A headline designed to flood TIME’s servers with rage-click traffic has taken aim at the latest pop-cultural phenomenon: the “dad bod.” Freelancer and TIME contributor Brian Moylan (getting pubbed by TIME is so 2014, dude) penned a column that condemns this fun and trendy passing joke and turned it into a PC outrage, because anything fun on the internet is eventually ruined by some unwanted, unnecessary do-gooding twerp with a misplaced mission of fixing something that isn’t broken — the kind who matured from the kid who used to bogart the PlayStation controller or kick the ball on the roof when he didn’t get his way, and has grown and moved on to important, real world topics like the harmless Dad Bod joke championed by beer-drinking college students.
The article, ‘Dad Bod’ Is a Sexist Atrocity, is filled with a lot of unimportant nonsense about unequal and unfair expectations of the female form in comparison to the male’s. Guys are free to let themselves go while girls are expected to stay trim, he says, in reference to the Dad Bod trend. This paragraph captures Moylan’s centric theme:
That’s the problem with the Dad Bod: It continues to reinforce inequality about what is acceptable for men and women. While the ladies have to go to Pilates and watch every single calorie, guys are free to let themselves get lazy, chow down on all the chips and guac they want, and still expect their prospective mates to be fit.
Brian clearly didn’t read my “Mom Bod” column, wherein I officially decreed the fem version of the Dad Bod to be fun and sexy. An excerpt:
They are slightly overweight, but a fun type of overweight — the kind of overweight that’s not apparent when fully and loosely clothed, but when they’re at the apartment pool in their bikini and they’re bonging Natty, they’re like “hmmm” overweight. […]
Mom bods are real, they’re hot, and they’re the next big thing.
There you go, Brian. Your case was closed before it even opened. The ladies don’t actually “have to go to Pilates and watch every single calorie,” because there are guys out there who prefer a little more “fun” physique on a woman. Also, where in the Dad Bod handbook does it state that Dad Bods expect their female counterparts to be in tip-top shape? It doesn’t. The handbook actually doesn’t exist, but it wouldn’t say that if it did. Dad Bods can love Mom Bods right back, you know.
Brian, you may have picked up on a bit of sarcasm if you read my Mom Bod piece in its entirety. It was, after all, a joke. You know what else is a joke? The Dad Bod craze. It’s not real. It’s for a quick laugh. Here today. Gone tomorrow. As I explained in What About Mom Bod?, girls are not suddenly and magically attracted to guys who treat their bodies like dumpsters, no matter what that girl from The Odyssey tells us. She, too, was capitalizing on Dad Bod’s momentum. The biggest joke, though, is your comprehension of said Dad Bod joke.
WHOOOOOOSH, Brian. Whoosh.
The infatuation with the Dad Bod doesn’t lie in girls’ newfound attraction to a sloppy torso. Because that’s not an actual thing. Curls still get girls, man. The popularity of the Dad Bod is directly and wholly attributed to a “making lemonade out of lemons,” self-deprecating joke that was started by twenty-somethings who have shunned the gym for front porch beers, and it has taken on a life of its own and exploded into the mainstream. This isn’t about unequal expectations for men and women. This is about sloppy, out-of-shape, rec league all-stars having their day in the sun. Dad Bods everywhere were loving the attention they were getting. They were rejoicing in the wide, faux acceptance of their jiggly imperfections, because, well, it was funny. Laughing at yourself can be a freeing and uplifting form of self-acceptance. And you’re trying to take it away from them. Shame, sir.
So, Brian, close your laptop, grab a venti whateveritisyoudrink, kick off your Toms, and have a laugh with the rest of us..
P.S. I chose the top image in lieu of the overused, iconic Jason Dufner option. We, along with many other publications, have mercilessly beaten that picture into the brains of America with every Dad Bod or out-of-shape male themed piece we’ve done since it first graced the internet. I’m not sure but I’m also 100% sure we fat-shamed him into losing weight. I’m sorry for overusing this pic, Duf, but also you’re welcome for that hot new bod.