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These pictures of fathers in their prime smash every lame dad stereotype

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Sam Diss
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Your dad deliberately ruining the one family photo your mum had pleaded for all holiday by grimacing and putting bunny ears behind your head. Your dad captured pulling an ‘uh-oh’ face because he’s pushed 4-Year-Old-You’s swing so hard you’re about to fly into orbit. Your dad trying to do keepy-ups but somehow falling backwards into a pond. Your dad cracking his thumb with a hammer instead of fixing those damn shelves. Your Dad knows he has to fulfil this role in The Family Album. He offers his image up a sacrificial punchline. But sometimes, the mask slips, he breaks character and the moment is caught on film for all eternity. A rare moment where your dad seems… actually cool?

To celebrate the one day in the calendar when you’re allowed to compliment your dad without it getting weird, here are the Zapruder footage level moments our dads were recorded being the opposite of embarrassing.

When my dad was nineteen he was bang into swimming and going dancing and worked in a vintage clothes shop in Shoreditch – back when Shoreditch was weird and rough and cool – and had hair like Vinnie Chase from Entourage and would turn up to five-a-side like this, in a cropped sweatshirt-vest like nobody ever cared less about anything in the world. Admittedly now he’s considerably less cool – and with less hair – but I never fail to look at this picture and be filled with pride. Imagine giving so few fucks. Imagine looking that awesome. Sam Diss

Here’s a pic of my dad turning out for Jyderup BK, a Danish football team of questionable standing (can’t find out much about them). He was actually a goalkeeper but broke two of his fingers so they let him have a run out up front… Not entirely sure it was a great move judging by the trajectory of the ball in the pic. No idea why he was playing in Denmark, but what a barnet. Sam Taylor

As you can see, in 1989 my dad (far right) started a clothing company called PALACE and things have been great for us ever since. Not really. In reality, he’s appeared on tea-time quiz show Countdown twice, ‘90s classic Fifteen to One once and has asked one question as an audience member on the topical debate show Question Time. He is employed as a social worker, captains Brewood Cricket Club 4ths XI, and thinks that "other sportswear is a myth". I love him very much. James Bird

In the ‘60s, my dad designed his own suits (tailored in the East End), drove an Austin Healey 3000, and hung out with pop stars. One sharp geezer. But I chose this photo from the ‘70s for two reasons. First, because my dad, a working class boy who had undiagnosed dyslexia at school, was (still is) a hugely talented graphic designer, back when they actually had to be able to draw. He had a drawing board at home when I was a kid, where he’d do freelance work for some extra cash, allowing me to become a privileged middle class boy. I loved that drawing board, with its fancy pens, knives, and weird stuff called Cow Gum which looked like bogies when it dried. I love what he did for his family and I’m so proud of his talent. The second reason: that hair. Oh to have the guts... People really committed to fashion back then. You just know how wide his trousers are under that desk. They might even be tartan. Andrew Dickens

When I was little, my dad (left) worked in shops, drove buses and taxis, laid bricks, and basically did anything to put food on the table. His big dream, though, was to work in the movies. One day, he finally took the plunge and started applying for jobs – any jobs – that could get him on a film set. Cue him dressing up as a pink fairy, an elf, a space pilot, a Shakespearean mourner, and, on more than one occasion, a Nazi soldier (somewhat worryingly, he was told he had just the right ‘look’ for the SS). This photo was taken when he was appearing Gladiator as yet another credit-less extra - but this was the film that changed his life. After using all of his ex-army training to prove his worth in the battle scenes, he was given a job as a military coordinator on Captain Correlli’s Mandolin – and the offers poured in from there. Nowadays, his IMDB page is filled with awesome production credits, and he’s living the life he always hoped he’d have, travelling the world to film different TV shows and films. I guess this photo proves that, with a lot of hard work and perseverance, dreams really can come true. Kayleigh Dray

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I mean, look: it’s my dad catching a shark. Soph Robinson

In an age where everyone is obsessed with sharing, debating, sub-Tweeting and gas-lighting the opinions of everyone else, my dad remains content inside the confines of his own life. I think this photo exemplifies that nicely. Joe Mackertich

I've told my Dad I love him loads of times, and I've also called him a cunt on occasion, but I’ve never told him he’s cool. And, he is. Books, music, sport, cooking, socialism, short legs and a big nose, and loads of other things I have come from him. He’s not always looked that cool, though. He wore some big Hi-Tecs in the ‘80s. But would you bloody look at him here in 1978. Looks like he’s jumped straight off Captain Beefheart's tour bus to come and kick it with his newborn son and Ludo the dog before heading back out on the road. The bastard. Owen Blackhurst

Here’s a picture of my mum and dad on their world trip thirty years ago. This photo was taken well before the trend of 'I’m straight out of uni and I’m going to go away and find myself in Thailand’ spammed the newsfeeds of the young and recently graduated, but they still somehow manage to look superimposed on that boat, like they made up the whole thing. On the back of the photo my dad has written 'Playboy 4 Playgirl’. What an absolute playa you are, Dad. Hannah Coorg

My Dad has said and done many hilarious things that make for funny/traumatic anecdotes. He secretly named me after Donald Duck in Swedish and waited 21 years for me to find out for example. He has this weird scar on his shin that he told me came from being a child rebel soldier… only it came from a lawnmower accident. Once when I was 15, I woke up on a Saturday morning to find him yelling at me. Turns out he would yell at me in my sleep during my teen years as it was a guarantee I wouldn’t answer back. He’s done a lot. He’s been through a lot. He’s pretty bloody ace. Carl Anka

I’m not sure what I like the most about this photo, the pigeons, his DGAF face, that shirt, or worse that chain necklace. My favourite/worst memory of him is when he got the new Renault Megane as a courtesy car in 2003 and he picked me up from school blasting out the song ‘I See You Baby’ by Groove Armada from that advert. I hated him at the time, but in hindsight, it was genius. He tells the same jokes and anecdotes literally all the time, and I still laugh, mainly because I find it funny that he still thinks they’re funny and I’m pretty convinced he thinks it’s the first time he’s saying it. Steph Dix

 

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Sam Diss

The Associate Editor of New Projects at ShortList, Sam enjoys making up words to annoy editors, writing features about sports, music, weird things, and cool people, and listening to Mark Morrison's 'Return Of The Mack'. He's also a fairly capable centreback. Follow Sam on Twitter: @SamDiss

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