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I’m not cool. There is nothing I can do about it. I know used to be cool. I was “with it”. When I went out people wanted to talk to me. I used to be invited to things. My clothing was trendy, and I knew what was going on in the world. But then things changed. I have come to accept it. I am no longer what anyone would describe as cool.
Why am I not cool? It isn’t just because I am older. Lots of guys my age are still cool. They have fancy cars and nice clothing. I am not cool because I am a dad. I think with very few exceptions it is impossible to be cool and to be a real dad. Being cool and being a real dad is not a thing. The 2 are mutually exclusive. Just the act of becoming a dad caused my cool factor to shrink faster than my hairline has receded.
Dads aren’t cool. No cool person has sat in the baby pool laughing as the kids splashed them. Dads do. No cool person uses words like potty, blanky or ouchie. Dads do. No cool person has participated in parachute games while singing nursery rhymes, once a week for an entire year. No cool person has ever had to take credit for every smell in the room just to save their daughter, or sometimes wife, from embarrassment. But once again, dads do.
I have had many moments that remind me I am not cool. Most recently was a trip with my girls to a water park. The cool guys sat poolside, sipping their adult beverages. They were chatting quietly and enjoying adult conversation. Where was I? I was standing with my girls waiting for a bucket to dump about a thousand gallons of water on our heads. The girls loved it, which is why we did it probably 50 times. We followed that up with a trip down a water slide. The girls were fine on the slide. But you should have seen the look of shock on the employee’s face every time my fat butt came out of that tube. I am not sure if it was fear or surprise, probably a bit of both.
Dads just can’t be cool. You can’t be cool when you are covered in snot and dirt after comforting a crying child. You can’t be cool when celebrating a successful trip to the potty in the middle of a grocery store. You definitely can’t be cool singing as loudly, and a poorly, as you can along to whatever Disney song the girls like at the moment.
So I’m not cool, and I am okay with it. I know most of the cool guys I see won’t be cool one day. They will have their own kids wiping boogies on them, and having them run terrified from a stuffed animal to please a child. But until then they can be cool, because, despite it all, my girls think I am cool. And that is the coolest thing of all.
Bryan Alkire is a Stay at Home Dad from Kalamazoo MI. Every day he is lucky enough to experience the joys and struggles of raising his 2 young girls.