All too often, dads don't get the credit they're due — especially when you're growing up and feel like their greatest joy is imposing rules designed to quash your social life. But hindsight is 20/20, and you realize looking back now that your dad actually wasn't the worst. In fact, of the myriad ways you know you had a rad dad in the '90s, your dad might just tick off every single box.
Of course, that's not to say you didn't have your differences. And, naturally, these differences were only amplified by pesky little things like adolescence and hormones. Still, if you were lucky, your '90s childhood was by and large pretty darn idyllic, and much of that has to do with your dear old dad. He may have made one too many corny jokes for your taste, but he was always there when you needed a shoulder to cry on and — if you're really lucky — gave you a shining example of parenthood to inform the role when you inhabit it (if you so choose) at some point.
So here's to the dads and dad figures of the '90s. The dads who rocked mullets and mustaches with wild abandon. The dads who came to every single soccer match or spelling bee. Scroll down to see if you had one, too.
1. You Controlled The Car Stereo
Despite the fact he missed out on, oh, roughly a decade of early '90s music, your dad never complained about listening to Disney Radio (or, later on, Backstreet Boys or the Spice Girls) every morning on the way to school.
2. He Didn't Rush Your Online Time
Did you dad have important business calls to make? Probably. Still, he exercised the patience of a Shaolin monk so he didn't disconnect your dial-up while you were carefully crafting a witty AIM message.
3. He Wore Speedos Unironically
My dad's bright blue banana hammock was a mainstay growing up (why did we have to live on a lake?!). Although I feigned mortification at the time, I always secretly thought it was cool that he didn't care what other people thought of his, uh, colorful sartorial choices.
4. He Left You Home Alone
While it's entirely likely this sort of behavior would get your parents arrested today, your dad trusting you to hang at home sans babysitter was the pinnacle of rad dad-dom back in the '90s.
5. Watching The Simpsons Together Was "Your Thing"
"Your thing," as in, some of the best QT you spent with your dad was when he let you stay up late and sit beside him on the sofa, Simpsons family-style, laughing over inappropriate jokes while he drank his version of a Duff. Also known to my dad as a Heineken.
6. You Had The Hottest Toys
To this day, you remain unconvinced your dad didn't barter his prized collector's edition Babe Ruth baseball to pay for that obscenely overpriced Razr scooter you just had to have the day it hit stores. Ditto for all the Beanie Babies, Tamagotchi pets, Pogs, Pokemon cards, and Holiday Barbies you amassed over the years.
7. He Helped Bend Mom's Ear For You
When mom shot down your repeated pleas to let you get your cartilege pierced, your dad convinced her to let him take you to the mall to get it done. When you wanted to go as Britney Spears for Halloween, he A) didn't judge you and B) talked your mom into retiring the witch costume you'd been wearing some variation of since birth.
8. Rock 'N Roll Was On All Your Mix CDs
If you were lucky, your dad didn't just let you listen to new "devil's music" like Nirvana and Sublime, but he also gave you a crash course in the classics — think CCR, Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppeling, Styx, Cream and REO Speedwagon.
9. He Made Being Outdoorsy Cool
Forget about Red Rover! The rad '90s dad took outdoor activities to the extreme, and you loved him for it. River rafting on the Nantahala where the slogan was "Paddle or Die"? Yes, please!
10. He Didn't Drive A Station Wagon
Or a Volvo, or a Dodge Caravan. No, your dad drove something far less provincial, like a navy blue Z-71 sports car, one of those gnarly full-size vans with a daybed in the back, or a Mustang.
11. He Loved You No Matter What
Bad bangs? Check. Mouth full of metal? Check. Conspicuously questionable life choices? Check. You snorted when you laughed (still do) and once cried when MC Hammer almost touched your hand at a concert, but he loved you anyway and wasn't afraid to tell you so.