For Father's Day, give the gift of badassery

What to get for the man in your life who's got everything except deliverance from the creeping dread of his own unrealised potential

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For Father's Day, give the gift of badassery

The Edinburgh International Climbing Arena in Ratho

Father's Day is usually little more than an excuse to let the fathers in your life sleep in on a Sunday morning, which, let's be honest, is probably what they were planning to do anyway. But why must it be so banal? You owe it to your father to show him a world beyond grilled meat and steam engines: time to get him to put down that copy of Mojo, suck in that stomach and carpe the freakin' diem. Don't know what that means? We'll get to it later.

We've trawled the internet for gift ideas for the middle-aged men in your life which go beyond slap-up meals and staring dispiritedly at vintage machinery. Here they are, in ascending order of awesomeness.

Get him climbing
The Edinburgh International Climbing Arena in Ratho is Europe's largest indoor climbing arena, and climbing up things and abseiling down them is one of the more exhilarating ways to keep fit. Plus, you can't get lost in bad weather and you can have a panini afterwards. For a real adrenalin hit, try the Aerial Assault course: dangle from a rope 110 feet above the ground, negotiate a series of obstacles and try not to make a tit of yourself.

Get him to organise a TEDx Event
Men love to tell people about stuff they think they understand. If your dad knows of something that people need to know about, he could do some extreme mansplaining: apply for a licence to organise a TEDx event in his local area, and could get qualified people to give talks on stuff they really do understand! The only drawback here is that TEDx events need to be genuinely useful, informative and multidisciplinary, and not single-topic driven, so he can't apply to do one on the history of taps or whatever else happens to be his favourite subject.

Book him a cooking class
Some men are very good cooks indeed. Some men, who only know how to cook small pieces of meat over open flame until they're barely edible, could do with taking a class. The Cook School Scotland will teach your dad to tell his tapas from his pūpū, and everyone will benefit from his culinary skills.

Get him into a recording studio
This one's for two kinds of dad: the musical ones who've never had a chance to hear what they actually sound like, and the utterly unmusical ones who are game enough to let this one pay off in comic humiliation for many Christmases yet to come. Glasgow Music Studios charges £32/hour for recording and mixing, and they also offer music lessons (including DJing).

Put him in a stunt plane
An instructor takes you up in a stunt plane from Perth (Scone) Airport, does a few barrel-rolls, loops and corkscrews, and then you get to handle the controls for a bit. Wild horses offering bribes of gold ice cream with Crunchie bars crumbled over the top couldn't get us to do this, but for some dads, this would be aeronautical heaven. More sensible dads might prefer the less nerve-shredding flight simulator experience, available at Perth and Cumbernauld airports.

Get him to drive a tank
Well, wouldn't you want to? The folks at Tank Driving Scotland offer a chance to drive one of their tanks – yes, Military Nerd Dad, technically the FV432 is an armoured personnel carrier, but come on, we know you're still excited – and if you really want to push the boat out, try their Car Crush Experience, which is exactly what it sounds like. If you want to crush your own car, they'll even knock £50 off the price and tow away the scrap for you. But if driving a tank still doesn't seem like enough of a learning curve, then get ready to face the ultimate challenge:

Get him to learn Latin
… Yes, we're serious. The Open University will give you a thorough introduction to the language and literatureof ancient Rome, the people without whom Monty Python's Life of Brian would lack decent antagonists. Don't be fooled by Tory politicians who flaunt their Latin knowledge as if it were in any way ennobling: Roman history is a chronicle of principles betrayed, violence, ambition, corruption, jaw-dropping amounts of incest and amazing speechmaking, and Roman literature can be amazingly filthy. The next time some idiot cuts you off, shout 'Pedicabo ego vos et irrumabo!' and people will probably think it's a Roman legion war cry, as opposed to a threat so obscene that if you said it in English you could be prosecuted under Section 4 of the Public Order Act. And remember, if your dad is in Scotland, works full-time and earns below a certain threshold, he could get his fees paid in part or even in full.

Father's Day in the UK takes place Sun 19 Jun … don't forget.

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