Meet the “dad bod,” a new way to describe that guy who’s let his college athlete body fall to the wayside. Behind a layer of soft pudge, you can tell this dude once played lacrosse or football. It’s a term that’s forced itself into the mainstream in the last 36 hours.
And everyone’s loving it.
The dad bod was brought to light initially by Mackenzie Pearson, a 19-year-old Clemson University sophomore who wrote the premiere “dad bod” 101 about a month ago for a site called The Odyssey (think Elite Daily meets your college paper).
Pearson’s post, called “Why Girls Love The Dad Bod,” describes the physique as “a nice balance between a beer gut and working out.”
She continues: “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.”
This isn’t the first time a crazy trend buzzword sparked immediate popularity.
The term, first introduced to mainstream pop culture by New York Magazine in February 2014, finally put a name to a certain unassuming style wreaking havoc on the streets of NYC.
Also referred to as “blank clothes” or “mall clothes,” normcore looks usually include light denim jeans, a polo shirt or a sweatshirt, white athletic sneakers, and a visor.
Normcore basically describes anyone who dresses like a dad… or the cast of “Seinfeld.”
While the term is now pretty well known (the New York Times even wrote about it!), its successor, the dad bod, has just arrived on the scene, and it looks like once again, fathers just can’t catch a break. Neither can Jason Segel, who has unknowingly become the face of the dad bod — publications keep using his photo as art for their dad bod posts.
Since Pearson’s post started to make its way through Twitter and Facebook, the idea behind the dad bod was picked up by GQ and NYMag. The latter even came up with a “dad bod diet,” encouraging those who wanted the perfect dad bod.
And there’s no sign the “dad bod” trend will be slowing down anytime soon.
Business Insider chatted with Mackenzie Pearson (who also appeared on “Good Morning America” this morning) about what it was like to see her observation of the male physique get picked up by some of the most famous names in media and fashion.
“The term kind of evolved on its own. I had heard it jokingly and passively over the past year but a good friend of mine is a big advocate of it. She would always whisper to me when we were walking around campus if there was a dad bod around and talk about how attractive he was,” she told us.
It’s true that the dad bod was mentioned on a handful of college-centric media sites, like TotalFratMove.com, but it wasn’t until Pearson’s post on The Odyssey that the term was picked up by the masses.
Pearson also mentioned that a “LOT of guys asked me out” when the post started getting serious traction (everyone loves a blogger!) and that the feedback to her piece, which also focused on self image, was mostly positive.
Pearson is learning, however, that trolls lurk everywhere.
“My article was posted on a forum though and someone was talking about how I must look,” she explained. “And one of the commenters actually found me on Facebook and a picture of my father… and [the commenter] uploaded it underneath. That was kind of weird, to see a picture from my Facebook on some random forum I had never seen before.”
But she’s taking everything with a grain of salt as she watches the term blow up. “The funniest thing by far is the guys who tweet pictures of themselves to me!” she exclaimed, clarifying that the content the dudes send along is G-rated material (nothing NSFW!).
To sum it up, we asked Pearson: once and for all, what makes the dad bod the dad bod? Her response?
“Confidence, Comfort, and Chinese take-out!!!!!”