Father’s Day is just around the corner, and while you might have picked out a gift for your real dad already, you’re probably struggling to find the right thing to get for that one guy who’s married to your mom. It’s not always easy to toe the line between a gift that is technically nice and won’t get you in trouble with your mom, and a gift that lets your stepdad know that he’ll never be your real dad, NEVER! As a child of divorce with a super hot mom, I’ve naturally had many stepdads (3) so I pretty much consider myself an expert on the step subject, and believe me when I say, not all stepdads are created equal. In my experience, some are great and some are terrible; some are dead and some are dead to me! So whether you’re shopping for the stepdad you love, the stepdad you hate, or the stepdad you tolerate, follow my guide and give the gift that says “I’m not calling you Dad” this Father’s Day.
The Corporate Step: Funky Tie
The funky tie is a Father’s Day favorite and depending on the dad this could either be a really nice gift or a total power move. Maybe he loves ties! Or maybe you know damn well he doesn’t need to wear a suit and tie now that he’s working from home. In fact, maybe he even confided in you over Christmas about how liberated he has felt not having the corporate noose around his neck day in and day out. How the pandemic has totally changed his life and he loves his new hobby of beekeeping so much that he’s even considering retiring and devoting his life full-time to the bees! Let him know that you don’t give a sh*t about his dreams with one small, seemingly nice gesture.
The Every Step: Socks
Is your stepdad just like, a normal guy? An average Joe type with a bland personality? Do you not have a strong opinion about him one way or the other? Let him know that you really don’t know him at all, with a nice pair of socks!
The Rad Dad: #2 Dad Mug
Does your stepdad wear mirrored sunglasses that wrap around his head? Does your stepdad only communicate in fist bumps? Does he not really care what’s happening as long as he can watch ESPN and man the grill? Does he pretty much stay out of your way, but in a loving and supportive way? If so, you might have what us professional stepdaughters refer to as “a Rad Dad!” Congrats! This is one of the highest-quality stepdad prototypes on the market today. They don’t require much in terms of emotional maintenance, and you can always count on them to say “pound it” when they’re proud of you. If you’re lucky, they’ll have a nice whiskey collection and buy you a car for your 16th birthday. 9 out of 10 stepdaughters recommend! Get this guy a #2 DAD trophy, mug, or T-shirt, because he deserves it! He’ll say, “thanks, Sport” or your money back is guaranteed!
The Sh*tty Step: Unsigned Card & Expired Gift Card
Is your mom making you attend a Father’s Day brunch for your Sh*tty Stepdad™? Did she say you had to bring him a present otherwise it’s no bottomless mimosas for you? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Here’s what you’re going to do: buy an off-brand Hallmark card at your local drug store. If they don’t have any for stepfathers, buy one for fathers and then scribble STEP on it in giant letters. Next, turn the passive aggression up a notch and include a used gift card, signing your name “FROM, [insert full name here].” Believe me when I say nothing screams “You’ll never be my real dad” like an expired Chili’s gift card! Plus, if you’re strategic about it your mom won’t ever have to find out, but your sh*tty stepdad will, and that’s the point. Remember, healthy relationships rely on having power over people!
The Natural Nurturer: Nalgene
Maybe your stepdad loves hiking, or maybe you want him to take a hike, either way—the Nalgene is the go-to gift for your woodsy step! This water bottle has HUGE stepdad energy: technically nice, but ultimately disappointing, because while the Nalgene does hold a sufficient amount of water, its wide brim lip is notoriously difficult to drink out of, often resulting in unwanted and unattractive dribble action. Your mom will be so turned off by your step’s slobbering that she’ll have no choice but to leave him at whatever national park they’re visiting, and voilà! You’ll finally be free to watch Gilmore Girls in peace!
The Spiritual Step: Power Strip
As someone who has had Jewish, Catholic, and Baptist stepfathers, none of which are religions I practice, I know what it’s like to have religious differences with a stepparent. Mixed faith families aren’t without their perks, though. Growing up with multiple blended families offered me a unique opportunity to observe and understand different cultures and religions from a new perspective. Not to mention, I got to celebrate two Christmases AND Hanukkah. I mean, c’mon. But truthfully, it isn’t always easy living under the rules of somebody else’s religion. Especially when it involves your third stepdad making you watch The Passion of the Christ every Easter, despite it going directly against your own personal religion: hating Mel Gibson. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from all three of my spiritual stepdads, it’s that no matter our religious differences, there’s one thing we can all agree on: there’s nothing more practical than a power strip! Because with all of us addicted to our devices, who doesn’t need more space for chargers these days, amiright?! Plus, It’s almost impossible to make extension cords about God, so this gift will keep you in extremely neutral territory conversationally. You might die of boredom at brunch, but at least you won’t have to listen to your stepdad rant about the Bible all night like he did that one year you gave him wine.
The Southern Step: Weird Pet
For some reason or another, the Southern Second Husband is a staple in every divorcee’s journey for love. They’re always rich and they’re ALWAYS problematic lawyers who played football at LSU in 1968. No, this isn’t hyper-specific to me, how dare you! Anyone who’s anyone has had a Cajun stepdad whose first language was French, okay? Anyway, the best bet for these guys is gonna be an exotic pet. The weirder and more high-maintenance, the better. Iguana, parakeet, monkey, snake, you catch my drift… The type of pet is dependent on whatever point you’re trying to make/how mad you are at your mom, so I’ll leave that up to you. Happy shopping!
If you read through this guide and still have no clue what to get your step for Father’s Day, then screw it! He’s not your real dad anyway! And screw you! I gave some really solid advice here, the least you could do is take it.
Images: Guille Faingold / Stocksy.com; Giphy (4)