Dad bod is suddenly sexy

It's a marvelous time to have a dad bod. The slightly pudgy look has suddenly become sexy.

Men have long been pressured to live up to unrealistic fitness standards. We've endured relentless body shaming and had to navigate a world in which we're often pre-judged by our appearance.

Wait, it's actually women who've had to do all that stuff. But men have been known to occasionally worry about how they look, and that's a heavy burden to carry from the refrigerator to the couch.

Worry not, men. I come bearing good news: the "dad bod" has suddenly become sexy.

While the term has been floated in the past, it seems to have now reached maximum buzz thanks to an essay by Clemson University sophomore Mackenzie Pearson that appeared last week in a publication called The Odyssey. She described the physique in question like this:

"The dad bod is a nice balance between a beer gut and working out. The dad bod says, 'I go to the gym occasionally, but I also drink heavily on the weekends and enjoy eating eight slices of pizza at a time.' It's not an overweight guy, but it isn't one with washboard abs, either."

And apparently that look — the one many a dad has fretted over while opting not to go to the gym — is now a good thing.

I honestly don't know how this happened. I've pinched myself several times (I have a dad bod, so there are an array of places to pinch) but it's not a dream. The trend is real.

And it's cause for great celebration. Not since men were given the right to vote — by inventing voting and then stubbornly refusing to let women do it for a long time — has there been such an important male breakthrough.

I have three theories on how dad bod became attractive:

1) Women surrendered to the modern-day couch potato-ization of men, concluding: "If this is the way it's going to be, I might as well say I find old mushy-gut sexy and make him feel better."

2) A cabal of men who despise stomach crunches hired a high-powered public relations firm to somehow implant the pro-dad bod concept into the minds of American women, possibly through subliminal advertising.

3) Women are far less superficial than men and value attributes beyond physical appearance.

That last item seems preposterous, so let's assume it's one of the first two.

Whatever the reason: Yay! My self-image just went from George Costanza to George Clooney.

I'm the epitome of dad bod: I'm a dad; I have a bod; I try to work out when I can but I'm often too tired or too busy watching television; and I try to eat well but I also dream of one day having a Dairy Queen built in my living room.

I'm less beefcake and more beef Wellington — a once-decent cut of steak wrapped in a layer of pastry dough.

And now, at long last, it's my time to shine. (Hopefully shining doesn't involve too much cardio activity. I wouldn't want to lose my marketable dad bod.)

To capitalize on this exciting new way of viewing perfectly average looking, previously insecure guys, I'll be offering several products and services through my for-profit dad bod advocacy group, DB4Life. (Does DB stand for "Dad Bod" or "Doughnuts and Beer"? That'll be part of the edgy social media marketing plan.)

— The BitFat: It's like a Fitbit activity monitoring bracelet for someone aiming to remain a bit fat. It notifies you when you've exercised too much and need a replenishing bowl of Cheetos.

— The DB4Life Healthnasium: A franchised chain of neighborhood gyms that feature free weights and cardio equipment that have been tucked in a corner to make room for couches, recliners and a number of large-screen televisions. Classes will include Cardio-Laughing at Guys Who Do CrossFit; Stretching (For the Remote); Toddler-Lift Lat-Blaster; and Very Still Man-Yoga (napping). Personal dad bod trainers will be on hand to conduct outdoor SAGTAM (Standing Around a Grill Talking About Meat) classes.

— The DB4Life Home Workout DVD: It's all five seasons of HBO's "The Wire" and a coupon for Domino's Pizza.

Prices will be listed in the premiere issue of Dad Bod Weekly magazine, which will feature me, shirtless, on the cover. I offered this newspaper an exclusive copy of that cover photo but was turned down. Apparently the powers that be are afraid of unprecedented sales.

Of course the big question everyone who's not a man has is: What about mom bod?

To which I say: "Mom bod? That sounds preposterous."

New dad bod. Same dad brain.

rhuppke@tribpub.com

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