Dads are rubbish.

They're hopeless.

Hopeless and lazy.
Hopeless and lazy and fat.
And stupid.

Hopeless, lazy, stupid, fat, clumsy and rubbish.

Yeah, that's you, Dads.
That's exactly what you are.

At least that's what I'm being told everywhere I look.

I've been searching for something for my Dad to express how much I love him on Father's Day and, according to every advertisement, TV show, online catalogue and store display, I really shouldn't bother because to them Dad's are just overgrown teenagers who like football, handkerchiefs, beer, busty ladies, musical ties, things shaped like space rockets, novelty underpants and slippers.

In the run up to Mother's Day everywhere you go you can see depictions of love and beauty, yet for Dad's it's clutter and hi-tech junk. I'm not saying that every mother wants flowers and chocolates, but at least we've come to accept that those things are synonymous with love.

A mini-screwdriver-set-on-a-key-ring isn't.

I don't know where advertisers come from, sometimes I think they are just hatched from pods like in "Invasion Of The Body-snatchers" because they don't appear to have any human sentiment. Unless it's advertisements for hair-dye products or razors, then the Dads are amazing-looking All-American Superheroes who spend time catching baseballs with their sons.

 Dads in all other adverts are downtrodden, grumpy, humourless imbeciles who are an embarrassment to their offspring, from the Oxo Dad of the 80's to the Tesco Dad of today, Dads are stupid, fat, baldy wankers who tell bad jokes.

Today, partly due to the make-up of the modern family and the fact that there are a lot of absentee fathers these days, kids don't make stuff at school as it may be a tad insensitive, and so they have to rely on what the shops are telling them their Father's want - and the shops don't know your Dad so they make wild assumptions.

The comedian and broadcaster Toby Foster went on twitter after he noticed one ad  "The perfect gift for Father's Day" is Nivea after shave lotion. Really? Perfect? I'm not so sure it's perfect." It might not be 'perfect' but it's a damn sight better than the bottle of Hai Karate, Old Spice or Brut 33 that my Dad used to have to make do with!

It's also better than one of the suggestions that WH Smiths had in 2009 on their display rack of Ideal Gifts - a book about Josef Fritzel. 

I mean, I know some Dad's like to do DIY, but that's a bit extreme...

(I think they withdrew it when Fritzl complained about being placed next to Jeremy Clarkson. 
I may be wrong, though...)

Which reminds me, this year I was looking on the Tesco website and their Ideal Gift for Mother's Day was a DVD of the Peter Jackson film "The Lovely Bones".

Ideal for Mother's Day?

The story of a girl abused and murdered on her way home whose ghost watches her family tear itself apart?

What kind of heartless prick would buy that for their mum??

Man drives up on motorbike, smoking, stands in doorway of retirement home..

"Here you go Mum, thought you might like this..."

"Ooh what a nice surprise! I haven't seen you in years, not since I signed the house over to you and you put me in here. And you've brought me a present! You've never brought me a present before. What is it. Ooh a film. I like films, not sure I've seen this one before. What's it about? Oh, it says something on the back.......... 
Why?? Why would you do this to me?? Why??"

"Yeah, whatever. See ya next year..." 

Flicks cigarette ash onto carpet then leaves.

Some of the Ideal Gifts are nothing more than stuff they've got a lot of in the warehouse that they need to shift.

For example there is a website called notonthehighstreet.com that sells the kind of twee, cosy, folksy yet mass-produced tat that modern Dads in lumberjack shirts and manicured beards like to fill their ironic houses up with while listening to fucking Mumford & Sons and looking at the world through an ironically-sepia Hipstamatic lens.

On their website one of the Idea Gifts is this:

Spot on! Well done!

The search is fucking over.

Just what every Dad needs, a pink fucking birdbox costing thirty quid.

Mind you, when I was a kid and we DID used to make our Father's Day gifts at school, the poor old boy would have a choice between a clay lump with a divot in it that was supposed to be an ash tray, a wonky wooden pipe rack or, if we were feeling a little flash in woodwork and metal work, a small wooden Cuprinol-ed fish attached to a small Hammerite-ed metal shell.

Because my brothers and I went to the same school, and as my Dad didn't even smoke cigarettes let alone enough pipes to necessitate an entire rack, the poor old fella got three of those fish.

Of varying quality.
Every year.
For three years.

He'd probably have preferred the thirty-quid pink wooden birdbox.

Then there's the cards that go with the present. I have mentioned this before, but it bears repeating, men's greeting cards are either designed for people with severe mental trauma or they seek to cause severe mental trauma.

The choice of design that sums you up as a man, regardless of age, sensibility, personality or taste, are, were and will always will be, these:
  • Fishing. 
  • 1920's Motor Racing Cars. 
  • Motorcycles.
  • A Non-Specific Trophy. 
  • The Tour De France.
  • Football. 
  • A Boat.
Or, if you're lucky, a montage of ALL of the above. 

The only exception to these are the new types of "humorously insulting" cards that tend to have a 1950's stock-photo of a serious-faced man in a suit, looking hapless, accompanied by touching, heartfelt greetings such as  WORLD'S BEST DRUNK or I WISH I WAS WITH MY SECRETARY or


But some Dad's don't help the argument.

You might have read in the paper the other day about this fella, Dale Price.

Every day, for 170 consecutive days, Dale Price stood on his doorstep in a different fancy dress outfit to wave his son off on the school bus. His poor FIFTEEN YEAR OLD son, Rain (that's a whole other set of fucking issues for a whole other therapy session), had to sit on the bus, with all his friends, wondering what the fuck his Dad would come to the door dressed as.

Would it be a ninja? A terrorist?
A blood-spattered surgeon? Superman?

He's Poseidon, God of The Sea.



I can't imagine the embarrassment of poor 15 year old Rain, and yet his Father says he does it to show how much he loves him. In much the same way that the Fathers For Justice campaigners used to dress up like Superheroes and stage high-profile stunts to make sure that people took notice of how much they loved their kids.

Only I'm not entirely sure that their argument held up. I don't think that access was actually denied to Fathers For Justice, I think that their kids saw them dressed as fucking Captain America and Batman and simply thought "God, my Dad is soooo embarrassing. Do I really have to see him? Do I HAVE to?"

It's not because your partners are stopping you from seeing your kids - it's because your kids don't want to go to Burger King on a Saturday afternoon with a permanently fucking depressed Aquaman.

"Sorry son. They'd run out of Spidermans. And The Batman cape had a hole in it... 
So... is your Mum seeing anyone?"


NB: IDEA FOR MOVIE - A Fathers for Justice campaigner is struck by a meteor and gains amazing superpowers. His life changes. He's a hero. A real one. He starts to make a difference. He shows what a good man can do. His wife comes back. His son loves him. 
He then has to spend so much time saving other people and thwarting crime that he starts to neglect his wife and kid again...

His wife starts working late. Terry from Marketing starts to get friendly with his wife. His son thinks Terry is cool. Terry becomes his nemesis....

But I digress...


So if you are a Dad, and you get some flashy, tacky, foul-smelling, pointless tat on Sunday - do what Dad's through the ages have always done and smile politely and thank your ungrateful offspring for their kind presents.

Then just quietly go and put it in that box in the shed.

...alternatively you could forward them on to me. I love beer, books, boardgames, gizmos, gadgets, toy robots, busty ladies, things shaped like space rockets, pyjamas and slippers!


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