Petula Dvorak
Petula Dvorak
Columnist

Father’s Day fantasies: A day of golf, or maybe just a nap

Neckties? Grilling tools? Soap-on-a-rope (if that even exists anymore)?

Not quite.

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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 fromFifty Shades of Grey”? Or would they prefer something tamer?

After all, today’s dad is a modern man, sharing parenting duties at a rate not seen in previous generations. (Please, moms, avoid the urge to roll your eyes.)

The men have a point. Simple math means that if his dad never changed a diaper, and he has changed one, that’s a big improvement, and marriage counselors tell us we must honor and applaud that.

In fact, a recent “Today” and Parenting.com poll of 4,000 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 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 on Saturday, they play on 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, okay? 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’d 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’ll be at a baby shower this weekend, so he’ll be shuttling kids to practices and games.

“I have four kids at home,” he said. 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.

Dads, I believe, don’t ponder Father’s Day the way mothers ponder Mother’s Day. Or maybe we seethe, rather than ponder. Anyhow, I found that dads, like dogs easily distracted by a passing squirrel, are influenced by whatever is 10 to 20 feet in front of them.

At the Apple Store in Tysons Corner, I approached Santhosh Garmilla, explaining to him that I want to know what he really wants for Father’s — “MacBook Pro!” the 33-year-old Ashburn father answered before I finished.

Then, the 15-month-old elf in a pink and green dress he was holding climbed his face.

As his wife left the Genius Bar and headed toward us, the information security consultant amended, through the elf’s body: “Or a nice little party. Or just some time with my family.”

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.

Got it.

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 and 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.

Follow me on Twitter @petulad. Or
e-mail dvorakp@washpost.com.

 
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