With Father’s Day quickly approaching, coupons are sure to be bombarding your mailbox with ads saying things like, “The best gift your dad could ever ask for!” and “Get Dad the gift he deserves,” and “Not the favorite son? This gift could really throw your sibling under the bus!” While gift guides are great and provide a road map to your father’s heart, little is written about “what not to give Dad.” You know, the gifts that Dad wants but really should never have anywhere near his vicinity. So instead of a guide of what to give your dad, I present “The Definitive Guide of What Not to Give Your Dad for Father’s Day.”
1. Pressure cooker
Some fathers love to consider themselves a master of the kitchen. They own the $200 knife block, the spice rack filled with Cumin, Tarragon and Saffron. Naturally, the next addition to their collection of food processors, juicers and meat grinders, would be a pressure cooker. While this might seem like a good idea because “hey Dad really knows his way around the kitchen,” don’t kid yourself. Within a week you’ll get an angry phone call from your mother, telling you how your dad made the kitchen into a Jackson Pollack canvas, using chicken and carrots as his medium.
2. A kayak\canoe
If you have the money, a kayak or canoe would seem like an ideal gift for an outdoorsy dad right? Wrong, because guess who gets to go paddle down the river with Dad. That’s right, forget that gorgeous Sunday afternoon that’s telling you to play 18 holes, because you will be working your deltoids rowing your dad around whatever river/creek is nearest to your family’s home. And if it’s not used, you can be sure to expect a call from your mother telling you to finagle up a kayak holder in your garage. Good work pal.
3. A motorcycle
The ultimate gift for a father — especially if you have the money to pay for it. Dad’s always wanted a motorcycle, and it seems like the perfect gift for a 45 year-old, who’s about to buy one during his midlife crisis anyway. But this death trap is no place for a middle-aged man. At first you’ll feel great. You’ve made your father’s year by finally letting him live out his “Easy Rider” fantasies. Then comes the leather suit your dad buys for “functionality purposes.” Suddenly, two years down the line, your dad has stopped cutting his hair, and he’s decided to enter “early retirement” to travel around on his motorcycle with your mom. He’s cut the sleeves off his leather jacket to reveal a tattoo that says your name with a heart around it, and you suddenly realize that this downward spiral was all your fault.
4. A surround sound stereo set
Here’s a gift that every father would seemingly want: something to make him feel like he’s actually at the old ballgame, or making those re-watches of MASH seem like he’s actually in a military medic tent. What you haven’t thought about is who sets up that surround sound system. That’s right, you are going to have to go through the most frustrating setup ever — next to Ikea furniture. Once you finally get everything connected and you feel that sweet sense of relief, your dad — who has been patiently reading the manual during your struggle — doesn’t turn on MASH, football, or even the Food Network. No, your dad turns that dial squarely to talk radio and makes you sit on an uncomfortable stool and listen to NPR for the next hour with him.
5. A gym membership
There are few things worse than than your dad at gyms. Though you may think you are doing him a favor, this gift has one of three outcomes:1. Your dad is the “cool dad” at the gym. He totally gets it, taking advantage of trainers and classes. He starts to look great. Then one day you’re at the gym with your significant other/friend and they lean over and say, “break me off a piece of that guys baguette.” You then realize you’ve made a mistake. 2. Your dad doesn’t get the gym at all. He shows up in penny-loafers and is attempting to do sit-ups in the corner. After one particularly loud exercise-groan, he looks over at you and waves. You try to ignore him, but then he calls out your name, and you realize you’ve made a mistake. Or 3. You give your dad a gym membership to a gym where you don’t belong. He immediately feels ashamed, no matter how much you try to explain that you live on the opposite side of town. He slumps in his chair and begins listening to NPR, and you realize you’ve made a mistake.
6. A Bartending Kit
Dad sure loves a stiff cocktail, so why wouldn’t he love an awesome bartending set, complete with martini glasses, a jigger and dare I even say some high class whiskey stones? It starts off fun: Dad and you sharing a 12 year old blended scotch in one of his new tumblers (two ice cubes please!). Then you start getting call after call from your mother around 10 pm every Tuesday, telling you that your dad is having his “drinking buddies” over again. You’re dad then dips into his saving to make his own bar. Eventually he puts a neon sign in the window that says open, and only turns it on when your mom goes to bed. Then one day your dad decides to live out his — and every other male’s — lifelong dream of owning a bar. It consequently destroys him and his credit, and he’s forced to move in with you.
7. One of those “funny” hats with hair attached
A classic gag joke for dad’s who are losing/have lost their hair. “Hilarious!” you think to yourself as you check out of CVS. You give it to your dad, and you and your mom share a good laugh at his expense. What you don’t depend on though, is your dad’s wheels are churning, “They think they can laugh at me? At me!?” He thinks. Well the jokes on you, because your dad has years of experience in the “no-shame” department. Suddenly he starts wearing the hat at social events like tailgates and casual dinner parties. Then he ups his game, and the hat comes out at graduations, family pictures, and then eventually your wedding. “Who’s laughing now?” Your dad thinks, as he runs his fingers through his plastic hair.
8. An iPad
iPads should be a great gift for all those tech savvy dads out there. It should be, but it isn’t. At first it will be great father bonding time. You’ll show him how to use it, and he’ll think you are just the greatest son/daughter in the world. Then your dad, in his copious amounts of free time starts discovering app after app. For any question, concern or just general comment, he tells you to download legions of “helpful” apps. “If you need to get your finances in order, you really should get Mint,” says your dad with a snide grin on his face. Then the dreaded day comes when he finds the Facebook app, links it with his Instagram feed, and begins tagging you in various posts of pictures around his back yard.
9. Adult diapers
Another gag gift along with the fake hair. You think you’re making a sly comment on your dad aging. Little do you know, your dad’s Google search history includes, “at what age can you start wearing Depends?” Once again, you and your mom give your dad a good ribbing after he opens his gift, but all he can think is, “I guess this answers my query.” He bides his time, but within the next three months you’re sitting around the patio having a beer, when your toddler goes in the corner and makes a face that says, “Guess what devil’s juice I’m depositing in my diaper right now.” Your dad then walks over and stands next to little Johnny/Suzie, and says, “great idea kid,” and only then do you realize what you’ve done.
10. An HBO subscription
Is there anything better than Sunday night HBO programming? It’s the best, so why wouldn’t you buy your dad a year long subscription? “That will really give him and Mom something to do on Sundays.” You think to yourself. But your dad has a lot of time on his hands, and lot of questions that can’t be satisfied with internet searches. “Maybe I should check out this ‘Game of Thrones’ that seems to be so popular.” He thinks to himself on a Saturday night after reading an IMDB post. The next thing you know he’s calling you non-stop asking about who you think the killer is on “True Detective,” or he bursts out in tears after someone mentions “The Red Wedding,” he then asks you to come over to watch the latest episode of “True Blood.” You oblige him and go over, and there you are: sandwiched between Mom and Dad and a vampire three way. Way to go sport. Way.to.go.