For The Rest Of Us

Father's Day gift ideas for fathers who aren't very good

June 5, 2018

Father’s Day is a rich, meaningful holiday for people with solid, uncomplicated relationships with their fathers. For the other 90 percent of us, it means pausing, reflecting thoughtfully on the father figure in our lives and then running out to get him something neckwear or bourbon-related at 3:30 p.m. on the preceding Saturday, something that is almost certainly going to be a moisture-wicking golf polo from Kohl’s. (Real talk: It’s a great deal, especially with their 30% off coupons.) Frankly, it’s exhaustingly complicated. As such, here’s a list of fully customized gift ideas to match whatever degree of f**ked-up relationship you have with your dad. Happy shopping, and good luck at Kohl’s! (Note to my dad: Ha! These are all jokes! Our rational relationship is just fine and we’ll see you at brunch.)

The Domineering Father

Common Quote: “Come by for dinner at 6 p.m., and I mean we’re eating at 6 a.m., if you’re there or late like you always are. Bring back my Hamilton book you never read. And leave that girlfriend of yours at home, your mother thinks she wear French harlot perfume.”

Gift: Springsteen mixtape that basically consists of just “Adam Raised a Cain” like 30 times

The Father With a Much Younger Second or Third or Fifth Wife

Common Quote: “Hey dude! Can’t talk now, too loud at Seacrets, but I’ll hit you up when Monica and I get back to the motel.”

Gift: Gallon of Jager

ColorBlind

The Father Who Can Barely Mask His Passive-Aggressive Disappointment in All of Your Life Decisions

Common Quote: “No, I’m sure you’re right, maybe writing for the internet is the same as writing a real book.”

Gift: Something that’s like three times what you can afford because just because Richard got a job with some big-shot law firm doesn’t mean he’s the only one who can buy good presents

The Father Who Doesn’t Pretend to Mask His Actual Aggressive Disappointment

Common Quote: “Is that a tattoo of a script-letter G on your face? Moron.”

Gift: Full-time job

The Father Who Can Only Communicate Via Conversations About Professional Sports

Common Quote: “Glad to hear about the remission, MAN did you see Mike Trout jack that one to left field last night? (impressed whistling)

Gift: 12-step book about emotional intelligence or you know what, baseball tickets, just get baseball tickets

Smith Collection

The Garden-Variety Deadbeat

Common Quote: “Yeah, your mom texted about child support again.”

Gift: Obviously nothing

The Dad Who Isn’t Quite a Deadbeat But Also Never Calls

Common Quote: “Hey, sorry I missed graduation and Father’s Day! Been crazy around here, with all the travel. How old are the kids now?”

Gift: Enormous poster-sized canvas prints of your kids’ faces, spray-painted with their full names/birthdays

Dad Who’s a Bigger Nerd Than Anyone Else You’ve Ever Met

Common Quote: “so THAT means when Threepio says the Falcon ‘has the most peculiar dialect’ in Empire he’s actually talking to L3. ISN’T THAT AWESOME?”

Gift: Football. Just a football. See what happens.

The Father Who is a Pilot/Military General/Former NAVY Seal/Cooler Than You Will Ever Be in Your Life

Common Quote: “Sorry, did you say something? I was busy shining the medals.”

Gift: Framed picture of him in his old military uniform looking like a youthful badass, you can get reasonably priced ones at Michael’s while you’re picking up some nice scented potpourri

The Internet Dad Who Requires Boundless Affirmation For Completing Basic Parenting Tasks

Common Quote: “While my wife was out grocery shopping and going to work, I fed my kids lunch and then we went to the park! #guysday”

Gift: Real job

The Aging Punk

Common Quote: “Hey bud, do you want to go see Social Distortion next month at that club downtown? I can see if they’d allow 8-year-olds.”

Gift: I don’t know, this doesn’t sound that bad, I guess

The Father Who Gets Irrationally Emotional About Literally Everything

Common Quote: “My precious treasure turns 7 today, and my heart is bursting with the joy and beauty he brings to my life every day…”

Gift: Boxing gloves

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