Like most manufactured holidays (Mother’s Day, Grandparents’ Day, Secretaries Day–or, rather, “Administrative Professionals” Day–, etc.), the pressure to get the perfect gift for Father’s Day consistently leaves one feeling bereft, inadequate and generally stressed. Especially when one is a “man” simply trying to prove to his father that he has surpassed him in life in every possible way: romantic choice, financial success and place of inhabitance.
The relationship between father and son is often more complicated–and even creepier–than the one between father and daughter, as the unspoken competition to transcend the lifestyle set forth by the patriarch becomes intensified as his son enters adulthood–or rather, reluctantly gets shoved into it with his heels dug in and his mouth emitting silent shrieks pleading to remain a child. But once he admits that he’s there, the tendency to pit himself against daddy-o as the rival that can’t be matched often becomes a constant factor. Just look at The Royal Tenenbaums, There Will Be Blood and Big Fish. And if a son isn’t trying to outshine his father, then he’s trying his hardest to be the palest possible shadow in order to avoid the arduousness of competition altogether. In which case he’s also missing as much of a dick as the overzealous, overachieving son. It’s a Goldie Locks sort of a balance that sons must strike when it comes to acquiring that ideal present. One that says, “I love you, Dad, and, no, I’m not trying to kill you.”