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S2: You might recognize the audio from this Instagram video. It’s of a father and his son, both clad in dresses, dancing along to let it go from frozen.
S3: It went viral on Instagram and Facebook and YouTube several times over the last year, and it might be because he’s this muscular Norwegian dude with tattoos and a big beard. I mean, just for me describing him. Could you imagine what it would look like if he or his son were both dressed as Elsa from frozen twirling and singing along to let it go? Most people loved it and thought it was cute as hell. A handful of very loud people, including a Fox News personality, called it proof that masculine men were a dying breed. Me? I think it’s extremely adorable. Would I ever do it? That’s where things get complicated for me. I don’t know why exactly. Something about wearing a dress does make me feel uncomfortable. So today I’m going to call the father in the video and try to figure out why.
S4: Hello and welcome to MAN UP, I’m your host, a minute smile. And on this show, we crack questions big and small about manhood. So if that’s your thing.
S3: Make sure you subscribed to because we’ve got new shows every Wednesday. This week, a dancing dad helps me let go. So I know this is a dumb hangup. Just the thought of sliding into a dress gets me feeling all kinds of weird. I’m getting enough to know that it’s just a freaking dress. But I want to know what’s going on here. What if my kid is into this someday? So I looked up on the dad and the video. He’s happy to jump on the phone.
S5: So does that dress belong to you now? Or do you take it back?
S6: No, actually, I went to London and then the interview with them.
S1: Author. Yeah, with Piers Morgan. Those. Yeah.
S7: Right. Well, CBS News in America tweeted this out and categorized as best dad, as if somehow you were a better dad to me because I don’t put on a frozen dress and dance with my son’s other three sons. Right. And don’t got a daughter who loves frozen. But if she asked me to get an address like that, I would say politely. Not a chance.
S8: So I gave him the address and I said, just just usually when you’re home alone.
S5: I know you can do it like that might be my biggest problem is that I end up taking my my masculinity or whoever I’m supposed to be very seriously. Yeah, so yeah, when I watched the video, my first reaction is that’s different. And I was like, well, why am I having such a big reaction to this in the first place?
S8: You have to remember that we are like the first generation accepting our whole new world. So I think for our sons and daughter, it will be more normal and for the next generation up to them. It will be just like. Well, it’s nothing special.
S5: You said that you found the big reaction to this sad one. What do you what do you find it sad.
S9: Cook for us. It’s so normal. And I think it’s quite normal. Just being a dad dancing with your kid.
S10: And it’s sad that we are almost in 2020. And this is like, holy crap, look at this. And I actually think that’s a bit sad that we’re not Turtur.
S5: So, I mean, you but you mentioned that you thought that we were the first generation to feel this way. Yeah. So do you think that maybe a version of yourself, like a younger version of yourself might’ve thought differently about all of this?
S8: Yeah, probably. Maybe even me without kids will think different about it. I think your life is just learning you to accept money, especially when you have kids. You learn to accept more things because I come from a little place in Norway and maybe I would react different and I don’t think we should just blame the people are trying to be, you know, react bad. It’s all about knowledge.
S5: It’s funny that you bring that up. I have like a weird story that kind of relates to that when I was making this show. I got invited to do yoga for the first time and I’ve never done yoga before in my life like I always imagined. That was like what women did when they wanted to exercise. But man, they should lift weights and pump iron and work on our chests and arms or whatever. And so I never tried it. But then when I walked into the studio, it was all men. Everybody there was doing yoga just to exercise and. Yeah. LS putting my body in all these positions that I never have in my life. You know, there’s like I don’t know if you’ve tried yoga or not. Yeah, I tried it. That experience of having my body do something, it’s never done before, something that it’s been conditioned to think that it might be it might put me in a vulnerable position. Like trying that for the first time actually changed the way that I thought about my body.
S8: Like, you know, just like the feeling when I put on the dress, I say, well, it’s quite good because you get like windy underneath.
S1: That’s comfortable.
S8: You have to see like you just have to try to see everything through a kid’s eyes. And like Elsa in Frozen, Frozen, it’s for my son.
S6: And she was a hero. And her dress is like Spider-Man custom him. So he was just proud of Elsa. And I was just trying to salute that with him. But I liked I’ve been invited so many TV shows after.
S11: And can you please come in? It would address an asset. No, it’s not. It’s not who I am. Mm hmm.
