Awkward Pics Make Better Memories: A Defense Of School Picture Day

A Series of Pictures of the writer, from early school pics to today.

I am going to share with you something that is deeply, profoundly personal. It’s something I had buried years ago in my mind. I wanted to physically bury all copies of this relic at one point, but my mom wouldn’t allow it. Long story short: I’d forgotten about this, but in the days of social media, none of us are safe from our parents finding dark artifacts from the past and sharing them with the world. Brace yourself. Here is what I saw when I checked my notifications this morning.

Awkward School Pic of kid with glasses in front of a digital star field

….Oh….oh Jared…What happened here? Well, the year was 199…1(?), and it was school picture day. Now, there’s plenty to dissect here – horizontal stripes, tinted glasses, jeans that are let’s say, “relaxed fit.” But those glamour stars in the background are truly the piece de resistance. 

Why would I vouch for this background that seems to be missing a unicorn or something? The early 90s was a magical time when dinosaurs came to life on the movie screen and your school pictures could look like they were taken in front of a space-laser battle. So what I expected when I checked the “starfield” box as my preferred background while standing in line in the Bartow Elementary gymnasium was something closer to: 

Awkward School Pic With Background Replaced By Laser Grid

Aw heck yeah. Once digital editing became commonplace, most kids my age ended up with pictures where the background was replaced with what I would today describe as a screen-saver sorta deal. But back then it was freakin’ awesome.

But school picture day, like life itself, doesn’t always go as planned. I remember being so embarrassed weeks later when the prints came back. What was I going to do with these freaking glamour shots? Nevermind that there wasn’t much for an eight-year-old to do with pictures, regardless of how they came out. 

The thing is, that’s really part of the value of the whole School Picture Day tradition. In the last decade or so, we’ve become a society more obsessed with pictures than ever before, with social media making amateur photo-journalists of us all. It’s tempting to think you don’t need a “school picture” in a year where the concept of “school” is loose at best. But take it from a nerd who aimed for the laser grid and landed among the stars, having a set memento of a certain time just hits different than a regular ole’ insta post. (Even if you’re not crazy about the results at first). 

This is true for parents as much as it is kids. Take the best picture of me ever taken, for example:

A Kid Making A Goofy Grin For School Picture Day

That was my peak, it’s been downhill since. I would like to congratulate myself on somehow throwing some side-eye while still staring directly ahead. Here’s the thing, though.  My mother hated this picture. She didn’t tell me that at the time; I was a child, that would have been damaging. But growing up means if you have cool parents you get to become friends with them, and then you get to catch up on all the gossip about you from when you were a kid.

Now, I don’t know why Mom didn’t like this picture…maybe it’s ‘cause I look like a huge dork, but that’s something she always appreciated about me. Regardless, she wanted to have them retaken. Fortunately, Nana took her by the hand and said “Jan. Don’t you dare change that. One day it will be your favorite picture of him.” And Nana was right. To this day this is the pic that Mom keeps on her desk at work, and it’s her absolute favorite. My guess is that this pic is documentation of when I started becoming the guy I am today. It’s the first time my “okay, whatever” attitude really came shining through.

So don’t just take a school picture, celebrate how awkward, weird, unexpected they are. In a time when we spend twenty minutes capturing moments “for the ‘gram” it will mean more to have a memento of our kids and families as they are, not how we curate them on social. 

To celebrate National School Picture Day, Lifetouch will be creating America’s Yearbook -a digital compilation of user-submitted pictures capturing the spirit of picture day. For 84 years, Lifetouch has been shaping yearbooks featuring all the things that make school pictures so memorable, from fads to goofy expressions. You can submit your favorite throwback school pictures for a chance to be featured in America’s Yearbook on Oct. 5. Then a few select winners will receive free school pictures, yearbooks, and school supplies for the school of their choice! It’s a great way to celebrate where we’ve been, and all the goofy unexpected places we’ve yet to go.

Submit your favorite school pictures here.

 

This post was sponsored by:
Lifetouch

Playing With Dolls: It’s What Dads Do

This article is sponsored by Bitty Baby™ from American Girl

I never really planned to be a dad who played with dolls. I wasn’t against it or anything, but I grew up in locker rooms around lots of macho bull stuff, and I guess I just never saw myself in that role. Then we had a baby girl.

We worked hard to avoid gender stereotypes as she was growing up; to let her follow her own interests, but this kid just absolutely loved playing with dolls. And I loved being with her — so I quickly found myself in tiaras and tutus at tea parties, chilling with a squad of dolls consisting of floppy bunny rabbits to those American Girl Bitty Babies: Lilly, Rose, Lilly Rose, and Lillyrose. (It was much less confusing once you got to know them.)

Fast forward to today, and my daughter is a 14-year-old high schooler, who also happens to be my best bud in the world. I don’t want to jinx it and bring on our first “I HATE YOU!” moment, but I’m really proud of the bond we share — and I chalk a lot of that up to our days of playing with dolls together.

My wife was working crazy hours in those days, so a lot of the time it was just my daughter and me for hours. During make-believe, she usually ran the show in the role of a teacher, or a mom, or a boss, while the Lillies or Roses and I listened attentively…or caused the occasional ruckus.

