Thoughts on the Dad Bod

Posted on 12/06/2015

The dad bod.  It’s catchy.

Earlier this year, BuzzFeed released an article featuring the man, the myth, the legend, Leonardo DiCaprio.  The photos accompanying the article featured Leo sporting an array of swim trunks.  With the scroll of a mouse, one could see the Titanic heart throb was flaunting a less-than-perfect body.  Without further detail, the article opened the flood-gates for the trend known as, the dad bod

For those of you who don’t know, the dad bod is the body type that is commonly flaunted by American males between the ages of 35 and 55.  Support has been offered to the softer male figure by providing numerous examples, stapled with flexible truths.

With battle lines drawn, I’ve been hesitant to write this piece.  Numerous angles create the potential for countless ruffled feathers.  As found within many of my writings, I’m going to do my best to remain factual, while providing a general middle ground.

As a society, I believe we are now beginning to realize the difference between a “healthy body” and the bodies we see on newsstands.  For many of us, in order to maintain chiseled six-pack abs, we would have to give up A LOT.

In fact, for many of us, we would have to make the endeavor “our life”.  Tupperware packed meals, skipping family birthday cakes, forgotten happy hours, protein shakes on-the-go...the list goes on and on.  My point being, in order to maintain what society classifies as a “perfect body”, you’d have to be willing to make countless sacrifices and lifestyle adjustments.  

In the same breath, I believe we have established the difference between a healthy body and a body that has been momentarily neglected.  The question lies in whether or not we classify the dad bod as an acceptably healthy or unhealthy body?

Is a male body that has been lavished with numerous “brews”, late night pizzas, and a scroll of skipped workouts the new gold-standard?

Does this body project a level of true confidence, character, and originality?

Is this what males should be striving for? 

Before we go any further, let’s address the flip side of the coin as it relates to the sociological expectations surrounding the female body.  In large part, I believe it’s safe to say that society expects women to be fit and shapely.  Yet, it’s now acceptable for guys to “let themselves go” beginning somewhere during their mid-twenties? 

Diving into the specifics, a flurry of dad bod articles revealed the notion that women don’t like to snuggle with a “rock”. 

Well, duh.

But why are we correlating a healthy, fit male body with a piece igneous or limestone?  Is that how we view a male who has the discipline to get his “eight hours”, eat right, and exercise regularly?

The articles also mentioned that women don’t like their significant other to look better than they do.  Since when did it become a competition?  As a collective society, it would be beautiful to witness healthy couples supporting one another on all fronts including self-image.

Let’s go a step further and view this discussion through a scientific lens.  Yes, as males get older testosterone levels will naturally begin to drop.  There’s no denying that aging is accompanied by a general decrease in muscle mass, alongside other natural changes. 

In my eyes, there’s absolutely no shame in this.  As long as you make the conscious decision to continue to fight the good fight and live healthy.  However, it seems backwards to fabricate this change within the “prime of your career”.  Aging due to physiological factors is one thing.  Making the decision to facilitate the process early in life because BuzzFeed said it was cool is another.

And what about the psychological factors associated with premature aging? 

Sure collaborating with your buddies to place the dad bod onto a pedestal might be humorous and acceptable right now, but what about when the major media outlets move on to write about something relevant?

And what about functionality?  Is the dad bod equipped to hike mountains, paddle rivers, and tackle adventures?  When broken down, this is perhaps one of the most significant points of this blog.  After all, our explorations often create life’s greatest moments.

Whether your vision of yourself is positive or negative, it has a direct impact on the life you live.  Your self-image and self-esteem impact your day-to-day productiveness, your relationships, and ultimately your happiness.  In my personal opinion, this is the point in the discussion when the decision to embrace the dad bod becomes very black and white. 

When the dust settles, will you be proud of what you represent?

It’s ultimately your decision to create your own body and life.  It’s not my place to tell you what to do or how to live.  I’ll be the first to say that I have plenty of flaws to keep myself busy.  However, I will say that comparing yourself to Leonardo DiCaprio might be a poor decision.  There’s a good chance that the two of you may share more than a few differences. 

My friend, that’s more than alright.  You should already know that life’s not about celebrity status, bank rolls, and private jets.

Be yourself and be proud of the life you lead.