S5: Take note about the dress. It’s more about like that experience of a father sharing this moment with their son.
S8: That’s kind of. Yes. If my son asked me, daddy, can we were addressed? I said, no problem. If even if you ask me, come and go to the shopping mall. I said, no problem. Mm hmm. Like, kids are always pushing the lines and you have to let them push you or else you’re gonna be an angry old man.
S11: Mm hmm.
S5: What like what changes in you when you grow as a man versus how you see the world as a kid?
S8: Children, they don’t see problems. They see solutions and they see actually what’s in front of them.
S12: They don’t see what we grown-ups see. They just go for it.
S13: You know, next, Oron helps me get over myself. But first, a quick break.
S5: So I need your help because I have these two baby nephews. One is a third. They’re not like old enough to know what Frozen is or anything, but they will be soon. And I’m not sure if I’m the type of person to ever, like, try a frozen dress on. But if they wanted to, I feel like I might wants you to just to, like, make their fantasies come true. Like, do you have advice for someone like me?
S8: I think you’ll always have to step the line of what you and your comfort zone and you have to try to get out of your comfort zone like you did yoga.
S14: And I actually believe it’s gonna make your life brighter.
S15: I guess one of the things that I’m mostly worried about is how other people will see me or maybe judge me like I have older brothers. You know, I have like a very old school father. And I don’t think my wife will treat me differently or think of me differently. But at the same time, I’m still afraid of what people might think.
S14: So. When you don’t have any kids, right? No. So when you get kids.
S11: And if you get a daughter and your father was babysitting her or your brother and you came home and they were dancing in the living room, both in dresses, would you be happy or would you be ashamed? I would be so happy. Yeah. So you just have to believe in your head. Say my other way. Mm hmm. Does he see that they will do it to make the kid happy?
S5: Yeah. But I mean, do you understand why it might make me uncomfortable, like. It is a more internal or is it? There’s something else going on.
S9: No, I think that you’re talking about the bully problem, you’re talking about people that you don’t actually care about.
S11: How are they going to react instead of taking care of how the closest one react like your daughter or your son or your nephews?
S10: So I think you have to just focus on what’s closest and not everything around.
S15: Yeah, I guess so. And there’s something manly about wanting to stand up to those bullies.
S8: You just showing muscles from another place than your body so that your heart has muscles.
S15: Yeah, it’s almost like you’re so secure in your masculinity that, you know, for a fact that you could wear a dress and make it look cool without it like implying something else about you.
S8: Yeah, actually, it’s more Mandar to show that you’re not afraid of people laughing at you. So you want to be the guy who is just now. I’m not dancing, I’m just standing in a bar. Oh, do you want to be the guy that.
S6: Well, I haven’t tried that. Let’s do that. Yeah.
S5: I’m stuck on this leg. The last generation, first generation thing, like if we’re really the first generation to try it. Yeah.
S15: Like, how do we learn to do that? I mean, I feel like there’s we’re stuck between worlds, that there’s a certain amount of men who are comfortable and there’s a certain amount of men who aren’t comfortable. And we’re in Clash where we’re all fighting with each other to see what direction masculinity is headed in.
S10: But nothing like the medo I did and stuff like that would actually help in the process a bit faster. It’s not a switch you just can go from. From that’s the typical Maskell into now. It’s this it’s it’s over time. Like accepting of everything. But I think it’s we have a lot to learn from our kids.
S15: Yeah. Yeah. I’m like wondering where my fear of wearing a dress came from.
S8: Were you bullied as a kid or something?
S15: Yeah, I think so. I think so. So like in Arabic culture by my parents, they they come from Egypt. But I grew up here in the states in Arabic culture. There’s a certain gown that men wear called the Ghalibaf. Yeah. And you can imagine it like you’re sort of like a dress. It’s like a one piece thing. It goes down to your ankles and it’s typically like a very thin fabric and very flowy or whatever. And I’ve seen it. Yeah. Yeah. So I remember wearing one for like a cultural day or it’s like show and tell in elementary school or something. And I’m we’re being mocked. I’m kids saying how how? Look. Amy is wearing a dress. And I guess at that point, I didn’t have the vocabulary or the language to explain to them like the cultural significance of this outfit. But I remember being like, no, it’s not a dress. You’re wrong. But maybe, maybe I should have been like, who cares? Like, why? Why are you so attached to what you’re wearing?
