This time of year, I always find myself facing the greatest challenge known to woman: what to get her father for his birthday. I’m way past that short blissful time of a girl’s life when a homemade card or a toilet roll Santa is all it takes to make her daddy happy. Every year, I try to take his interests into account, hoping to get him the perfect gift. I have yet to succeed. My dad enjoys football, cars, classic rock, action movies (but he’ll only watch them once) and crime novels (but he’ll only read when on a plane, which sums up to just about never). So for the past few years I’ve been giving him books that he never reads, DVDs that he never watches and CDs that he never listens to. There’s also a limit to how many ties, belts, tyre-shaped wall clocks or Leeds United football shirts I can give the man. And of course, he himself offers no help. For as long as I can remember, his answer to the question “what do you want for your birthday?” has been “well-behaved children”. Haha. Fat chance.
So for the past few days I’ve found myself fresh out of ideas and now time is running out. What do I get for the man who wants nothing? Today, I did the only thing left to do: I googled it. I came across one of those websites with a gift suggestion generator, where you plot in the age and gender of the recipient, and how much money you’re willing to spend. The generator then comes up with a list of gift suggestions that’s supposedly appropriate. Fair enough, worth a shot, right? I quickly plotted in my dad’s data: age 52, gender male, and money: not an issue (actually, it is, but I’m desperate). The gift suggestions I was then presented with were not exactly what I expected.
Some of the suggestions were just unnecessary stuff I know my dad would never bother to use anyway, like a freezer beer mug, a universal remote (he’d never remember how to use it) an electronic tie rack or a dog-umbrella. A surprisingly large amount of the suggestions were items dedicated to making the toilet experience more enjoyable, and included such things as novelty toilet paper with puzzles on it or printed images of Euro bills. There was also the toilet golf set: a mini golf toilet rug complete with holes, balls, a club and a “do not disturb” sign for the bathroom door. My personal favourite in the enhancement of the toilet experience category was the “LavNav”, a toilet night-light for those late night poopers who like to do their business in the dark. This thing even had different coloured lights to indicate whether the toilet seat’s up or down.
Some of the suggestions were just plain disturbing. There was the “Passion Pheromone Perfume” to give him an edge with the ladies, and the Push-out Man Panties, which is exactly what you think it is, and no, I won’t buy that for my dad, thank you very much. Finally, and most disturbing, was the Borat Mankini, and thanks to the mental image now seared into my brain, I won’t be able to sleep for about a week. Or look my dad in the eye next time I see him.
The most disturbing thing about the gift generator, though, was the image it painted of my dad. Based on the gift suggestions it came up with, it seemed to imply that my dad is a sexually frustrated middle-aged wannabe womanizer, who spends most of his time either on the toilet, in front of the TV with a beer bottle in his hand, or on a mini golf course set up in his bathroom. Basically, the generator thought my dad was Al Bundy. Needless to say, I did not buy anything from that website. But it did give me an idea: perhaps I’ll get dad the Married with Children DVD set. Or a toilet roll Santa.