Magazine article The Spectator

Notes On. Father's Day

Magazine article The Spectator

Notes On. Father's Day

Article excerpt

No man ever watched a £20 note flutter from an opened Father's Day card and thought: 'How disappointing -- not enough thought has gone into that.' If you're a son, you'll know this already. But if you're a daughter, remember that the sexes are different. Women want presents, actual objects, things that show your loved one has gone to the trouble of visiting a shop and making a choice, no matter how ill-advised and instantly destined for Oxfam. But men are a different country: we do things differently here.

For a start, many men don't want any more possessions, full stop. One of the experiences nudging them in that direction is fatherhood itself: seeing a child grow up is a reminder of just how much crap life can generate (I swear the toys in a six-year-old's bedroom breed). A man reaches an age when 'you can't take it with you' really hits home, when he wants the rest of his life to be filled with experiences rather than stuff. I'm taking great delight in converting the latter into the former. A nifty little clothes-selling website called Vestiaire, for instance, recently turned one of my old suits into enough cash for a really good bottle of wine.

Your father does not need novelty beer tankards or personalised golf club covers. He might need a new screwdriver, but even if he does you won't know the right one to get, so don't bother trying.

Similarly, that special 40th-anniversary remix of his favourite album. What is the point of those things? 'Here you are, Dad,' goes the implied message. …

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