There are some gifts that we all know not to give a man of any age -- a tie being principal among them. But as men grow older, the list of things they will surely appreciate as gifts dwindles. The reason is that the older they are, the greater the chance is that they can already afford to buy these things for themselves at any point in the year, and probably have. But speaking more broadly, here's a list of five things that we are certain most midlife men don't want to see happen on Father's Day:
1) To be taken out to dinner at a fancy place with a dress code.
Most midlife men we know dress for comfort. It might be accurate to say they would prefer to return to the caveman era of style. Loincloths. Yes, of course we are stereotyping here. But nobody likes to wear uncomfortable clothing and when you walk into a fancy restaurant where you'll be offered a loaner tie because you "forgot" yours, well, it's just time to turn around and leave.
Take Pops out to a place where the only dress code sign reminds patrons to please wear shoes. Trust us, he'll be pleased.
2) To be taken out to dinner when there is a game on he'd rather be watching at home on TV.
Father's Day is supposed to be about him, not you. Keep that in mind. For Mother's Day, a woman we know with three adult kids had a great idea. She got her kids to chip in and buy her a new dishwasher and plants for her patio garden. They repotted all the plants for her, ordered takeout food, ate outside surrounded by the lovely new garden, and then tested the dishwasher.
If there is a game on he wants to watch on TV let him. Bring the meal in and join him. Better yet, get tickets to the game and go with him.
3) Be told the celebration will be held on another date because it's more convenient to you.
Sorry, but that's just plain wrong. This is your Dad we are talking about. Father's Day may be a Hallmark holiday with no real meaning to you, but if it matters to him, then clear your schedule and celebrate it on the day the rest of humanity is celebrating.
Moving the party -- whether it be a brunch or dinner or going out to a movie together -- to another day leaves him feeling that spending time with him is just something on your to-do list. Got a conflict? Work it out. But don't give your father the short shrift. Not on Father's Day.
4) Give him a tool that he likely already has.
If you got Mom a piece of new cookware for Mother's Day, chances are you are the kind of person who heads to Home Depot for Father's Day shopping. Really? Ask yourself this: Does he use the tools he already has and do you know for a fact that he wants one of them replaced?
Replacing someone's tools is a tricky business. Hammers, well, they are a personal thing. It matters just how they sit in your hand, how the grip feels. We've known Dads who prefer buying used tools at garage sales because they've been "broken in." We've known Dads who graciously accept the newest, fanciest cordless drill and find a nice home for it on the shelf in the garage next to the still-unused chainsaw you got him last year.
Father's Day is an opportunity to show Dad you know him. Don't let a sense of obligation blind you.
5) Be asked to try new things.
If you and your Dad regularly go mountain biking, terrific. If you don't, let's keep the introduction to new adventures -- culinary and otherwise -- to some other time.
On Father's Day, stick with the tried and true. A family barbecue with the TV turned to the Cubs, no one talking about the stock market, and all grandkids bringing home-made cards would sound about as ideal as it gets to a lot of men.