From Dude to Dad: Alice 107.7's Poolboy Dives Into Family Life
By the twisted ratings system that primarily men understand, Adam “Poolboy” Dunaway’s list of exploits is long and distinguished, racking up tales of dead-end jobs, thorny relationships and what can only be described as ill-conceived tattoo wagers. And those are just the ones fit for print.
Such are familiar morning fodder for the Catholic High and U of A grad, one-half of Alice 107.7’s Heather and Poolboy. Life is an open book—er, mic—and everything is fair game, including his journey from single guy deep space to the orbit of married life and, six months ago, splashdown on Planet Fatherhood.
As he approached his first Father’s Day, Poolboy spoke to Little Rock Family about love, maturity and life’s private moments playing out in the public eye.
Let’s get this tattoo thing out of the way. You keep losing bets and they keep getting worse.
Oh yeah. I got this ridiculous Catholic High rocket tattooed on my arm, designed by a girl at Mount St. Mary’s. It’s probably the one my mom is most proud of.
The worst, I guess, is My Little Pony dancing on clouds with rays of sunlight on my butt. I got that one because I lost a local Dancing with the Stars contest with Meredith Mitchell from Channel 11. You don’t understand; I put in over 40 hours’ worth of dance lessons, I thought I was a shoo-in. But she looked better in a dress and could shake it better than I could. I had to pay up.
How did THAT guy transition to fatherhood?
Everybody tells you, man, your life is going to change but you never truly know until you go into it. There’s nothing anybody can say that really prepares you for it. You just have to live in the moment and soak it all in and take it all in.
Henry was born December 5, 2015. Henry Samuel Dunaway. It’s amazing. I used to just care about myself and what I was doing, and then me and my wife Jenny, but now I think about “we” not “me.” I’d never thought about the future as much as after I became a dad.
What else have you learned?
Poop isn’t going to hurt ya, I’ve learned that. And pee isn’t gonna hurt you either. [Laughs]
You’re pretty open on the air. Did that change with Henry?
I’m pretty aware of social media; I’m careful when we’re out who’s taking a picture of the baby. But at the same time, I don’t want to hold back. I want to give the audience the real me because whatever I’m going through I know somebody listening has gone through this same story.
What’s been the hardest adjustment?
It took me time to bond with Henry. When he was born, he was so dependent on mom for everything and I’m not shy about saying we weren’t “there” immediately. And a lot of people were like “You don’t love your baby? How can you not love your baby?” You feel that pressure as soon as they put it in your arms, you’ve got to love your baby. And I thought to myself, “Am I a bad dad? What’s wrong with me?”
But I learned that it’s OK, you know? I’ve learned being a dad is a new way to love. As I got more time with him things changed and I love him more and more every day. We’re discovering things together.
What’s on tap for this summer?
Swim class, gonna get out there and do that with him. We’re taking a family vacation; looking forward to putting him in that navy blue polo shirt and taking a picture in the sand dunes with the sea gulls in the background. Just diving all into the family thing.
What’s with the name?
When I first started in radio, I was basically an intern, a gofer, and my coworkers figured out I used to clean pools. Whenever Heather would have me run little errands she’d say, “Oh Poolboy, come in here,” and it stuck.
How long have you been in radio?
This is my 12th year at Alice. My degree is in communications, but once I left college I never did anything with radio. It was by total luck and chance and involves an ex-girlfriend on how my resume got sent in to the station.
Heather was in your wedding as…?
A groomsman, yeah. I put her in a man suit and everything. I mean she looked like Annie Lennox, the jacket didn’t fit her, it was big. The guy at Men’s Wearhouse even checked her inseam for her man pants. She took it all in stride.
You used to have a pretty romantic view of family life.
I was the guy who said, “I’m never getting married, I’m never having kids, I hate kids; all they do is break stuff and cost you money.” I wanted nothing to do with them. I’d do anything in my power to avoid work-related things that involved children, schools, stuff like that. Wow, has life changed.
Who does Henry most look like?
He looks like the both of us; he’s got my butt-chin and widow’s peak and brow and he’s got Jenny’s eyes and nose and mouth and fat cheeks. It’s cool man, it’s cool.