There's been quite a bit of talk as of late about a phenomenon known as the "dadbod", which is code for "fat." Supposedly, women now prefer this body type over a fitter, healthier body type. Toss out Ryan Reynolds, hello Pillsbury Dough Boy!
Not surprisingly, every male over the age of fifteen is rejoicing. Staying fit is tough, and that degree of difficulty seems to increase exponentially as a function of age. If Fat Bastard really were the universal feminine ideal, all of us dudes could confidently plant our asses on our couches and fire up the 'ole Xbox.
But wait - should we really trust this sentiment?
The original article shedding light on "dadbods" came from a college girl. ONE college girl. And, supposedly, her roommate. While I'm sure she's a bright girl, I tend not to trust life advice coming from someone with so little life experience. Help with a Pythagorean theorem? Sure. Advice on what women want? No fucking way.
When I posted the issue to social media, the response was predictable. Every man that didn't work hard to remain fit jumped on board in support of the idea. Men that did work hard to remain fit just laughed at the other men's naive response. Women we far more skeptical... unless they had a partner with a dadbod -or- seemed to have insecurity and jealousy issues. This helped conform what I suspected all along - this is the exact same fallacy as "women love nice guys" or "just be yourself and your soul mate will come along eventually."
And we know both of those ideas are complete horse shit. Women don't want nice guys. Women want a bad boy they can tame. And "just be yourself" is just a thinly-veiled attempt to get guys to stop trying to appear better than they really are in hopes of landing a better partner. It's the equivalent of a men telling women to stop wearing makeup, hair extensions, pushup bras, Spanx, and yoga pants.
I've been spending a lot of time lately counseling dudes that bought into these two ideas, and they follow a very predictable pattern. They internalize these ideas sometime around puberty, then go through years of rejection and friend-zoning. Eventually, usually around their mid-to-late twenties, they land a girl who seemingly appreciates their willingness to sacrifice anything and everything for the love of a woman. They get married, have kids, and quickly settle into a life of complete, desperate dread. And now, with the popularizing of the belief that women love the dadbod, they can now rationalize completely letting themselves go.
So if women don't universally find "dadbods" attractive, what's actually going on? There could be a few things going on here:
- Some women may actually prefer fat dudes. Even though it's not entirely understood, women develop fetishes like men. It's entirely plausible for a woman to be physiologically aroused by fat guys. If this is the case, this is entirely healthy and legitimate. Rock on, chubby-chasers!
- Some women are horribly insecure and possessive, and the thought of their man cheating or leaving them is simply elicits too much anxiety. The solution? Go after undesirable dudes that won't likely be poached by better women. Not surprisingly, this is a stupidly unhealthy mindset for a relationship; the suspicions and accusations will result in abject misery. Any dude that pairs with this woman reaps what he sows.
- Her market sucks. Relationship pairing behaviors follow a pretty predictable supply and demand pattern based on sexual market values. Hot, young, smart, sexually-adventurous women get the pick of the litter, and everyone else falls in line. If a woman delays "settling down" in favor of career development, her pool of "good men" dries up quickly after about the age of 25. Indeed, just take a look at social media posts from single women over 30. This Onion article is funny because it's true. These women would accept a "dadbod" because it's literally the best man they can get that's decent relationship material. This isn't necessarily a bad thing; dudes do the exact same thing. The lone danger here, for men, is that their ladies may have lowered their expectations, but they're still aroused by fit dudes. If she gets bored after a few years of the relationship, she may not turn down advances from the buff dudes.
- She's just lazy. The college girl alluded to this idea in her original post. Women may prefer fat dudes because they themselves would prefer to let themselves go. While physiologically-unhealthy, I actually don't have a problem with this. Hell, the only reason Shelly and I are pretty fit is we have stupidly physical hobbies (ultrarunning then jiu jitsu and mma.) Those activities aside, we're complete couch potatoes AND foodies AND we like alcohol. We're one serious injury away from the obesity train.
So What's the Harm?
There's no harm in having a dadbod, so long as dudes fully understand the true cost. The health angle is obvious, but other costs might not be so clear. Here are a few of the potential hidden costs:
- Buying into the dadbod belief means you're unwilling to live up to your full potential. For me, this is the big issue. Men today have a serious lack of drive to excel, and I find that personally annoying as fuck. That's a major reason I chose to do the sports I do - it's hard to half-ass running up and down rocky mountain trails for a day or stepping into a cage with someone that's eagerly anticipating beating your ass to a bloody pulp. In other words, the hobbies self-select the turds. And the "dadbod" rationalization promises to produce a lot more lazy turds.
- Your pool of potential female mates shrinks. The number of women that prefer a fit body far outnumber the pool of women that prefer a Michelin Man body. Just like the number of women that prefer alpha males far outnumber the women that prefer beta males. Again, this isn't necessarily a problem if you know that going in. The danger, much like the "nice guy" trap, is that guys expect women to flock to their dadbod, then get bitter and resentful when they get rejected again and again. Personally, I believe THIS is the mechanism responsible for rampant misogyny we sometimes see from men.
- It's unhealthy. That was the main point of the very first link in this post - the dadbod promotes a body type that, based on the available research, is correlated to all sorts of health complications. Yes, yes, I know correlation does not equal causation, but this is one of those cases where it's probably prudent to assume there's a causal relationship. I'm clearly not in the "your body is a temple" camp, but I do think it is important to understand the risks of any lifestyle choice. And there are quite a few dudes that apparently have not heard that being obese is bad.
The dadbod phenomenon itself is not a bad thing. The expectation men may develop, especially regarding the universal appeal of love handles and a beer gut, is the root of the problem. Also, it would probably be prudent to question why exactly a woman may prefer the dadbod. If it's due to her own insecurity, that could be a huge red flag. If she's just low on options, it may work out okay as long as she doesn't do anything to increase her sexual market value. If she's just a hedonist, I say wave her around third. Enjoy that shit.
What do you think? Is this a good or bad phenomenon? Are women being disingenuous? Leave your thoughts in the comments!