S11: Well, when you’re a kid, it’s OK. You know, it’s kids can be mean to each other. But like when you’re a grown up now and you know that feeling and then you just have to say to yourself. My nephews. It’s not gonna feel what I’ve felt. Mm hmm. And I’m gonna be like the uncle who shows them. Yeah. Yeah. All right, sir. It’s important. Used to be proud of who you are.
S16: Yeah. Like, it’s cool that we’re we’re mixing gender norms and we’re kind of proving to the world that you can be like a masculine man, but still wear a dress and play with your son. But really, I think it comes down to how bullying has an impact on all of us. Like, I think you’re right. I think one of the reasons why I don’t know if I’d be comfortable wearing dresses because I’m so afraid of like what people might think or people might say about me is that bullying is the big problem.
S8: And the biggest problem is, like with the parents, you just you can’t take the leaves off a tree.
S17: You have down cut down the whole tree. And that is the parents. And those are the worst bullies. Oh, man, that’s really good. It keeps it just like kids. They don’t know that.
S14: They’re just a mirror of their parents. So when you get kids, you’re gonna see that if you if you hear if you have a like a kid over.
S8: And the way he’s talking, you’re probably gonna recognize his mother or his father. So you have to take the tree down. Don’t take small leafs.
S16: Do you know I still feel attached to certain. lig ways to perform my masculinity. You know, like Virgie’s and it’s so dumb, like sometimes it’s so stupid. Like, for example, I never wanted to wear Cologne because I thought men were supposed to smell musky and like they just worked out a little bit of sweat. So, yeah, I was always like allergic to it. Like my wife would always try to put it on me. I was like, no, no, no, no, no. Like, I don’t wanna smell, like, fruity or whatever. So I don’t know. I feel like I agree with you.
S8: Like your hair still wearing cologne?
S16: No, I caved. Now it’s like she got me a special kind of like oil that mixes with your with your musk. So it’s not like you’re you’re totally changing your smell, but it improves it. But I still feel like you’re right. Like mentally, I agree with you, but I still for some reason have a block. Something isn’t allowing me to go and kind of jump off the cliff with you. And I wonder, like, why? Like, why can’t I just have that kind of confidence to be so secure in my masculinity that if somebody tries to make fun of me for it, it’ll just bounce right off?
S9: I think what you are looking for is that you’re looking for confirmations.
S17: You have to know the answer before you’re going to do it. Yeah, like it. You can. Yes, of course you can wear a dress, but we have to know how people react. Where are you going to wear it? Or else you’re not gonna wear it. And when you say all the reactions that, oh, I think they’re gonna react like this and that and everything, you’re actually talking about your own reaction. It’s actually the most embarrassing for you because that’s your own mind. You’re talking about.
S16: So how do I get over it? Should I just record myself in a dress and put it on the Internet and see what happens?
S8: Judge, if you have fun, like, OK when you’re home. Yeah. And if you know a day that your wife is coming home from work or something and you just put up a hidden cam and then and then you say, I’m just going to act like I’m actually trying all my wife’s dresses.
S10: And I got to see her actually reaction on it.
S1: Well, she did. I probably would run right through the Internet.
S16: I got a build up to this. I got a bill up to this. You’re sweating now. You’re warm. I’m going to try this.
S18: But if she breaks up with me, I’m coming after you. Yeah, no problem. After the break, I slip into something a little bit more comfortable.
S19: So guess what? Oh, uh, do you ever see that video of that dude? He’s like dancing to frozen with his son, but he’s like wearing the dress. And they’re both as tall and going like, let it go, let it go.
S20: You know, one, we hire there to make a turn around and slam the door.
S21: Right now, I’m home with my wife. Meador Oron challenged me to wear a dress. I mean, what if my nephews want to do this some day? I’m not going to be that guy who’s too afraid to play along. So let’s do this. You’re gonna put a dress on?
S22: Well, actually, he told me to do was come home early. Try your stuff on and let you catch me so you could walk in. And I’m just like wearing your shit.
S23: But I didn’t want to ruin your stuff. I want to leave, stretch anything. And I would be so upset if you ruined my clothes. So let me pick one out for you then.
S24: All right. Let’s see what we.
S25: Oh, God, that sounds too easy.
S26: This one. It’s too high. This blue cheese I have like a 20th style flapper is just like gold and silver sparkles with strands.
