Twitter Facebook RSS Feed
No Sacred Cows  
Toby Young
Wednesday 8th October 2003

Lad Dad

It's a funny business being a Dad. It reminds me a little of Carry On Abroad. Just as Sid James, Barbara Windsor, Kenneth Williams and the gang discovered that the five-star hotel they were booked into on the Costa del Sol wasn't a bit like the one in the brochure, so it's beginning to dawn on me that fatherhood isn't the sexy lifestyle choice it's presented as being in certain glossy magazines.

Remember FQ and Dad? These two publications were launched with great fanfare last spring, supposedly to cash in on the fact that being a father had suddenly become extremely fashionable. In their pages, the likes of David Beckham and Pierce Brosnan shared space with features on MPVs and the latest kids toys. Doe-eyed toddlers were pictured kicking a ball around with fit young men in short-sleeved shirts. Welcome to parenthood.

For the generation of lads who'd been brought up reading magazines like Maxim and FHM, the message couldn't be clearer: Babes were out and babies were in. It was time to stop boozing and start breeding.

Well, guess what? Six months have passed and a second issue of Dad: The Magazine For New Fathers has yet to appear. Admittedly, there has been another issue of FQ: The Magazine For Modern Dads, but that came out last August and we're now in October. Will either of these publications outlast the year? Or will they succumb to the magazine equivalent of infant mortality? In America, two similar publications--Dads and Fathers--both went belly up after two issues.

What the publishers of these magazines have failed to grasp is that, while women might find pictures of men playing with their babies sexy, we don't. When I open a copy of Heat and see a photograph of Becks making his way through the Heathrow Arrivals Hall with Brooklyn on his shoulders and Romeo in a pushchair I don't think, "Gosh, David, you're so cool." I think, "You poor bastard." (And I'm not just referring to the ball-busting little tyrant in the background barking out orders to the army of porters.)

David Beckham may be heralded by professional do-gooders as "a positive role model", but as far as I'm concerned he's a living, breathing example of the feminisation of our society.

Consider the facts. He changes his hairstyle every two weeks. He speaks in a hilariously high-pitched voice. He lets his wife dress him up as if he's her own personal dolly. He's not a symbol of modern masculinity. He's a symbol of male emasculation. I no more want to look at pictures of him and his children than read an article about testicular cancer.

Successful men's magazines like GQ and Esquire pander to our fantasies and avoid mentioning things like wives and babies. When I've got a few minutes to spare between cleaning the sick off the sofa and mending the high chair I don't want to read features with headlines like "The Second Coming: How to help your first-born deal with the trauma of a new sibling". I want to dream about snaking through the hills of the Cote d'Azur in a silver Bentley with a supermodel in the passenger seat and a supercharger in the engine. Vroom, vroom.

Before writing this column, I checked out FQ's website and was directed to a page inviting me to vote for the FQ Dad of the Year. What was this? Some sort of competition? That's more like it, I thought. I imagined a Generation Game-like series of contests with the finalists having to wrestle with non-disposable nappies and assemble flat pack travel cots.

I settled back in my chair with a view to spending the next couple of hours repeatedly voting for myself when I noticed the small print: "Voting will end at midnight on 6th June. The winner will be announced and their award will be presented to them at an exclusive presentation ceremony in London on Thursday 12th June 2003."

Ah well. Maybe I can enter next year. Then again, maybe not.

[ FIXED LINK ] Bookmark and Share

Twitter In this week’s ⁦@calling_podcast⁩ ⁦@JamesDelingpole⁩ and I discuss the looming Coronavirus pandemic, whether there’… link  (47 minutes ago)