We had so much fun, and so many laughs, and while I didn’t fully realize it at the time, I’ve come to realize we were also modeling behaviors and role-playing social interactions that are a foundation of who my daughter is. The way she learned to treat those Bitty Babies is the way she still treats people, and I was right there, in on all the action during this really formative time.

From the way she loved, nurtured, and empathized with the dolls to the way she reprimanded them (which was hysterically lifted word-for-word from my wife and I’s playbook). It was like I had a front-row seat to how she internalized and externalized the world around her. If I was acting-up and picking on one of the “girls,” she would step in and explain that “we don’t use our hands, we use our words.” Or if I started whining because she kept calling on the Bitty Baby in class instead of me, we could talk about patience and taking turns. Her imagination allowed every interaction to be an opportunity to help model different behaviors, and for her to test the waters of social interactions in a low-risk environment. 

Now, to be clear, I wasn’t thinking so deeply about it at the time. It was just fun to be silly with my daughter, and see her captivated by the world she was creating. Now with college on the horizon and I’m getting all nostalgic, I think about how our time together back then did so much to shape our relationship. We laughed like crazy, there were some blowups and tears…and sometimes she got upset, too.  But we learned to navigate emotions, create a sense of trust, and we built so many memories. 

We’ve basically never stopped playing the way we did back then. Maybe, a Bitty Baby isn’t involved anymore, but there’s still that space for us to share our thoughts and feelings. We talk about everything together (sometimes more than I’m ready to handle), and we have the kind of openness in our relationship that I always wanted to have with my kid. People tell you you can’t be a friend and a parent, but I disagree. I’m proud to be both — and really glad I decided to start playing with dolls.

Bitty Baby™ from American Girl from American Girl helps dads and daughters discover a world of make-believe together while learning the importance of love and kindness.

Fortnite Bootcamp – Impress Your Kid Or At Least Not Embarrass Yourself

The Dad Gaming League’s first event is Fortnite, on August 21. Sign up now to reserve your spot on the Battle Bus.

The first gaming event we held was a custom Fortnite match in a private lobby of about 10 dads playing. People were randomly squaded up, everyone was laughing, getting along, even making friends. It reminded me of the old days playing Goldeneye with my buddies, except these were members of our internet community who didn’t know each other, and were 100s of miles apart. That spirit of comradery is what’s behind the whole The Dad Gaming community – giving dads a fun excuse to take a break, get away, and play games with cool people.

Epic snack-makers Planters knows this better than anyone, and they love the community spirit; so we squaded up to launch a full-fledged The Dad Gaming League. This monthly competition will champion that essence of fun and “anyone can play” spirit. (So you don’t have to be good to win a prize.)

However, if you’re brand new to Fortnite and you don’t want to embarrass yourself too hard -or if you’re pretty decent and looking for a couple of areas to work on- we’ve got you covered. Any dad’s path to leveling up starts here.

These tips start for the newbiest of newbs, and gradually get more advanced. Start at the beginning. Once your eyes start to glaze over, take a break, pop some Planters, and jump onto the Battle Bus. Because the best way to get better at any game is to lose A LOT.

QUICK OVERVIEW OF HOW FORTNITE WORKS

Fortnite is a quintessential Battle Royale game. This genre of game is that a large group of online players drop into the same world, called the map, and fight it out. When someone is eliminated, they’re done. So the number of players in the game continues to drop throughout the match. To keep it interesting, there is a storm that will damage you closing in on the island, making the play area smaller and smaller as time goes on.

You drop onto the island empty-handed, so you want to immediately find some weapons, powerups and other items to help you thrive and survive. Unfortunately, there are no Planters Pop and Pours on the Battle Island.

LINGO

There is a lot of shorthand dads use when squadded up. These terms were completely lost on me when I started and it made things very confusing. So if you’re starting fresh, here’s your first real advantage:

Battle Bus – This is your entry to the island. At the top of each round, you choose when to jump off the bus and parachute to where you want to land.

Circle – The playing area. This is where the storm hasn’t closed in yet, and it shrinks every few minutes or so.

Slurp – This is the neon blue health substance found in “pots” and scattered in lakes and rivers throughout the map. It heals you over time, not all at once.

Full Pot – This is a “Large Health” item. It’s a big blue jar of “Slurp.”

Mini -This is a “Small Health” item. It’s a small vial of Slurp.

AR – Just like in real life, this is what we call those bigass fast shooting guns.

Engage – Confront another player or team in battle. It’s a big map at first, so you don’t always have to fight. Engagement is a choice…for a time.

Final Circle – This is the endgame, when the storm has zeroed in extremely tight, and all remaining players are thrown together in sweet chaos.

Bot – This is an AI enemy who appears to be another player in the game, but is basically just a dummy to fill out the map and make you feel like you actually got some kills.

Skin – This is the term for how your character looks. You can buy or earn various skins that include character designs and costumes.

Default – This is what we call the basic no-investment character mold. If you log on for the first time and hit play without swapping anything, you’re playing as Default.

TACTICS

SURVIVE
Hide!  First things first, don’t get shot right away. Hang out on the Battle Bus a little bit and then when you do jump out, land where other people don’t usually tend to go right away. It’ll take a few rounds to learn all the locations, but if it looks like a big structure or base, it probably has a lot of items to snag….but a lot of other people will be interested in trying for them.

