Over the last couple of years, the idea of father interests have become ironically popular. “Dad music, ” “dad movies, ” and “dad jokes” are mentioned so often on Twitter and Facebook that you eventually grow numb to it and lose your gut reaction to punch-fuck the world. But I can at least understand the need to make fun of us for it. We dads each made a personal option to be entertained by those things, and that wholly induces us fair game.
What’s not so funny to us is “dad clothes.” See, dads across the globe already know this, but it’s hard for a teen to understand: No matter how much you fight it, we are your unfortunate future. There’s nothing you can do to avoid it, because the “dad look” isn’t a personal choice. It is thrust upon you, like the whipped-cream-covered balls of a male stripper. You either just have to sit back and take it, or hand it a dollar and hope it goes away. And it all happens because …
Let’s say that Singy Songman( sorry, I don’t know any popular modern singers) starts wearing authentic Revolutionary War uniforms in all of his public appearances. Right down to the musket and stupid hat that looks like a taco that had a stroke. At first, the world chuckles at him and says that Singy has lost his mind. But little by little, that same attire starts proving up on children at school, and within a few weeks, it’s so popular that the principal has to instate a new “Leave your guns at home” rule.
Now let’s say that dads as a collective whole take notice and think, “That is something I could totally pull off. I even have my old Revolutionary War outfits from back when I was a fan of Prince.” We don’t immediately jump into the fad because we’ve been around long enough to know that sometimes those things are here and run in a matter of weeks. Hell, at one point in the early ‘9 0s, Right Said Fred tricked hundreds of thousands of douchebags into wearing this shirt for about a month 😛 TAGEND Personally, I liked it better as pants .
So we wait. We watch from afar to make sure that this thing sticks around, and when we’re satisfied that it’s safe, we dive in. Then we proudly strut out in public with our awesome new look, shouting battle calls to Americans that they will finally bow their filthy traitor heads to the glory of Mother England. We appear fucking awesome .
And that is the exact second that the fad dies.
This is the “Dad Paradox.” Anything we wear is instantly held uncool. No matter how awesome the outfit and no matter how much kids love wearing it, if your father adopts that manner, it’s over. Even outfits specifically designed for papas are considered dorky, simply because we’re wearing it. We make things uncool simply by existing. It’s why all dads( unless they’re rich, but more on that later) look outdated: Our association stimulates it outdated.
“No, you look super cool, Dad. Can I go now? ”
Eventually, you just have to either buy what you want and tell the world to suck your wrinkled balls, or give up and merely wear whatever is most comfortable. Personally, I do a little bit of both. Most of the clothes that I like are found in the teen or “young adult” section, so when I shop, I look like a midlife crisis desperately trying to rediscover my youth. If Tony Hawk ever stopped making his garment line, I’d spend the rest of my life naked.
Of course, simply by saying that I wear Tony Hawk clothes, I simply singlehandedly crashed his company’s stock. You’re welcome, Tony.
When it comes to shopping, there are two reasonably ridiculous stereotypes I’ve been inundated with my whole life. The first is about the overly-excited girl or group of teenage girls who act like shopping is a literal orgasm. Julia Roberts was shown transforming from a lowlife prostitute into an upscale powerhouse with a single shopping trip. It’s a tired, lazy-ass cliche that I’ve ensure on sitcoms, movies, anthems, standup routines, and cartoons, because “woman+ shopping= OMG SO TRU LOL! “
The second is that humen shop only when they need something. We walk into a store, grab that thing, pay for it, and then leave. We get right to the point, and we don’t fuck around. Taking your time, seeming through all the departments, and making a day of it is something that women do. If I walk out of a store with six new pairs of shoes, my friends would ask if I required assistance holding my purse. That cliche is so old and worn out that I instinctively spew on my TV when I hear a comedian talking about it.
Forceful spewing in a pantsless rage .
So on one hand, you have that stigma lingering over your head, and god forbid you do anything to damage your masculine credibility. On the other hand, you have to remember that we’re talking specifically about papas here, and not only men in general. That poses a second level to the problem.
