Stereotypical dads for the win!
Author: Clay Nichols

Dear Ad Industry,

I hate to admit it, but for once you’ve totally nailed it. It’s true. Dads are idiots. Fathers today: totally clueless and blundering, yet forced into parenting ineptitude because our uber-competent wives are powering through the workforce. Well played, sirs. No hiding from you. Recently, watching a commercial or gazing at an ad – it’s been like looking in a mirror. I feel like I could shave in one.

Maybe I’m generalizing a bit, but I know that I, for one, am a complete boob. And I never shop. I mean, what’s a grocery store? Please. Did I mention that I’m an anatomically correct male? What would it say about me as a man if I were to go to a store and buy fingerling potatoes, broccoli and some sustainably raised tilapia filets? That I’m looking up recipes on the internet when I should be working, that’s what!

And I never purchase household products like bathroom cleansers, laundry detergent, glass cleaner, kitchen bags, drain opener or dish soap. If I do buy them, I use them improperly. (Last week I brushed my teeth with the Swiffer! Oops!) Why would you want to associate images of guys like me with the products in your ads? And my friends are even stupider.

I mean, sure, they know a lot about sports and stuff – and tech and business and cars and gadgets. But our heads are full. If you start appealing to us as parents, our brains might explode from the reaction with all the testosterone. Nobody wants exploding heads (except in movies – see below).

One thing I have noticed: when a dad does appear in an ad, sometimes he is depicted as being oafish. Good call! My wife knows I’m a complete buffoon, and nothing motivates her to reach for her MasterCard more than a hilarious illustration of that fact. So if you are going to put us in ads, the more boneheaded, the better.

Now, I know that there are studies out there showing that more men then ever are shopping in grocery stores and helping with domestic chores, but rest easy – they’re certainly not the majority!

Are you listening Hollywood? More dopey dads, please! This movie “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” looks really promising in that regard. I think you’ve got a winner on your hands.

Ward Cleaver

Clay Nichols is one of the founders of and co-author of “DadLabs Guide to Fatherhood: Pregnancy and Year One.” He lives in Austin with his wife Kim and three children.

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