The first time I played Fortnite was at my wife’s friend’s house. There was a 10-year-old there who was nonstop talking crap to me about how I was a “noob” and he was better than me at Fortnite. I challenged him to see who could last the longest. He landed, got some eliminations, but finished 40 or so?

On the other hand, I strategically rode the Battle Bus as long as I could, dropped far away, and proceeded to sneak around, hiding at every place I could, always searching for predators.

Eventually, someone found me, engaged, and I was quickly eliminated. But I got 6th. (Now who’s the noob?) Usually, you’ll need to be pretty decent at offense to finish in the top ten. But I’ve found for beginners, the easiest way to finish top 25 is hiding. DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS.

WATCH THE STORM
Hang out on the outer reaches of the circle. Move-in as the storm gets smaller.

When you’re on the outside of the playing area, you don’t have to watch your back as much, because you know people will be less likely to sneak up behind you.

Watch the clock, though, and be ready to move. The circle doesn’t shrink automatically, but the Storm does move faster than you do.

STAY SNACKED UP
A single Battle Royale can last about 20 minutes. As any kid who has been asked to turn off their video game mid-game will tell you, you do not want to quit during a match. Keep snacks handy. Planters Pop and Pour is ideal here. It allows one-handed snack consumption and keeps the controller clean. I kind of think it was designed with dad gamers in mind.

DON’T BE SO QUICK TO ENGAGE
Learn the “Third Party” strategy. If you see multiple players or squads, let two groups fight it out and be the third party there to clean up at the end. This was called “pickin’ cherries” back in my Halo days, but what was dishonorable for the Master Chief is a sound strategy in Fortnite.

READY TO ENGAGE? LEARN TO ATTACK BY PLAYING TEAM RUMBLE
It takes lots of battles to learn the proper way to engage and how to be more accurate. Try playing the Team Rumble game mode to get a feel for combat. Battle Royale means once your out, you’re out. In Team Rumble, when you get eliminated you automatically respawn and you’re back in the action, giving you lots more experience at eliminating (and being eliminated). It’s not the most satisfying game mode, but it helps you learn.

LEARN THE WEAPONS, PERFECT YOUR LOADOUT
You’ll want a variety of weapon types, as well as healing items, but there are only so many item slots available. There’s also a color-coding system to how powerful each weapon is. In ascending order, they are: grey, green, blue, purple, orange.

JUMPING AS A DEFENSE MECHANISM
To avoid being sniped, some more advanced players jump all the time. They’ll jump across an open field like Mary freakin’ Poppins. I was always the type who’d rather not be so noticeable. But jumping is a great defense against attacks, especially close range. Start panicking? Start jumping. You may just make it out.

AMMO MANAGEMENT
I am a terrible shot. I can spray and spray and not land a single hit. So then when I have to reload and the opponent is engaging me, it can feel like a lifetime. One thing I started doing to help is I will take my favorite weapon choice, and put two of them right next to each other in my loadout. So if I empty one of them, instead of reloading, I just switch the other and keep firing. Essentially gives you double the ammo without reloading.

It is also possible to use this technique with Pop and Pour snack containers.

KEEP WATCHING AFTER YOU GET ELIMINATED
When you’re out, you’ll get to spectate the person who got ya. Keep watching and you might pick up on some strategies or tips. Sit back with your Pop and Pour, and watch it like a movie.

LEARN TO BUILD
You’ll notice this tip isn’t even in here until number 10. Dads notoriously don’t like Fortnite as much as other first-person shooters because of the building. A common joke is you fire a single shot and your opponent instantly has a five-star hotel. It can be frustrating when you don’t know how to do it. (Which is why we host a weekly no building event.) But you can use it to your advantage with very little effort. Simply learning to build a ramp will help you access much more loot, and it’s a simple two-button press. The same goes for building a vertical wall. If you can get used to quickly pressing those two buttons, you can throw one up as an opponent engages you. That simple wall will save a lot of damage and buy you some time.

And most importantly:

HAVE FUN, BOND WITH YOUR KID
I had a Nintendo as a kid and I loved it. But my dad never played video games with me. No big deal. But now, as a parent, the only reason I have a video game system is so I can play with my kids. It’s a bonding tool.

My son is super into Fortnite skins, while I proudly remain “a default.” But since he is so into them, I’ll gladly play with him to beat the season challenges and unlock new skins for him. We collaborate with each other as a team, we chat, we laugh, we have a blast.

Sure, he enjoys it now because he gets to unlock some new skins. I enjoy it because I’m spending quality time with my kid doing something he loves. I know it may sound far fetched to non-gamers, but I truly believe that when he is an adult, he’ll look back with fondness at the times his dad helped him beat Fortnite challenges to unlock skins. And those parent/kid moments, the unforgettable memories… that’s what it’s all about.

This article and The Dad Gaming League are sponsored by Planters. Enjoy delicious snacks without gunking up your controller with Planters Pop and Pour.

This post was sponsored by:
Planters

I Thought Taking My Daughter’s Bitty Baby To The Game Was Embarrassing…Until We Won The Championship

This article is sponsored by Bitty Baby™ from American Girl

“I can explain.” Those are the words you lead with when you’re still making up an explanation in your head. For when something is a little out of whack, and you’re not quite sure how you ended up in that situation. That’s where I found myself, holding a baby doll and with my nails freshly painted pink, at a college basketball watch party full of bros.

