Stuck for ideas this Father’s Day? Amanda Thompson rounds up a small sample of the best gifts (plus jokes!) for the dad in your life.
Dads are great, they’re nice to have around. Or so I’ve heard. I’ve always been a bit vague on the finer points of having a dad since mine was more of a biological footnote than a day-to-day reality. For those of you who can also relate to having to turn away with a trembling lip whenever that kid on the old Spark ad googles “what to do on Father’s Day”, I have good news. I’ve discovered that being a dad is not gender nor biologically specific, it’s simply A Way of Being. “Dadding” is more of a philosophy than a parental status I reckon – more about how you live life than how you once spent two minutes giving life, if you will.
Anyone can embrace Dadlife™! I know I have, and I’ve found it generally more satisfying than my other option, Mumlife™, which seemed to involve a lot of anxiety about organic greens and the whole sociopolitical and pedagogical state of the education system while being weight shamed by Lululemon and ripped to shreds on social media for using tap water. Fun, but not for me. Moving over to the Dadside means being able to be proud of my Dadbod (why yes Kmart, I will buy that size 18 bikini, wear it openly at the beach, and slap my gorgeous white belly in front of my kids while proudly exclaiming “still got it!”), being able to have hobbies that don’t include being cruel to my Dadbod (why would you take up Boxfit in a world where furniture with built-in cup holders and the History Channel exist?), laughing uncontrollably at puns which I will then repeatedly tell you until you want to smother me in my sleep, shushing my kids when the Six O’Clock News comes on, and refusing to talk about difficult emotions. Or anything, really. I like it very much.
In celebration of my newfound Dadliness, this Sunday I am expecting a welter of excellent gifts that revolve around relaxing my aching back that is being slowly crushed under the weight of family responsibilities on a plush recliner with a pop-out footrest. I would also like no small talk (unless we’re talking about fart jokes, in which case go hard). So here’s a small sample of the best in dad gifts and accompanying joke menu for the dad in your life, whoever he/she/they may be:
Price: $23.95 (Zazzle.co.nz)
When it comes to beer, nobody knows what a dad’s favourite brand is because the first dad rule is that the cheapest deal is always the best deal. Dads don’t brand buy, they price buy. Dad’s favourite beer is whatever’s on special at the supermarket that week. It probably comes in a can, which is fine because it then gets tipped slowly, at a 45-degree angle, into this special glass with an expression of extreme concentration.
Matching dad joke: “Ahhh. How good is this beer, aye? I’ll tell you. It’s beery, beery good.” Dad will carefully put down the beer to mime out a drum and cymbal ‘badoomkisssssh!’ After looking around the rest of the family with a delighted smile (not returned) the dad will now drink the beer with complete satisfaction.
Roast Pork Crackling
Price: $10 at any roast shop
I’ve yet to meet a dad who cannot be won over by a good roast dinner. It’s not hard to roast a lump of meat and hack it into slices; the tricky bit is, of course, getting the crackling to crackle evenly without burning or turning into a hard rubber shell. I’ve spent years trying to consistently get that right.
Pro tip: make sure the crackling layer is dry and salted. Score the fat layer with a knife, while your resident dad hangs about, doubled up with uncontrollable laughter as they try to force out “score the meat? About a five outta ten!” Rub in a lot of oil, cook hot and if all else fails, cut the crackling off the meat while it rests and grill the everloving shit out of it.
Just kidding! Real pro tip: don’t bother. In some things culinary, it’s better to leave it to the experts. The greasy bag of golden goodness pictured above came straight from my local roast meals takeaway shop for $10. The cook/owner shall remain nameless or I fear within six months they will be swept into appearing coyly in the NZ Herald’s food pages, wearing a grey linen apron and spruiking their boutique eatery in Ponsonby that specialises in $60 deconstructed slow batch-cooked Maldon salt-rubbed craquelins de porc where you can never get a booking for one of the three tiny tables.
