The current generation of fathers is one of the most committed in history. Fathers everywhere are working hard to be active participants in their kids’ lives. There are more stay-at-home dads now than ever before. The doofy dad stereotype is dying. Another bonus: everywhere you look, you see celebrity fathers leaning into their dad-hood and making all dads look better by association. Your John Legends, Donald Glovers, Neil Patrick Harris. Your Pitts, Damons, and George Clooneys. It’s incredible to witness. Yet there’s one small, yet glaring issue that needs to change: how the world refers to attractive dads. Because hot dads deserve a better term than dilf.
Think for a moment about the power of milf. First uttered in 1999’s American Pie, the word quickly entered the cultural fray and became preferred slang for an attractive and slightly seductive woman with kids.
It’s a good word. Everything you need to know is in the name itself: Mom I’d Like to Fuck. It’s the rare acronym that doesn’t get too cute or complicated. You don’t require any clarification on its meaning or how to use it in your everyday conversations. Say the word and all at once, a million images rush to your head. Mrs. Robinson. Stifler’s mom. Clair Huxtable. Marge Simpson. Whichever of your childhood friends’ moms you saw wearing workout pants one day.
Dilf is noticeably less perfect. While milf was an innovative acronym, dilf feels like a lazy afterthought. Let’s just swap the ‘M with a D and hope no one notices. But one letter can change everything. Milf sounds smooth and slightly seductive, while dilf sounds like some rejected Sesame Street character. Doable dads might not have the cinematic impact or sexual charge of their female counterparts, but they certainly deserve a better word.
But for dilf to be replaced, we first have to come up with an alternative that better captures the essence of the hot dads of the world. It should borrow from milf’s success without being a pale imitation. That means the term should be short and punchy while getting its point across clearly. It should be clever but not in an unnecessarily elaborate way. It should hint at sexiness but it not be overtly dirty.
After thinking about it, here are a few options I mulled over.
Dib (Dad I’d Bone)? Too confusing.
Hot and fathered? Too long, too cute.
Doable dad? Too on the nose.
Pater I wanna feelus? Way too high brow.
Dimepiece dad? Eh.
The one I finally landed on is this: Hop-on-Pop. It’s short. It rhymes. It requires a bit of explanation (it’s a pop you want hop on!) but also gets across the basic idea of hot dads without being too obvious. Plus it pays tribute to arguably the most prolific children’s book author of all time without making that the focus. It works. For context, here’s how I imagine “hop-on-pop” being used in a normal conversation:
Person 1: Did you see Chance the Rapper’s Instagram story last night?
Person 2: No, what was it?
Person 1: He was rapping lullabies with his daughter.
Person 2: (Swooning) He is SUCH a hop-on-pop.
Person 1: Agree to agree!
(They enthusiastically high five.)
It works! It’s got that certain zing to it! All hail the hop on pop. Could it be the new term hot fathers never knew they needed? Fingers crossed. Whatever happens, we can’t stop until we find a proper term for hot dads. Because, damn it, the world deserves better than dilf.