I grew up with all brothers, so I didn’t know what to expect when I found out my firstborn was going to be a girl. I wasn’t disappointed, it’s not like I found out while holding a mini baseball glove and tiny football helmet; I just had no idea how to play with a little girl. 

At first, I didn’t have to. Most babies are the same – just little blobs of flesh designed to rob you of any sleep or sanity. When they start to grab things, playing pretty much consists of holding something colorful in front of their face until they flail around with it. Or doing voices and impressions that would otherwise have you committed to an institution. Then when they start moving, playing is just making sure they don’t die.

It’s when they get older and start developing their own interests that you can get a little lost. I tried hard not to force my stuff on her, either. Although I did show her my favorite movie once when she was still an infant. I thought I could develop her into a tiny little sci-fi fan, but she spit-up on my laptop and that was that. At age four though, she got her first “girl” toys; nail polish…and a Bitty Baby.

She’s a spring baby, so we planned her party on a March afternoon. Later that night I planned to enjoy my annual ritual of watching the basketball tournament with my brothers and friends. Play with my daughter during the day, and the night was reserved for beers, basketball, and smack talk. “Guy” stuff.

Watching my daughter play with her Bitty Baby was like watching her level up at being a kid. She’s always been creative, but her imagination ran wild with the doll.  She immediately named her Katie. A little embarrassing, considering it took us twelve weeks and a series of ballots to settle on her name. 

We spent the afternoon on adventures with Katie all over the house, from starting a nail salon to going on a couch-fort safari. It struck me that my daughter didn’t see Katie as just a play-friend, but a character in her world who needed to be cared for and nurtured. It seems obvious now, but it was extraordinary to see my four-year-old interpret and imitate my own parenting with her Bitty Baby. I thought I understood make-believe, but I wasn’t ready for what came next. 

Shortly before I was supposed to go to the basketball party, my daughter asked to paint my nails. I caught a look of glee in my wife’s face, making me suspect it was her idea. I quickly came up with some excuse I don’t remember to get out of it. However, my daughter hit me with the look every dad knows. The one they cannot know about when they get older. The look that would’ve gotten me to do anything. I said yes, knowing the onslaught of ribbing I was going to take from my friends that night.

With my freshly-pastelled nails, I was about to leave for guy-time when my daughter pulled that puppy dog look a second time. She held up her prized possession, her new Bitty Baby, and said with the saddest voice: “Katie loves sports. Will you take her to the game?”

I instantly knew why “Katie” “loved sports.” It’s because of the Saturdays my daughter saw me on the couch, acting like a crazy person as college kids tried to put a ball in a basket. Knowing it was my daughter trying to connect two things she loved, I couldn’t say no.

And that’s how I ended up at the party with a baby doll and painted nails. Yes, there was an endless parade of jokes at my expense. Looking back, I could have left Katie in the car, but at the time it didn’t even occur to me. In some imperceptible way, her devotion to the doll got to me. My daughter asked me to bring her doll to the game, and so I did. But here’s the twist: the team we were rooting for was a gigantic underdog, expected to make a quick exit from the tournament. So the longer the game went and the closer the scoreboard was, the less focus anyone had on my new friend or pretty nails. Then the impossible happened.  The type of impossible that makes March beautiful for sports fans: our team pulled off an enormous upset!

When the final horn sounded, our group erupted into cheers and wild hugs like we were kids. Watching us, you would’ve thought we each won the lottery. As I was leaving, one of my oldest friends grabbed me into a bear hug: “We have two days before the next game. And that doll better be with you when you come back.”

And that’s how the superstition started. My daughter and I would play during the day, and then I’d ask her if I could bring “Katie” to the game party.  We transitioned seamlessly from a child’s imaginative play to a dad’s childish sports superstition. But my team kept winning, my nails kept getting pinker, and I ended up playing with Katie almost as much as my daughter.

In the end, being a #GirlDad worked out just fine.

Bitty Baby™ from American Girl helps dads and daughters discover a world of make-believe together while learning the importance of love and kindness. 

Father Figures: The Life to Strive For

“My grandfather Eddie passed away last year at 99 years old. He and my grandmother Betty were married more than 60 years, had 8 children, 20 grandchildren, and way more great-grandkids.

Eddie was a force to be reckoned with. He served more than four years in the US army during WW2 in the South Pacific. He loved to talk about his experience, even though it was difficult emotionally. He felt that the next generations needed to know what it was like so history wouldn’t repeat itself.

Throughout his life, he adored his children, then grandchildren, then great-grandchildren. He loved and cherished each and every one of them.

But the real love of his life? My grandmother Betty. She was his world. When she died in 2012, his spirit was dimmed.

During the later years, my family made an effort to have Sunday evening cocktails with Eddie. When he was in his final hours, my family continued the tradition of Sunday cocktails. We were all there. Either in person or on FaceTime.

His children placed a photo of Betty next to him and told him it was okay to go to her. Her photo was the last image he saw before closing his eyes. He died with his entire family holding him. If that’s not the life to strive for, I don’t know what is.”

– Heidi Fehring Morgan

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected]

Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here.

