“If you’re gonna make it awkward,” my words were sharpened darts as my eyes drew bullseyes on the present, “I’ll just keep it and never use it and silently hate it’s dusty closet existence.”
My big gift broke every rule that I could think of besides being a vest made of the Outbreak monkey’s fingernails. My wife kept asking if I liked the gift and I didn’t feel like lying.
No. I. Did. Not.
I hated it with a fierceness that compelled me to want to simultaneously piss on it and set it on fire (gift rage seldom makes sense).
“Okay,” she said, “I’ll just put it on CraigsList.”
“You can’t just send it back?”
“There’s a 37% restocking fee and I would have to mail it back to Lillehammer, Norway where the post production factory is. We’d probably lose money and they’ve already made an upgraded version. I got a good deal so Craigslist…”
I had stopped listening at “restocking” and thought back to how many times I’d asked begged for everyone to not make any purchases for me. At this moment I realized that I should… no, I needed… NO, I was put on this earth to put together a list of dad present buying rules. So here goes:
We Want Time
Us dads are kinda dumb sometimes. We spread ourselves wafer thin with a multitude of projects not realizing that we need to get out and about.
The perfect gift can simply be coordinating a night out. It doesn’t matter if it’s a movie or Buffalo Wild Wings. Make it a real surprise and get a friend along… don’t get more than one or two people along outside of your inner circle because that is equal to a surprise party and we hate those too.
For close family just look around the house and find something that you can do for or with dad. Is the car covered in bird crap so old that it’s turned to diamond kryptonite? Wash it. Gutters constipated with leaves? Call somebody to get something done that Dad doesn’t want to do.
Make it Necessary
You’re compelled to buy us clothes? Well, they’d better be socks and underwear. The truth is that we’d rather have our socks washed and our sock drawer sorted than new anyhow. We’ve been wearing the same dark brown sock that’s close enough to black to go with the old black sock that has the hole in the toe for about a week now and it’s getting a little ripe.
My heaven is an organized sock drawer. You can’t go wrong with luxury watches either.
Money is Money
There’s no real reason that you should spend more than $50 on a single present. If you’re our kids we know that you have bills and you should spend that money paying off that credit card with the 84.9% APR. If you’re our wives then we see what you spend in our joint checking account. Oh, and the amazon.com present you got us. We got the email receipt and we hated it before it even darkened our doorway. Thanks. Now we have to pretend to be surprised AND happy to get Barkly, The Ceramic Dog Butler. Geesh! We can’t act that well… what are we, some kind of Jack Nicholson and Leonardo DiCaprio experiment?
Again no. We are not.
Also, your APR sounds like a radio station. You gotta do something about that with a quickness before we have a damn heart attack. We know about it even though you think we don’t.
Ask & Ye Shall Receive
I want an upgrade to 1 TB of space in my DropBox account ($100), tickets to go to a BuzzFeed event at the CommonWealth Club ($60) and some Logitech USB headphones ($25). If anybody asked me I’d tell them that but nooooooooooooooooooo, I’ve got to be surprised by some nose and body trimmer that has a friggin bottle opener.
Include Gift Receipts
Please do not make us go to a store that smells like Paris Hilton’s hair and the 11 year old clerk has to go through 5 levels of management to open up the register. Studies have shown that men ages 23 – 70 despise more than 100% of stores that aren’t Target, NikeTown or Guitar Center so remember those 3 stores. It’s science.
I’m going to end this with suggestions because it will put you in the right mentality. For instance, there are some awesome family expenses that you could help out with. My family has a membership to 2 museums, the zoo and my daughter takes music lessons. Find out where you can contribute and make it happen. Understanding the needs of a family and being a part of it is about the most important thing in the world.
Remember, all of the advertisements showing you these happy dads getting razors or Old Navy sweaters are not marketing to us, they are marketing you buying for us. Don’t believe the hype. Believe Dad.