As Father’s Day approaches — I once again have to accept the fact that I am not a “typical” dad. And my kids are used to explaining that our family is a bit “weird.”
Thanks to “Deal of the Day” websites and e-newsletters like Groupon & Living Social — we are further reminded of the stuff and activities that dads are supposed to like.
Groupon not only has Father’s Day deals that include cigars, meat (steaks), sports equipment, watches, recliners, grills, grilling tools, chain saws, lawn mowers, car detailing, beard grooming stuff, all kinds of things to help me carry my beer and keep it cold, and yes, ties — but they also have a post entitled, The Guide to Father’s Day Gifts. Groupon wants my kids to take me boxing, race go-carts, start a wood working project, jump out of a plane (tandem sky dive), taste a bunch of beers…and go to the shooting range (yes, guns), golf course, batting cage, rock climbing wall, go-cart track, etc. Not to mention that Home Depot, Lowe’s and Menard’s keep sending me emails promoting their gift cards as great Father’s Day gifts. Really?
Now, truth be told — I do enjoy some of these things, a few of these activities, and enjoy an occasional trip to the “hardware” store — BUT is this what they really think about fathers. Is this it? To be fair, Groupon has a deal for facials but they listed it under “wildcard” father’s day gifts.
These “Deals of the Day” sites have taken it to a new level.
My frustration stems from the fact that I was raised as a progressive, Mediterranean-American male – who does NOT fit any of the stereotypes of the typical man as defined by Groupon, the greeting card industry or by any marketing that is gender-based.
Greeting cards are the worst though. In general greeting cards reinforce all of the worst negative stereotypes about men, women, and several other historically oppressed peoples. Standing in the card store in front of the rack filled with greeting cards, I momentarily feel inadequate, left out, odd, and less than a man. I don’t golf, fish, drink beer, or demand dinner when I get home from a long day in the office. I DO cook and bake well; I work around the house; I respect my life partner (and still love her a lot); I love being a dad; I do laundry, iron, and put away clothes; I fill and empty the sink and dishwasher; I dress myself; and I put the toilet seat back down. Eventually I realize that I am very, very OK with NOT being the “guy.”
My male role models in my family were studs – but they were respectful of their partners; they were romantic; could cook and did often; and dressed very well. They hugged and kissed their kids every day, said I love you to their wives, and went shopping, did laundry, and made dinner. Of course roles in relationships were different in the 1950’s, 1960’s, and 1970’s – but I am a combination of their great traits and the expectations of modern times. Why then do the greeting card writers and marketing gurus still perpetuate these archaic, primitive, unenlightened behaviors featuring beer loving, Neanderthals, sloths, chauvinists who can’t cook and prefer hunting and fishing and golfing more than being with their family?
So what’s up? I doubt if the only Father who doesn’t fit their mold is me. I am sure there are other Fathers, perhaps the majority of Fathers, who can’t relate to the males depicted in these greeting cards. In such a competitive, commercial, and capitalistic industry – if it didn’t sell, they wouldn’t keep making them. So, who are these guys? – And who’s buying these cards or this stuff on Groupon? Are we just so lazy that we can do nothing more than surrender to the negative stereotypes of Dads? – No matter how offensive it is to both men and women.
Or it is that I – once again – am the only one who cares? (Probably not.)
So, now I must go and bake for the church brunch, hug my wife, do the laundry, drive my son to band practice, call my mom, text my wife that “she’s beautiful and I miss her,” sew my daughter’s shirt, tutor my kids in math, go grocery shopping, and get dinner ready for the family.
This is what this Father is doing – so, call us weird — but there are NO complaints here — because I’ve got the BEST job in the entire world!
Read more stories about growing up in my family and our traditions, check out these PC Pop posts: