‘Dad bods’ explained using ‘Bloodsport,’ Van Damme’s 1988 classic

Frank Dux Ray Jackson“Dad Bod” articles keep popping up all over the place, which apparently means that women are attracted to men with soft midsections. Due to the wide variety or responses these articles seem to be generating in mainstream newspapers, there is only one way to break it down so red-blooded American men everywhere can understand: I will draw from Jean Claude Van Damme’s 1988 classic, Bloodsport.

Bloodsport JCVDFirst we have the Frank Dux body. In 2015, anyone can be fat. Poor people in the United States are more likely to be fat than malnourished (note: Doritos and Ding Dongs are cheaper than guacamole). The chiseled male frame obviously telegraphs strength, but it also signals discipline, consistency, control, commitment and focus. The downside is that it can also be an indicator of vanity, narcissism, obsession and a variety of other negative traits.

Ray Jackson BloodsportNext we have Ray Jackson, the beer-swilling, Harley Davidson-loving tough guy who works hard and parties hard. He’s a small-time bad boy with a big heart. He’s tough. He’s manly. He’s rebellious and loyal — but he doesn’t count calories. In short, he’s a good time and a man you want around in bad situations. His negative qualities are that his carelessness and sloppiness can inadvertently get himself or others hurt.

Bloodsport Forest Whitaker At some point we come to the bodies of by men like Norman Burton and Forest Whitaker, who play the soft-bodied government officials sent to bring home Frank. Their “dad bods” are definitely not like Ray Jackson’s, although they still probably are what writers from The Washington Post imagine when try to describe the physique to readers.

These men care more about their careers than whether or not any muscle definition is visible when they go to the beach. They’re not obese, but they probably would get winded if they chased a guy like Frank Dux around Hong Kong. For the woman who wants to raise a family, the Whitaker-body might say “I’m non-threatening” or “I bring home more money because I’m not spending it on protein supplements.”

The bottom line is that most young men would be perfectly fine imaging themselves as either Frank Dux or Ray Jackson; they would not easily opt to play “Helmer” or “Rawlins” as portrayed by Messrs. Burton and Whitaker. Women, however, could be attracted to any of them, depending on what they were looking for in a man — emphasis on “man.”

BloodsportFinally, we have the possibility that some women are just like Janice Kent (Leah Ayres), the reporter whose motivations are not quite what they seem. Just like the woman who wants to get close to the fighters — all so she could take down the tournament that means so much to them — some women are probably “attracted” to “dad bods” because then they become the more attractive one in any relationship.

Many insecure women wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with a man sporting a Frank Dux-type body, if for no other reason than to fight off the perception that they are the less attractive mate. Beauty often brings power, and one way to wield power over a man is to be his physical superior.

As you can see, dear reader, the “dad bod” debate offers armchair psychologists, sociologists, gym rats, and cultural critics hours of material. It can also be as deep or as shallow as we want it to be (feel free to go either direction in the comments section, as long as you keep it clean).

In full disclosure, I must admit that I really only used the topic as an excuse to once again talk about Bloodsport, because it should be required viewing for all American boys — along with Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rocky IV, Predator, Terminator 2, and The Dark Knight.

If you have read this far, then congratulations: You likely grew up in the 1980s and are a healthy American male specimen who still has testosterone pumping through his veins (or a really cool woman). I salute you. No matter what body type you have, I think the key to attracting a good woman is to exude manliness. For further reading, I suggest heading on over to (surprise): The Art of Manliness.

See you at next year’s kumite.


The ExpendaBelles: A bad idea with a high probability of failure

It was only a matter of time. With the success of ‘The Expendables’ franchise, Stallone decided to push it. He couldn’t help himself, and the result will be ‘The ExpendaBelles.’ Why, Sly? Why?

Deadline Hollywood reports:

Robert Luketic has come aboard to direct The ExpendaBelles, the estrogen-powered equivalent of the testosterone-fueled Millennium Films franchise The Expendables. …

The logline: When America’s Navy SEALs are wiped out trying to penetrate the island lair of a deadly despot who has captured one of the world’s top nuclear scientists, it becomes clear that there is no such thing as the right man for the job and that this is a mission so impossible that only women can handle it. The only way in: some of the world’s deadliest female operatives must pose as high-class call-girls shipped in by private plane to satisfy a dictator–and instead save the scientist and the day. …

[Executive Producer Avi] Lerner said he was in talks with Meryl Streep, Cameron Diaz and Milla Jovovich. I’m told that nobody is set and that they are just now coming up with the short list.

When ‘The Expendables’ came out in 2010, guys who grew up in the 80s were psyched because their childhood action heroes were teaming up at least one more time to kick ass and take names. A super team of testosterone-fueled muscle heads together in movie? Even if it was bad, it was going to be good. It was a throwback to a time when action stars had real muscles and the explosions weren’t created inside a computer. Since all aging guys love to show the young ones that they “still got it,” you couldn’t help but root for Sly and his band of merry mercenaries. Fans got to see Stallone go head-to-head with JCVD in ‘The Expendables 2’ and the final installment this summer will without a doubt have a showdown that will be worth the price of admission (even if the rest of the movie is forgettable). How can any action movie starring Meryl Streep and Cameron Diaz compete with that?

‘The Expendables’ worked because it had a fairly large built-in audience that was hungry for the product. Just the prospect of Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Willis tearing it up together on screen was worth millions — even if the reality ended up being cameos by Arnold and Bruce. Women typically don’t like shoot-em-up action flicks. They just don’t. And guys don’t want to see Meryl Streep as a “high-class call-girl.” Casting Angelina Jolie, Milla Jovovich and Sigourney Weaver would be a good start, but what is the likelihood of nabbing the three of them?

Arnold Sly

The reason why guys still are willing to see a Stallone movie is because they know he does crazy stuff to his body in order to get the shot. Arnold and Sly end up in the same hospital for shoulder surgery because they’re still slinging weights and throwing punches. They put their body on the line to get that bone-crushing blow on film. They’ll put up with bruises if they can convince you they just took a few punches to the kidneys that said, “Get ready to pee blood for a week, buddy.”

Will Ms. Streep or Cameron Diaz do that? Of course not. That’s not to say they’re bad at their craft … it’s just that they simply aren’t going to draw the same kind of numbers for an action film that the right Stallone vehicle can.

“When America’s Navy SEALs are wiped out…” you call Meryl Streep and Cameron Diaz? Get the heck out of here. Linda Hamilton in 1991 shape? Okay. Maybe.

Do you remember the story of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun? Well, Stallone and Millennium Films are doing that with ‘The Expendables.’ It’s a bad idea, it has a high probability of failure (unless Quentin Tarantino randomly decides to direct), and its under performance will be blamed on sexism instead a gimmick that went too far.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have the ‘Expendables 3’ trailer to watch. I hope the guys go out of on good note.