On Father's Day, the majority of dads all over the UK will wake up (or, more likely, be woken up) to some rather lovely presents from their children.
As a dad of two, I can vouch for the fact that it's a wonderful occasion, even if it is largely suspicious that your one year-old son has the money to buy you a gift. But behind our smile shimmers a man who longs for things more than a photo of his family, or a box of beer; things that are difficult - if not impossible - to achieve.
This is what every dad really
craves for on Father's Day.
1. A hairline that doesn't recede.
Despite what the adverts on TV suggest, most men aren't that bothered about going grey. In fact, we think it makes us even more
attractive, like George Clooney or Sean Connery. Our biggest fear, however, is that our receding hairline will progress so much that we end up looking less like Clooney or Connery and more like a hard-boiled egg, or Britney Spears when she went through that slightly crazy phase. I panic that my hairline is receding, and I'm only 26. It just worries me when it takes longer to wash my face each morning.
2 A belly that doesn't hang.
When we were young and single, us men were relatively fit. Some of us were tremendously
healthy. But fatherhood doesn't just take its toll on the wallet; our fitness invariably suffers, and where once was a set of abs like a washboard now resides a hairy apron of blubber. You know you're getting large when you stand in front of a urinal and you've no idea in which direction you're going to spray. Oh, for a six-pack. (Not of beer.)
3. To be 18 again.
This is perhaps not quite so relevant for a young (and, some might say, quite stupid) dad, such as myself; but many fathers who find themselves in an older age bracket long for the heady days of their youth, when they could stay up until the wee hours, get drunk, and compliment a teenage girl without being called 'Grandad', or 'Pervert'.
4. A decent lie-in.
There was a time when seeing the bright digital figures on your alarm clock reading 3.00 AM meant you were just coming in from a night out. Now, you spend the twilight hours feeding a baby whilst watching awful television. Then, you're up again a few hours later, either to see to a wailing child or to go to work. Our ideal Father's Day would involve never leaving the bed, and snoring the entire time.
Ever since we became a co-parent, with free time squeezed to a minimum and exhaustion at a peak, it seems we need a reason to indulge in rather more private affairs. Birthdays, for example. Christmas Day. The Royal Wedding. And, yes, Father's Day falls under the same umbrella. Although not technically a gift from the kids, it'll certainly make us smile.
Dads, tell us what else you would like for Father's Day?
Mums, they may want all the above but is a drawing and a best dad mug more likely? What are you planning?
Our favourite screen dads - and why
- Mr Incredible, The Incredibles
Bob Par and wife Helen are former superheroes, forced to relocate to the suburbs and live as ‘normally’ as possible with children Dash, Violet and Jack-Jack. Easier said than done, and when Bob, aka Mr Incredible is drawn back into his superhero world, he leaves behind three sad little ones who just want their dad back. Lucky Bob realises his mistake, and proves that to be a real superhero, all he needs to do is make his kids proud.<br />
<strong>Favourite quote: </strong>‘I’m sorry. I’ve been a lousy father. So obsessed with being undervalued that I undervalued all of you.’</p>
- Daniel, Love Actually
Dashing Daniel is faced with looking after stepson, Sam, all alone after his wife, Sam’s mum, dies. He seems clueless, but gets better as time goes on, doting over the little guy and helping him snag his crush at school, learn the drums and come to terms with losing his mum. We challenge anyone not to well up at the end when Sam calls Daniel ‘dad’ for the first time.</p>
<strong>Favourite quote:</strong> ‘This stepfather thing seems so suddenly to somehow matter like it never did before.’</p>
- Alfie Moon, Eastenders
So he isn’t technically Tommy’s dad, but we all saw loveable Alfie’s heart break when he thought the little man had died during the baby cot death swap saga. And when Tommy was returned to Kat and Alfie and he bought him a mini football strip to match his own pyjamas, he went straight to the top of the list for sheer cuteness.</p>
- George Banks, Father of the Bride
Anyone with a grown up daughter will relate to poor George. He's put well and truly through the emotional and financial ringer as he prepares to walk his not-so-little-girl, Annie, down the aisle, facing the reality that his once baby girl is ready to face the world alone.<br />