Matching dad joke: Every time a dad ever – and I mean ever – eats a pork-related product, they must eagerly insist it is seafood. The rest of their family will coldly pretend they can’t hear, clench their teeth and possibly visualise lunging across the table and stabbing the dad with their own steak knife, because they’ve heard this one so many times before. But that’s ok, that’s normal. Dads don’t need an audience finding them funny to know they are damn well hilarious. Eventually, an innocent bystander will walk into the trap and ask why pork is seafood, and the answer will be, of course: “Because whenever I see it, I eat it!” Dad will now fall off their chair with mirth.
Lawn Aerator Sandals
Price: $21 (Wish.com)
Is a dad even a dad if they don’t have very strong feelings about fine fescue and mower blade heights? This ridiculous gift is a total winner because of the skilful combination two great dad loves – owning a very specific tool for a very specific job, and having a super-luxe lush lawn – into one awful sandal that any non-dad person would be too ashamed to buy, let alone wear. Be prepared for a very long and excited lecture about how and why aeration improves turf, complete with some miming out of dad’s best ever lawn maintenance anecdotes. Good times.
Matching dad joke: “‘This grass is a bit patchy said the gardener,’ looking forlorn.” Your dad will need to clutch your arm to actually hold themselves up they will be so weak with laughing.
Dad’s Own Island With None of You Lot On It
Price: $4,553,067 will get you Motu Teta, a private island currently for sale in French Polynesia with no people, phone or internet. Nice.
If your dad says “Yeah nah I’ve already got everything I need” when you ask what they want, it’s OK to ignore them. Yes, they might well have two pairs of shoes (dads will never understand why anyone needs more than two pairs of shoes) and one full wall of the shed covered in carefully traced tool outlines so they can instantly see which screwdriver you never bloody put back in the right bloody place after “borrowing” it to dig out your Jay Jays gift card that still had a $9 credit from that tiny gap beside the passenger seat, but I bet they don’t have their own island. You can never go wrong with primo real estate and nothing says “thanks, Dad” like a whole landmass with no fools on it to ask for the last scorched almond, touch the Sky remote, or generally annoy dad when there’s a Great Railway Journeys marathon about to start on UKTV.
Matching dad joke: Everybody dad knows will receive at least one postcard (probably with a map of the island on the front onto which dad will have marked an X in biro and labelled it ME!!) All of them will be signed off “SEA you soon!” and quite possibly sprinkled with tears of laughter. Dad will arrive home before the cards do because they chose the cheapest postage option.
All Of These Books From My Local Op Shop
Price: $5 for as many as you can carry
Dads are old enough and wise enough to know that a well-bent spine on a paperback means you’re looking at a modern literary masterpiece. More good clues are single-word all-caps titles and books called The Something of the Something. Keywords to look out for include “conspiracy”, “night”, “fire”, “dawn”, “blood”, and anything from martial arts or the Greek alphabet (ie Delta, Omega.)
Matching dad joke: “This book is about hands. It’s a real page-turner!” The dad will now throw back their head and guffaw silently for several seconds, eyes tightly closed with just one small tear of hilarity sliding down their face as the room quickly empties.
A Dog They Definitely Don’t Want
Price: Your position as Favourite Child
Getting your dad a dog is risky as he may possibly end up loving the new dog more than you. Just like you, a dog is a goofy, lovable dumbass with little emotional regulation and no current life goals beyond filching the last spoonful of prawn fried rice. But at least a dog won’t call dad at 3am drunk-crying that they need a top-up to catch an Uber to get home, or make snarky remarks about boomers when the iPad gets confusing. Use this gift with caution.
If you do decide to get them a dog, go to the SPCA website to find your nearest dog who really needs a reliably kind, patient human with an armchair big enough for two. In other words, a dad.
Matching dad joke: Dad will name the dog Chewbarker just so they can wear one of those t-shirts from Kmart with Han Solo on it when they go to the dog park in the desperate hope someone will ask about it, at which point they may spontaneously combust with joy. They will also start calling their Prius the Millennium Falcon. You will only have yourself to blame.