Most men can be fathers, but it takes special effort to be called a dad. And a rad dad? Well, that's just a next-level accomplishment in the dad community.
Instagram page Rad Dad posts memes about stereotypical upper-middle-class American dads, e.g. Middle-aged dad who refreshes himself with a can of cold beer after mowing the lawn in his New Balance sneakers. The fact that they are described as rad and not cool or lit adds to the homage for today's middle-aged dads, as it is '80s slang, the decade when many of them were youngsters. Bored Panda selected the pinnacle Rad Dad TM memes from the page for you to chuckle at.
The page has merchandise: their designs of t-shirts, marble grey sweaters, and caps masterfully capture the style of rad dads and since they are illustrated with stuff like grills and embroidered New Balance sneakers, the whole apparel becomes super meta. Middle Class Fancy, the company that sells the merch, has its own meme page we recently wrote about. Middle Class Fancy and Rad Dad content sometimes overlap, as many of these dads do cookouts in their back yards, suggesting they are middle class.
Older dads of today might have noticed that not only is their youth slang back in right now, but fashion too. It seems that gen Z and alpha kids have found and brought back their dads' clothes from the eighties and nineties in secondhand stores, got bowl or mullet hairstyles, and started vlogging. Or flooded the streets, creating flashbacks into their youth for these rad dads. Just try to imagine a 55-year-old today teaching their son how to keep their mullet pristine or what bomber jacket goes with which basketball shoes.
Interestingly, the style of rad dads is not tied to a specific decade or generation so strictly. It appears that many dads just develop the same sense of casualwear style as they turn middle aged and these trends haven't changed much for over two decades now, much like middle-aged women cutting their hair short.
With anything English slang, the authoritative source of explanation is user contribution-driven Urban Dictionary. Here is the top explanation of a "Rad dad": "1. any dad who spends quality time with his kid as much as possible. 2. dads who surf, skate, snowboard or any extreme activity and teach their kids. 3. dads with long hair, mohawks or body piercings and dont give a shite what anybody else thinks."
What makes dads rad for you? Do these stereotypes apply to dads in your culture? What elements of dad culture have you adopted? Is it starting to take double chin selfies with a great view of salt and pepper nose hair? Growing a beer belly over the quarantine's baby boom? Share in the comments below, let's make it a safe space for rad dads.