meditations on velour as a daddy in sweden

The big Swedish paper Dagens Nyheter recently ran a big ongoing series on paternity leave and the changing role of the Swedish father.  It was OK.  The first article was cool and so was the one last Monday, mostly because it featured the only other American blogger I know in Daddyland, Van Taylor who writes at

In between were some articles on fathering groups and daddy bloggers and single profiles of dads, which I thought were a bit easy, like they rushed this a bit.  I mean, there is some serious stuff going on here in terms of gender roles, and they come up with a two-page story off one visit to a fathering group?

In DN’s defense, they run these huge feature articles every day.  It is space that a newspaper reporter in the United States could only dream of.  But it often feels like they don’t have the staff to fill the newshole.  So we get these amazing concepts – like paternity leave – and then a bunch of inflated, one-source stories.

I digress.  What I did love was the name, a Swedish word I had not heard before.  Since the 1970s, a sensitive Swedish dad – at this point meaning a guy on paternity leave – have been known as a “velourpappa” or “velour daddy” in translation.

As a child of the 70s, I revel in this term.  I wore velour!  Until middle school!  Which I should not admit.  But who wears velour now?  Do some of you not even know what velour is?

Here is a description from Wikipedia -” It combines the stretchy properties of knits such as spandex with the rich appearance and feel of velvet.”

Fake velvet.

I do not know why this tickles me so.  Must be that middle school thing.

A fake velvet daddy.  A daddy who combines spandex with the rich appearance and feel of velvet.

That is so cool.  I am a velour daddy (I tried to come up with a serious comparison or reflection on velour and paternity leave but it escapes me – there is nothing spandex-y about it, and fake velvet?  Time with my kids is all real, baby.)

I need to track me down a velour top.  Not a track suit either.  That is kind of hip-hop, right?

Nope, I just need a purple sweater-thing to wear over my dorky un-pegged cords.


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