Neckties? Grilling tools? Soap-on-a-rope (if that even exists anymore)?
After exploring what mothers want on Mother’s Day and learning that the most longed-for gift is time alone, I wanted to give equal time to the fantasies of fathers for Father’s Day. Do they dream of their wives being willing to act out scenes from “50 Shades of Grey”? Or would they prefer something tamer?
After all, today’s dad is a modern man, sharing parenting duties at a rate never before seen in previous generations. (Please, moms, avoid the urge to roll your eyes.)
The men have got a point. Simple math means that if his dad never changed a diaper, and he has changed one, that’s a 100 percent improvement, and marriage counselors tell us we must honor and applaud that.
In fact, a recent Today and Parenting.com poll of 7,000 parents found that dads mostly want a little respect and praise for their growing efforts.
But we know we’ve got to do better than just voicing our appreciation. So I went to a fertile dad hunting ground to do some research: the McLean, Va. Little League’s AAA All-Star game.
One of the first dads I approached snapped at me for interrupting his picture snapping. The game hadn’t even begun. His 10-year-old was in the dugout with his pals, who were shoving wads of shredded bubble gum into their mouths.
What does he want for Father’s Day?
“Uh, I want them to win!” he roared.
If they win Saturday, they play Sunday. And that’s all he wants for Father’s Day, a Little League championship.
“Now, I really want to get a shot of this. Excuse me,” he shoved past me.
Wow. Just one little MLB contract, son. And maybe throw in a Nobel Prize too, OK? Not much, kid.
Another Little League dad, Jim Knoke, 52, a security engineer, said he wouldn’t mind a home run by his 13-year-old daughter. But he would much prefer a day of fun activities with his family. “Like hiking or biking,” he said.
“That’s all?” I asked.
“Or maybe some homestead stuff. Like shooting!” he said. Now you’re talking.
Nick Gasparis, 51, of Great Falls skipped right past a family day.
“I want a fishing trip. Or a golfing trip,” said the father of four who looks a bit like a tired George Clooney.
His wife opened her eyes a little wider at his declaration. She will be at a baby shower this weekend, so he will be shuttling kids to practices and games.
“I have four kids at home,” he explained. Two girls, two boys, ages 8 to 25. “And my mother. My mother is living with us.”
Maybe you’ll get to play golf next year, Tired George Clooney.
At Brookstone, ground zero for all manner of gadgety Father’s Day gifts, I wanted to find out whether dads really appreciated the remote control flying speakers or the digital barbecue meatfork iPad attachment.
Sitting in the $2,999 OSIM uAstro Zero-Gravity Massage Chair, the dad I was trying to interview barely opened one eye to hear my question about what he wants.
He lifted one finger and pointed it toward the chair that was making his jowls vibrate.
At the LEGO Store, some of the geek clerks said AFOL dads (that is, Adult Fans of LEGO) come in around Father’s Day to buy insane LEGO sets.
“For me,” they explain, greedily.
In the LEGO Store, I found a dad after my own heart.
Joe Errett, 33, a management consultant in town from Dayton, Ohio for a conference, was pushing a double stroller and herding two more children.
“A nap,” is all that’s on his wish list. His children are 10 months, 2, 5 and 6 years old.
Yeah. A nap. Now we’re talking.
I asked my husband what he wants, figuring the ceramic elephant the boys painted with bleeding eyes doesn’t need a companion piece this year.
“A movie,” he declared.
“Madagascar 3 is out,” I told him. I saw him flinch.
“Prometheus,” he countered. “Alone.”
Done! “Prometheus” is showing at 4:10 p.m., dear. I splurged for the 3-D ticket. And afterward, I might even let you take a nap.
Happy Father’s Day, tired dads.