If you have an email account, watch the telly or even just venture outdoors, you will have noticed that this Sunday 16th June is Fathers' Day.
Here in the UK it is neither a public holiday nor a religious festival, yet we are deluged with suggestions on how to celebrate this relatively recent addition to our national calendar. And by celebrate they mean buy stuff, no piece of worthless or indeed very expensive tat is off limits for you to show your dad how much you love him.
Our national retailers have some rather lazy stereotypical ideas as to what would please a father:
You stink and look like a slob.
Clearly dad is a bit of a let down in the presentation department so why not buy him a grooming kit, deodorant or after shave. And yes it is mainly after shave they advertise, because that's what real men use.
That shelf needs fixing.
For the rest of the year dad has clearly been letting the side down with all those odd jobs around the house that need doing. Why not remind him of this by buying him some power tools or a lawn mower? Putting aside the reinforcement of gender roles, can you imagine a company suggesting irons and vacuum cleaners as Mothers' Day gifts?
You're an alcoholic.
Booze features highly on most Fathers' Day gift suggestions, again mostly suggesting the ever so masculine beer and whisky. You don't see too many ads suggesting dad would like a bottle of Campari.
We wish you were more like James Bond.
The car journey back from seeing Skyfall in the people carrier can only lead to the lingering disappoint that the only fighting dad does is with the flab. Why not remind him of the lack of adrenaline-filled thrill-seeking by arranging for him to drive a fast car or go in a helicopter?
You don't eat enough red meat.
Celebrate Fathers' Day be cooking dad his favourite meal and according to our supermarkets, dad's favourite meal is steak, steak, or at a push lamb. If your dad doesn't like red meat and instead prefers a slice of quiche or a vegetarian option, can you be really sure that he is your real dad?
We really loathe you.
The anarchist child can go through the motions of the whole rigmarole while passive aggressively showing contempt. How? By buying dad some socks, a tie or a tee shirt, but not any old socks, tie or tee shirt but the novelty variety emblazoned with the cartoon character du jour. Unless work is having an ironic day, your dad is unable to wear these items outside the house.
And what's with the Family Guy underwear? "Dad, pull your trousers down so I can see the pants I bought you". Let's not go there.
You don't drink enough tea.
Buy your dad some strong tea to drink out of his manly mug. Actually this one doesn't exist. It could do if I were to jump on the Fathers' Day bandwagon. I could contrive numerous scenarios in which to show how delighted dad would be to have a pack of my tea. Now I'm sure anyone would be delighted to receive some of my tea, but I don't see the need to do so as part of some American import specifically created for commercial reasons.
You don't have to fork out your pocket money (or your wages) to show dad you care and you don't need a special day to show that you do.