S27: You think I can fit that? No. Don’t even try.
S26: Oh, I think I’ve found the one. What is the best way to dress? I haven’t even worn yet. Brand new. Oh, man. I just thrifted. Oh, God, it’s mauve color. It’s velvet. I think this is the one.
S28: I’ll just leave it for you here. Too late to back out. Consider this an honor that you get to wear it before I do. Well, this is about to turn into a rated R podcast. Just let it go, I mean, just let it go.
S29: Not today. But, you know, I want to see your curves come out. It’s the climax.
S20: Go, let it go.
S24: Slam the door. All right, now I’m taking a picture. You’re going to say, all right.
S23: That’s like really flattering on your skin tone. Damn it. I feel all kinds of weird right now. Yeah. It’s supposed to be like provocative, but not that expert. What do you mean? Well, I might to explain your feelings. What’s going on in your body?
S30: Oh, I get it doesn’t see. It doesn’t feel like me or. Well, it’s because you’ve never done it before. My heart is like I like it.
S23: I to take it off. No. Just let it. Just let it somewhere for us. Come on.
S22: I feel like it’s just not my personality. I’ve always, ever wanted to look like. Like a tougher dude, huh? I like feeling tough more than I like feeling pretty.
S31: Mm hmm.
S32: You know, I mean, do you feel like you’re maybe getting to know your feminine side or does this evoke anything positive?
S22: No, I feel very exposed, actually. To be honest, to be quite frank, I feel like I mean, when I’m not looking in the mirror, it’s like whatever. It’s like, who cares? But the second I start looking at myself in this dress, I’m like.
S30: How are you doing right now? What are you doing right now? You feel silly. I feel like I want to reach out to the person in the mirror right now and put my my hand on the shoulder and be like, yo, stop.
S31: Get it together, bro.
S33: The idea is to be uncomfortable. All right.
S22: So I think challenge success. Why is it uncomfortable? Should it not be?
S34: I mean, you don’t have to like it. No, no.
S32: You accepted a challenge. And I think the context for him was just to, you know, put a smile on his face.
S22: It wasn’t that serious. This is putting a smile on your face. It definitely made me chuckle. Yeah, I would do this to, like, make you chuckle. Yeah.
S34: You know what? I film it and put it on the Internet.
S23: Probably not. This is the one advantage you get from like having a podcast to do this challenge or that way. I get thinking about, oh, I have like visuals up a month to this up. I don’t think people want to see that. I think they do.
S32: If you want to see a man in a dress, make sure you leave a message or email him or comment and we might be able to make that happen and delete all those emails.
S35: I’m kind of mad at myself to some degree fullfilling exposed. I don’t want to feel exposed like I want to be as brave as that guy was for his son. You know, like I still feel like I I guess what I wanted out wearing this dress was to like break that barrier and then realize that it wasn’t all as bad as I thought it was gonna be. But it still just doesn’t feel like me. I’m still afraid to be seen like this. Like the fact that you’re taking these pictures makes me nervous. I don’t want so I want so badly to just put this on and feel invincible and feel bulletproof. But I’m still like really fucking worried and scared and just vulnerable.
S33: I think that’s fine. I think I kinda like the idea was to be uncomfortable. Mm hmm. And here you are standing before me in a beautiful dress, uncomfortable and vulnerable. Very.
S36: Before up before the mailman comes.
S37: I better look really good on that one. You look better than me. Look, my butt looks and that’s the show.
S38: Thanks so much for listening. If you’re enjoying this, then please hit us up with that good rating in your podcasting app. It’s a free show, so come on, it’s the least you could do. Also, we still need your help to figure out what we’re talking about next. We’re looking for folks who wouldn’t mind coming on the show to explain how they, too, are a work in progress. So if you think that’s you call us at 8 or 5 6 2 6 8 7 0 7. That’s 8 0 5 men up 0 7. Or e-mail us at Man up at Slate.com. Don’t forget to make sure you’re subscribed because we’ve got new shows every week. And believe me, you do not want to miss out. Man Up is hosted and written by me. Aimard. It’s made. It’s produced by Cameron Drewes. Our editors are Jeffrey Blumer and Lo and Luke Gabriel Roth is editorial director of Slate Podcasts and June Thomas is a senior managing producer of Slate podcasts. We’ll be back next week with more men up.