Because they should know, right?

When I look at pictures of “our” Dads when we were growing up, what astounds me the most is how OLD they look—even though they are usually at least ten years younger than I am now. My Dad at 30 with his flannel work shirts and mustache. My father-in-law, also with his mustache (this was indeed the late ’70s)—wearing Chuck Taylors, yes, but still, looking at least 40 vs. his actual 26. For Father’s Day, we bought these Dads things like fishing poles and a new circular saw. You know, old guy stuff.

Here’s what I was thrilled to discover when I hit the streets (well, Facebook Messenger) to ask my favorite contemporary Dads what they really want for Father’s Day: They haven’t let having kids or buying a house turn them into their Father’s Father. Some of them act like they’re still in college (one instantly sent me a link to the Jet Adult Shop), and even their more “classic” picks like shaving cream and ties had a fun vibe or techy edge.

Here’s a peek at their wish list:

Gen X Dad

Suede PUMAs to replace the nine-year-old ones ruined while puddle jumping, and a Joy Division coffee mug or tee that says ‘I’d rather be listening to music.”

Kid-at-Heart Dad

“I have one Titan Disc Golf Catcher and want another. We can set up two stands and play Frisbee just like a game of cornhole with kids, neighbors, and friends.”

Wall Street Dad

“Cufflinks that are professional, not flashy, but will be noticed by the trained eye. These Star Wars Rebel Alliance cufflinks could be anything. But if someone likes Star Wars and sees them they will be a great conversation piece.”

Geek Dad

Samsung SmartThings, with everything you need to monitor your home from anywhere. It bridges devices from multiple vendors (, Kidde smoke/CO2 detectors) and home grown devices all on a single platform that can be remotely monitored by any smartphone, Android, or iOS device.”

Rock Dad 

With vinyl making a comeback, you want a hi end system to play it on. Much better quality than CD or MP3.”

Sports Dad

“Kinda cliché but my best gift would be a box of golf balls and a day out to golf with my friends. Dinner and drinks after, while my wife stays home with the kids. Also a subscription to MLB TV; it gives access to every Major League Baseball game all year.”

Anti-Establishment Dad 

“The Complete Calvin and Hobbes Collection. Bill Waterson is a total hero of mine for many reasons, one of which is his refusal to license his creations for whatever crap people would have paid him millions to let them sell.”

Cross-Fit Dad 

Nike Metcon sneakers. They’re all-purpose; you can use them for short runs, for lifting, and they’re not bulky so they travel easy.”

Jetsetter Dad 

“A roomy, hanging toiletry kit has all the tools I need to freshen up while I’m waiting for my bags after a long international flight. I could also use a portable cell phone bank to help me stay on top of emails and avoid missing more time with family.”

Carnivore Dad

“Having an accurate thermometer is invaluable. Much better than the one that comes with your grill with the additional benefit of letting you see the internal temp of the meat. Definitely a must-have for anyone into smoking and slow cooking.”


“A tactical defense pen is a good conversation piece for gatherings at the watercooler. ‘Well, it’s a pen, but so much more; let me show you this YouTube video.’ I’d also like a portable draft beer system or these aficionado-style whisky glasses for class and sophistication when the boss comes over.”

My Dad 

“I’d really like to have a nice steak dinner where I don’t have to cook without your kids.”

That last part was…unexpected. In hindsight, I really shouldn’t have asked after he spent a particularly challenging day babysitting at my house. Whoops.

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