A dad is an easily identifiable entity. He has a number of responsibilities around the house that make him feel valued: mowing the lawn; doing the fuse when all the lights flick out; guarding the TV remote. He's the chuckler at every John Bishop gig; he's had his Volvo's speakers fine-tuned to get the most out of 5 Live; there's nothing he loves more than doing the tosser hand sign at teenage Fiat Punto drivers going too slow on the M62. He sneezes louder than a Funktion-One sound-system. He stoically lights a match every time he takes a 45-minute shit.
Gillette adverts and east London would have us believe the myth of modern dads – 35-year-olds with gleaming man-buns do upload videos to Facebook of them patiently plaiting their daughters' hair – but I am afraid: no, these men do not actually exist. Look at the corner of your house, where your dad is, in His Chair: he can quote the petrol price point from any weekend over the last 15 years, but he cannot and will not plait your hair.
He's sitting there, always, in a deep and mad and begrudging form of love with you, and sometimes that manifests in joy and sometimes in arguments. And that's what we're focusing on today. Here's every argument you're going to have with your dad this weekend. Happy Father's Day!
THAT ARGUMENT ABOUT TURNING THE HEATING ON
He might own enough Regatta anoraks to clothe the whole of Hull, he might have just bought some silly lawnmower you can sit in, he might be Jeff Bezos: it doesn't matter – your dad still won't put the heating on. Even if your limbs are turning blue and your teeth have smashed into shards from constantly chattering together, he won't change his mind. He'll just tell you to "put a jumper on", even though you're lying in the foetal position, swathed in a duvet.
This is his fight. He is a middle-aged man, weakened by time, but he still controls the thermostat. With his hairline gone and the dawning acceptance that he will never achieve anything more than a middle-management role at work, this is the only remaining power he has. "When it's your house, you'll understand," he tells you. WELL, HAHA AT YOU, DAD, BECAUSE THE ONLY WAY I'LL EVER OWN A HOUSE IS IF I SKIN YOU ALIVE AND TAKE ALL YOUR ASSETS.
ARGUMENT WHERE HE GETS ENRAGED AT SERVICE STAFF FOR NO REAL REASON WHATSOEVER
You go to the cinema to see the new Star Wars film. Your dad gets out that battered leather wallet every man over 30 keeps as an alternative form of ID, bulging with store cards, his debit card number embossed in one side after countless ten-hour car rides, firmly un-replaced, despite you buying him a new wallet every birthday for five years. He's splashed out: popcorn, Coca Cola, Minstrels. He's feeling good – he just made a joke about Holly Willoughby's "bangers". Then he notices something on the pre-paid tickets: a £1 booking fee. But I bought them online? There was no service? Vesuvius, erupt.
He's angry; he feels alive; it's the youngest he has felt in years. He starts mouthing off at some sixth former in a uniform. Your dad is trying out some sort ancient barter system which is guaranteed not to work. "This," he says, pointing to a £1 charge on a £58 receipt, "is Broken Britain. You should be ashamed." Despite the scathing TripAdvisor review, the local Vue does not suffer a dip in sales.
THAT ARGUMENT WHEN YOUR DAD ASKS YOU TO CARRY OUT A NUMBER OF QUITE REASONABLE TASKS WHILE HE AND YOUR MUM GO ON HOLIDAY AND YOU FAIL TO DO THEM ENTIRELY
He wants you to refill the bird feeders, take the newspapers inside the house and wheel the bins out because the collectors only come on Thursdays. " Yes," you respond, "Give me £20 and let me exist in this house of unlimited toilet roll and beautifully fragrant shower gel, and I will do it. I am your offspring, after all."
In reality, you don't flush the toilet once for the entirety of the week. The washing machine clogs with pizza crusts and congealed milk, you mess up the TV wires when you stick an HDMI cable in to watch an illegal stream of Westworld, and you smash two of the good wine glasses.
When he gets back and surveys your damage, he sends you an angry email that you never open because you don't like dealing with your problems. But when you fall asleep each night you think of it and it makes you feel sick. He has won this one, fair play to him. Still going to ask you to housesit again next time he takes your mum on a cruise for two weeks though, isn't he?
YOU DO SOMETHING THAT MILDLY UPSETS HIS RIGID ROUTINE AND HE GETS REALLY, BIZARRELY UPSET
Your dad, a walking sunburn hidden behind a crinkled newspaper, hasn't changed his routine since 1985. His body moves like a scheduled clock, tummy rumbling two minutes before his daily ham sandwich. He loves Roy Orbison and surprisingly listens to Lorde, but other than that he hasn’t updated his music taste since he was a university student who smoked "some of the wacky backy" and wore flares. Ask for a lift 25 minutes before his scheduled shower and enjoy him whinge like a baby searching for a teet.
THAT ARGUMENT WHERE HE SNEEZES
Your dad sneezes like a horse is trying to die. Pick him up on it and he will furiously deny there is an issue, even though a car alarm is now going off two streets over. "Piss off!" he says, suddenly really angry. "It's just a bodily function!" Mate: I'm not sure how your body is still in one single piece. It sounds like a grenade just went off inside you. Seek help.
THE ONE WHEN YOU ALL GO ON HOLIDAY AND HE BECOMES A MILITANT TOUR GUIDE
Your Dad wakes up at 7AM, puts on his salmon pink cargo shorts and those wraparound Oakley sunnies that make women give him a wide berth ("They're practical"). He smells of hotel soap, sun cream and a smugness unique to those who have pre-reserved four sun-loungers. He bursts into your room – "Breakfast ends in 30 minutes! Get up or you'll be going hungry!! – but it's only 7.30, and it turns out breakfast is on for another five hours, and even if it wasn't, you don't care because you can just, like, get a snack? You make yourself a weird pink bacon sandwich while he furiously looks at his watch.
He barks you into a rickety old rental car headed toward some heap of old stone you have to see because the Lonely Planet guidebook has tricked him into believing he needs a photo in front of this crumbling shit-tip of rotting limestone and laminated information boards. He walks with his hands behind his back like some Nat Geo softboi and speaks insufferably loudly. "Imagine – someone walked around here, touched this stone 200 years ago." Yes. That is stone. That is how stone works.
At the end of the day the whole family crams back into the car, significantly less happy than when you arrived. Don't argue about it, though – this is what he wanted the whole time. His aim was to make deadly sure there is absolutely zero fun to be had on this family holiday. Why are we here.
THE ARGUMENT WHERE HE IS OUTRAGED HE CAN'T SAY OFFENSIVE THINGS AT WILL
"Why do woofters dress so well?" he asks after seeing Craig Revel Horwood on Strictly. He looks over at your grimace. "So you can't say that now, eh? Next thing, they'll be banning toilets because the concept of privacy is offensive. Snowflake." Who taught him to say snowflake? "Jeremy."
THAT ARGUMENT WHERE HE THINKS HE KNOWS MORE THAN YOU, I.E. ALWAYS
Ever tried to disagree with your dad? His booming voice, weighed down by old cigarette tar, overcooked roast lamb and brown Velcro sandals, will bounce back with one of three condescending responses guaranteed to make you want to gauge his eyes out with a spoon: "Welcome to the real world"; "I've lived a bit longer than you"; and: "Well, that is ridiculous."
WHEN HIS FAVOURITE JOKE IS REPEATED ONE TOO MANY TIMES AND YOU COMPLETELY LOSE YOUR BOLLOCKS
"Can I leave the table?"
That is a real joke. A short phrase formed with the intention of provoking laughter from another human being. My dad routinely employs it every time I go back to Leeds to visit him. This joke won’t be the same as your dad's signature, but whether he makes pig noises when you go in for a second portion of dinner, pretends to pull the car away when you are about to get in it, or says "someone's up early" when you wake up any time past 10.30AM, one day it will all become just a little bit too much and you will snap. Try not to be too mean to him – it is not his fault he is still operating at the Whoopee cushion level of humour. He watched Tommy Cooper die live on TV, man. He hasn't been able to laugh since.