Op-ed: Dear Hallmark, I’ve Got an Idea
I mean no disrespect in writing to you today, as I have only gratitude and admiration for the role your brand has played in helping me and millions of us, really, better communicate our sentiments and create stronger family bonds for as long as I can remember. That said, I would like to lodge one complaint. Well. Perhaps “complaint” is too strong a word. Let’s just say it’s a little something for the Suggestion Box:
Every second Sunday in May, all of us in America empty our wallets at your card shops, and at florists and candy stores because of that juggernaut of holidays you created to honor our most cherished and valued family figures: our mothers! All of us fathers, husbands, siblings, son,s and daughters wrack our brains each year to come up with yet another treacly-with-devotion-but-genuine, heartstring-tugging-yet-witty message for Mom’s card. Which isn’t to say we’re bitter about it. We’re not. Most do it with gusto. Why? Because they know full well the end result will be far more than appreciated – it will be reciprocated.
That’s right. There’s one thing any father/husband can count on every year at this time. It’s that the lengths to which they go to make Mother’s Day memorable for their partners in life and parenting will have to be matched by them merely one month later when the table turns and Father’s Day slides into home plate.
Right. That is unless you, like me, are a man in a relationship with another man and you have kids. Because that makes us both fathers. And the whole notion of taking a day to honor and cherish and pamper that one person in the family for whom you want to buy that tie or golf bag or humidor of cigars goes right out the window. Why? Because there is not one, but two. TWO!?? Now, Hallmark, you didn’t design the holiday for two. You did not intend for it to be shared – I get that. And believe me, in trying to squeeze it into a two-for-one situation, believe me, it’s not twice as much fun.
My kids want to make one card. That’s it. Each, in the past, has chosen a parent, and one of us would get one from our daughter and the other one from our son. Well. always get the card from my son – whom I love and whose cards I love. But he’s 4. I mean, let’s be honest. The card is a single squiggly line and maybe a dot or a drool stain. Then somebody, usually me, has to write the words “Happy Father’s Day, Daddy” on the top, and the date, so I can frame it for my office and remember it forever and ever.
But that’s not the extent of it. No. I also run out on the Saturday before Father’s Day and buy things to make a fun brunch-in-bed with the kids for their Papi. Oh. And I buy a tie or a wallet or a book so that there’s something for the kids to present to their Papi on this fun, relaxing day where we show our appreciation of him.
I then race into the dining room with the kids with a box of feathers and glitter and glue and paints and we make Papi a nice card or painting so that he wakes up to a beautiful piece of kid-made art that represents all the love they feel for their Papi. After all, it is Father’s Day: the most wonderful day of pampering for Father. Or at least one of them.
By the end of the day, I’m so exhausted from making pancakes, eggs, and coffee and feather-glued crafty cards, all I can do is hope Monday comes soon so I can get back to work.
So this is my plea to you, Hallmark. I would like you to find someone on your creative team to come up with a new holiday. That’s right. A holiday for people like me. You could call it OTHER DAD’S DAY … Yeah. I know it’s ODD. But so what? It would be awfully nice. And then Papi and the kids can take a trip to the department store and pick up a nice wallet or briefcase or shoes – perhaps all of the above. Maybe throw in a nice wrist corsage – for me, the other dad in our family … I know it’s the thought that counts – but that’s exactly the point. I’d like someone to start thinking about me. And now that I think of it, he and the kids probably shouldn’t come home without a box of gluten-free cookies and a gift certificate for a massage. And maybe a nice pen. Yeah. Now that’s what I call a holiday, Hallmark. Happy ODD, everybody. Happy ODD!
DAN BUCATINSKY is the author of Does This Baby Make Me Look Straight? With producing partner Lisa Kudrow, he runs Is or Isn't Entertainment, behind the groundbreaking cult comedy The Comeback. You can follow Dan on WhoSay and on Twitter @danbucatinsky.