Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Cool Dads Are the New Thing, And Now They Have a Magazine

Kindling Quarterly is a magazine for dads that features photos of well-dressed men playing their facial hair A-games while wearing work boots and holding ukeleles while sitting on bicycles next to their similarly well dressed babies and small children. On the cover you'll find headlines like "Chris Kaskie of Pitchfork," "Traveling Istanbul with a Baby," and "Watching Mr Mom with Foucault." You know, dad stuffIts second issue will be published soon. Here's what cofounder David Michael Perez has to say about it.

Well, [Kindling] refers to the small sticks or twigs used to start a fire, namely a campfire or bonfire. For me the connection to fatherhood is the way in which all the little small things—especially the small things in the beginning—add up to something much greater.

Yes. Because small things adding up to big things is a feature exclusive to fatherhood. He goes on.

I think Kindling is, in part, a response to the way in which men are raising children under very different circumstances then their parents raised them...Due to technology our jobs never really ‘stop.’ This applies to people in creative fields but I think it speaks to broader changes in the work force and how we balance family and work. So I think a lot of families are figuring out creative ways to integrate the two. It is definitely one of the biggest challenges my wife and I face and one I hear a lot from other fathers.

I suppose there is something commendable in the act of creating a new magazine for fathers (especially in a periodical market that's so tailored to women), but, especially after reading that paragraph, I wonder just how long it will take for Perez and the rest of the Kindling crew to realize that these modern, "different circumstances" he's speaking of make the perpetuation of this traditionally segmented parenting advice market not just old school, but... just plain obsolete.

Maybe a new, hip, glossy quarterly that has a more general parenting umbrella is the more groundbreaking option. Or maybe people just like staring at hot dads.


[Kindling's website]



89 Comments / Post A Comment


I dunno, I feel like "hipster dads from Brooklyn who work in creative industries" is kind of a defeatingly small niche?

bobby finger@twitter

@iceberg Well, what I thought was strange was that the more he tried to sell it as a magazine for fathers, the more it began to feel like a magazine for parents. Hipster parents from Brooklyn who work in creative industries, maybe. But parents nonetheless.


@iceberg Thank god.


@bobby finger@twitter It feels like it's trying to take advantage of that girls-will-play-with-boys'-toys-but-boys-won't-play-with-girls'-toys conventional marketing wisdom thingy.

lucy snowe

@laurel Cloth diapering advice, now Just For Men.

lucy snowe

@lucy snowe I keep thinking of some baby product that uses Gillette Mach3 technology-- " ...the third layer of baby wipe wipes EVEN CLOSER..."

and it's not even my birthday

@lucy snowe I would so love to see baby wipe commercials get made over in the style of men's shaving product commercials.

lucy snowe

@and it's not even my birthday :) At the end of the commercial, Dad runs his hand over one smooth baby cheek and gives a slow approving nod. Suddenly a lingerie model appears, to give Dad a slow approving nod. Dad looks at camera and winks...



That is really funny!@l


I definitely like looking at hot dads. I suspect a not insignificant percentage of whatever sales they generate will be from persons who feel the same way...

Nicole Cliffe




@Nicole Cliffe d'awwww!!!


@Nicole Cliffe That last one slays me!
(edited because i got annoyed at myself for using passive voice) (!!)

Nicole Cliffe

You can tell they are best friends.

Lily Rowan

@Nicole Cliffe eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee


I definitely thought the Jay-Z quote was about the magazine, not fatherhood itself.

“…It’s just different.”


@Gulf of Finland if Jay-Z said anything about me at all, short of the vilest insult, I would consider it a compliment.


Bobby Finger, I like the cut of your jib.


Ehhh... you don't think there's a dearth of specifically-parenting-related stuff directed at dads? I feel like there are 50,000,000 magazines for moms and "parents" (but really moms), and not much for a generation of dudes like a lot of my friends who are dads, who are trying to figure out how this whole living well and raising-a-person thing works. And as I've said before, I like men, I assume they want to take care of their own offspring, and I don't assume that they (or any gender) have some magic nurturing switch that enables them to be completely independent of outside input when, like, raising a human being, I assume they have other interests besides parenting. Sounds like a good magazine pitch to me.

