March 30, 2015 marked the one-year anniversary of the emersion of the "dad bod," the Internet sensation that turned dads everywhere upside down. Everyone was talking about it. You could not refresh Twitter without seeing another think piece or meme with a dad bod hot take. Sizzling hot takes were everywhere.
Headlines such as “The Dad Bod Trend Is Unhealthy,” “Hollywood's Top Dad Bods!" and "What Is The Dad Bod, And Do You Have One?" took over the Internet and every social media outlet you could imagine. What started as an open invitation from one college girl to drink a pitcher and enjoy some wings every once in a while became a national debate about sexism, culture and men's bodies.
Thank God the "man bun" craze came along, or else we would still be in a dad bod frenzy. The viral dad bod wave may have passed, but for some of us, it's still very relevant. Here is how us guys felt last spring and summer when everyone was talking about the dad bod: We hated it.
Sure, it was something funny to joke about. Maybe it was briefly even flattering to admit that we had dad bods, and maybe some women even liked it. But deep down, we knew it wasn't true. And even if it was true for some, that didn't really matter.
The only person the dad bod label mattered to was us, the guys with a little (or a lot) extra on their bods. Just like women, we hit our late 20s, and the USS Metabolism that was once the fastest ship in the ocean hit the breaks. We quickly learned that pizza and beer were not going to be the staple of our diets anymore.
So, what do we do? We spend the next two or three years wasting money on a gym membership that's only used a few times a month. We struggle with our body image because up until college, our bodies were pretty unchanging. It's jarring to go from fit to "dad bod" in a short amount of time, and despite popular belief, a lot of men aren't comfortable with the term.
And then, one day, a 19-year-old college girl writes an article about how great the dad bod is. We read the articles, look at ourselves, realize we do have dad bods and know it isn't that great.
So, what is the status of the dad bod one year later? Many of us are still 10 to 15 pounds overweight, wanting to be more Ryan Reynolds and less Jason Segel. Despite the Internet's best efforts to make us feel "empowered" about our bodies, we just don't buy it.
Truth be told, we wish the dad bod craze never existed at all. What the authors of all the aforementioned headlines were really writing about were 20-year-old, normal college guys with normal college guy bodies who don't necessarily feel so great about their weight.
Yes, we were technically being praised for our dad-like physique, but it was a contradictory praise. The dad bod doesn't come as a result of hours at the gym. It comes from a lack of gym time. The dad bod is not a healthy physique, as it involves a lot of beer and little exercise.
Also, the dad bod craze has little to do with actual fathers. Every young father I know is fighting like hell to keep their college bodies to both set an example of health and fitness for their kids, and to prove to themselves that they can reach their goal. For guys who are still in college and are trying to get back into the shape they were in in high school or even freshman year of college, it's sometimes a losing battle, but we fight anyway.
So, here is what we ask of you: Love us for who we are and what we look like, but don't give up trying to keep us healthy. We don't mind if you push this subject from time to time. Truth be told, sometimes we need a little motivation.
In turn, we won't stop asking you if you want to go for a hike or a walk down to the shore on the weekends. Being active is sexy, and binging on Netflix isn't doing any of us any favors, is it? After all, some of us have kids now. That's something important to stay healthy for.
And for the record, the diet starts Monday. I promise.