It’s that time of year again. When all the fathers across America receive the infamous treat to an evening out at their favorite restaurant to order their favorite steak, but this time they can order the 16oz on someone else’s tab. The second Sunday of June, when your uncle refuses to put lotion on his ankles so that there isn’t any moisture under the straps of the worn and tested Bar B Que sandals that give him comfort while he’s on grill duty. Fathers have endured many an ugly necktie and other useless items you can find in the exit aisles of Ross (or TJ Maxx if you’re feeling a few dollars richer.) Your father usually accepts the lack of passion that’s exacted in the gifts he is presented without some conditioning from unspoken rules of manhood.
These Rules of Manhood that always teach men to be stoic and not in tune with our emotions, let alone express them outside of the usual feelings of lust, anger and competition, if we can consider that an emotion. I’m not going into the complexity of how we can define manhood during these current times. My goal here is to explain why fathers should be more appreciative, receptive, and suggestive when it comes to gifts. Gone are the days of fathers sitting back and accepting a new tie to wear to the job we dislike.
Disclaimer 1: Ladies, I just want to say that if you plan on being extra sexual or doing something a little bit more like what Divine Brown engaged in, by all means, continue to do so. I’m not suggesting that tangible items could substitute for your display of passion for the man you value. However, since you do plan on giving him a palette of filth for dessert don’t be ashamed to accentuate the taste.
Disclaimer 2: If you do not know your father, hate him, hate your child(ren)’s father, please disregard and don’t respond.
First, as men, we must be receptive to getting a gift. I know the, “I don’t need a gift, I just want all my kids to be happy and live better than me” speech is what you feel obligated to tell your family. I’ll admit, even I have said it along with the confirmation of, “I’m good on gifts, I just want to soak in the love you all have for me.” Don’t get me wrong, these are true sentiments, but the origins are different. Sometimes it’s guilt that makes us feel that we shouldn’t enjoy ourselves. We may not feel comfortable accepting gifts from the very people we provide for and or depend on us. Other times we look at the men we respect: our fathers, grandfathers, and uncles who’ve never really expressed how they felt and rarely wanted for much other than a cold Michelob every now and then because we were too naïve to see they wanted recognition, or they hid a lot behind that tough exterior.
That sentiment is not too complicated to not be understood. Most people building a life that they love must battle loneliness (internally) because they must be mentally protected and emotionally impenetrable. The focus was never about who exactly would contribute to making them happy but helping and making the other parts of you happy, the biological and essential products of your being happy. We are creatures of habit, so sacrificing can easily become routine. There’s no longer a need for that demeanor. Celebrate the triumphs and shed the tears of joy, laugh profusely at the dad jokes and memories of your defeat. Being a dad is more than just a constant vessel of responsibilities.
Father’s you deserve it! You were just as present and active in the rendering of your children as the mother. Don’t let society convince you that a father’s efforts are devalued only because you stand up when you piss. Daddy duty is more than babysitting, they endured and smelled those stankin’ ass diapers, lost sleep due to an infant’s curiosity, and stayed up late helping a pre-teen figure out a pre-algebra problem that they themselves weren’t educated or equipped enough to understand. Yes, fathers selflessly do these things too, as any loving parent would. You take the notion of providing quite seriously. That’s why you’re stressed working 16 hours a day to make ends meet only to enjoy 6 hours of sleep. Father’s Day has been earned!
Now, after reading all of that I know you’re like, “Cool, great reasoning behind celebrating Father’s Day on both sides, but how are we supposed to? What actual gifts should we give, Jerk? Where should we take them out? How in the hell do you pamper or give a man that has everything?”
Well, you’re in luck! I have a few ideas:
2. Father’s Day usually falls in between the NBA Finals, and if you have the finances, take him to see two great teams battle. If he likes baseball, the season is just beginning. Take him to see his favorite team; soccer is available too.
3. Now if he has a physical job then why not give him a day at the spa, and I’m not talking a quick rub, I mean make sure he gets the full treatment, massage, exfoliation, feet rub, sage burned…(avoid the happy ending), even though it sounds good! Don’t forget to pay for his haircut; you don’t have to go with him, give him that peace.
4. Let go of that superstition that if you buy a man shoes, he will run out on you in those same shoes and buy him some new shoes. Get him something fashionable, but at his speed. I suggest some lifestyle sneakers. All brands to suit him. Besides, if he was going to run out on you, it doesn’t matter what shoes he’s wearing anyway.
5. If you’re getting him a necktie, make sure you get the full set: tie, custom cufflinks, handkerchief, lapel pin, color tips. Make sure he’s over the age of 35 if it is the Stacey Adams or Kenneth Cole set.
6. Personalized Greeting Cards. I will customize them for you: just email: his name, three reasons why you appreciate him, two random things he likes email: email@example.com
7. King of the Day, and make sure everyone is participating, including the kids and the parents.
8. Take him to participate in an adventurous activity-Skydiving, Indoor Rock Climbing, or Paint balling-so that it can remind him he’s still agile. Bring deodorant because you plan on sweating.
9. If he likes wine, cool, but he may be manly and want to go to a Scotch tasting. The plus side to that is he may get lit early and want to lay down.
10. Make it a celebration of the weekend. You do not have to wait until Sunday. Men are not ceremonial as far as the date itself. On Friday or Saturday, if you want to take him to a Brazilian Steak House and his favorite strip club afterward, do so. Hell, he may appreciate it more, simply because if you did it all on Sunday, he would hate being hungover while at on work Monday.
11. Create a personalized playlist for him on whatever streaming service he uses so that he can have theme music. And if he’s one of those guys who is still committed to his CD player, burn a disc like he used to do for you during that late-night dorm room studying sessions.
12. Children can demonstrate something their father taught them. A father seeing that his children are listening is undoubtedly a priceless part of fatherhood, it’s what they live for. He may also jump in to “show you how to do it the right way,” but that’s the beauty of this parenting thing that it's constant.
Most importantly, make the day about the Father. Put in some effort and be thoughtful. Don’t allow any inconvenience to take away his confidence in your determination. God bless you.
Written by: Akil "Jerk" Harrell