20 Questions With The College Girl Behind The Viral Dad Bod Trend
In 2000, the six-pack abs of Abercrombie male models were plastered on every website. Fifteen years later, nearly every link contains at least one slightly-pudgy frat boy -- a look that's become best known as the "dad bod."
Love it or hate it, the movement began with Clemson University sophomore Mackenzie Pearson.
With little thought to the world of masculine self-image outside of her own campus, Pearson published the now-legendary piece "Why Girls Love The Dad Bod" for Clemson's The Odyssey.
And then, more than a month later, the phenomenon blew up.
Dad bod (or #DadBod, if you prefer) is the subject of articles in Slate and New York Magazine, amongst others. The body type is, as Pearson puts it, best obtained by some combination of beer and semi-frequent workouts.
The dad bod regularly tosses a football with friends, but that won't stop him from ordering late-night mac and cheese occasionally.
Dozens of outlets have interviewed 19-year-old Pearson about the bod's origins, but we were more interested to hear what being Internet famous is like for someone who's boosted the egos of average-bodied men around the world.
We tracked Pearson down for a little game of 20 questions, dad bod-style.
1. Which dad actually inspired the dad bod?
My roommate. She’s not a dad but she inspired the dad bod craze... way before that article was written.
2. Which male celebrity has you drooling over his physique?
Christian Bale! But the "American Hustle" Christian Bale, not the "Batman" Christian Bale.
3. Which male celebrity could be a lot more attractive if he put on a few pounds?
Prince Harry. Add a few pounds and hubba hubba! Also, if you’re reading this Harry: I’m single and have always wanted to go to Las Vegas, so HMU and let’s take a trip.
4. What’s the strangest response you’ve gotten to the phenomenon?
People want to date me. People I’ve never met in my entire life who live in Brazil are asking me out to dinner through social media. Like, how do you think this is going to go down? Are we going to take turns flying back and forth every other weekend, or are you just going to move here…?
5. What’s the weirdest part about starting a viral trend?
People know who I am and my name, but they don’t really know what I look like. I’ll hear people say my name in public or talk about me... They have no idea I’m behind them in the grocery line or next to them getting a pedicure, and I can’t help but laugh every time.
6. What unexpected secrets have dad bods shared with you?
I’ve learned a lot about shopping for men’s bathing suits. Apparently, the key is to get it so that it sits just above the bottom of your stomach but falls just below your belly button.
7. Has anyone called you out in person for beginning the dad bod movement?
A few people have.... Some college guys at the beach back home found out who I was and spent the whole time I was down there yelling ‘dad bod’ at me.
8. Will you put the phenomenon on your resume?
Oh HECK YES! It will say: “Writer: Google ‘dad bod.'”
9. Will you bedazzle it on the top of your graduation cap when that day comes?
I actually lost a bet to my friend in the beginning of freshman year and am supposed to put a Carolina Gamecock on it. Maybe I’ll just make the Gamecock really small in a corner and bedazzle the rest with ‘dad bod’ in orange and purple.
10. On a first date, what’s the best feature a guy can show off?
100 percent humor! ...If we order chocolate cake at the end, I will put it on my teeth and pretend I don’t know it’s there and smile just to get a kick out of his reaction. If he laughs, he’s a keeper.
11. What’s the worst?
A guy who’s too pushy. It’s a first date so, for the 100th time: No, I don’t want to go to your apartment and “watch Netflix” or “talk some more over a few drinks” back at your place.
12. What does your Tinder bio say?
'Clemson. ADPi (insert cool/artsy/hipster emojis here). Honestly, I don’t know if the Patriots deflated the balls, all I remember about that game was that I had 4 tacos from Taco Bell at half time and they were delicious.'
13. Do people bring up dad bod to you on Tinder or other dating apps?
Tinder is the only one I have and very few people recognize me. Some guys look me up on Facebook when we match and then say something, but even that is rare.
14. What’s your favorite dad bod meme so far?
The "Zoolander" one with Will Ferrell talking about how hot the ‘dad bod’ is.
15. Can you give us an example of a funny tweet you’ve gotten in response to the movement?
'You’re corrupting America and destroying the gender equality movement. You should be ashamed. #stopwriting' #Cantstopwontstop.
16. When does the male body officially become a dad bod?
When someone tags you in a post about the dad bod. Then you know you’ve made it.
17. What separates an “OK” male body from a truly magnificent dad bod?
The man it’s attached to. A dad bod radiates confidence and THAT is magnificent.
18. Is dating a dad bod a way to cope with insecurity?
Not at all!!! Some girls are just into guys with this body type. I like guys of all shapes and sizes... In no way do I discriminate against a body type based off how I feel about myself or my own body that day.
19. Is there anything you think men misunderstand about the movement?
It’s not unhealthy. A lot of fitness junkies have voiced their opinions about it. The dad bod isn’t a promotion of laziness and junk food. #dadbodisnotfatbod
20. How long do you think men will talk about dad bod?
I suppose until the next positive male body image movement rolls around, so probably a while. It’s an empowering idea to know that someone finds your body attractive or hot or sexy. I don’t think they’ll want to give that up.