Why the left keeps losing by John Gray -
The closing of the conservative mind: Politics and the art of war by John Gray -
Cambridge and the exclusion of Jordan Peterson by Nigel Biggar -
The shocking truth about Jordan Peterson by Wesley Yang -
The intellectual dark web by Bari Weiss -
How identity politics is harming the sciences by Heather Mac Donald -
The fall of the German Empire by Ross Douthat -
How Tom Wolfe became Tom Wolfe by Michael Lewis - Vanity Fair
The neuro-diversity case for free speech by Geoffrey Miller -
The Age of Outrage by Jonathan Haidt -
The Warlock Hunt by Claire Berlinski -
Is classical liberalism conservative? by Yarom Hazony -
The Implosion of Western Liberalism by Patrick Lee Miller -
The Eton of the East End - Daily Mail
The reactionary temptation by Andrew Sullivan -
The book that scandalised New York intellectuals by Louis Menand -
To understand Britain today, look to the 17th Century by Adrian Wooldridge -
The crisis in France by Christopher Caldwell -
A Visit to Michaela School by Patrick Alexander -
Why parenting may not matter by Brian Boutwell -
Trump Establishment's Cultural Significance Explained by Michael Wolff -
Branching histories of the 2016 referendum by Dominic Cummings -
Putin's Real Long Game by Molly K McKew -
The Flight 93 Election by Publius Decius Mus -
How the education gap is tearing politics apart by David Runciman -
What's wrong with identity politics by Graeme Archer -
Grammars and the grain of truth by Jonathan Porter
Anti-Brexit: Britain's new class war by John O'Sullivan -
The English Revolt by Robert Tombs -
Democracies end when they are too democratic by Andrew Sullivan -
Human beings really are making progress by Steven Pinker -
What ISIS really wants by Graeme Wood -
A society ripe for Submission by Douglas Murray -
Why I'm a Conservative Teacher by Jonathan Porter -
Corbyn's Inconvenient Truth – He wanted the IRA to win -
Why I've become Tory scum by Tony Parsons -
Inside Westminster's free school -
Robert Conquest obit -
Jeremy Corbyn is not an anti-Semite – it's so much worse than that -


Andrew Lilico
Andrew Sullivan
Arts and Letters Daily
Bagehot's Notebook
BBC News
BBC Sport
Benedict Brogan
Brendan O'Neill
Bruce Anderson
Coffee House
Conservative Home
Damian McBride
Damian Thompson
Dan Hodges
Daniel Hannon
Ed West
Frank Furedi
Guido Fawkes
Harry Phibbs
Iain Dale
Iain Martin
James Delingpole
James Wolcott
Joe Murphy
John Rentoul
Labour List
Mark Steyn
Matt Drudge
Mehdi Hasan
Melanie Phillips
Michael Wolff
Nick Cohen
Nick Robinson
Nikki Finke
Paul Waugh
Peter Hitchens
Political Betting
Right Minds
Rob Long
Rod Liddle
Sophy Ridge
Stephen Pollard
The Arts Desk
The Corner
The Daily Beast
The First Post
The Omnivore
The Onion
Tim Shipman
Tim Stanley
Tom Shone


AA Gill
Aidan Hartley
Allison Pearson
Allister Heath
AO Scott
Boris Johnson
Charles Moore
Cosmo Landesman
Daniel Finkelstein
David Brooks
Fraser Nelson
George Monbiot
Giles Coren
Henry Winter
James Delingpole
Jan Moir
Janan Ganesh
Jeremy Clarkson
Jeremy Warner
Jim White
Jonathan Freedland
Lloyd Evans
Manohla Dargis
Martin Samuel
Mary Ann Sieghart
Matthew d'Ancona
Matthew Norman
Maureen Dowd
Michiko Kakutani
Owen Jones
Patrick O'Flynn
Paul Krugman
Peter Bradshaw
Peter Oborne
Philip Collins
Polly Toynbee
Quentin Letts
Rachel Johnson
Rod Liddle
Roy Greenslade
Tim Montgomerie
Trevor Kavanagh
UK Book Cover

  • Buy the book on

  • Buy the book on

  • UK Book Cover

  • Buy the book on

  • Buy the book on

  • Audio Book Cover

  • Buy the audio book from
    Whole Story Audio
  • DVD Cover

  • Buy the DVD from

  • Buy the DVD from

  • IMdb Page on the film