Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Dads' Day Dilemma

This Sunday is Fathers' Day in Australia.

If you weren't aware, then it can only be because you don't watch television, read newspapers, look at the advertisements pasted on the sides of buses or, most significantly, have a letter box that not only says "NO JUNK MAIL" but is actually obeyed by lawless leaflet droppers.

Mothers' Day is most commonly associated with over-priced and daggy jewellery, dressing gowns, chocolates, flower bouquets and foot spas. Fathers' Day, according to the glossy dreck falling out of the slot onto my footpath, is about power tools, watches, polo shirts and booze.

Trouble is, what sane man wants a polo shirt when clothes are the sort of thing you get under sufferance? They're not gifts or fun, for heavens' sake: they're merely a protective outer layer that your wife buys every now and then to ensure that you are socially acceptable. Otherwise most men would wear clothes until way past the 'I can see your nipples through the now-transparent material' phase and we'd still be seeing fellas wearing 'ACDC live in concert 1977' - Oh wait, we still are.

Tools, according to my father, are things you get yourself. When you need 'em. After all, whe am I going to know that Dad - he of the perennially scabbed knuckles, saw-dust-encrusted King Gee workman's pants and steel-cap exposed blundstones - needs his lathe replaced?

Alcohol isn't for him either. He was raised a Methodist - "Yep, even the older churches' floors were sloped to prevent anyone from dancing but it didn't stop your grandparents from flaunting the rules in 1932 and giving it a go," and they forbade drinking, amongst other fun things. By the time they merged with the Presbyterians in 1977, Dad was 37 and not interested in trying to get into something he'd managed to avoid for 20 years.

In hindsight, his strength and wisdom is remarkable because he's the type of bloke who tends to enjoy a bit of bread with his butter if you know what I mean and no-one has ever witnessed him do anything other than inhale half a dozen cream puffs in one mouthful, so the prevention of loss of brain cells by a means other than accidentally knocking the top of his head against the edge of the car door is a good thing.

Watches swmatches. Love Chunks never wears one and Dad just buys a Two Dollar shop special until it gets stuck in the vice, shattered by a golf ball, driven over or dropped over the side of his tinny fishing boat.

Therefore, every year he gets a book or three from me. Until now, because the selfish git has joined one of those University of the Third Age Retiree Twilight Years Coffee And Chat Bookclub groups and gets to read everything before I've even heard of it. "Oh no Kath, it's nowhere near as good as his debut novel and isn't going to trouble the Booker judges this year...."

Love Chunks gets a home made card from Sapphire which is accompanied by a DVD, chocolates or some CDs purchased by me but given by her. This year, we've decided to buy him three magazines that we might have seen him reading in the past (he's not a big glossy flicker) and make up a hand-made certificate that entitles him to a one year subscription to the magazine he most prefers.

One is a fairly safe looking publication relating to Men's health but the byline at the top of the cover screams: 'REVEALED! HER SECRET SEX FANTASY!'. Hmmm, do I wrap these up or let Sapphire do it, like she has done every other year?

A pharmacy company that runs an online order business we've previously bought cheap(er) vitamins, nose sprays and glucosamine for arthritic dogs from doesn't seem to have much idea either. If we bypass their suggested bargain mens fragrances, in today's email they rather foolishly suggest:

Hair loss supplements
Hair re-growth treatment pills
Erectomax 'sexual enhancement' tablets, packets of sixty
Asonor snoring relief sprays
Omegagen Cardio tablets to reduce cholesterol
Not a father this year? Use Sasmar conceive plus gel

.....even the Valetudo 'pre electric shave balm' seemed about as fun as, gee, I don't know, maybe getting a packet of Erectomax FROM YOUR OWN CHILD.....!

This morning I threw some orange peels into the fliptop kitchen bin and noticed Love Chunks' most favourite, map-of-Australia silk boxers in there, flopped forlornly over the coffee grounds and empty bread bag. They'd finally flown their last, having only the job for 13 years.

So that's what he's getting - new boxers! And my Dad, too.


ashleigh said...

Gah. Fathers Day. Invention of crass commercialism in a response to some weepy ditz who created Mothers Day.

I ask for nothing, expect nothing, and am disappointed to receive anything - because I don't want my family dragged in the various cons. Birthdays and Christmas are hard enough, even then all I ask for are a hug (and in earlier years - a hand-made card from the kids).

squib said...

Oh God, the cards are the worst. I was looking at them yesterday (both for my dad and for MrSquib) and they were all of the beer/remote control/golf/DIY variety. They were so unfunny they made me weep

JahTeh said...

Harris Scarfe have 400grm blocks of Toblerone for $6.99 so in memory of my father I'll be getting one or two depending on the will power, probably two as I don't need to buy an expensive card.

River said...

"...we'd still be seeing fellas wearing...."
wait for it....
a SUPERMAN t-shirt!
Yes, at the express lane checkout this morning, a bright blue t-shirt with the red superman logo on the front. I was a little disappointed not to see a cape flowing behind as he strode off, but at the same time immensely relieved to NOT see his jockeys outside of his trousers.
As for my dad, he's been dead 9 years now, so really doesn't need anything.......

