Writer Dan Zevin is a family guy and proud of it
WHO: Dan Zevin
WHAT: Formerly of Cambridge and a onetime humor columnist for the Boston Phoenix and Boston Magazine, Zevin, 47, moved with his wife to the hippest place on earth: Brooklyn. Then he had two kids and moved to the suburbs and became the most unhip and blissfully happy dad. He blogged recently about his love for all things fleece. His new book, ‘‘Dan Gets a Minivan,’’ comes out in May and was recently optioned for a TV series by Adam Sandler.
Q. You were blogging about fashion during New York Fashion Week. How’d that happen?
A. I didn’t even know it was Fashion Week. Our sitter told me. She’s really into fashion. She was outraged I didn’t know. She was telling me I could use a few fashion tips. I seriously still have the same clothes I was wearing in my 20s. And I’m 47.
Q. As a suburban dad, do you have your favorite, go-to outfit?
A. Since kids came, my favorite is anything I happen to find the fastest in the laundry basket. I have so much fleece I feel like a Muppet.
Q. I read you like cargo pants.
A. When my first son was born, it took me five minutes to realize I had to get cargo pants. I hated diaper bags, they felt so goofy. I discovered cargo pants from Old Navy. I would put a diaper or two in the left pocket, a bottle and formula in the right pocket. The really good ones have pockets below the knees.
Q. I’ve got a pair of those.
A. I was at my kid’s school, and some parent was there with her infant. The principal said, ‘Does anybody have a diaper?’ I pulled one out of my left cargo pocket.
Q. Were the other parents impressed?
A. Especially that it was a dad. I was representing. They had their fancy $300 bags. I was first.
Q. Talk about the book, “Dan Gets a Minivan.’’ What sparked it?
A. Having children prompted it. One day I was packing up our Subaru sedan to visit my sister. The whole trip is supposed to be five hours, and it felt like I was packing for six. Pack-n Play, Jolly Jumper, the vibrating seats, the pop-up books, toys, the mobile. I couldn’t believe how much stuff. I ended up strapping stuff to the roof. That’s when I found a metaphor for my life. We have outgrown this car and outgrown this life.
Q. Did you actually get a minivan?
A. Yeah! Two weeks after that trip. My brother-in-law had a huge Honda Odyssey. He was like, ‘Test drive this.’ I was like, ‘No way.’ Two weeks later, I had my entry minivan. The Mazda 5. It was the gateway drug to the bigger one. Next thing I knew we had a Toyota Sienna. I love it. It’s like driving around in your living room.
Q. Was the minivan the key to being uncool?
A. I was beyond uncool. I would see a lot of our neighbors checking it out in Brooklyn. They would be like, ‘Oh, third row seating.’ They would never get one. In Brooklyn, the only motorized vehicle acceptable is a Vespa.
Q. And that doesn’t have a third row.
A. I’m thinking, you people don’t even have cup holders. What do you know from cool?
Q. And now nobody stares at your cargo pants.
A. I fit right in.
Q. Don’t you also love slip-on shoes now?
A. The time to tie your shoes was too much time. You slip them on, out the door. Now I have slip on snow boots from L.L. Bean. Too much time. Sneakers were another huge difference from Brooklyn. Everyone has to have extremely hip retro sneakers. They were the same thing I was wearing in seventh grade. To me it was a pleasure to trade them in for my huge padded Nikes with mesh on the outside.