The Dad Of The Month, April 2020: Joel Stetler

(Joel Stetler)

We are honored to announce The Dad of the Month for April 2020: Joel Stetler. For the past 3 years, Joel has been living with a rare incurable cancer, teaching 3rd grade, coaching football and baseball, and giving 110% as a father to his 3 kids. Read his nomination submitted by his partner, Amanda:

(Joel Stetler)

“Joel is a father of 3, living with a rare incurable cancer. His disease is active, and has never been in remission. He works as a public school 3rd grade teacher, coaching football and baseball for the school in his spare time. He makes his own 3 kiddos his priority at home, despite the cancer treatments that leave him extremely fatigued.

(Joel Stetler)

Joel was diagnosed with cancer when the youngest of our 3 children was only 3 months old.  His prognosis wasn’t good, with statistics giving him a survival rate of 3-5% beyond 5 years.  His immediate reaction to those statistics and any like it has always been, “I have to make it that far. I have to make it beyond ‘that.’ That number. I have to make it to graduations, and weddings, and everything my kids need me to see.”

(Joel Stetler)

What makes Joel such an amazing dad is that he is PRESENT. He makes the most of every second with his kids, because every second is one he was not guaranteed. Maybe it’s spent jumping on the trampoline with them (their absolute favorite dad activity) despite feeling ill because of cancer meds.  Or it’s spent going on a run with his daughter so that she is in the best shape for cross country she can be, despite the fatigue and exhaustion from chemo.  Over the last four years his kids have grown up seeing their father be brave despite facing something scary.  At times I have told him he should rest or relax more, but his answer has always been, ‘I want the kids to know their dad didn’t waste the time that he had.  I want to make sure they always remember that they were the most important priority for me.’

(Joel Stetler)

This dad is the most amazing example to his kids on how to have a positive outlook on life, even amidst the most dire circumstances. He’s always smiling and never lets his disease steal the happiness he gets from serving his community and living his best life with his family.”

(Joel Stetler)

To honor Joel’s inner and outer strength and show appreciation for all he gives to his family and everyone in his life, we are sending $500 and special edition dad gear. With his bravery and love of life, Joel sets an example not just for his kids but everyone who has the privilege of hearing his story. We salute you!

Click here to read more or nominate a special dad in your life.

10 Funny Grilling Aprons to Whet Their Appetite for Your Dad Jokes

funny grilling aprons main image

In certain households — mine included — grilling time is sacred time. I’m in charge around the grill, and everyone admires and respects my incredulous ability to sear meat in just the proper manner with mouth-watering results.

Of course, the reality is that the kids are running around screaming that they’re starving, someone always has an opinion on what you should be doing with the food, and everyone seems to go deaf the second you ask to have a beer brought to you. Typical dad BBQ moments.

RELATED: The Ninja Foodi Indoor Grill Is So Good, You’ll Use It All Year Long – Fatherly

You may as well ditch the illusion of those perfect BBQ dreams and have some fun with it. Get (and give) a good laugh by poking fun at yourself in one of these really funny aprons for men. Some of these inappropriate aprons are NSFW (not safe for work you, you know..)—or for kids for that matter, but they’re still pretty damn funny for the right crowd.

You may be grilling at home these days with only yours truly (we don’t know who you’ve been stuck with for #quarantine2020), but eventually, the neighbors will start reappearing with booze in hand. When that does happen, we will all be needing a very good laugh.

Now, is it right that your family and friends have said laugh at your expense? You, the aforementioned grill-master? Especially when those same people are about to eat the food you’re cooking? I’ll leave that up to your discretion. Just remember: Revenge can come in many forms, including in burgers “seasoned” with ghost pepper. (Seasoned meaning doused in this case.)

Best Cooking Aprons for Men

funny grilling aprons for men: trophy husband

ApronMen Trophy Husband Grilling Apron

We all know the true reason our wives want us to grill … because we look sexy as hell. We can’t wash laundry, do the dishes, or dress ourselves in the morning correctly, but we know how to look good doing this. We might as well be honest about why she keeps us around with a funny apron for men that designates us as her trophy husband.

Buy for $23 on Amazon

funny grilling aprons: this shit is going to be delicious

Miracu This S*** Is Going to Be Delicious Grilling Apron

There’s a saying in the business world that you should under-promise and over deliver when making a presentation or proposal to a client. In other words, don’t make unrealistic promises about how well you can do a job, leaving your client underwhelmed when the process is over.

F*** that.

When it’s grilling time, you’re in your element. You’re in charge. With this inappropriate apron, you are promising a delicious BBQ meal, and you can be confident you will deliver.

If you want to try wearing this apron the next time you have to give a presentation to a client, we won’t stop you. Just understand it may not work as well in a boardroom as it does around the grill.

Buy for $20 on Amazon

funny grilling aprons for men: grill sergeant

ApronMen Grill Sergeant Grilling Apron

You know we had to throw a dad joke into any list of cooking aprons for men. (Personally, I feel like an angel kicks a puppy every time I hear a bad pun/dad joke. But I get it. Some people like them.)

This funny grilling apron takes the dad joke to the extreme, even using sergeant stripes and camouflage.

Honestly, every dad has a little bit of a drill sergeant in him, having to order children around the house. So this apron is extremely appropriate. (But never use it to order the wife around. We like to avoid sleeping on the couch.)