<strong>Favourite quote:</strong> ‘I suddenly realised what was happening. Annie was all grown up and was leaving us, and something inside began to hurt.’</p>
- Chris Gardener, The Pursuit of Happiness
Chris’ wife has walked out, and he’s skint. Faced with a life where he and his son, Christopher, are broke and homeless, he takes on an unpaid internship at a stockbrokers to learn the trade and make a mint, while teaching his son impeccable moral standards along the way to boot.<br />
<strong>Favourite quote:</strong> ‘I made up my mind that when I had children, my children were going to know who their father was.’</p>
- Martin Crane, Frasier
Down-to-earth Martin likes the simple life with minimal fuss, which is made tricky when he shares a flat with grown-up son, Frasier, who is a fan of the finer things in life, just like his brother, Niles. In one memorable episode, Frasier throws out Martin’s beloved leather chair, which upsets lovely Martin as it has huge sentimental value. Frasier realises his mistake and sets off to make amends, realising his dad isn’t all too bad in the process.</p>
- Homer Simpson, The Simpsons
Hapless but hilarious dad Homer might not always put his kids Bart, Lisa and you-never-quite-know-what-she’s-thinking Maggie first, but he always comes through for them in the end. And you couldn’t help but love him when he worked two jobs and barely slept to buy little Lisa a pony.<br />
<strong>Favourite quote:</strong> ‘Well, it's 1am. Better go home and spend some quality time with the kids.’</p>
- Mick, Gavin and Stacey
The loveable dad to Essex boy Gavin, Mick is the long-suffering husband to Gavin’s mum, Pam, and puts up with long drives to see future daughter-in-law Stacey’s family in sunny Barry. He has, as character Ness would say, ‘a cracking’ relationship with Gavin, cemented in the touching scene where the pair discuss a very sad Gavin’s possible infertility.</p>
- Charles Ingalls, aka, Pa, Little House on the Prairie
The pillar of the family’s small farming community, Pa Ingalls juggled life on the ranch and raising three girls, along with sorting scuffles in neighbouring families. The family didn’t have a lot of money, but were rich in love and respect for each other as they faced a tough old life on the American frontier, with Pa leading the charge.</p>
- Ben Harper, My Family
Moody Ben is dad to hapless Nick, sharp-tongued Janey and brainbox Michael, who is far too clever for Ben and outwits him on a daily basis. All he wants in life is a bit of peace and quiet, and his wife, Susan, to stop cooking such awful meals. He gets his wish briefly when Nick and Janey move out, but in comes lodger Abi, and Janey is never too far away with her son, Kenzo, to disturb the peace…</p>
- Daniel Hillard / Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire, Mrs Doubtfire
Poor Daniel seems to attract trouble, and when wife Miranda kicks him out and takes custody of kids, Lydia, Christopher and Natalie, he walks into even more trouble, by dressing as an ageing grandmother and starting work as the family’s housekeeper in disguise. Extreme? Yes. But no one can argue this dad won’t go the extra mile for his children.</p>
<strong>Favourite quote:</strong> ‘I admire that honesty, Natalie, that's a noble quality. Never lose that.'</p>
- Geppetto, Pinocchio
Inventor Gepetto is desperate for his wooden puppet, Pinocchio, to become a real boy, and a real son for him. His wish is granted, and despite Pinocchio lying, sorry, fibbing (children’s film) regularly, his dedicated father, Gepetto, is always his biggest supporter. When Pinocchio finally sheds his wooden body, Gepetto’s dedication pays off, and he is rewarded with an, altogether now, ‘real boy!’.</p>
<strong>Favourite quote: </strong>‘You're alive! And, and you are a real boy!’</p>
- Pete Brockman, Outnumbered
Pete and wife, Sue, struggle - daily - to keep their brood of three in order. Most of time Sue, and especially Pete fail miserably, as children Jake, Ben and Karen outwit and run rings around them, leaving you wondering: ‘Who are the grown-ups here?’</p>
- Professor Henry Jones Senior, Indiana Jones films
He might not have the best relationship with son, Henry ‘Indiana’ Jones, but Henry Senior clearly had a big impact on a little Henry growing up, as he follows an identical career path as his dad. Despite huge disagreements and eye rolling, you can tell these two have a real soft spot for each other.</p>
<strong>Favourite quote:</strong> ‘Oh, yeah? And who's gonna come to save you, JUNIOR?’</p>