Father’s Day: Sayonara Ties, Hello Man-Pampering

Father's Day is rapidly approaching, but you haven't heard a peep from dad about how much he's enjoying his necktie from last year. Maybe -- despite his oohs and ahhs -- a designer noose isn't the way to go this year. Instead, give him a Father's Day gift he'll never forget -- a little man-pampering.

The idea of providing men with special treatment may seem like a new concept. Some of the most prominent columns feature lame tips like: "Don't nag your man for the whole day." or "Finally give him that back rub he's always asking for."


You can definitely do better than that. Try some of the following nine tips to change the way your man thinks about Father's Day:

1. Straight Razor Shave
Unless you're an expert, this is one you should leave to the professionals. The barber shop is a manly institution that’s been around for hundreds of years. No doubt, masculine icons throughout history have all partaken of this fading art. It's not just about testosterone or the thrill of having a stranger take a razor to your neck. A straight-razor shave is relaxing and it relieves dad of the shaving grind...at least for one day.

Look for a barbershop with the old fashioned red and white pole, preferably with an old man in a white coat sweeping up, and they'll likely offer the services you want. Alternately, you might give him the razor and a link to this how-to video.

2. Car Detailing
Use your best judgment on this one. If dad's the kind of guy who doesn't like anyone else touching his car maybe you should take a pass. But if he can't stop lamenting the strange smell left by the kids' spills or talking about the layer of dirt with its own layer of dirt, hook dad up with a surprise auto detailing.

Many local car washes offer packages covering both the interior and exterior. If you're on a tight budget and want to do the job yourself, AutoGeek.net offers free, comprehensive car detailing video guides.

3. Cook a Favorite Meal
Every household is different. In many, mom deals with all the cooking. In others, dad is the meal master. Either way, food tastes better when you don't have to do the cooking. Grilling tools are a common Father's Day present, but often they're interpreted as a sentence for more work, slaving over the heat.

If there's a meal your man loves, but you never make because it's too time consuming, perhaps Father's Day is the right occasion. He can indulge and it's a gift you know he'll love.

4. Sports Mini-Plans
If season tickets are out of the question, fair enough. They're a big financial commitment and it seems impossible to sit through 50-plus baseball games. Professional, and even minor league teams, have put together mini-plans, usually consisting of three to 10 games of your choosing.

You and the kids can attend a game or two with dad to show your support, but when the season get serious, he can always take a buddy. Some packages even offer additional perks, like hot dogs, beer and T-shirts. The mini-plan truly is the gift that keeps on giving.

5. Alone Time
Somehow, alone time doesn't seem to be in the spirit of the holiday, but a little extra time to decompress and relax can be a pleasant change. With more and more stay-at-home dads, a little alone time might be more important than ever.

If you want to spend time with dad on his special day, do some low-cost activities, like picnicking or hiking. Then, use the money you saved on activities and presents to take the kids out for a day of exhausting activity. This gives everyone time to appreciate dad and he still knows he has a free day coming soon.

6. Gym Membership
For dads sensitive about their size, a gym membership might not send the message you want. However, if he loves to stay active and wants to get out of the house more often, it can make a great gift. If it comes across in the wrong way, you can at least remind him most gyms have hot tubs and saunas. If nothing else, it's a more manly spa.

If you know dad doesn't like hitting the gym but wants to get in shape, there are lots of places to find affordable home workout equipment. Stores like BodyBuilding.com carry thousands of products and are always offering ways to save with additional coupons and discounts.

7. Brewery Tour
It's tough to be the responsible head of a household. Fancy microbrews often take a backseat to diapers and strollers; not that he doesn't love every minute of being a dad, but sometimes it's nice to let loose. The freedom to taste as many beers as he likes in addition to the security of a safe ride home is a gift in itself.

Many of the biggest breweries offer free tours and tastings. Even if they don't have them for free, prices are rarely more than $15. If you want to surprise dad but don't know the difference between a pale ale and a porter, Forbes.com has a nice list of some of the best brewery tours in the country. If none of those are near you, a simple Google Maps search for "breweries" can help clarify your options. Breweries are popping up overnight and there may be one closer than you think.

8. Exotic Car Rental
There comes a time in most men’s lives when they realize Lamborghini ownership just isn't going to happen. Suddenly the sports car fund becomes a college fund.

It doesn't have to mean the dream is completely dead, however. Most likely the people who got into the business of exotic car rentals also realized owning a fleet of European sports cars isn't very practical. So the only way to make it happen was with contributions of friends; like, thousands and thousands of friends.

This Father's Day, let dad jump behind the wheel of his dream machine, if only for a few hours. Exotic car rentals can be found in cities across the country, although bigger cities often have larger selections.

9. Simple Chores
Beyond all the glamorous options on this list, sometimes rolling up your sleeves and helping with some simple chores is the most desirable form of pampering. Dads seem to take a strange satisfaction in sleeping late and lounging in the cool, air-conditioned confines of the indoors while their young laborers work away outside. Help mowing the lawn, trimming trees, pulling weeds and cleaning the garage is always well received. Best of all, it's free!

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