I like men. But like every middle class heterosexual woman nearing 30, I have unresolved father issues that make it hard for me to discern whether I like certain older men because they are super hot or if I subconsciously wish they would adopt me and build me a treehouse.*
I am voicing this dilemma publicly because I have found that many women share in my confusion. Do we want to make out with these nice men, or do we want to show them our report cards? ***
Let’s explore this topic by reviewing Confusing Men: Not Sure if Want for Husband or Father Edition.
5. Kurt Russell
Dad factor: He’s been around forever, so that means he’s old. He’s been with Goldie Hawn for 20 years or something, and they’re super cute (Overboard, hello? Okay it’s kinda sexist, but I’m pretty forgiving because they’re darling, and Kurt can trick me into being his wife any day of the week ugh unless I want him to be my dad SEE??? DECISIONS). Kate Hudson calls him “Pa,” which is some adorable Little House on the Prairie ish. He seems like the type who likes to tell stories of his youth as a Disney factory kid, and I’ll bet he’s a fount of dad-jokes (right? can’t you hear him at the neighborhood BBQ, making terrible puns? “Snake’s on the grill, kids– and by snake, I mean your Pa, bahaha. Get me some kerosene and I’ll show you a cool trick.”)
Hotness factor: He’s super cool and manly. He does stuff like build Goldie a fireplace with his own hands WITH A HEART-SHAPED STONE WITH THEIR INITIALS ON IT embedded in the mantle. Seriously, go check Kate’s instagram, you can find a picture of it. And you can bet it’s no electric fireplace– no, Kurt probably just boy scouts-it and creates fire using twigs (learned from his Follow Me, Boys youth, of course). He could probably pick you up with one hand because even though he’s old he’s super strong and in-shape. He rocks an eyepatch. I’ll bet he still has that eyepatch, hanging alongside his foxy gentlemen ties on his tie rack that he probably made himself.
Result: Kurt’s the reason why this category was invented, so I don’t know if I’ll ever have a final answer to this question, but for now I choose father. So long as he abstains from sporting the eyepatch, of course. Then all bets are off (sorry, Goldie).
4. Liam Neeson
Dad Factor: The Taken franchise. Love, Actually in which he plays a grieving widower before he became a grieving widower in real life. Episode I: Phantom Menace in which he practiced epic tolerance towards the most annoying child in the galaxy.
Hotness Factor: He’s super tall and his accent is the foxiest. Also, if I ever got lost in Europe someplace I’m 100% sure that he’d be able to find me, which is great, because I’m terrible with directions. His hands are as big as my feet, he has a very particular set of skills**** and he’s a little sad all the time. He’s a lonely Irish giant! LET ME TAKE CARE OF YOU, LIAM.
Result: As fulfilling as it would be to cheer up this somber giant, having a dad who’s concerned for your safety AND buys you a karaoke machine (despite the fact that you can’t run like a normal person– seriously, learn coordination, Maggie) AND can read The Chronicles of Narnia aloud with a resonate Aslan voice sounds like a nice deal.
3. Benicio del Toro
Dad Factor: Okay, let’s call a spade a spade, he’s gained some pounds over the past few years, and nothing sends out dad-vibes like an edgy dude with some pudge. He’s got that nice “experienced” look now– he’s done some living (I mean, he survived Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), and I can just imagine him giving excellent, been-there-done-that dad counsel. He’s also got those deep, squinty eyes that I know must just light up with pride when he’s pleased with his offspring.
Hotness Factor: Well, I mean, have you heard the dude speak? Woo. And those deep, squinty eyes are sage and all, but also the mischief. The mischief, I tell you! You can put the dude in a suit and pack on a few pounds, but it doesn’t matter; Benicio flies free, and non-conformists are sexy.
Result: His counsel is sage, but that hair. Husband.
2. Hugh Laurie
Dad Factor: Self-deprecating to a fault, balding, and probably very good at helping you with your English homework, Hugh played goofy parts for most of his career, reaching the pinnacle of dorky-Dad-ness in the Stuart Little movies, but I’m not entirely fooled. The dude has all of the expressive power of Jim Carrey’s rubber face, and yet he keeps it tempered because he is British and does not want to presume. He seems like the nervous type, so I imagine he would be just the right amount of worried about his kids, but cool enough to laugh at his own anxiety and offer you a nice sip of Scotch when you’ve achieved a work promotion or something. He’s probably the kind of dad that makes you wanna do well in life, because maybe then he won’t blame himself for your failings.
Hotness Factor: His real accent. His fake accent. His big sad dreamy eyes. His insanely quick wit (even when he’s not being Dr. House). The self-deprecation even works in the hot category because it means he’s EVER SO HUMBLE. Plus, he toodles around on motorcycles and plays instruments*****. The man plays opposite Tom Hiddleston and still manages to be hot. Night Manages, that is. I don’t know, I haven’t actually seen that miniseries yet so I have no clue what it’s about, but it looks like he’s managing just fine.
Result: Maybe everyone lies, but I’m not when I say I’m goin’ with husband on this one, too.
1. Steve Carell
Dad Factor: Well, everything, right? He typically plays dads, and with his average-ish height and kinda square face and penchant for awkward comedy, it all makes sense. But he also has some sweet pathos going on. He’s a dad that cares. He’d probably stay up late making your lunch for school and yell at you (but in that kooky-Carellian way) for scaring him when you crash the family vehicle. Even as an animated Russian villain, he’s an awful caring dad-dude.
Hotness Factor: Listen. There’s this thing called The Man Sweater. A sweater is a sweater, but when it’s worn a certain way by a certain responsible-type-person who probably also is good at yard work and likes books and has never heard of instagram (but in a funny way, not a pretentious I’m-too-good-for-social-media-way), that sweater becomes a Man Sweater*******. Steve Carell is someone who rocks the Man Sweater. He knows he’s flawed, but boy is he chill and unexpectedly foxy. Speaking of foxy, he also has a silver fox thing happening these days, to which I say LOOK OUT, GEORGE CLOONEY. George wishes he could Man Sweater.
Result: Husband, obvs, because I strive to be better than the Gap, and one cannot downplay the power of the Man Sweater.
* “build me a treehouse” is definitely not innuendo. Unless it’s true that I like any given dude because they are hot and not father material.**
** by “father material” I definitely mean adopted dad status, and not “I want to have that dude’s kids” status, because WHO THINKS LIKE THAT? Kids are terrifying. But that’s a topic for another discussion.
***Again, not remotely sexual. Unless we actually want to make out.
**** I’m not even trying to make that sound suspect.
***** Again, not… you know.
********* Seriously, though, what ho? I will take her down.
******* I’ve totally lost track of how many of these *’s I’ve used, so they probably don’t correspond anymore. Sorry.
***********Greg Kinnear is another example of a Man Sweater Owner. You didn’t expect that, did you? That’s how they get you.
******************* I know, I know, there was no way to say that without it getting weird.