The most commonly received father’s day gifts in the UK last year were: socks, slippers, pyjamas. While the sentiment behind such gifting might be warm and fuzzy, the underlying message is clear: keep yourself covered at all times, you gnarled and wrinkly codger.
Giving a man socks for Father’s Day is slightly less imaginative than pitching up at a Shell garage to buy four limp roses and a chocolate orange on 14 February. It says: ‘I did slightly better than just buying a card and I can’t really be arsed to do any more thinking. But given that I’m your spawn, you’ll probably forgive me’.
There are few ‘special’ occasions more likely to underwhelm the nation’s imaginations than Father’s Day. And while the nation’s kids can be forgiven (people will forgive a lot when you’re carrying their DNA and potential spare organs around), there is the very real possibility that in many cases, these gifts have been bought, un-ironically, by a spouse. This is a domestic intimacy too far, and I am not yet ready to yield responsibility for my footgloves.
In the last week, my browser and Facebook have surged with ads from ‘cool’ sock companies, promising to restyle my unfashinable feet (along with this subtle number below: thanks Facebook! I’d forgotten that I will one day die! Keep sharing the love!)
But I have enough socks. They may not match, they might be wrapped in little balls, but I always manage to cover my plates and get through the day.
What I want is a private performance from Radiohead for me and 50 friends, in which Thom York asks me onstage to do backing vocals on Creep. Or a lifetime’s supply of Lagavulin single malt whiskey. Or 40 minutes in a parallel universe with the Brazilian women’s beach volleyball team. (This is juvenile, and assumes that the Brazilian women beach volleyball team will be yearning for a 39-year-old English dad who looks a bit like a tired, portly version of Sean Maguire. It also assumes that I wouldn’t get to said parallel universe and think, ‘Hmm. That’d still technically be cheating, I wonder if the sandwiches here are any good). Even better, I’d like the gift of eight hours sleep.
But please, not the socks.