Everyone knows that taking care of kids is expensive, but until they’ve reached their teens, you don’t realise how deep that rabbit pit goes. I’m not just talking about food and shelter. Hell, I’m not even talking about glasses, contacts, braces, insurance, and medical bills. Just their hobbies alone can breach you. If one of them wants to learn how to play music, there’s a couple hundred bucks right off the bat just for buying the instrument. Then there’s the cost of the lessons and all the extra opium you’ll need to dull the ache while they practice.
If they’re into video games, you might as well mortgage your fucking home. They’ll need money for field trip at school, fees for the occasional oddball class, school supplyings, class pictures, yearbooks, and a thousand other things you never genuinely deem until they reach a certain age. They grow out of their own clothes in a matter of months, so you’re constantly making the refresh button on their wardrobe. They want to go out with friends, so they’ll require money to get into the movies or the cracking home or wherever kids hang out these days. And oh shit, if they’re going out on a regular basis now, then they’re going to need a phone. It goes on and on and on.
“Thanks for the money, fucker. I’ll use it to have you destroyed.”
So you start budgeting for it. Especially if you have more than one kid( I have three ). You get to the point where you look at your bank account and realize that buying something that you only want takes away from things you could be buying for your children, and not even in a spoiled brat sort of way. We’re talking sheer basics. And if you don’t guess pastimes and hanging out with friends is a basic necessity, you’ve not just forgotten what it’s like to be a kid; you’ve forgotten what it’s like to be a functioning human.
So as dads, we save that money, and merely expend it on ourselves when we need to. And I think that’s why that ridiculous cliche gained traction. When you shop for necessity rather than fun, it becomes a chore. “Oh yeah, don’t forget that we have to stop at the store to pick up my nunchuck polish. I have a demonstration this week.”
Sometime in your 40 s, your body starts doing weird shit. For some men, it’ll be really obvious stuff, like gaining or losing weight. For others, you are able bide the same size, but the actual shape of your body changes. Your abdomen swells like you’re six months pregnant. Your chest sinks in. Your ass deflates. Your waist and hips used to hold your gasps up just fine, but strangely, they now seem to have disappeared. Not grown-up or shrunk … just straight-out fell the fuck off of your body without you noticing. So now you have to wear a belt , no matter how well your pants fit.
I hold myself an extreme case because my metabolism has always been weird to begin with, but once I hit my mid-3 0s, it kicked into overdrive. My weight fluctuates by 15 to 30 pounds from month to month. Since I’m tall, you can largely see it in my face, but here’s a pretty good example. This is me in late 2010, weighing around 175 pounds( I’m the one on the left who isn’t Michael Swaim ):
Calm down, dames. And gentlemen. And me .
And here’s me trying desperately to look cool under the “John Cheese” signature that appears in the movie John Succumbs At The Aim . I’m up to around 235 pounds here( taken in 2012 ):
No, you can’t have my John Dies snow hat . And this is me today, at a modest 195 😛 TAGEND
Yes, that’s a two-year span, but this happens every couple of months with me. Right now, I’m somewhere in the middle at 210. If you took a time-lapse video of me, I’d look like a pulsing blob from an episode of Doctor Who — some weird alien being that was trying to morph into its human disguise. Badly.
When I buy new clothes, I can’t judge the fit by my current weight. I have to taken into account in those fluctuations, which makes my waist sizing run from 36 to 40 and then back up again. If I want the gasps to fit when I’m bigger, I have to get the larger pair. Which also means that when I lose the weight, my pants are going to hang off of me like I’m a 1990 s gangsta rap starring, minus the associated coolness. The same thing happens with my shirts. When I’m smaller, I wear a large. When I’m bigger, it’s XL. So I either have to buy nothing but the latter and have them hang off of me like a coat rack when I lose the weight, or I have to buy two sets of clothes and alternate between bouts of fat.
I’m seriously considering stealing a bunch of those little size tabs the stores use to separate jeans on the rack and coordinating my whole closet with them.
Right now, I just have them in rainbow order .