Helen said...

I had a superman t-shirt once... I liked it!

Our Fathers day is in July (I think) so its long past for now at least! I got hima flask because he was working ridiculously long hours prepping for the concert he gave a few months ago and there's nowhere for him to make coffee on the premises. He seemed to like it and he actually uses it! (which is saying a lot for the guy who still wears a shirt he bought 30 years go to impress my mother and leaves the new ones in their wrapping for at least a decade becasue the old ones "still have lots of life in them")

i like the magazine idea though! I might steal it for christmas!

Louise Bowers said...

I put erecto-max in the vase with the tulips, keeps them upright for days.

franzy said...

Go out RIGHT NOW and buy a copy of the latest Top Gear Australia magazine. It has a fridge magnet Cool Wall in it with which you can spend hours grouping and regrouping little pictures of cars in order of how cool you think they are.

I am sure this is what I would be receiving, if I hadn't already bought it...

Baino said...

I just think men are difficult to buy for generally. I always had trouble, especially older men who have everything. We don't have any 'Dads' to buy for except my father in law and he's just as happy with a picnic by the sea! Ashleigh you're such a grouch!

ashleigh said...

Baino, I'm not a grouch. I'm practical. And parsimonious. I hate seeing money wasted on crap.

Each year the kids school has mothers and fathers day stalls selling crap, the idea is the school raises a bit of money. You can buy exciting things like "soap on a rope" for dad, for a buck or two. Or a stubby holder (these sell quite well, out here in bogan-central). I don't want or need any of these things, so I'm not going to encourage my kids to do stuff.

Feeling OBLIGED to do things is terrible... there are enough obligations in this world without adding more, and doubly so when they are the creation of the fevered minds of some marketeers.

lc said...

Parsimonious! Had to look that one up:

parsimonious adj : excessively unwilling to spend; "parsimonious thrift relieved by few generous impulses"; "lived in a most penurious manner--denying himself every indulgence" [syn: {penurious}]


Excessively sparing in the use of money; sordid; stingy; miserly. "A penurious niggard of his wealth." --Milton. [1913 Webster]

Actually, I don't think either are applicable for you Ashleigh.

And I agree with you.

Still, I'll flick through the mags and wear the boxers.

The boat will turn up one day...

Benjamin Solah said...

Thanks for reminding me. I forgot all about it.

I used to buy my dad Playstation games.

Kath Lockett said...

Ashleigh, my Dad has similar views to yours. "No cards, no phone call, no gifts," he said. "I like being able to ring you or you ring me whenever we feel like it; that's good enough for me."

Squib, the cards are shockers, aren't they? All of the illustrations look like they were done circa 1954, so I imagine John Howard's got the originals framed up in his pool room.

JahTeh, a chocolate memorial is so fitting I'm in tears....

But River, did he look GOOD?

Helen, feel free to steal the magazine idea. Your dad's idea re saving his shirts is what my Dad does too. He used to buy 5 of the exact same shirts, leave them in their plastic packets until he needed one (often a decade later).

Cheeky, Ms Lilo!

Nice idea Franzy, but neither my Dad or Love Chunks appear to notice cars, other than when their own needs attention. A bit like their dress sense really.

Baino, Ashleigh - it'll end in tears in a minute....

lc - sorry, no boat. Maybe one day when the book sells a squillion copies.

Benjamin - Playstation games? Were they for YOU or for him?

Benjamin Solah said...

Hehe, they were for him. He was more of a kid than I was. He bought the Playstation for us but it really was for him.

Of course, I didn't mind trying out the games for him before I wrapped them up ;)

Plastic Mancunian said...

G'Day Kath,

I wrote a post about Valentine's Day earlier this year (despite the danger) and ranted about how much I hate crass commercialism.

Father's Day is no different - I don't expect anything and I don't want anything - but I do get stuff; useless stuff; pointless stuff. I get a card with an insult on it and, as you point out, an item of clothing I neither want or need.

Ban it, I say (or at least buy me something I need).




River said...

No, not at all.

redcap said...

Erectomax? Holy fokking fok, that's just wrong on SO many levels! I think the name is actually the worst bit.

And your dad sounds like my dad. He was a fishin', woodworkin' sort of bloke too and was always dropping stuff over the side in the boat - mostly hideously expensive prescription sunglasses. Once he reeled in an Ugly Stik, though, so I think he figured balance had been restored in the universe.

Cat J B said...

My 4 year old wants to get his Dad some lego because it is the thing HE would most like to receive....

Anonymous said...

[url=http://www.ray-banocchialidasoleit.com]Lunette Ray Ban Aviator[/url]

Ray Ban Predator design that is a modern day time design and style common. Other lower Ray-Ban Sunglasses include things like Aviators as seen in that film Leading Gun in addition to Clubmasters. Some of our charges are the lowest in england for Ray-Ban and so no one will discover them less expensive at any place. Buy ray ban eyeglasses via some of our website, grant you one of the best cheap!