Posted by: deadmousediaries | June 9, 2014

A Dad-Centric Father’s Day Gift-Giving Guide – with experience from Mitchell Kyd

It’s that time of year when all good children everywhere are beginning to panic about the perfect thing to give Dad for Father’s Day. One thing the perfect thing is not is another slender silk noose he can tie around his neck on Sunday mornings or for a dreaded family gathering. When it comes to buying for dads, the perfect thing is often so obvious it is overlooked.

That’s one of the differences between men and women. What does he want? Try the direct route and ask him! For women, gifting is a competitive sport and we enjoy the thrill of the game more than the thing itself. For example, we hint and don’t ask. By hinting at what we want and not asking outright, we test our men’s skills of perception. There is magical value we assign to sorting that out that equates to an indicator of the true depth of a man’s love for us. (This is a complex formula known only to women and will never be revealed to anyone of the opposite sex.)

This roundabout approach is frustrating for men. When they want something, we get the name of the dealer, the model number and a full report on all the specs. The importance of this concept for Fathers Day is, unless he has actually asked for a new bowling ball, grill or lawn mower, that isn’t what he wants. Another contradiction between the sexes is the repair and replacement pact. For women, having a broken item attended to without being asked is a good thing. Don’t do that for Dad as a gift. Don’t repair the hinges on a squeaky shop door or replace the broken window without asking. Those things represent the opportunity to earn a a great sense of satisfaction at a later date. Who would deprive a loved one that, especially on Fathers Day? Unlike washing dishes or running a vacuum, most things dads do stay done for quite a while so waiting to fix it allows him the extended pleasure of the anticipation of getting around to it.

He also probably does not want a new pair of jeans or work boots just when the other ones are getting broken in properly and show signs of wear in all the right places. (We call that state of being as loved up at our house.) Buying your dad or your spouse clothing because you would like to see him throw away the old stuff is just plain selfish and it should not be the underlying motivation for honoring dad on Fathers Day. As a corollary to this rule, don’t buy him a new putter simply because you think it will improve his attitude about his golf game.

The same rule applies to buying him new after shave. A wee bottle of something pricey from a department store most likely says: (1) I think you need to spend a little more time on personal grooming or (2) I like the way this smells better than what you do or do not use currently. I know from experience that some of the best dad smells can never be found at the fragrance counter. Sawdust and Hoppe’s gun oil are two great examples. If your dad smells like buck lore, maybe he’d like some items connected to what causes these scents to stick to him in the first place. Ditto for gasoline; if he often smells like gas, go with it. Chances are you already know he’s a tinkerer or a gear-head who would love more pieces-parts for his big boy toys.

So what does work as a perfect thank-you-Dad gift on Fathers Day? How about a new universal remote to manage all the new electronics from the command post in front of the TV? Or if your budget is tight, try creating a whole deck of get-out-of-jail-free cards that he can play as needed. These come in handy if he has missed an important event or eaten the potato salad that was meant for the family picnic. He can also use one if he accidentally set the inside cat loose to make her big break for the outside.

If your creativity still fails you, consider tickets to a baseball game where he can sit along the first base line to hear the crack of the bat. He might even catch a fly ball before it bounces off a windshield. As an accessory item, include a new ball cap and pair of shades to make it a complete gift package. Nothing says I love you as much as a clever disguise that allows a dad to avoid being recognized by his vigilant spouse –or his cardiologist –as he enjoys what he might really want for Fathers Day: no-fuss entertainment, guilt-free guy time and a few bacon cheeseburgers washed down with cold brews!

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