Of course, there’s a much less physical reason that dads seem the route we do …
I suppose a lot of people believe that papas look the way we look because we gave up, or that we’ve simply blatantly stopped devoting a shit. While that’s likely true for some of us, there’s a slight tilt in perspective that makes all the difference in the world. It’s not that we’ve given up; it’s that we no longer need to go the extra mile.
When you’re a teenager, impressions are everything, even if you don’t realise or admit it. If you look like shit, you get made fun of. And kids who get made fun of become steady targets for bullshit teenage abuse. In your 20 s, you’re not only putting out impressions for potential dick-down sessions, but you’re also inducing impressions at work as “youre just trying to” climb the ladder.
“If this tie-in doesn’t get me a promotion, I’m beating them with a literal ladder.”
That all disappears once you enter your 40 s and have a few children of your own. You’re probably married, so the dating game is long gone. Even if you take your spouse out, she already knows what you look like farting in your boxers while blowing your snout. Those impressions went out the window years ago — now you merely dress nice for date night out of sheer formality.
If you’re divorced, you’re not exactly closing down the town looking for another partner. And even if you are, it’s not going to be with the tenacity that you had 20 years ago. You’ve likely already procured your job, or at least get a pretty good grip on your place within the company. No, you’re probably not showing up in a rip, beer-stained Lynyrd Skynyrd shirt, but you’re not falling a thousand dollars on new suits every few months in order to keep up with the newest style changes either.
EAT FASHION !
It’s natural. As you get older, you simply find fewer and fewer instances when you have to look your best in order to make a good impression. You have all the friends you need. Your coworkers already know you. You don’t require the approval of a friend’s or partner’s mothers. You’re a grown-ass father who’s already fallen his anchor. You don’t have to prove shit to anyone.
So taking all of that into consideration, when we buy clothes, we’re not so much reasoning, “What will stimulate me seem awesome.” It’s more like, “What won’t stimulate me look like a complete fucking idiot.” But even then, when we get to the actual store, we find that …
The next time you go shopping, make a special trip into the adult male segment, have a good look at what they offer, and try not to get knocked out from the onslaught of soul-crushing boredom. Unless you’re at a high-end store and are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for a single item of garment, what you’ll find is absolutely fucking terrible.
For some weird-ass reason, when a store hears “adult man, ” they immediately think of polo shirts. The thing is that the only hour I find someone wearing a polo shirt, there’s a “Hello, My Name Is” tag attached to it. If it’s not those, they’re trying to sell us button-up dress shirts that are so generic, I’d only wear one if I was trying to rob a bank and get away completely unnoticed.
“I’ve attained $75,000 in four days. Thanks, dad shirt! ”
Pants are even worse. As dads, we get a selection between jeans or slacks, and both come in black, blue, or tan. Sometimes, if you’re really lucky, you might be treated to some eye-popping gray. I’m not saying I need them to look like an acid trip or Flea’s famous stuffed animal gasps( though that would be awesome ), but I’d like to have at least a couple of options that are outside the target audience of “Sitcom Dad # 24 -E1 5. ” I don’t feel all that special when I look like a preset character model from The Sims .
Again, if you’re at an expensive rich-person store, it’s not a problem. They charge more because they use better materials, publish unique patterns, have more precise fits … either that, or they’re just bullshitting us and jacking up the price for no reason. Regardless, they are generally have prettier shit. You only have to be willing to sell off all of your children in order to afford it. In which example, you’re no longer a daddy, and this article discontinues to be relevant to you. If you’ve done that, feel free to stop read right here.
Wait , no! There are just two short paragraph left. Patience, my friend .
But back at the normal people stores, dad clothes are presented with the attitude of, “Well, he only wears pants because he legally has to. And he wears shirts to keep warm. What the clothes definitely sounds like is of no importance, because men wear them for utility purposes only.”
Though I guess now that I think about it, it doesn’t really matter. As soon as I put them on, they’re officially out of style anyway. I suppose I’ll only bust out the stitching machine and raid my daughter’s stuffed animal collection.
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