VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (FTN) – A local dad says he’s trying to raise awareness for something he calls ‘Creepy Dad Syndrome’ or CDS.
36-year-old Chris Essex is a fairly normal dad. He has a three-year-old son named Alex, holds a full time job, and runs a satire website based on his son’s life. He says he likes wearing shirts that his kid loves.
“I have a Pizza Planet shirt he loves…a bunch of other Disney themed shirts. He loves the Pizza Planet shirt the most,” Chris said.
He told us last week, he put the Pizza Planet shirt on in the morning when he was hanging out with Alex…but decided to wear it to work a little later in the day.
“When I am with him, I feel like it’s ‘oh look, a cute sweet dad that loves his kid’ but when I go somewhere…like the store, or even work to a lesser extent, without Alex…I look like the creepy 30 something that’s way too into Disney,” Chris told us.
He said this problem is nothing new, and he has even been guilty of giving the side eye to adult men in the store with a Mickey shirt on.
“Look, I’m not proud of my past. It is discrimination- pure and simple. I assumed they were creepy because they didn’t have a kid with them, but had a kid friendly shirt on. That needs to end. That mindset needs to go away,” Chris said.
That’s why he is working to raise awareness.
“I’m not saying go up and high five the guy wearing the kid shirt…but don’t judge them. Maybe that Pizza Planet shirt is their comfortable weekend shirt and they left their kid with mom while they ran to the store,” Chris told us. “We need to learn acceptance.”
He thinks the problem is mainly one dads have to deal with, as opposed to moms.
“I don’t think twice if I see a woman wearing a fun shirt. Again, that’s an issue we need to get past. All adults should be treated equally when it comes to their shirt selection,” Chris said.
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