Today was one of those days when I needed to stop and check the date. I was concerned, like some kind of latter-day Marty McFly (ask your mum), I’d been whisked backwards through time. Seriously. Is it 2018 or 1978?
What am I talking about?
In its infinite wisdom The Sun (a British tabloid newspaper for those not in the know) has decided to launch a competition that gives Britain’s Hottest Dad the chance to win £1000.
“Are you constantly catching green-eyed mums eyeing up your fella on the school run? Maybe you’ve caught them having a sneaky perv while your man pushes the pram down the nappy aisle.” - TheSun.co.uk
My jaw dropped (in a very unattractive way - exposing my multiple double chins) as I read about this competition. I’d thought that today, in 2018, after everything that happened post-Weinstein, a competition ogling men wouldn’t be the first idea a national newspaper would run with. I was clearly wrong.
The thing is, if people want to enter the competition on their dad/husband/partner’s behalf then that’s their decision. Fair enough. I’m sure some people will get some pleasure from the endeavour - being put forward would, in a way (I suppose), be flattering.
My concern wasn’t that the competition exists, more that it is, in itself, a missed opportunity.
The examples of ‘Hot Dads’ used.
The competition, in order to draw in entries, carries images of Chris Hemsworth and Peter Andre.
Both men are fathers, and both undoubtedly have bodies that many men and women find attractive.
Good for them.
It strikes me, however, that this is not a competition for Britain’s Hottest Man, it’s for ‘Dads’ specially. As such, wouldn’t it be better to be looking for attractive examples of men, who, due to their extensive child-raising responsibilities, don’t have the time to ‘live’ in the gym? Yes, some dads manage to maintain a six pack. The rest of us, sadly, don’t.
Yet it is the owners of a seemingly unattractive ‘Dad Bod’ who are the majority. Wouldn’t it have been great for this competition to celebrate ‘ordinary’ men, not those who, through one reason or another (an addiction to looking at themselves in reflective surfaces perhaps?), have made their body into a temple.
My body’s a temple, it’s old, knackered and covered in cobwebs.
Let’s celebrate the Dad Bod.
‘The Dad Bod’. Everyone is familiar with this phrase. Everyone knows what it looks like. We’re talking about men, whose body now carries a few extra pounds.
Why is this?
Could it be because these men no longer have time to be actively involved in the sports they once enjoyed - because being a dad takes up all their time?Could these be men who spend hour after hour ferrying their offspring about to ensure they’re safely delivered to whatever extra-curricular activity it is that evening? Could these be the men who’ve not had a decent night’s sleep in years - with crying, teething and one thing or another?
All the this dad-based activity takes its toll.
Yet, the competition in The Sun isn’t looking for hot men who bear the marks of being a dad. In fact, they want men whose bodies are so perfect it looks like they haven’t missed as much as a wink of sleep. Yet I’m proud of the lines under my eyes - they tell all of the night feeds and long unsocial hours I’ve spent with my son.
These creases are more valuable to me than anything.
Could ‘Hottest’ be changed for ‘Best’?
Beauty is not a trait any child looks for in their parent. Kindness, love, compassion, dedication - these are all traits every kid wants and deserves. But ‘Hottness’? No.
Wouldn’t this have been a great competition if it were just to find Britain’s Best Dad? Wouldn’t a contest that invited the public to tell all of the sacrifices and love fathers across the country have shown to their offspring, of all ages, been a great thing to do? Yes, include photos if you like, but stories too - they’re what the public want to hear.
Tales to inspire a new generation of fathers in the role that so many (including myself) find in equal parts terrifying and bewitching. Britain’s Best Dad. Yes, the winner would have been subjectively chosen, but still, that would be a title to strive for. Something, competition or no competition, dads up and down the land should be and are aiming to win - every day.
There are many who would, with some justification, conclude that all this is merely sour grapes on my part. I’d never win this beauty contest, so I’m annoyed about something out of my reach.
Maybe I am.
Maybe that £1000 would have been enough for me to start a regime to get me on my way to the six pack I’m never realistically going to have.
Maybe. But I doubt it.
I simply say that it saddens me to see an opportunity missed.
Dads of Britain, whether you’re hot or not, I salute you. You’re doing a great job! Keep it up!