And while I'm feeling contrarian, I thought the kindling quote was super-sweet, and I thought it was bizarre to snark it like that. Saying "X is symbolically connected to Y for me" is nothing at all like saying "X is connected only to Y for everyone."

*harrumphs, puffs pipe, adjusts dressing gown indignantly*

ETA: I mean, not saying I am per se on board with this particular magazine. I just do not hate the idea.

bobby finger@twitter

@par_parenthese When I first heard of Kindling a few months ago, I was filled with much more snark. After reading this interview, I began to think of the conceit behind as something lovely and beneficial to that segment of men they're targeting. (And I thought that line about connections and watching something grow was super sweet, too!) It just that the more I read, the more I saw about parenting - not necessarily fatherhood. It was just something I noticed.

A thoughtful publication about parenting, however niche, is a good thing. It's just funny to me that even if that niche is as granular "Affluent hipster dad in the creative industry who lives in Brooklyn," the themes generally remain universal.


Bobby Finger, I really like you and everything, but WHERE IS EDITH??

bobby finger@twitter

@Nutellaface EDITH WILL RETURN SOON. I'm here until Friday.


@bobby finger@twitter And then what? You just leave us? YOU JUST LEAVE US BOBBY FINGER??

Nicole Cliffe

It's impossible to think of him as Bobby, isn't it? Bobby Finger. It's perfect. It's like Katie Heaney.




@bobby finger@twitter BOBBY FINGER YOU COMPLETE US.


@PatatasBravas You've always done great work in Gif Hunting, but this...this is your best yet. BRAVO, Bravas!


@Jinxie I concur!

RK Fire

@PatatasBravas NEVERWHERE!!

evil melis

Dads Not Getting Exactly What They Want For Their Birthdays And Feeling Increasingly Un-Known And Defeated Whenever They Overhear Their Children And Partners Smilingly Disclaim Each Gift With, "But You're So Hard To Shop For!"


"Due to technology our jobs never really ‘stop.’ "

... fuck you.
wage slave.


@Onymous Yeah, I love how people are enthusiastic about that. "I'm surgically attached to my blackberry, yay!" Granted the first two years working at a law firm I thought it was cool. Now I know better.


@Onymous No shit. Speak for yourself, work slut. I have different technology filters for different times of day.


@Onymous I am being misinterpreted here.

I have to wheedle, cajole, trick, deal and flat out lie just to break 35 hours a week and there are millions more like me. It is fucking infuriating to hear some one say shit like "Due to technology our jobs never really ‘stop.’ " like it's some sort of universal statement.


@Onymous You are right. That is the more infuriating thing. I knew I was bringing another angle to the fuckedupedness, but didn't acknowledge the differences between our loathings.


"Watching Mr Mom with Foucault." I'm really hoping that's Jean Bernard Leon or Michel Foucault and not a pretentiously-named baby - because naming your baby 'Foucault' is, to me, worse than having an undead physicist over to watch Michael Keaton movies.


@kinbarichan My thoughts exactly, except that I've never heard of Jean Bernard Leon. Imagine growing up trying to get people to spell your name correctly when it's pronounced foo-coe (sorta).


So...I mean, I guess I rep a lot of annoying hipster cliches. I've got a beard, I like cool multi-colored stripey socks, I sometimes listen to ridiculous music, i like 'hand made things', I live in w'burg/g'point area, etc forever etc.

Maybe because I'm a parent yet and dunno if I wanna be one, but I feel like, if I was, I don't want tips on how to be a cool dad. I'm a cool person, and my theoretical kids are going to think i'm cool until i'm 7 no matter what, think i'm not cool for 12-15 years after that no matter what, and then realize I'm cool again once they have to pay their own fucking bills.

