mine, so I investigated it more thoroughly.

As it happens, the dadbod entered the larger popular consciousness through a story featured on The Odyssey back in March. In “Why Girls Love The Dad Bod,” Mackenzie Pearson, part of Clemson University’s Class of 2017, extolled the virtues of the less-than-perfect body. These guys are better for snuggling, she wrote, and had a keen sense for where to find a good meal. They also made their girlfriends look and feel skinnier, she wrote, and were less intimidating.

I was so, so ready to catch an attitude.

Were we really at a place where we needed to intentionally cozy up to moderately out of shape guys because our egos were too fragile for the well built ones? Did we need to hunt up the dadbods to feel better about ourselves? What happened to not needing a dude of any shape to feel better about ourselves?

More importantly, did the rise of the dadbods threaten my favorite fellows, the hardbods? Were “real women” in fashion and media now to be joined by “real men”?

I hoped not. Hey, I’m in a great position to be superficial. I’m not dating, so I can concentrate on leering at and objectifying men. I’m all good with the influx of realistically sized models as long as it doesn’t threaten my supply of six-packs. And I’ve been at the party long enough to know that the only thing that will make me feel better about myself is … well, myself. Fortunately, I’ve gotten pretty good at making myself feel good.

I had my rant all ready to go when I saw this interview with Pearson in Columbia’s The State. Pearson was surprised that her article had gone viral just before finals, she said. She was also surprised to find that readers were taking her so seriously; she’d meant the story to be a bit of tongue-in-cheek fun.

Well, that makes sense, right? Everyone from Jezebel to Time has been taking the dadbod thing pretty seriously, but if that’s not where Pearson was headed, I’m okay not going there either.

Except this part in Men’s Journal where Laird Hamilton said he’d never have a dadbod. I was glad to hear that. It’s all fun and games until Laird Hamilton grows a gut.

Are you following Lady Smut? We give a pretty serviceable cuddle here, too. Just saying.

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  • Post authorchristineblackthorn

    ok, so I admit unashamedly that in my relationship I am the ugly duckling. My partner is, if not an exercise maniac, then at least very disciplined, going to the gym each day – and that for the fifteen years I have known him. He also is over 2m tall, dark haired and blue eyed. At the best times I get off badly in comparison to him. At the moment – well… I have given birth 2 weeks ago – so between stretch marks and baby flab, I am not on the peak of my beauty at the moment. Still, I have never considered that I should feed him up to make me feel better. That is actually a frightening thought – it seems to say that I have no value on my own but only in comparison to the people around me. Do I have to ditch my best friend as well – purely because I would judge her more beautiful than me?

    Reply to christineblackthorn
  • Post authorMadeline Iva

    I’m having a hard time wrapping my mind around the idea that somebody out their is named ‘Laird’.

    Reply to Madeline Iva
  • Post authorElizabeth Shore

    Call me crazy but I prefer sculpted abs over beer guts. Just sayin.

    Reply to Elizabeth Shore
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