‘Dads and Daddies’ plumbs the glories and glitches of daddyhood

Brian Rubin-Sowers (L) and Judson Morrow (R) are the co-hosts of the new podcast "Dads and Daddies."
Brian Rubin-Sowers (L) and Judson Morrow (R) are the co-hosts of the new podcast “Dads and Daddies.”
Adam Fontana

When I first heard about “Dads and Daddies,” a new podcast launched earlier this month by Brian Rubin-Sowers and Judson Morrow, I assumed it was about the intersectionality of being a father while also being a sexually active, somewhat older, gay daddy. Turns out I was only half right.

“That’s not broad enough,” Judson said during my video chat with the affable co-hosts. “We have a whole story to tell. If we were just covering the overlap between being a father and being a sexual being, that’s three episodes. I’ve had the fortunate experience of meeting more dads with children, and there seems to be such a lack of their ability to express themselves as full people, especially if they’re parenting around a lot of straight people.”

“That’s why we subtitle it ‘The lives and times of adult gay men in the here and now,’” Brian said, referring to all gay men, not just those who have children.

For his part, Brian represents the “dad” of the equation. He is a 50-year-old father of two daughters ages 5 and 8 (and a cuddly labradoodle), living in a comfortable home in a leafy section of Brooklyn. He is navigating how to be the best husband and father he can be, while meeting his own needs as a fully dimensional, sexually active gay man. He has an extensive background in public relations, is the founder of Gay Gaming Professionals, and is co-president of the Parents Association at his kids’ school.

Judson, 41, is the “daddy” of the duo. You know, the bearded, salt-and-peppery sort that gets bombarded by DMs from twinks and twunks on Grindr. He lives in Brooklyn with his husband, and after a partyboy phase many years ago, is now sober and enjoying a career in sales and training. He views “daddyness” as an attitude rather than based on age or sexual position. Who says you can’t be a daddy in your twenties?

"Dads and Daddies" launched earlier this month — just in time for Pride.
“Dads and Daddies” launched earlier this month — just in time for Pride.

Indeed, “Dads and Daddies” covers a vast array of topics that some might find prickly, if not downright squirm-inducing. These include maneuvering open relationships (“You can let him top you, but don’t you dare watch one of our Netflix shows together!”), coming out to hostile family members, the vagaries of hookup apps, addiction and recovery, money matters, and the top-bottom-vers-side continuum.

“We try to capture the various identities we need to keep up as gay men,” Judson said. “We cover everything from financial planning to douching.”

Not that either Brian or Judson had any particular dreams of creating a podcast. The idea was born out of a chance meeting on the Q train. The two men had been members of a gay social circle in their neighborhood for years, but they never had a direct one-on-one friendship.

“We ran into each other on the subway in December, and Judson very thoughtfully asked if I wanted my alone time or if he could sit with me,” Brian recalled. “And we ended up having this really incredible conversation, and we spanned so many topics, and I only just started to scratch the surface of getting to know who Judson is.”

Brian thought that their conversation was something other people might want to be privy to. This sparked the genesis of the “Dads and Daddies” podcast.

“I think what makes it work is that we don’t know all these things about each other,” said Brian. “We are genuinely asking the questions, and we genuinely want to hear what the other person has to say.”

The timing of the podcast couldn’t be better, premiering in LGBTQ Pride Month and just before Father’s Day. Judging by the highly engaging first episode, which focused on their open marital relationships, the duo’s curiosity and chemistry are palpable. It’s a perfect balance of entertainment and insight — informative without being preachy. I even found myself taking notes. One noteworthy nugget from Brian: “The secret to a happy marriage is to give more independence to your partner. If they are feeling trapped, they are not happy.” Astute advice, right?

The “Dads and Daddies” website describes their podcast as “frank, unfiltered, and unrehearsed” (they insist they do not work from any proscribed outline), which adds to its allure. But how do they feel about sharing their intimate secrets with the world? I mean, aren’t their husbands going to tune in?

“I’m excited,” said Judson. “I am a pretty open book anyway. Obviously, one concern I have is around work. Your colleagues can access your private life [online]. And this is a very public statement about who I am, who we are, what I do with my free time.”

“It scares the shit out of me to be this open,” Brian admitted. “But it also feels necessary…And I finally reached this level of confidence that I actually have some important learnings to share…It’s truly unbelievable the support that I’m getting from my husband in terms of just being totally okay with me revealing so much about our lives.”

Brian stated that he is extremely happy, with a beautiful family life. But a large part of that life is being in an open marriage and being a sexual being, and doing things that he knows can be taboo to talk about, even among many of his gay friends.

“I do think there’s a lot that goes unspoken that would alleviate a lot of anxiety if people knew that there were others feeling the same things and dealing with the same things,” said Brian.

Judson concurs: “The point, as I see it, is to make people feel more comfortable in their own skin by identifying that there are others who feel the same way…It’s almost like coming out again. When you’re young, you feel like you’re the only person in the world who could possibly feel this way. And even though we have all these modes of communication, certain things still feel very isolating. If you’re the slut amongst a group of prudes, it can be hard to discuss your sex life with your friends.”

“Dads and Daddies” is now available on several major podcast platforms.