It's Father's Day, again. The country and the world make plans every June to honor fathers. This is the day that we make contact with Dad for Dad's sake. What to buy, when to call and more importantly, what to do are questions that plague eager offspring every year. My solution to Father's Day, as it is to every event, is, "Let's eat out."
More than 60 percent of all households go out for a meal on Mother's Day, while less than 25 percent eat out on Father's Day. Why is that? Guessing, I might say that traditionally, Mom is responsible for the feeding of the family. Taking Mom out relieves her of her culinary chores. Traditionally, Mom was home all week and taking her out and away from her housework was a special treat or luxury. Dad, however, was out of the house working all week, so staying home, not having to go to work and eat out was his luxury. Traditionally, on Mother's Day, Mom wants to "do," and on Father's Day, Dad wants to "do nothing."
But does Dad want to eat out? I asked my husband if he wanted to eat out for Father's Day. "No, I just want to be home," he said. I tried again, explaining that the idea was to treat him and do something different. The response shortened: "No." I explained that if we went out, there would not be a mess or anything and it might be fun. Frustrated, he answered, "It's Father's Day, not Mother's Day; I would like to eat in." The conversation ended.
As the traditional breadwinner, Dad gets to pay for everything. Would he have to pay for dinner on Father's Day? Another reason that Father's Day is at home: It might be a lot for adult children to pay for the family to eat out all together.
The choice of food could be another reason Dad likes to eat in. Many men like to eat only foods that they know, and they can get what they know at home. When I got married, my husband liked his mom's food the best. Now, poor thing, he likes mine the best. It's what he knows, and I probably prepare what I know he likes most of the time (and I call myself liberated). Men don't want to experiment, while women like variety and enjoy the assortment offered at restaurants.
Men tend to like clean or straight foods. They like the basics: beef with no bordelaise; potatoes without parsley; apple, not apricot, pie.
So, does that mean we should forget eating out this upcoming Father's Day? No, I'm still trying. Look for restaurants that will please. It might be that Dad that needs a break. Surely, there is something about eating out that focuses the company on each other. The kids aren't running off to watch TV, the lawn isn't screaming, "Mow me." Steakhouses are usually favored over fancy cafes, and most men don't like to dress up, so casual atmosphere is a must.
Restaurants could help us get Dad out of the house by offering no-fuss meals, quick, easy service, grilled items and strong but simple fare. Barbecues have become to Father's Day what brunch is to Mother's Day. I'm for a barbecue out.
I once saw a Father's Day special that offered a discount for all guests. It gave 10 percent off for the first relative, 15 percent off for the second, 20 percent off for the third. You get the idea. Dad could have everyone there and not hurt his pocket, or yours.
Restaurants should keep the service fast. Ladies love to linger; men like to move. Dad wants to get home to see the game or get that call.
I just read this through and realized that I am doing a bit of stereotyping. Sorry. Maybe your dad does want a fancy restaurant to linger and enjoy fine wines and pate. You'll have to ask. Maybe some of the dads reading this can hint to their families what and where they want to eat
I grew up in Utica. No, we didn't eat out on Father's Day, although my dad did like to eat out. Once the kids left home and my parents had a little more time and money, my dad liked to eat at the Elks Club, where he could play lotto cards. He used to like Nick Stoner's Golf Club when the restaurant was on the open porch. But he liked barbecues at home with as much of the family as he could get, and he liked being home for the long-distance calls. If I could today, I would take my dad out for a barbecue and I would let him use a cellphone in the restaurant, just this once.
Happy Father's Day to all.
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