Masked For Their Protection

Doug FrenchFatherhood on Friday

Four months into the coronavirus pandemic, there’s a weird and stupid trend that somehow outweirds and outstupids all the weirdness and stupidity: indignant refusals to wear a mask in confined, public spaces. These bad actors — who specifically disdain the CDC’s specific recommendation that “consistent and correct use of cloth face covering reduces the spread of SARS-CoV-2” — come from all over. Some even (gasp) hold public office. But since this is a dad blog, we’re here to appeal to the small minority of fathers who somehow are still letting their respiratory droplets fly free.

We get it, bro. You’re a dude! You’re invincible! (You’re not.) You’ve got to look strong! (You don’t.) You’re a Constitutional scholar who will literally chant “my body, my choice!” at an anti-mask rally. (Seriously?)

None of this shaming and gratuitous name-calling is working, right? Of course it isn’t. Some stereotypes of innate male thinking are built to last, as is the instinct to double down on our “testosterone-y thinking” when confronted. So instead, let’s lean into one that we can actually endorse: Fathers are protectors.

If you’re a dad, you’ve been looking out for others since your first kid arrived. You put that spring-loaded barrier at the top of the stairs and plugged up those unused electrical outlets. You keep your cleaning supplies, firearms, and prescription meds secured and out of your kids’ reach. You’ve got rear-facing car seats and LATCH. You’re providing a layer of security to someone with less control.

And that’s all a mask is: An annoying, glasses-fogging, breath-stifling barrier that can help another person who, despite their best efforts, can’t always control what they’re breathing in. 

Think of the other perks! You can work on your Kenny impressionThwart facial recognition software! And have more sex!

If you still don’t want to wear one, you might as well just rip out your seat belts and let your kids slide around free like melons in the dryer. After all, what’s in it for you?


For men to ensure that our genes survive into the next generation, science says the proven strategy is to invest in the longevity of our offspring: become a dad and guide our spawn through life.

A study from the Harvard School of Public Health somehow figured out that an additional two inches on your waistline reduces by 46% the chance of getting your partner pregnant.

Understanding dads as a still-untapped retail opportunity has an important bonus: If dads buy more stuff, it will help distribute childcare chores more equitably.

Because we’re living longer, dads have a lot more time to guide our children through childhood, young adulthood, adulthood, middlescence, even maturity.

During quarantine, Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale has kept occupied as “a single dad, living the dream.”

A poll found that nearly 30% of parents said that during lockdown they’ve pursued a more relaxed style of child-rearing. It’s about time the helicopter crashed. 

In San Diego, the “Cookie Man” bakes 500 cookies a week and gives them out everywhere—including to casting directors to help his kid get acting gigs.

Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek owes a lot of his internal stability to his two biological kids and his “daughter by osmosis.”

Another new study says COVID-19 has forced mothers to reduce their work hours far more than fathers have. Is this what your household looks like?


“The burden of keeping a little person alive despite forces of gravity, choking hazards and disease will wear you down. At least once a day, I say to myself, that could have killed him.” Billy KilgoreAn Update From the Upstairs Bathroom Where I’m Hiding From My Kids

“My mask isn’t going to be as effective as I’d like unless you wear a mask, too. That’s how this thing works.” — Matt Todd, She’s Why I’m Wearing A Mask. I Hope You Do, Too.

“Just like we teach our kids to take responsibility for their actions, we need to remember that our impatience and anger are our responsibility.” — David Willans, How I Stopped Being An Angry Dad

“It’s not any safer now than it was when we closed. In fact, it may be less safe. Why on Earth would anyone want to go back? And for God’s sake, who would ever send children?”— Adam Hall, Chernobyl Re-Opens, Despite Radiation, for “Economic Reasons”

“If I found the emphasis on success burdensome at age thirteen, I can only imagine the anxiety and confusion that my grandfather must have experienced under even greater expectations as a very young child.” — Aaron Yavelberg, Pride In Our Success


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Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash