Impossibility: tallying up the number of times I've scurried through Target at the last minute and gifted my dad a box of Titleist golf balls and whatever generally useless but mildly intriguing sports gadget happened to be sitting on a shelf nearby. I'm equally as guilty of showing up on Father's Day with a 12-pack of beer and some sort of grilling tool, and I should be ashamed of myself.
Knowing I'm not alone, I declare 2016 the year that we ditch the gender normative cliches and have some fun with it, too. What if we reimagined all the predictable gifts we force upon our mothers and instead apply them to our dads? Don't let him fool you; dad could use some pampering, too.
It is in this spirit that I present to you a comprehensive guide of the Finer Things that are sure to surprise dad on his big day.
There's nothing like a good old-fashioned foot scrubbing to intimidate a man, but these spas promise to make Dad feel right at home. Among our favorite services:
The Evangeline Spa at the Epicurean Hotel easily tops the list with its Bern's Bourbon on the Rocks Foot Treatment, which comes with a complimentary shot of whiskey, of course. The hot-stone pedicure includes a molten bourbon scrub and foot-smoothing technology. Nails are groomed, buffered and treated to a warm agave nectar stone massage. The whole shebang lasts 60 minutes and costs $70. Evangeline also offers a wide variety of fancy packages and spa services just for men. 1203 S Howard Ave., Tampa. (813) 999-8742. spaevangeline.com.
Okay, so maybe dad really does love golf. Send him to the Saddlebrook Resort for a round, then treat him to the Island Pedicure, a 50-minute pampering that includes a foot soak with exfoliation of pure cane sugar infused with essential oils, enzymes and coconut oil. Pop's paws are then treated to warm body butter and wrapped in hot towels, followed by a coconut oil massage. $75. 5700 Saddlebrook Way, Wesley Chapel. (813) 907-4419. saddlebrook.com/tampa-spa.
If you want to go above and beyond, the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa offers the Gentleman's Time Out package, which includes a 50-minute Swedish massage, 50-minute man's facial, herbal wrap and spa lunch, all for $295. Prefer to opt just for a pedi? The 60-minute deluxe option is $75. 105 N Bayshore Drive, Safety Harbor. (727) 726-1161. safetyharborspa.com.
Bath and body:
Does your dad really, really hate the idea of going to a spa? That doesn't mean he can't still be pampered. Consider putting together a gift basket full of manscaping essentials.
Bluemercury in Hyde Park offers a variety of men's skincare, bath and body, haircare and grooming and shaving products. 704 S Village Circle, Tampa. (813) 254-4100. bluemercury.com.
Or sign dad up for Dollar Beard Club. The service lets you build a kit of vital beard grooming products and have it delivered every month. From brushes and combs to balms and oils, the merch looks manly, smells heavenly, and is presented in pleasing rustic-chic packaging. dollarbeardclub.com.
If you want to keep it local, swing by the Shave Cave to stock up on goodies for your best guy. The luxe barber shop features a sleek lounge complete with a selection of St. Petersburg brews that changes biweekly — plus snacks, drinks, a retail store and more. Buy dad a Shave Cave gift card for his basket and add in a bunch of stock and swag to see him through until his visit. Memberships are available, starting at $65 per month. 121 Second Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 914-7700. theshavecave.com.
There's no better time to do some day drinking than on Father's Day. Here are a few places we're sure Dad wouldn't mind getting his sip on for his big day.
The Columbia Restaurant is steeped in tradition and offers a menu and an experience that can't be beat. Grab a mojito (or a pitcher if you plan to Uber), and try out some tapas — or make a night of it by checking out the famed flamenco dance show. If you choose the latter, be advised that the dancers don't perform on Sundays and there is a $6 cover charge per person Mondays through Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. and Fridays through Saturdays at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. 2117 E Seventh Ave, Tampa. (813) 248-4961. columbiarestaurant.com.
You'll find one of the most lively brunches at Hamburger Mary's, where men are treated extra special. Have a blast and make Dad blush during the restaurant's Drag Queen Brunch, which starts at 11 a.m. on Sundays with an all-you-can-eat buffet plus $3 Bloody Marys and unlimited mimosas for $5. After you're fed and imbibed comes the best part this day out with Dad: Miss Esme Russell hosts a show at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the Ybor location, 1600 E Seventh Ave., Tampa, featuring some of Tampa's most talented drag performers. The act begins at 1 p.m. Sundays at the Clearwater location, 28910 U.S. 19 N. hamburgermarys.com.
Enjoy a day on the water with dad during brunch aboard the Yacht StarShip. Dress in your best resort-casual getup and cruise through the bay's best views during the luxury dining adventure. Tampa's early brunch cruise boards at 10:30 a.m. at 603 Channelside Drive and returns at 1 p.m. The late brunch cruise boards at 2 p.m. and returns at 4:30. In Clearwater, the brunch cruise boards at noon at 25 Causeway Blvd. and returns at 2:30 p.m. $49.95 ages 13 and up, $29.95 ages 4-12, ages 3 and under free. For reservations, call (813) 223-7999 or visit yachtstarship.com.
Help dad channel his inner interior designer with a shopping spree at some of the bay's hippest shops.
At Oxford Exchange, you're sure to find any number of unique gifts suited for the king of the day. From coffee-table books to sports stories to classics like The Old Man and the Sea, Oxford Exchange offers a ton of options dad is sure to love. 420 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. (813) 253-0222. oxfordexchange.com.
Mis en Chic prides itself on its carefully curated collection of coastal decor. Here, you can treat pop to a selection of masculine MTodd candles. They smell just as manly and as elegant as they look. 1180 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 623-4866. misenchic.com.
Stop by Tampa's Indie Flea on Sunday to give Dad the masculine version of a floral bouquet. O'Berry's Succulents will be on hand from noon to 4 p.m. with an array of creative arrangements at the historic Rialto Theatre, 1617 N Franklin St., Tampa. (813) 221-8808. oberryssucculents.com.
Sweets and treats:
Chocolates are a man's best friend. Wait, that's not how it goes? Well, it should be. Fortunately for Dad, we have some charming chocolates and other delightful delicacies right in our collective back yard.
Case in point: the Fudge Factory on the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks. What's better than fresh, handcrafted fudge made with cream, sugar and Hershey's cocoa? Nothing, that's what. The Fudge Factory has been serving it up since 1988, and if Dad hasn't tried their Rocky Road variety, he hasn't lived. 808 Dodecanese Blvd., Tarpon Springs. (727) 934-8196. flfudgefactory.com.
Who says you can't have tea time with dads? You can do just that at TeBella Tea Co., a boutique specializing in loose leaf tea from around the world as well as tea accessories. You can find and purchase TeBella teas at multiple locations throughout the bay area — we recommend the artisan shop on Davis Islands — but you also can sit down for afternoon tea in the beautiful glass conservatory at Oxford Exchange from 3 to 5 p.m., Friday through Sunday. 420 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. (813) 253-0222, ext. 1. tebellatea.com.
Craving coffee? Take dad for a stroll down Central in St. Pete and stop in at Bandit Coffee, a multiroaster coffee bar serving single origin coffee. Some make the drive all the way from Tampa for a cup of the stuff. 2662 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 836-0817. banditcoffee.co.