Real men — or at least real dads — wear tutus. That’s the message Tennessee resident Thanh Tran put forth earlier this week when he slipped into a black tutu to perform alongside his 8-year-old daughter, Adriana Cross, and her ballet buddies.
Adriana’s ballet school was hosting a parent’s night and while it’s normally an activity she does with her mother, Tran was more than happy to step in.
He wore the traditional black tutu at his daughter’s request and paired it with a black sleeveless T-shirt and black leggings before working on his dance moves, which he admits cramped up his calves and toes.
“My daughter found her mom’s tutu and asked me to wear it to class. She thought it would be really funny to see her dad wearing the tutu, so I agreed to make her happy,” Tran says.
As it turns out, it was totally worth it.
“She was very proud of me and told me she loved me 20-something times, because she was so happy I was brave enough to wear the tutu to class.”
Tran’s story follows a slew of touching tales that have gone viral lately, depicting dads doing heartwarming things for their kids, ranging from having them repeat positive affirmations in the mirror to styling their daughter’s hair and even participating in their beauty vlogs.
It all points to a major shift in the perception of fatherhood, drawing a clear divide between the expectations of fathers in the early half of the 20th century and the role many dads choose to play today. Ditta Oliker, a clinical psychologist and author of The Light Side of the Moon: Reclaiming Your Lost Potential, wrote in Psychology Today that it wasn’t until the 1970s that psychologists began to closely examine the impact fathers have on their children and how beneficial a hands-on relationship is for their well-being.
According to a report published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, fathers have a direct impact on their children’s emotional, social and intellectual development. It states that studies have shown a nurturing style of fathering is associated with better verbal skills, intellectual functioning and academic achievement in teens, and kids who have an involved father from birth are more likely to be emotionally secure, confident and have better social connections.
And it would seem Adriana’s well-being, and her happiness, are paramount to Tran.
“She takes ballet very seriously, so it was nice to see her laughing throughout the class,” he says. “I love my daughter and I would do anything to keep her smiling. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”