Token Bloke

Soap on a rope

Want to know what to buy for Father’s Day? Columnist and dad of two Michael Hogan says yes to posh scents, meh to anti-ageing creams and no to toiletries that look like something from Halfords.


As a journalist, Father’s Day gets right on my moobs. As early as February, your inbox starts filling up with press releases tenuously hooked around it. “Take out some pet insurance for him this Father’s Day!”. By March, the phonecalls from PR firms begin. “Are you planning a Father’s Day gift guide?” By April, you’re being plagued by anyone with a vaguely dad-friendly product to plug. The PRs struggle to get anyone bovved most of the year, so latch onto Father’s Day as this magical time when money clips, driving gloves, novelty socks and two-in-one spork-spanners suddenly become news-worthy. By June, it’s just unrealistic suggestions. “Buy him a £300 iPad for Father’s Day!” Yeah, right. “Buy him a £500 ‘experience gift’ to drive a fast car with some Clarkson-esque strangers!”. Oh do cock off.


As a dad, though, Father’s Day is rather a lovely thing. Not only do we get to be centre of attention (for about 10 minutes before we get accused of milking it) but it’s an excuse to get all soppy about our families.


Dads are often hard to buy pressies for, as we pretend to hate fuss and never admit to actually wanting anything. You can’t go far wrong with classique aftershave or grooming products. They’re indulgent, intimate and come in a nice box. We can spritz it on, you can smell our necks, and coo.


Here’s five things we don’t want:


1. Any toiletries packaged to look like they’re from Halfords.

2. Soap on a rope or talc. We’ll never use them.

3. Anything ‘anti-ageing’ as it makes us paranoid we look like bladdy Alan Sugar. The ‘anti-ageing’ category includes nose or ear hair clippers, just to be clear. And adult nappies.

4. Anything a bit ‘oldest swinger in town’: CK unisex scents, Clinique Happy, Issey Miyake or anything with “Sport” in its name.

5. Anything that purports to be hilariously retro but is actually just rubbish (I’m looking at you, Old Spice).


Here’s five things we do want:


1. A traditional barbershop shave is always a treat and makes us feel all manly, like our own dads or James Bond.

2. We love it when you buy us good grooming unguents, like Clinique, Kiehl’s, Lab Series or Clarins. (At the cheaper end, Nivea For Men, Dove Men, Bulldog, Rockface or L’Oreal Men Expert will do the job nicely).

3. Fragrance-wise, Tom Ford, Hermes, Creed, Dior or Acqua Di Parma are all reliably lovely.

4. Smells with notes of fig, vetiver, lavender and rose are hot right now.

5. A summery scent to switch to, like Monsieur Balmain, Muelhens 4711, Burberry Summer or Bvlgari Aqva (which is gorgeovs).


So there you have it. See you at Silverstone for the Jezza Clarkson Gits-Only Grand Prix. I’ll be the one carrying a knock-off iPad, novelty money clip and Swiss Army spork, while smelling strongly of Old Spice talc. Happy f**ing Father’s Day.

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