No doubt you’ve seen plenty of television and Web ads this week painting picturesque scenes of father-child bonding moments as they attempt to lure you into yet another holiday manufactured by the greeting-card industry. But what do you get your old man if, like most of us, your family history is less than idyllic? And even if he was the perfect pop, why get him a stupid tie when you can hog half the present for yourself?
If your father is a little disappointed in you — and, let’s face it, he probably is — then he most likely suffers a quiet torment whenever he thinks about the poor excuse for an adult his once-promising seed hath made. For such disenchanted dads, Father’s Day celebrations serve mainly as an opportunity for the Hallmark Corporation to pour salt in his wounds with empty sentiments about what a great dad you think he is. It’s important, therefore, that your gift not sing too much personal praise. Family relations are challenging enough without adding insult to injury in the form of a “World’s Greatest Dad” mug. Plus, why kid yourself? While plenty of dads are terrific, many more just showed up scared shitless one day on Maury Povitch.
Nevertheless, if you let this holiday pass without going above and beyond the obligatory brunch at Waffle House, you will never hear the end of it. That’s why Glittersnipe’s intrepid gift hunters spent the better part of twenty-five minutes yesterday searching for just the right gift for your loving father or maybe just the meh man in your life. We did the work, because we knew you didn’t want to. And the best part? Some of these gifts are actually cool enough to convince your dad that there are no hard feelings. Isn’t that what family is all about?
1. Chocolate-covered Bacon
How’s your dad’s cholesterol? Who cares? If he goes faster to his grave because of these curiously delicious treats, you can bet he’ll have a smile on his face. We first discovered the Baconery a couple months ago while walking past its storefront in upper Manhattan when the wafting of smoked bacon stopped us in our tracks. We were intrigued, took a bite, and have not shut up about it since.
The best part? Baconery ships across the country, and not just chocolate-covered porcinery, but plenty more inventive mouthwatering bites like butterscotch-chocolate-peanut-butter-bacon balls and chocolate-bacon pretzels.
(Baconery, orders available online and in person at 911 Columbus Avenue between 104th and 105th streets in New York City. 917.675.3385)
2. Sel Magique
What could be better for your aging pop than a big-ass tumbler of salt? Regulated blood pressure is overrated anyway. Sel Magique, a blend of French sea salt (fleur de sel) and four different herbs, will change your life. The flavored salt brightens and enhances everything from corn on the cob, peanut butter-filled celery stalks, and the newest Glittersnipe favorite “Magic Pizza.” (Lightly toast a piece of bread, then add slices of cheese and fresh tomatoes and place back in the toaster oven for just a few moments — finish with a few dashes with Sel Magique. Say, “Oh sweet baby Jesus, thank you for this magic in my life” with every mouthful.)
We recommend a large jar on the counter so you can add a pinch of magic to virtually every meal. Your father will quickly claim this as his secret weapon at every cookout, but make sure you sneak some for the potato salad and even a whisper on the chocolate cake. Yes, even on chocolate. And popcorn — definitely on popcorn.
(Sel Magique is available online and at several retailers around the country. Please visit their website for further details or click on their ad to the right for a free sample — you’ll be hooked in no time.)
3. A Fragrance
If your father is the sophisticated type, or just gay, he will love the selection of fragrances at Glittersnipe‘s go-to shop for all things olfactory and elegant. Aedes de Venustas has been dispensing scents to bold-named celebrities and politicos in New York’s Greenwich Village since 1995.
The shop features the world’s finest selections of candles (one of its own creations is reminiscent of ganja and incense) and fragrances (for both men and women) as well as a terrifically curated selection of men’s skin care — a lavender aftershave lotion from the 400-year-old Italian company Santa Maria Novella sits on a shelf next to all-natural modern skin creams from Austria. The men who own and run the shop are delightful and helpful and will dispense samples upon request. While marveling at the taxidermied peacocks and floral arrangements, you can play with their dogs while one of the owners wraps your purchases in their signature gold-embossed black boxes and silk ribbons.
(Aedes de Venustas ships worldwide for most of their products. Their store is located at 9 Christopher Street just west of Sixth Avenue in New York City. 1.888.233.3715)
4. Face Mug from Uncommon Goods
It’s clever, inexpensive, and terrifically creepy. Apparently Barney’s New York and the Lillian Vernon catalog got drunk off their asses one night and gave birth to UncommonGoods.com; a great website with smart and ‘flicted (mostly) original designs.
This is a perfect concept gift that would be swell if wrapped with a box of biscotti, a fifth of Jameson’s, and an order of Grace Hightower De Niro’s fair-trade Rwandan coffee. The mug could also be used as a pencil holder on top with paperclips in the mouth.
($14.00 plus shipping and handling at UncommonGoods.com.)
5. Tortured Artists
If you’re not fawning over first four choices, then perhaps you should get Dad a copy of the fabulous, easy-to-read nonfiction book Tortured Artists.
Tortured Artists features brisk but illuminating profiles of celebrated figures from literature, music, drama, and visual art, examining the role that anguish and adversity has played in the world’s best-known creative accomplishments. And if dad gets bored with one story, he can just skip to the next. Let’s be real— the man has no idea who Amy Winehouse is, but Johnny Cash*, and Irving Berlin are right up his alley, and if he’s not careful, he may find himself learning about the personal demons that tortured Picasso, Dante, Yeats*, Plath, and Herzog.
($15.95 – click for more: Tortured Artists)
*The author has already contributed two chapters from his book for your reading pleasure — click on Cash and Yeats above and see why we love this book.