Attention, world. On behalf of fathers everywhere, it’s time to set the record straight – because if what went down on Sunday is anything to go by, you don’t know us. You don’t know us at all.
I blame the media, of course – according to every ad campaign, sitcom and family drama you see, dads are just figures of fun.
Of course that is always preferable to being a secret serial killer, which seems to be the only alternative, but the pathetic pa is the default description for any man who has somehow managed to reproduce while making a mess of just about everything else.
According to the sorry stereotypes we see all around us, dads can’t do anything around the house, are obsessed with their cars, are never happier than when they have been allowed to sneak off to the pub to watch hours of live football, and for some reason find golf completely irresistible.
What other truths do we know about dads? Well, they are really tricky to please when it comes to presents, apparently, but can always be fobbed off with comedy socks, three packs of pants or a beer glass emblazoned with a comedy drunk and the slogan World’s Best Dad.
I must stress here that I no longer speak from personal experience, because the fruit of my loins are only too aware of my present preferences.
The handy list posted, unspoken, on the fridge in advance of any major anniversary has helped over the years, of course, but it’s only supposed to be a fallback – if they can pick up on those pointers and seek out something similar, but unexpected, then bully for them.
But other masters of the house I’ve spoken to since that annual second best celebration that we call Father’s Day have suffered – they have between them enough socks, car wash mitts, novelty bar sets, golf putting games and amusing sets of cufflinks to start their own shop full of dad-themed tat.
And that’s not even taking into account the tide of tragic mistakes – ties that light up, books about the Second World War, DVDs about hairy men trekking to remote parts of the planet and the like.
I appreciate that it’s a lot harder to go wrong with the ladies – a nice bunch of flowers and a box of chocs is a safe bet in anyone’s language.
But here’s a word of advice to the children of the world. You don’t have to toe the line and join in with the artificial calendar date chosen by commercial interests – just a hug for the old stag in your life, some sort of reassurance that you do quite appreciate them and aren’t just waiting for them to shuffle off so you can sell the house, is all you need.
And let’s be honest, lads – if you do play it safe and buy socks or pants, you know you’ll only end up ‘borrowing’ them in the very near future – and you wouldn’t do that to your mum, would you?