Viewpoints: Father's Day can't compete – relax and enjoy it, Dad

Published: Sunday, Jun. 16, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3E
Last Modified: Tuesday, Jun. 18, 2013 - 9:29 am

I'm pretty sure I know why Father's Day isn't as big a deal as Mother's Day. Mostly, dads don't seem to care.

An online survey by Women's Wear Daily – yeah, that's reliable – found that more than a third of dads would best like to celebrate Father's Day by having the day to themselves. Pretty much just like every other day.

Or maybe it's just me.

In our house, we hardly acknowledge the Hallmark holidays, as many cynically call them. Yet, on Mother's Day, my wife still gets the card and the flowers. Father's Day? Forget it, although this year my 13-year-old daughter sent me a mock-up e-card that read: "So, dad, on your special day, how about updating your will?"

Since its founding, Father's Day has always been the beta holiday, the analog to Mother's Day, never celebrated with as much hoopla or as many dollars.

Both holidays were created about 1910 but Mother's Day became a nationally recognized holiday in 1914, while Father's Day wasn't formally recognized until the Nixon administration.

By then, Mother's Day had long been turned into an exercise in commercialized exploitation.

They say Father's Day spending is catching up to Mother's Day but still has a long way to go. The National Retail Federation projects that the average person will shell out $119.84 on Dad's gifts this year, up from $117.14 last year.

How much did we typically spend on Mom last month? $168.94, up 11 percent from last year's $152.52.

"I love you, Dad, but I love Mom about 30 bucks more."

And that accounts for the sorts of things we might buy for our dads – tools, electronics, that golf putter – that are far more expensive than what we lavish on moms: brunch, flowers. And how did moms jump more than 16 bucks and dads didn't even get close to that?

Perhaps it's because the top Father's Day gift isn't the tool or a leisure item, or even the necktie; it's the greeting card.

"Here's your store-bought card expressing an insincere sentiment. Happy Father's Day!"

According to another online survey, 81 percent of adults feel Mother's Day and Father's Day should be celebrated equally, and nearly as many – 77 percent – agree that moms get way more attention on Mother's Day than dads do on Father's Day.

Maybe, to ensure equal footing, marketers and retailers could get a little more promotionally creative to give Father's Day a little more pizzazz. With apologies in advance and tongue firmly in cheek, allow me to advance a couple of ideas:

• Glad Dad: Stick Dad in a giant Glad bag and toss him in the deep freezer for a few hours.

• Baghdad: News flash: We're attacking Baghdad this morning, but it's just Dad in a giant paper bag and shoppers are beating him senseless like a piñata with Nerf bats.

• Who's Yo' Daddy: Free paternity tests for all children wondering which man Mom did what with to have them, and bring the checkbook for child support in a follow-up promotion: You Pick Up the Tab, Dad.

• Pretend to be Justin Bieber's kids. We've got a few moms making those baby daddy claims now so in a few years, we can play, "Egad! That's My Dad?!" Face it. At this point, you know Bieber's father is already thinking, "Egad! I Can't Believe I'm His Dad!"

• Pop-Up Dad: Two dads take a Viagra pill at the same time; see who's first.

• Throw two dads into the ring and they fight to the death in "American Dadiators."

• Sugar Daddy: Dad gets buried up to his in neck in sugar and then we "release the ants!"

• Really, Really Bad Dad: Best stories from "Papas in Prison."

• Have wives call radio stations and harass their husbands with all the chores they didn't do, and with leaving the seat up, etc. Presto, you've got Nag Dad!

Maybe next year.

Meanwhile, Happy Father's Day – the occasion when dads can relax around the house, put off doing chores, and nap on the couch. In other words, just like every other day.

Bruce Maiman is an ex-radio host who lives in Rocklin. Reach him at

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