It’s well-known that in certain parts of Brooklyn and in other hipster-filled enclaves everything old is cool again. Mustaches, handcrafted leather boots, elaborate cocktails, bourbon, etc. But a new purported trend makes those anachronisms seem quaint: The Daily Beast reports that Brooklyn hipster dads are now asking their children to call them “papa.”
“I just think ‘dad’ and ‘mom’ are very Saved by the Bell-ish,” Will Grose, a 36-year-old Brooklyn father of three boys, told the Daily Beast’s Lizzie Crocker. “I don’t know if my wife and I explicitly made decisions about what we were going to call ourselves. Maybe there’s some by proxy indoctrination that happens so that you just end up doing what everyone else is doing.”
Grose estimated that half of the children in his four-year-old’s preschool class call their fathers “papa.”
Another man said he preferred “papa” because “dad” reminded him of the rigid relationship he had with his father. “I have fond memories of my dad, but we weren’t that close, so when I became a parent I wanted to be a little more approachable,” Mario Zermeno, a filmmaker in Los Angeles, told the Daily Beast. “I also thought ‘papa’ sounded cool and ‘dad’ was a little too formal, in part because of my relationship with my own father.”
For some dads, the word dad is just too boring. “There’s no excitement to it, and I feel like the word papa nowadays has so many meanings,” said Justin Underwood, a 34-year-old IT professional who lives in Virginia. “We live in an age when fathers are more in touch with their feminine sides and are all right with playing dress-up and putting on makeup with their daughters.”
Papa is also an “open-minded, liberal term,” according to Underwood.
Even Brooklyn moms are embracing the trend. “I had heard little kids using ‘papa’ before and it sounds so cute,” said, Stacie Johnson, a 38-year-old mother of one who lives in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Johnson added that being referred to as “mama” and “papa” allowed her and her husband to avoid thinking of their own parents, who they both called “mom and dad.”