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American hipster dads are demanding to be called ‘papa’

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Ralph Jones
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What do you call your dad? Do you call him Daddy? Dad? Pops? Slops? Sloppy Big Man? The Man Upstairs? The Fat Dragon?

If you’re the son of a hipster man, chances are you’ll soon be calling him ‘papa’.

Because the word ‘dad’ is beginning to acquire a fusty and outdated feel, hipsters are warming to the term ‘papa’ as a means of self-identification. This is according to anecdotal research reported in The Daily Beast which features American hipster dads proclaiming their affinity with the once-outdated term.

This is an emerging trend that follows hot on the footsteps of American mothers shrugging off the words ‘mom’ and ‘mommy’ on account of the association those words may have with antiquated stereotypes. ‘Mom’ and ‘dad’ are like terms from Saved by the Bell, says one 36-year-old Brooklyn father. Why you wouldn’t want to be associated with Saved by the Bell isn’t really clear. It’s a great show, especially in these troubled times.

True to the hipster ideology, ‘papa’ is a reclamation of something old; a chance to bring enlightenment and 21st-century cool to a term that had its heyday in the 1870s. The pattern also signifies a big middle finger up at the parents of the hipsters in question: “Screw you, ‘Dad’, I’m doing things my way. I’m a cool papa.”

Some of the hipsters interviewed for the piece argued that they wanted to establish a demarcation between themselves and their parent(s); some argued that the word ‘papa’ is more flexible and more open; and some argued that the term simply sounds cooler.

Of course, the fact that it’s cooler means that hipsters will soon abandon it in their droves, and the whole sorry cycle will begin again.

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Ralph Jones

Ralph Jones is a staff writer for ShortList magazine. In April 2015 he won a seven-foot throne of dildos but he’d rather you didn’t mention it. He performs sketch comedy and is on Twitter at @OhHiRalphJones

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