I don't want to discuss the iconography of playing catch, or the semiotics of "RAAWWWR DADDY IS A DINOSAUR I'M GOING TO EAT YOU". That shit is delightful and fun.

I feel like if I was a new parent, what I would really want is a magazine delivered to my house once a month that just says "Please calm down, you are not going to accidentally destroy this fragile tiny human. It's okay. Please just be calm. No, everyone drops their kid sometimes, you are not a monster. Please just be calm."


@leon s Ok, here's what I'm thinking: "Calm the Fuck Down: A Monthly Chronicle for New Parents." We hook them with the glossy 4-color cover, but we keep them with the folksy, uncoated 2-color interior, illustrated exclusively with child-drawn line art overseen by a coterie of mustachioed, betatted art directors. Regular columns include: Where Did YOU Leave the Baby? (Reader's stories); Keeping Your Weed out of the Baby's Reach (advice); Childproofing Myths, Maybes and Mehs (home improvement); Chocolate: Poisonous to Dogs, or Babies, or BOTH? (cooking); and, of course, Who Wore it Best: The Same Onesie on 12 Infants (fashion!).

I also am childless in Greenpoint, clearly we are both destined and qualified to co-author this masterpiece. Let's start shopping this shit around for funding stat.


@ironhoneybee @leon s I would fund the SHIT out of this on kickstarter.

Count Chocula

@leon s It's a shame though, because "Calm Down, It's OK" is the message parents NEED, but "12 Ways You May Be Ruining Your Child's Life" is the one they're getting a lot of the time.


@ironhoneybee I WOULD WALLPAPER MY HOUSE WITH ITS PAGES. You just nailed my needs as a parent perfectly.


@ironhoneybee See, now I can't stop coming up with article titles.

Sleeping Arrangements: ...the Fuck? Just Do What Works For Your Family, Sheez.
Sure, Feed Your Kid That; He'll Be Fine.
My Daughter Chose Baby-Dolls and Is Still Totally Feminist, So.
This Month's Advice Column: Telling Friends to Quit Shitting on Your Life Choices
This Month's AACP: Clean Some Shit and Then Drink Wine
Recipe Taste Test: Which Toddler Meal Tastes Best Cold Six Hours Later?


@par_parenthese What's up, Features Editor? How do?


@par_parenthese As Features Editor, btw, it's your job to rope in Iceberg for a monthly column entitled: I Had Triplets, So Just Shut Up.


@par_parenthese You win the internet today, this made me LOL.


@Count Chocula This is Reason #1 why I don't read parenting magazines. I only have to look at my daughter to know that I'm not ruining her life and she's doing justfinethankyou. Especially because 95% of the time the follow-up to "12 Ways You May Be Ruining Your Child's Life" is "Stop Ruining Your Child's Life by Buying Her Some Piece of Crap We're Selling."

I would totally read ironhoneybee and leon's publications, though.


@ironhoneybee I would almost literally drop everything to work on such a publication. (All kidding aside, Calm The Fuck Down Magazine is desperately needed, I feel like, because not every parent has a Get a Grip friend.) I have an article for the first one 90% composed in my brain, just from watching my friends with kids read book after book after book trying to figure it out and then realizing that what they've been doing -- cosleeping, part-time cosleeping, crib-in-parents'-bedroom, crib-in-shared-room, crib-in-nursery, whatever -- has been totally fine. And please, as if I would even consider signing on without @iceberg and Bergie Bits anecdotes. NEVER.


@ironhoneybee I'M SO IN.


@iceberg We could do like a hate-read of another mag's terrible parenting article every month and call it The Bergie Bits Eat _______'s Food.


@Count Chocula seriously though how many of us WEREN'T ruined by our parents

Be honest now


@Danzig! I'm mixing two quotes but basically: "All parents screw up all children. Your parents made you screwed up by not screwing you up." Courtesy of Dr.House.

