The DadBall Era: Don’t Call Me Big Papa

The Year of Doom continues as hipster Brooklyn fathers prefer to be called ”papa”
2016 will not rest until we are all dead from rage and shame and sadness, or more likely a toxic mix of all three, as this year has proved to be an unrelenting tsunami of bad news and worse trends. Everything’s gone sideways. Nothing makes sense anymore. For example, in the not-too-distant past, a budding politician could misspell a word on a schoolhouse chalkboard and his political career would end right there, on the spot—no questions asked—because there’s no “e” in “grammar,” bub! Out you go! Out to the Siberian void of political malfeasance, never to be heard from again, along with that other guy who whooped a bit too enthusiastically that one time at a rally. We can’t have our elected leaders spelling stuff poorly or acting somewhat rashly—that is uncouth and unacceptable, a poor reflection of who we are as a Republic.

But this is certainly not then, and spelling words incorrectly or bragging about sexual assaults or starting a dozen simultaneous nuclear wars over a Twitter beef are no longer deal-breakers for politicians. Quite the contrary! Those things are good and right in 2016. They are presidential, even, this according to a solid minority of voters in this weird electoral system of ours. They are American.

And as we reach this ragged homestretch of December, nothing is abating. Everything’s going MORE sideways, it seems. More awful. Because the latest #DadWord out of Brooklyn is that awful hipster-dads are ditching the word “dad” in favor of something they deem cooler. Something not so fat and boring and DON’T TOUCH THE THERMOSTAT-y, I guess?

Take it away, insufferable article about insufferable people!

Dad still reigns today, but anecdotal evidence suggests “papa” is making a comeback, perhaps as part of a return to the authentic and artisanal—the old made new again—in hipster circles.

Oh wow. Just look at that sentence for a minute. Embrace it. Immerse yourself in it. Let it wash over you like a $63 decanter of handmade artisanal moose dung honey. Feel that?? It’s the warm, sweet rush of delusional self-importance.

“I just think ‘dad’ and ‘mom’ are very Saved by the Bell-ish,” said Will Grose, 36, a Brooklyn father of three boys under the age of 5: Axel, Oscar (“Ozzy”), and Balthazar (“Bo”). He estimated that half of the children in his 4-year-old son’s Williamsburg preschool call their fathers “papa.”




Sweet guitar-shredding Jesus.

“Hello there, ma’am. I’m Nate. These are my children: Mötley, Beowulf, and Metallica’s Master of Puppets Album. We’re here for the birthday pizza party and—BEOWULF NO! PULL YOUR PANTS UP.”

Justin Underwood, a 34-year-old IT professional in Virginia and father to a 3-year-old daughter named Afton Love, refers to himself as a “feminist papa bear” and thinks the “dad” sobriquet is “very bland and drab,” he said.

You know what, Justin? It’s your job to make sure Afton Love brushes her teeth and is buckled in the car and doesn’t eat laundry detergent, among other critical parental things. By nature, these are not electrifying or even mildly exciting tasks. Calling yourself “papa” or “Vader” won’t make your 3:00 AM run to Walgreens for Children’s Tylenol any more thrilling or cool.

Underwood also thinks “dad” is antiquated, whereas “papa” is an “open-minded, liberal term,” he said, “like a dad with a twist.”


Stacie Johnson, a 38-year-old artist who lives in nearby Bushwick with her husband, Tyler Myers, and 3-year-old daughter, Willa, said she and Myers thought “mama” and “papa” sounded unique and didn’t make them think of their own parents (“mom and dad”).

Okay, that’s enough. We’re done. I am not allowed to cuss here and that is proving more and more difficult. Everything is awful at the moment and these dreadful Williamsburg fathers are making it even worse, somehow. The Year of Doom marches on.