What's Dad Got to do, Got to do with it?.....
(c) David Volk

“Today, Father is Father’s Day,

And We’re giving you a tie,
It’s not very much I know,

But it’s our way of showing you,
We think you’re a regular guy….”
--Groucho MarxIn case you haven’t been paying attention to the calendar, Sunday was Father’s Day.

Although I tell people I was raised by wolves, I’m only joking. I did indeed have a human father (and mother, for that matter), but that’s not as funny as being brought up by wild animals.

My father died when I was 13, long before I was old enough and had enough money to get him the really cool gifts. You know, the good stuff. Home electronics, power mowers, Viagra…..

As a result, I haven’t had to look for a Dad’s Day gift in 26 years. So, I wouldn’t have any idea what I would get my dad if he were alive today. That’s why I decided to flip through last Sunday’s Father’s Day Sale ads to see what the state of the art in gift giving was these days and, I’ve got to tell you, I noticed some disturbing ideas on what makes a great gift for dad.

The Father’s Day Sale at Walgreen’s, for example, features manly razors (except that one for the legs), grills, ties and deodorant (which makes me wonder exactly what would you be trying to say with that gift). The ad circular also features Cover Girl Outlast Lipstick, disposable diapers and Tampons.

K-Mart was selling weights (good), baseball bats (better) and golf clubs (best). It was also hawking mascara (um), Kathy Ireland sportswear for women (er) and exfoliating cloths (huh? Didn’t they use those in ‘Nam?).

Thank goodness for local chains. Oregon-based Fred Meyer was pitching such testosterone laden stuff as camping gear, men’s clothes, Dockers, Capri pants, tank tops and applique tees.

Well, at least there’s old reliable J.C. Penney’s. This national chain had men’s shoes (always a good start), dartboards (not bad), Nioxin treatment for thinning hair (hey, wait just a minute, I like that combover), bras, panties and purses (and not the good ones, either).

And Rite-Aid Pharmacy has cologne, men’s watches, camping chairs, beer (my only true friend) plus nail polish, hair coloring kits and make-up remover (well thank goodness for that. Dad may need it after that trip to Walgreen’s).

You know, Frank Zappa could joke about Sears all he wanted when he wrote the lyric “Is it real or is it Sears?” but I’ve got to tell you, it had the only circular that was fully laden with testosterone. None of that women’s stuff. No, sir. It had TVs, recliners, wrench sets, camping chairs, tents, grills and TIRES! Yeah, tires. It can’t be a real manly catalogue without tires. I think it even had a gag gift section featuring a public address system that dad could use to amplify his belches.

So, what have we learned from this exercise? That advertisers think today’s dad has some truly strange tastes. Sure, it’s all well and good to wear manly clothes, do manly things and use manly cooking equipment, but it’s best to feel comfortable while doing it by wearing the right bra and panties.

Have a happy dad’s day, you mascara-wearing, nail-polishing, Capri pant-sporting, hair-coloring, lingerie-loving, purse-toting, makeup-removing guy you, whereever you are. Show’s over, go on about your business….

David Volk