Buy for $23 on Amazon

funny grilling aprons for men: I'll feed all you fuckers

Famgem I’ll Feed All You F****** Grilling Apron

We all love grilling, but it’s also hard work. Standing over a hot grill, having to down multiple cold beers to offset the heat, just to keep our body temperature relatively normal.

No one wants to hear about our woes, though. They just want the food now, bitching and moaning the entire time.

Since we dads are known for holding in our tempers and remaining calm in all situations, we just have to smile and be polite while grilling, not being able to tell them what we really think.

That’s where this cooking apron for men enters the picture. Rather than continually having to answer the question — “When is it going to be ready?” — just keep your mouth shut and point to the front of this inappropriate apron. (Less talking leaves more time for cooling your body temperature with beer, by the way.)

Buy for $26 on Amazon

funny grilling aprons for men

Saukore That Ain’t Burnt, That’s Flavor Grilling Apron

My dad loved to grill, and he was great at it … most of the time. Once in a while, he’d get busy on a different project and forget to check the grill until it was a little too late.

There was no calling for pizza on these nights, though. The grilling results always ended up on the table, whether they were perfectly cooked, still actively on fire, or anything in between.

So this funny grilling apron speaks to me, as my dad used almost this exact phraseology if any of us little smart-asses dared to question the overdone grilling results. (He used significantly more colorful language than this apron does, but the sentiment is the same and still gets the point across.)

Buy for $18 on Amazon

funny grilling aprons for men

ApronMen Your Opinion Wasn’t in the Recipe Grilling Apron

At any barbecue where you are in charge of grilling, there always seems to be one pain in the ass who needs to inject an opinion into every move you make.

Since the law (at least for now) frowns on you smacking this backseat griller in the back of the head with a bag of briquettes, try showing him this funny apron for men instead.

And if Mr. Opinion still doesn’t get the hint, pretend that you don’t have enough charcoal or propane to finish the job and send him home to get some … across town … in your car with the gas tank on E. If he doesn’t make it back, so much the better. If he does make it back, he’ll at least have put some gas in your car.

Buy for $23 on Amazon

Funny grilling aprons for men: Breaking Bad Los Pollos Hermanos

Loco Aprons Los Pollos Hermanos Grilling Apron

Breaking Bad involved a cook (of sorts) and a delicious restaurant (of sorts) called Los Pollos Hermanos. So fans of the show will love wearing this fun apron. (Sure, Los Pollos Hermanos was just a front for a huge meth operation, but those details don’t have to affect your enjoyment of this apron. The cook on your grill is completely legal, after all … even if you’re using secret sauce and ingredients that you wouldn’t reveal to anyone, including the cops.)

And for those who’ve never seen Breaking Bad, just tell them that, during a trip to Mexico, you were given this cooking apron for men by the master of a secret grilling society that has been active for centuries, and it gives you special grilling powers. If they’ve had enough beers, they might even buy it.

Buy for $15 on Amazon

funny grilling aprons for men: i like big butts

Nomsum I Like Big Butts Grilling Apron

What’s better than having dad grill some amazing burgers and steaks? Having dad do some freestyle rap while he’s grilling amazing burgers and steaks.

This funny grilling apron is sure to inspire dad to lay down some bars. (We feel very confident that one of the lines will include, “I’m here to say,” at some point.)

Do you think Sir Mix-A-Lot realized what he was unleashing on the world when he released Baby Got Back? Us either. Even if you’re a terrible rapper, you can still enjoy this funny cooking apron for men. Hey, and if your intention was to sleep on the couch tonight, #you’re welcome.

Buy for $18 on Amazon

funny grilling aprons for men

ApronMen Meat Is Murder … Tasty, Tasty Murder Grilling Apron

Sometimes, you’ll have someone at your barbecue who wants you to place some vegetables on the grill next to the meat. We understand that’s sacrilege for some grill masters. We’re not totally opposed to it on occasion, as long as everyone realizes the star of the show is the meat.

But if you run into someone at your barbecue who has a strong opinion that the grill should contain only vegetables, then this is one of those inappropriate aprons that simply must be worn.

Hey, it’s OK to appreciate animals and still think a pork chop or chicken breast tastes amazing on the grill. Humans have managed to balance the two ideas for centuries. This funny apron for men just helps to ensure the tradition continues.

Buy for $23 on Amazon

funny grilling aprons for men

Panoware I Grill and I Know Things Grilling Apron

Game of Thrones fans will appreciate the humor behind this funny grilling apron, as it twists one of the most well-known quotes from show character Tyrion Lannister. (Come to think of it, no twist was needed: “I drink and I know things” would’ve fit appropriately on cooking aprons for men for grilling time.)

If people who are not fans of GoT see the apron, they might just think you have super dad powers. (This is never a bad thing to make your kids think you have, by the way. The more they think you’re watching them, the less s*** they’ll screw up.)

Buy for $25 on Amazon

Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site.

