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Dude to Dad Episode Ten: “Can Dads Be Cool?”

What makes a Dad a Cool Dad? Is it even possible to become one?

Question: What’s cooler than being cool?  The answer is definitely not “being a Dad.” (A: it’s “ice cold.” Obviously.)

Dads aren’t cool. We wear bad clothes, stupid shoes, clip phones to our belts. We’re the ones dancing awkwardly in commercials, embarrassing the kids, and constantly failing to stay relevant. Want to kill a trend? Have your Dad do it. Say goodbye to dabbing and hello to Dadding! How do you describe a lousy body? Call it a “Dad Bod.” Want to slam a co-worker’s terrible joke? Roast them for making a “Dad Joke.” The evidence is overwhelming: Dads aren’t cool.

And yet… Who is the coolest guy on the planet? It’s The Rock. Duh. And guess what? He’s also Dwayne ‘The Dad” Johnson. Who is the greatest basketball player on earth? LeBron James, whose new personal goal is to one day play in the NBA with his own son. We’re living in the golden of age of Cool Dads. In fact, there are so many, Fatherly ranked 100 of them.

This week’s episode of Dude to Dad centers around this paradox: What does it mean to be a Cool Dad? Is it even possible to be one? Your children are unreliable arbiters of coolness. Until we’re ten or so, Dad is the coolest guy on the planet. Then, for about ten to fifteen years, Dad is decidedly uncool. Now, in my early thirties, my father is very cool to me. I understand him better and actually find myself relating to him. Turns out he had been cool under my nose this whole time.

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When I first became a father I did not feel cool. I still don’t. I feel tired and fat and stressed. Time management is an issue and I feel my energy for maintaining my individuality slipping. And my child is five months old. My son has not even begun to ask me questions or challenge my decisions. How do you present as “cool” when you no longer fit into skinny jeans and your new passion is napping? Will I be able to pivot into cool Dad-dom?

This week’s episode of Dude to Dad comes with this revelation: being a Cool Dad is about finding balance. So many of the dads I admire work hard, show up, and maintain their personal and professional responsibilities with grace. They retain their individuality and take care of themselves, but subsume their ego for family. A Cool Dad is a study of duality — a living embodiment of “get you a man who can do both.”

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I aspire to be a Cool Dad version of Evan Kaufman. I know I can do it because one already exists. His name is Evan Kaufmann with an extra “n.” He’s a film director living in Austin, a father of two, and the owner of a fine head of golden hair. Evan Kaufmann has found a balance. Dude to Dad can find it too.

So what’s cooler than being cool? Showing up for your kids. Not losing your identity. Finding the balance. Loving yourself so that you can love those around you is how one can truly become ice cold. Alright, alright, alright, alright, alright, alright, alright, alright, alright, alright, alright, alright, alright, alright.