It’s not just superheroes who wear tights…
PUBLISHED: 08:31 04 April 2018 | UPDATED: 12:24 04 April 2018
Chris McGuire decides to do something about his ‘Dad Bod’...
“‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter’, ‘Flora’, ‘Utterly Butterly’,” said a friend, who’ll remain nameless.
“Where’re you going with this?” I asked, feeling hungry as he listed butter substitutes.
“And finally…” he said, prodding me in the tummy. “‘Middle-aged’. All types of ‘Spread’, aren’t they?”
“Hilarious,” I replied, rubbing (admittedly substantial) gut. “You trying to say I’m fat?”
“You could put that spin on it.”
He smiled smugly, as I fought the urge to put a very different type of spin on him. Like it or not, he was right. It would seem that this late 30s fella was in possession of a Grade A ‘Dad Bod’.
The ‘Dad Bod’, I’ve discovered, is a lot like a ninja. One minute there’s no sign of it, the next it’s on top of you, from nowhere. It certainly took me by surprise. OK, OK, I was never the athletic type – even running a bath would leave me out of breath. Yet, since the birth of my son, I’d unwittingly made transition between from ‘Ordinary Bloke Bod’ and ‘Dad Bod’ and, it seemed, there’s no going back.
After extensive research (a quick Google) I discovered there are a few well-trodden routes that we owners of suddenly rotund (and unexpectedly hairy) physique tend to follow:
1 Swimming. For some reason, the realisation that you look like a badly-shaved gorilla sends a lot of men to the pool, where they squeeze themselves into the tightest pair of Speedos imaginable (other horrible shorts are available) to show off just how disappointing Mother Nature can frequently be. This wasn’t for me.
2 Gym-ing. Joining the local gym is another route many fellow ‘Dad Bod’ owners seem compelled to take. They devote 90% of their income to a ridiculously-priced gym membership, only to find themselves surprised that spending most of their time standing in the foyer, shovelling coins into a snack machine hasn’t resulted in any weight loss. Once again, this route wasn’t for me.
3 Cycling. I plumped (bad choice of word) for this option, I’m not sure why. Perhaps lingering false memories from my youth - that riding a bike was ‘easy’ - guided me? How wrong was I?
The rise of the MAMIL (The Middle Aged Man In Lycra) has been well documented, with the push bike replacing the sports car as the kit of choice for any bloke experiencing a mid-life crisis. I think getting on my bike was the first ‘fashionable’ thing I’ve ever done.
Talking of fashion, it wasn’t long before I was regretted mocking the swimmers in their tiny Speedos. One of the first things we Dad cyclists learn is there’s no ‘Dad Bod’ so bad that it won’t look 1000% times worse squeezed into skin-tight Lycra. It’s not only superheroes who wear tights, chubby dads (who should know better) do it too. I did once catch a glimpse of myself and think I looked a bit like Superman – if he’d let himself go.
So how’s the cycling going? I’ve still got a ‘Dad Bod’, but there’s a distant hope that it might get a little trimmer as I rack up the miles. I’ve also discovered that owning a ‘Dad Bod’ is a bit like driving a VW Beetle: you start to notice them everywhere. It’s like being the member of a club. We wave and smile as we pass each other on our bikes, with a nod that says: “We’re both going to ignore just how ridiculous we look.” Now that’s solidarity for you.
I saw my friend again the other day and thanked him for his previous bluntness. This prompted him making a speech about ‘honesty being the best policy’. In that spirit I thought it only fair to point out his comb-over was fooling nobody. He’s listed him in my phone as: “I Can’t Believe You’re Not Balding”.