The Dad Of The Month, March 2020: Matt Rispoli

(Matt Rispoli)

We are honored to announce The Dad of the Month for March, 2020: Matt Rispoli. Matt serves his community as a police officer, his kids as an attentive, involved father, and recently fought a wolf who attacked his family while camping. Seriously. Matt is a real deal hero. His wife Elisa gushed about Matt in her nomination:

“Well, first off, The Dad actually featured my amazing husband, Matt, a few months ago because he is such an amazing dad (and badass). In August, our family was attacked by a Wolf while we were sleeping in our tent while camping on a family vacation in Banff, Canada. Matt put himself between the wolf and myself and our two young sons, fighting off the wolf despite suffering repeated bites. The attack lasted about 5 full minutes and while I screamed (bloody murder) for help, he continuously fought and pinned the wolf that was trying so desperately to have Matt for his dinner.

In addition to solidifying his position as our forever hero, Matt is the most hands on dad that I’ve ever seen. He takes our boys snowboarding, hikes the High Peaks mountain range in New York, and builds LEGO sets for hours on end.

Matt doesn’t just protect and inspire our family. He’s an amazing police officer that helps his community every day, frequently visiting elementary schools to have lunch with the kids.

He is so patient and loving to us all, and even though he was the one with the physical injuries from our traumatic experience, he’s been our family’s rock as we all healed and continue to heal from what happened to us. He is the GOAT in our opinion and deserves to be Dad of the damn year!”

To honor Matt’s utter badassery and loving commitment to his family and community, we’re giving him $500 and some special edition dad gear. Matt’s courage and ferocity is what we all aspire to. We salute you!

Click here to read more or nominate a special dad in your life.

One Dad’s Quest To Save His Hair

Keeps Hair Treatment

I’ve always had pretty good hair. I’m bad at brushing it and have no idea what to tell the nice old Russian lady on Lorimer Street who cuts it, but I’ve always had a decent amount of it, and it’s always been pretty easy to maintain. But, like a lot of guys my age, I started noticing that…well, it’s not falling out or anything, but there’s some shiny scalp showing through up top there.

I know there’s no cure for going bald, but I also know that hair loss prevention products have been around since I was a kid, and it seemed like if they were just snake oil, that business model would have dried up.

So I decided to look into it, and here’s what I learned.

Natural Options

You can find guys on the internet claiming that anything from caffeine to ice baths cured their baldness, but most natural hair loss treatments don’t have a ton of scientific evidence behind them. Hair loss vitamins, for example, don’t work unless you have a deficiency in the nutrients they contain. Pumpkin seed oil and rosemary oil are good places to start if you’re looking for a DIY treatment with a decent chance of actually working, but the bottom line is that you’re not likely to get mind-blowing results by going the homeopathic route.

Science Options

The FDA has only approved two treatments for male pattern hair loss: finasteride (generic Propecia®) and minoxidil (generic Rogaine®). Finasteride is a prescription pill you take every day that stops hair loss or increases hair growth in up to 90% of men. Minoxidil is an over-the-counter topical treatment you apply to your scalp twice a day. Unlike natural options, finasteride and minoxidil are clinically proven to be effective.

But I Don’t Want To Ask For Bald Medicine At The Pharmacy

Some companies have popped up in recent years that all claim to help you keep your hair from the comfort of your home. Like the elder millennial that I am, I was intrigued by the idea of a subscription service, which is why I landed on Keeps. Full disclosure: they have that minimalist marketing design approach that I appreciate, so I thought, why not?

Keeps only offers the FDA-approved medications for hair loss, and they are the only hair loss treatment company offering minoxidil in both foam and solution.

Treatment plans with Keeps cost anywhere from $30 to $105 every three months, and are delivered directly to your door in discreet packaging – no pharmacy runs or doctor appointments required. You can choose your treatment plan and have your selection verified by a Keeps doctor or speak with a Keeps doctor first who will help you land on the right treatment plan for you. 

The Bottom Line

I don’t know if I’ll have flowing locks when I’m pushing my 90s, but Keeps isn’t snake-oil. The medication is legit, the results are noticeable, and I don’t have to go shopping in the old-man aisle at the pharmacy. If you’re concerned about losing your hair and know that you won’t pull off being a hat guy, Keeps is worth giving a try. Check out Keeps now and you’ll get 50% off your first month

Dad of Five Daughters Finally Has Son, Can’t Believe It

Dad Celebrates Boy in Viral Video
(YouTube/Caters Clips)

My wife has four sisters.

We have two kids now, I can’t even imagine having a third, let alone a fourth. And my wife has a brother too! Her parents had five kids, and the boy came last. My father-in-law was simply desperate for a son, so he just kept at it until he got one.

I don’t know that the dad in this YouTube video had the same mentality, that he wasn’t gonna stop having kids with his wife until he got a boy, but judging by his reaction, he’s certainly thrilled about it!

The video shows Dad in the delivery room, sitting in a chair in his scrubs and mask, awaiting the arrival of his sixth child. When the kid emerges, it’s clear the couple hadn’t learned the gender in advance, because he is shocked and surprised and simply psyched out of his mind about the fact that he finally landed himself a boy.

He bursts out of his chair and exclaims, “Yeah baby! Oh my god! I GOT A BOY!”

The doctor can be heard asking him how many boys he has, and he responds incredulously, “This is the first one after five girls. Oh my god!”

Overwhelmed, he has to sit back down to compose himself (“I’m lightheaded.”) before telling his wife, “Babe, we did it!” After five girls, Dad obviously didn’t expect anything different. But boy is he thrilled with the change-up.

