Once, when I was five, my dad came home from a business trip wearing a baseball cap advertising the band Barenaked Ladies. I was in that phase that comes right after learning to read, the honeymoon period, where you feel the compulsion to read everything aloud. My dad bent to kiss me on the head and I glared at his hat for a moment. “Barenaked Ladies … Dad, why does your hat say ‘Naked Ladies’ ?”
He squatted and took off the hat and handed it to me. “Barenaked Ladies are a band made up of five gentlemen from Canada.” (Yeah, that was how he spoke to his five-year-old).
“Why is that their name if they’re boys?”
“Because it’s good marketing” he said, quite seriously. “It got your attention, see? And now you’re not going to forget their name. And you’ll probably tell your friends ‘Hey, have you heard of that band, Barenaked Ladies?’ It’s good business. These guys are going to be famous.”
And they are.
He gave me a lot of lessons like that. Everything from the proper use of a hole punch to taking good care of vinyl. All this before I was twelve. He taught me everything I needed to know to survive in the real world.
And that’s why we love our fathers. Whether their area of expertise is sports or cars or law or the promotion of musical groups, those things were just vehicles for the big lessons, showing us the big picture, getting us ready for the times when we’d be on our own.
So here’s a mini-roundup in honor of our dads, our teachers–and the best men we know.
1. The Art of Manliness: Reading. Manly men and reading have gone hand-in-hand since the beginning of time (or, maybe since the penning of Lonesome Dove…). To get the whole list of 100 must-reads for real men, visit The Art of Manliness website, The Essential Man’s Library.
2. Beard Appreciation. Perhaps my only regret at being born female is that I will never get to work up a good, wilderness-y beard. So men, take advantage of the gift you’ve been given. Grow, groom, enjoy. And who better to guide you through your beard-growing adventure than a two-time World Beard Champion? Jack Passion has written The Facial Hair Handbook, on sale now. Let the man help.
3. More Motorcycles. Speaking of manly reads, there are rumors about a film adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s Hell’s Angels, probably starring Johnny Depp. The script is being tackled by Stephen Gaghan, who intends on also using Sonny Barger’s book Hell’s Angels: The Life and Times of Sonny Barger and the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club. Can. Not. Wait. Read up.
4. Just Like James (Bond). I think we all, at one point or another, harbor suspicions or hopes that our father is a secret agent. I mean, who takes that many business trips? I’ve seen True Lies, I know what’s up. And you may think “Hey, my dad’s a book lover, NO WAY is he a spy.” But you obviously haven’t seen THIS.
Happy Father’s Day, all.