Heat Signature

@par_parenthese I would buy the shit out of this magazine. And also buy my friends gift subscriptions.

fondue with cheddar

@everyone I present to you offbeatfamilies.com, featuring such posts as:
• Supporting our daughters as they define what femininity means to them
• Confession: I suck at being a working mom
• Don't wait: travel with your young kids
• My friend just had an abortion — how do I tell her I'm pregnant without re-opening fresh wounds?
• Don’t Call Him Mom, or an Imbecile — dads want ads that don't make them look stupid
I don't read it often because I don't have kids, but it's a refreshingly different parenting blog. The Offbeat community (I read Offbeat Home) is all very cool...almost as cool as The Hairpin, and they do not tolerate snarking.


@fondue with cheddar I clearly need more Offbeat in my life.

Also, I would buy every parent I know a subscription to Calm the Fuck Down. I feel like there should also be a relationship version.

So You And Your Partner Don't Fall Into Stereotypical Gender Roles - What Now? (Pat Yourselves On The Back)
What Part Of Your House Is Always Messy? Readers Share Their Photos!
It's Okay To Shove Things In The Junk Drawer Before Visitors Come Over
More Than Just Free Milk: Explaning The Mutually Beneficial Aspects Of Cohabiting To Your Super Conservative Great-Aunt

fondue with cheddar

@packedsuitcase It could be a whole series!
Calm the Fuck Down: Parenting
Calm the Fuck Down: Relationships
Calm the Fuck Down: Careers
Calm the Fuck Down: Cleaning
Calm the Fuck Down: Eating
Calm the Fuck Down: Consumerism


@all I love everyone and everything in this thread.

Calm The Fuck Down: So Your Son Just Ate a Beetle; At Least It Wasn't A Cockroach, Also: Protein!


@all the Ladies: I have reserved us a Tumblr. When should we have our first editorial board meeting? All are welcome.


@ironhoneybee OMG I seriously seriously want to.


@ironhoneybee How do we submit items to it? can you start a gmail or something? LET'S DO THIS.


@iceberg OHMYGOD that took forever. Literally every iteration of calmthefuckdown is taken as a gmail address, including hairpin.calmthefuckdownzine, submissions.calm.the.fuck.down.zine, and calmthefuckdown + my actual full given name plus the name of my childhood stuffed animal, I shit you not. Unbelievable!

Ladies, I give you our email addy! calmthef at gmail dot coms. Let's convene in cyberspace and figure out how to make this happen. I personally love @packedsuitcase and @ fondue with cheddar's idea of expanding it to include the many ways in life we all need to calmthefuckdown, and Leon S, you better come find us!


@ironhoneybee yay I just emailed you


@ironhoneybee emailed you!! :)


@par_parenthese I am unreasonably excited about this.


@all: We are doing this, people! Please email us if you want to join in or if you just have ideas or suggestions! calmthef at gmail dot comical.


Hm. Ok. As a partner to a stay at home dad in a less progressive (yet very Democratic! So many retired autoworkers who would burn down their own houses before voting Republican!) place than Park Slope, this is nice. Just that there's dads concerned enough about being dads that they put together a magazine about it - round these parts, that's a big fuckin deal (not that they care, but that they accept "Dad" as a primary identity.) HOWEVER, I'd take a gender-neutral parenting NOBODY PANIC type publication any day. So...uh..room for improvement, I guess.

and it's not even my birthday

I guess if "Kindling" DOESN'T mistakenly inspire any young dads to light their babies on fire, it will be a win. That's what you call "manageable expectations"!


@and it's not even my birthday BURN BABY BURN!


I think you are vastly underestimating the size of the population which enjoys looking at hot dads. Staring At Hot Dads is a full-blown pastime in San Francisco.


@Diana hear hear. in my neighbourhood in Toronto, there are enough Hot Dads to have their own cultural subgroup, known as Hot Roncy Dads. and so many of them have cute dogs too!


Let's Destroy All Menfolk

apropos of nothing


It's like they're supposed to actually parent their kids or something.


Pros: encouraging men to be more involved in their child's life, now maybe the men will feel like they should be able to do it all and can be as hung up about it as women, photos of hot dads.

