I can’t speak for everyone, but my ‘for you’ pages on TikTok and Instagram Reals do have my number, almost to an alarming degree. And right now, along with Twilight humor, fan-made Harry Potter content, and a whole host of other things that are somehow even more embarrassing to admit publicly, my feeds are two-fold. Pedro Pascal video clips, interviewsand: montagesevery last vivid proof that the internet crowned the star of The Mandalorian and: The Last of Us as “dad”. No, he has no children. yes, this is about her being very hot, in a very specific way. And as a mom, parenting everyday with someone her kids call “Daddy” makes it kind of weird…but mostly funny to me.
Let me explain for those of you who aren’t on TikTok, or at least not a fan of Pedro Pascal on TikTok (yet) It is very simple. The internet has decided that the current term for a slightly older, somewhat gruff, profoundly competent man with (ideally) gray hair is “dad”. Pascal is very qualified. And – this part is important. — he, for the most part, happily accepted it. In one especially the famous Vanity Fair interview videoWhen asked who is a bigger father, he or Oscar Isaac, Pascal answers: “I am a father older than him, I am older than him. Even though he’s a real dad, he has kids and I don’t. But “daddy” is a state of mind, you know what I’m saying? I’m your father.”
And I’ve been identified by the algorithm as a perfect consumer of all this content, so I know what I’m talking about here.
For individuals without children, the “dad” trend may only exist in group chats with friends, who occasionally exchange photos of Drake, Ryan Gosling, or Jon Hamm, some of my favorites, along with Pedro and Oscar, looking especially dad-like in a suit or even more irl: like dad dressed in sweats.
However, for individuals with children and a partner who identifies as a father, the “dad” thing is a bit more complicated, and frankly, a bit ridiculous. While one’s actual “dad” and famous “papas” are not to be confused, the terminology juxtaposes them in a way that I just have to laugh at.
My kids are both old enough to make the transition from “Dada” to “Daddy” and anyone with young children knows that you can inexplicably start calling your partner by the name your child calls them. : That means, unfortunately, I sometimes refer to my husband as “Dad” when talking about him to my kids. And for me personally, given all this extra dad thrown around, it can feel a little weird to listen to.
I try to catch myself and say “papa” or “your daddy” but sometimes I don’t and “papa” slips out; you I have to say that in today’s dad climate and depending on my dad’s state of mind, it makes me both laugh and/or cringe at times.
But what else should I do? I might go back to “dada” but that seems a bit childish for my little ones. We are not a “paternal” family. i immediately think of the ominous old “wait till your dad gets home” trope, and frankly, that sounds a bit formal to my ears. “Dad” almost too grown up — I imagine that’s what they’ll call my husband when they’re tweens and tweens, and I want to have as much fun in these younger days (at least in cute ways) as we can. So there you have it folks, we’re back to the good ol’ dad.
After being bombarded with so much “daddy” content, I was intrigued. This curiosity turned into an internet rabbit hole that I fell down around 2am one night. There is a long history of using “daddy” outside of the actual parent-child relationship. There are even articles online which cite the use of the word “daddy” as early as 1621 as a term used for pimps. Do you hear that? occur in old music, too. More recently, people have started using the term “zaddy” to describe a hot older man who may or may not fit previous “traditional” or conventional standards of attractiveness, and one who may or may not have children. And then at some point, everyone just dropped the Z and went for it.
The internet is constantly generating new meanings and connotations around almost everything. It can be corny, it can be funny, it can be both. After all, I love it and it appeals to me. Like other things in my life, I try not to let my motherly identity limit me, and I totally agree and feel for my dad. Even if I laugh as I gather my kids up and yell “time to go daddy!” across the playground.
Taylor Searing mother of two from New York, currently living in the Midwest. She is a PhD student researching the intersection of work and gender, with a particular focus on the experiences of working mothers and motherhood. She spends a lot of time thinking about mom content, pop culture, social media trends, and her other random, hyper-special interests.