The hilarious, happy video of the dad’s explosive reaction has nearly 800,000 views. Check it out!

Father Figures: Feel the Relaxation

“This is Charles and his mini me, Hank. What you see in this picture is our new normal. Can you feel the relaxation? It wasn’t always this way…

You see, Charles was once a Kitchen Manager for a highly successful seafood chain. If you know anything about the restaurant business, you know it’s a demanding and thankless job. Charles had to handle situations ranging from employee call-outs, often leaving them short handed, to food trucks running behind, making product on hand scarce. It’s a hard job that requires adaptability and quick thinking.

The two skills that make him a great manager also make him an excellent father. Never once did he stall on his commitments at home. From bathing a baby to making the perfect grilled cheese for our picky eater, this man made fatherhood look easy. And though he sometimes missed holidays, birthdays, school functions and many bed time routines, he made every moment count when he had his babies in his arms.

But now, after hard work, some soul searching and a great recommendation, Charles now has a job that allows him to be home with us. Instead of a 60 hour work week, he now has a 7-4 with weekends off. Instead of demanding bosses, he has a boss who works along side of him. Instead of feeling defeated, he’s encouraged.

The best part is how he’s demonstrated to our kids that hard times will come, but it’s how you handle them that counts the most. We are so proud and so lucky we have him. We are so happy for this new normal, where we can relax, and enjoy and appreciate the life we given.
We love you dearly, Charles, and you are truly The Dad.

– Sarah Jackson

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected]

Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here

The Dad Of The Month, February 2020: Luis Arcos

(Luis Arcos)

We are honored to announce The Dad of the Month for February, 2020: Luis Arcos. Luis and his family have been through a lot, and Luis has been a  dedicated provider and unwavering source of love and support. Here is what his wife, Eva, had to say about him:

“Luis and I are parents of Moises and Ernesto. As a family we have been through so much. Luis has been our rock and the best father.

(Luis Arcos)

Luis has always been involved in our sons’ lives. I remember being home those first few weeks with Moises, losing my mind trying to breastfeed him all night, and Luis would get home in the morning after working all night and help me. He was there every day for us, from late night feedings, changing diapers, bedtime stories, and so much more. No matter how tired he was, Luis was there with help.

(Luis Arcos)

Our youngest, Ernesto, was born with Chromosome 18q- Syndrome. No parent plans for their child to have a chromosome anomaly. It was difficult to adjust, but Luis was determined to give Ernesto the best quality of life. Ernesto was constantly in and out of the hospital, spending countless hours at doctor and therapy appointments. Our city doesn’t have a local genetic specialist, so Luis drove many miles out of town to get Ernesto the care he needed. Many nights he’d stay up just to make sure Ernesto was okay.

(Luis Arcos)

In 2018, when Ernesto was 2, his chromosome anomaly ended up taking him away from us. We are still battling depression, but it hasn’t stopped Luis from being the best dad to our son Moises. He is present and truly there for him.

(Luis Arcos)

Any time we’ve struggled financially, Luis would find a way to get our family everything we needed. He even picked up general labor jobs to help with all the extra expenses. Currently, Luis is working one full-time and another part-time job as a healthcare provider, while going to college, and somehow still manages to be there for his family and others.

(Luis Arcos)

I know I’m biased, but in the 7 years I’ve known my husband, he has grown into the hardest working dad I know. I wouldn’t have been able to get through the obstacles we’ve faced as parents if he wasn’t there for us. I’m very proud of the man he is today and the man I know he will be.”

(Luis Arcos)

To recognize Luis’ devotion to his family, we’re giving him $500 and some special edition dad gear. Throughout struggle and heartbreak, Luis has always put fatherhood first, and let his love for his family carry them through. We salute you!

Click here to read more or nominate a special dad in your life!

The Dad Of The Month, January 2020: Andy McCall

(Andy McCall)

We are honored to announce The Dad of the Month for January, 2020: Andy McCall. Andy wears a lot of hats: father, husband, coach, teacher, author, volunteer, advocate. No matter what role he’s in, Andy is giving his all and inspiring those around him. His wife Ellen shared their story with us:

“Andy and I are parents to Penelope and 1 year old twins, Scout and Maizie. We’ve been through many trials and tribulations since we became parents in 2014, when our daughter Penelope was born with a brain malformation and many special needs.

In 2016, Penelope passed away at 23 months old. Andy has always worked hard in his roles as a 2nd grade teacher and high school football coach, even when Penelope was in and out of the hospital. No matter how exhausted or stressed he was, Andy drove many miles at the end of his work day to be with Penelope, and give me a break. On many occasions he stayed all night, driving to work in the morning straight from the hospital. When we received Penelope’s cancer diagnosis in 2016, I flew with her to St. Jude while Andy drove across the state for 8 hours to meet us. Her cancer was too aggressive to treat, and we made the decision to spend her last month with us at home.

(Andy McCall)

I know I am biased, but Andy really tries to set an example for what a dad should be. I’m thankful every day that my children have the most amazing role model in their lives.”

(Andy McCall)

 

To honor Andy’s perseverance and recognize him as a shining light for others, we’re giving him $500 and some special edition dad gear. There is more hope and love in the world because of Andy. We salute you!

Click here to read more or nominate a special dad in your life.