'Cool' dads are just sooooooo embarrassing, says new rocket-science research
No-one is cooler than me. Even though I'm 48, I have got the biggest muscles, the best singing voice, a superb taste in music, amazing fashion sense – and I'm a brilliant dancer. FACT!
Not my words, dear reader, but those of my seven-year-old son who, only the other day I heard bragging to a group of friends: "My Dad is the coolest dad in the world!"
Now this boy isn't an idiot. In fact, he just got a string of Grade 3s in his Year 2 SATS report which, apparently, makes him 'more than able'.
But I suspect he may be slightly deluded. And if not deluded, certainly the Odd One Out in a society that has officially condemned we fathers as THE most embarrassing parent – by the kids they went to so much effort (30 seconds or so) to sire.
Research out this week found that children are most likely to be left red-faced by their Old Man because of their bad fashion sense, lack of style and even the car they drive.
Apparently, youngsters are so embarrassed by their dad that they avoid inviting friends back to their house and get him to drop them off around the corner from a meeting point so no-one sees them.
Some even refuse to be seen in public with him altogether. Worst of all, youngsters reckon their dad thinks they are cooler than they really are.
Not in our house. I KNOW I'm not cool. I KNOW I have no taste in clothes or music – and I do anything and everything I can to prove that point.
Yet no matter how I try to embarrass my oldest son in front of his friends, he just won't have it: as far as he's concerned, I'm cooler than Ice-T (or is that a naff analogy?).
My son's response? "Look at my Dad, he's a dude – I want a baseball cap like that."
When I take my boy and his mates for a trip in the car, I turn the music up loud and have a very public-private headbang to the like of Foo Fighters, Guns 'n Roses, Led Zeppelin, Linkin' Park and even Molly Hatchet (don't ask!).
My son's response? "Look at my dad, he knows EVERY word to EVERY song. He's awesome - and he can even play air guitar on the steering wheel."
In fact, they're like sparrow's knee-caps.
And even when I turn up to watch the rehearsals to his class assemblies and break out into a comedy Michael Jackson routine, my lad still isn't perturbed.
Rather than hide behind his fluffy fringe in embarrassment, he collapses into laughter and proudly points me out to his friends with the words: "That's my Dad – MY dad."
Alas, I know this hero worship will not last. For beckoning are the dreaded teenage years when no matter what a dad does, it will always be naff, embarrassing, oh-per-lease blush-making.
According to the latest research from Specsavers, which interviewed 2,000 13-21-year-olds:
• Eight out of 10 are often cringing at their dad (with three quarters saying they are ashamed by the things he says in front of other people);
• Twenty eight per cent feel humiliated about the clothes he wears;
• Fifteen per cent his hairstyle; and
• Another one in 20 moan about their fathers dated glasses (well, obviously, this is Specsavers' research, after all).
And it gets worse: 30 per cent avoid kissing or cuddling their old man in public, while one in 10 would completely ignore them if they bumped into them in the street.
A further three in 10 admitted to refusing to be seen in public at all with their dad.
But there is a ray of light on the horizon for dads who look back with nostalgic tears through their dodgy glasses, as a Specsaver bod explains:
While there is no doubt our dads could do with a bit of assistance in the style department, what normally embarrasses us in our early years endears them to us later in life.
"So kids need to help dads in designer distress to transform from dodgy to dapper.
"Some simple style advice on a cool haircut, new jeans and some funky specs can make the world of difference."
Mmm, there's a thought: me in a designer kilt, a pork pie hat and some Elton John glasses. Now THAT wouldn't be embarrassing. No, not at all.
• The study was commissioned by Specsavers to launch its nationwide campaign, Dob in your Dad, which aims to find Britain's least fashion-savvy dad and help him turn over a new style leaf.
Check out the world's most embarrassing dad Dale, who dresses in different costumes to wave his son off on the school bus. Cringe!