Written by Tommie Battle (@boneystarks)
This is an ode to the uncool dad.
To the dad that doesn’t care about style, just about function. To the dad that would rather wear that U.S. Polo Assn. shirt with the bacon collar because it was the closest thing to him no matter how nice the shirts are that you bought him this past Christmas. This is an ode to the cool, but uncool dads that own not one, but TWO pairs of Nike Air Monarchs, because it works, right?
These dads go to work every day and come home asking for two things: a meal and peace—which are well deserved more often than not. These dads will teach you to do everything from how to change the oil in your car to paint a house, but will ask you for help with “the Instagrams” when it comes to the family barbecue. We appreciate your level of “not giving a fuckness” when it comes to telling you our problems, because, in the end, you realize that it’s not really a problem, just a mere inconvenience of the moment.
My pops introduced me to rap and funk music. I listened to Digital Underground and Public Enemy in his Datsun 226 on many a trip to the store. We watched action films that a seven-year old should never see. We watched Carl Weathers getting his arms blown off in Predator, Steven Segal just kicking ass and breaking bones in various films. But in the same token, he'll ask me, “What makes Kanye so special?” Or cringe when he hears Drake or Travis Scott.
To me, that is uncool coolness.
The first sneaker that I remember my him wearing was a pair of grey New Balance, probably the 574 model. But I remember it was his go-to sneaker for PT, as he was in the Navy. He eventually would wear various Nikes, but usually nothing that stood out, perhaps a pair of Tailwinds or Frees. He wore whatever was functional, not necessarily fashionable. I assume that since he was in the Navy until his mid-40s, his usual work shoe was whatever boots or dress shoes were required for his job. In any old photos, he has on Converse or PF Flyers. For a man of his age, high-end technical sneakers just weren't an option.
To me, that is uncool coolness. Uncool coolness is a combination of aloofness and a lack of desire to stay trendy, all while somehow trying to keep up with the times. And taking aspects of your personality and applying it to the present.
The day that we face this reality is inevitable: When our kids will listen to an artist that we simply cannot understand, or wear that article of clothing that doesn’t look quite right. We will be there, and we will have to embrace it. Everyone’s time passes by, and that’s OK. Sometimes, you have to embrace the things that come with age, like golf, nondescript Nike shoes that come in widths, and sleep number beds.
So this is for you, uncool dads. Continue to give us something to look forward to. Continue to set an example of how to rock crew socks and wear headbands during yard work. Because whether or not we realize it, it’s the coolest thing ever.