Father’s Day, in my humble opinion, is the dumbest of all made-up holidays. Every year I rack my brain thinking of what to get hubby and I am always scrambling. It seems that everything I get him, or everything I do for him, is something that I actually want myself. If I get him clothes, it is because I want him to throw away the jeans with the holes in them. If I buy tickets to a Red Sox game, I assume he will take me. In fact, I am typing this article on the MacBook that he received last Father’s Day. The one he never bothered to take out of the box.
And the madness doesn’t stop with gifts and event planning. Before you hit me over the head with that golf club you bought for your man, consider this: This holiday can be a painful reminder to those who have lost a father. Greeting card companies haven’t caught on to this fact. I would love to walk into my neighborhood drugstore and find a card that says something to the tune of, “Sorry this day sucks for you, just remember that Monday is around the corner.” I have friends with young children who have lost a spouse. To them, Father’s Day is just a souvenir of the gaping hole that they face year-round.
If I think about it, my animosity toward this day dates back to my career in public relations. Clients would yell and hurl accusations if they weren’t part of the local newspaper’s Father’s Day gift guide. I clearly remember one client who sold crappy, drugstore-level hand lotion tried to get me fired after a top city magazine didn’t feature his brand. I kept thinking I should have marketed it as lube cream and written a press release that waxed poetic about using it on Father’s Day if your wife won’t give you the gift that you really want (and need.)
And I’m biased toward Mother’s Day, partly because I am a woman and mostly because I love getting stuff and being pampered. Moms want jewels that sparkle, breakfast in bed and trinkets made by our kids. How easy it is to book a spa day, grab a manicure and pedicure gift card, give a Mom the day off? Go to Tiffany’s, go to Jared, go to any of our favorite stores and we will be blissful. Maybe even reward you for the effort.
Which brings me to my next point. Is it sexist to say that all most guys really want is action on Father’s Day? Nevertheless, I bet a hundred bucks that this would be better received than a $4.95 card that sings. Just lock the door, take off all your clothes, and get rid of the kids for a few hours. “Afterplay” that gesture by turning the television station to baseball and ordering Chinese food. “This is the best Father’s Day I have ever had,” he would exclaim over his moo-shi chicken. Only thing missing is the kids that made him a dad in the first place.
If I sound a little cranky, it is because I miss my own father. He was a prince of a man who understood me best of all. He loved to troll the card aisle. Leaving a Snoopy fold-out masterpiece on my breakfast plate or under my pillow was his random act of kindness. As I grew older, got married, and started a family of my own, his cards would find their way to my mailbox, 1,800 miles away. Woodstock would be smiling while Snoopy pounded away at a typewriter. His signature? Some sweet derivative of “Lots of love, dear ole’ Dad.” A simple gesture, not tied to any holiday, which always made me feel secure and adored.
My hubby is a great father all the time. His girls adore him. He’s big on hugs and kisses and not on gifts. The year my father passed away, I totally ignored the holiday and him, and I could tell that he was a bit hurt. Months later I asked him why he was so upset about the made-up holiday. He told me that it wasn’t about the lack of gifts, or the paltry number of cards (mine absent), but it was about feeling close to his family after a tragedy. It never occurred to me that he was also in mourning.
I still don’t approve of the holiday, but realize that I need to give credit where credit is due. All dads deserve attention because they make a difference. From single dads, to two-dad households, and my own hubby, these guys work hard every day. So ditch the wallet and give your man a hug on Sunday. Who knows what you’ll get in return.