That time of year again.
In which I studiously avoid card shops and make mental notes to self about battening down the hatches and not going anywhere for Sunday lunch this weekend.
Am mentally oiling the Yorkshire puddings tin as I speak. Because come the Sabbath, it’s Fathers’ Day, that in-the-face, bash-around-the-heart annual reminder that I don’t have one any more and seemingly, everyone else in the entire UK does.
Not that I begrudge you all. I’m truly glad for you. Dads are brilliant things for girls to have in their lives, whatever your age or theirs.
Invariably, they are less critical of you than your mum is. She tells it to you straight because she thinks it’ll be good for you. He just tells you that you’re ruddy marvelous and not to let it/him worry you, love. Dads have more sense of humour than your mum and know THE best way of winding her up (she can’t ever see what he’s doing because of the humour failure). Plus fathers can do handy things like fix plugs and leaks and tell you what car not to buy. Heck, I miss mine.
For everyone lucky enough to have a dad (well, a good one, at any rate), I say cherish him. And just ignore a survey doing the rounds, purporting to know “The Truth About What Fathers Really Want”. It lists a dad’s heart’s desire as nothing more exotic than control of the TV remote for a whole day, a lie-in and a pair of socks.
As it’s based on interviews with 350 actual dads, it’s about as much use as a chocolate fireguard. No dad worth his Radox bath salts is ever going to tell anyone, least of all his kids, what he really wants. He wouldn’t want to trouble you.
At any rate, he’s probably never even told himself. Unlike everyone else in the family, the ‘head of’ doesn’t go around making mental wishlists. Fathers just don’t covet or desire objects, other than your mother and the car. And perhaps the lawnmower, if it’s one with an engine.
And why do they need new things when their old ones are still perfectly serviceable? “What would I do with another cardigan? I’ve got one. Still going strong after 30 years...” Even when something goes threadbare, they wear it for gardening.
So don’t bother buying him that car-washing or shoe-polishing kit you’ve just seen. Or those “World’s Best Dad” socks. The ones you bought him 15 years ago will still be going strong.
Best thing to give him? A bit of your time. He’ll cherish it forever. Maybe longer than that cardigan.