Cons: OMG, put down the magazine and pay attention to your child, talk to your spouse, your parents, your friends to get baby tips, spend the money you would on this to make a difference in some thrid world child's life.


On this note, there are these parents who ride the train every morning with their tiny little daughter, and when the father gets off the train before them, the daughter and father blow each other kisses until the train leaves the station and I just want to DIE from the cuteness.


Because it's awesome and hip and awww-inducing when a guy does it! Ladies? Meh.

sceps yarx

@commanderbanana ooof, that's exactly the problem, isn't it?

I am a woman in a creative field, and I work from home. Since my husband has an office job with a fairly grueling commute, I am also the primary homemaker and caretaker for our child. Whenever I feel like I'm doing a bad job with my house or kid, I imagine that I am a Mr. Mom. And suddenly, instead of being a downtrodden woman who can't get everything done perfectly, I am a free-thinking, flexible man who is getting a lot of things done quite well. Hey, if the kid is fed and dressed, Mr. Mom is doing great! People applaud Mr. Mom for accomplishing basic tasks. And no one would ever blame Mr. Mom for setting aside time in the day for his freelance work, because a man has to keep his human dignity, right?

I guess what I'm trying to say is, if I were a man, people would think I was doing great. If were a woman with the exact same life, people would assume I was unfulfilled and unsuccessful. That's a double standard.


@sceps yarx Hey, that's actually a really neat mental trick.

Look, I think this magazine is probably adorable (actually I'm a little weirded out by realizing my decidedly and determinedly uncool boyfriend's facial hair is now de rigeur in Brooklyn, but wevs) and sure most parenting magazines are probably aimed at moms (wouldn't know, don't read them) and I'm not opposed to the idea of a magazine for dads, but at the same time, I find the attitude that taking care of your kid is all of a sudden this hip, cool thing for hip cool dads to do. So hip! So cool!
God, what have the ladies been doing this whole time?

crane your neck

Did the title remind anyone else of that NYT piece on the wood documentary? The title of the book was "Solid Wood," which is also a Norwegian term for a man of strong character.


I'm pretty sure any man who wants to read that Foucault article you DON'T want to procreate with.


This isn't super connected to the magazine itself, but I'm kind of tired of the [self-] congratulatory portrayal of fathers actually parenting. For example, tabloids run photos of celebrity dads doing day to day activities with their kids, and I'll be the first to admit that yes, it's cute, but are we supposed to pat them on the back? Congratulations to fathers everywhere for NOT abandoning their kids or being absent? I know many dads take issue with being considered secondary parents, so maybe we, and especially the mass media, need to raise our expectations.


@Pygmalion When I was a kid, my parents were really opposed to the idea of giving an allowance for doing chores, and one parent was even less cool with the idea of praising us for doing our chores. Let me tell you that that attitude did not motivate me to do my chores.

I dig that we need to work past the idea of mom-as-default-parent, but I don't think we accomplish that with LESS praise, or by saying, "The thing you're doing that society has told you your whole life is laughable for a man, girly, not a "man's" job, etc.? Thats just the standard and I refuse to praise you for it."


@par_parenthese Good point. I guess I'm just tired of the discourse in our culture that tends to admonish moms for whatever the newest trend piece says they're doing wrong and congratulate dads for simply hanging around, but I understand this is both cynical and a generalization haha


@Pygmalion Oh my gosh, I hear you. Mom-shaming and "mommy wars" (ugh, *shudders*) are seriously one of the most fucked-up things about our society. I just think the solution is probably more likely to emerge from positivity rather than MORE criticism.


I get the "we need to get away from dads vs. moms roles thing," but I have a friend who is a single dad to a 1 year old. And let me tell you, he needs something like this. The sheer amount of Dads Are Idiots nonsense in pop culture is staggering, and there are very few resources for dads like him. He is The Parent, but almost all parenting media is geared towards women (while playfully making fun of the guy who doesn't know what brand of formula the kid takes). So kudos to them.


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