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VADERSCHAP IS MEESTERSCHAP

FATHERHOOD IS MASTERHOOD

First there was Mother's Day, only later was Father's Day. In all honesty, I don't believe the ratio has changed after all these years; Father's Day has always remained a bit of a lesser version of Mother's Day. I read that four in ten Dutch people would even want to abolish Father's Day altogether. Strangely enough, men in particular were of this opinion. Curious.

This of course has everything to do with the widely expressed appreciation for mothers and motherhood. Fathers can't match that. You could set up an entire Eurovision Song Contest with all the musical odes to mothers; with those for fathers you will hardly get to a preliminary round. But I believe that that is precisely why Father's Day is so appropriate, perhaps even necessary. It's pretty much the only time of the year when you can show your gratitude to the man who not only gave you life (admittedly, it took someone else), but also helped you through the first eighteen years. physical and mental sense - and I speak from experience when I say that those first eighteen usually take a number of years to complete.

But what is the best way to show that gratitude? If you are reading this and are not yet twelve, it is simple: make a nice drawing with accompanying text ('for the best dad fan in the whole world'). If you're over twelve, things get a little more complicated, but rest assured, I'll make it clear. Fathers (read: men in general) love functional gifts.

However, before I make a case for the most summery of all Father's Day gifts, I have to tell you why we celebrate it in June in the first place. Father's Day was initially celebrated in the Netherlands in October. In 1948 it was decided to move the day forward, to the third week of June to be precise. This move took place at the request of the Dutch Association for Men's Fashion Retailers. That association no longer exists, but it is an indication of where to look for the ideal Father's Day gift, namely textiles.

If you're over twelve, things get a little more complicated, but rest assured, I'll make it clear. Fathers (read: men in general) love functional gifts.

The amount of textiles for the summer gift I have in mind varies quite a bit. At least, if we look at history. In the history of swim trunks, there was once no textile at all. Until the mid-nineteenth century, due to a lack of swimming trunks, people simply swam naked (until 1906, men in London's Hyde Park still dived into the pond every morning in Adam's costume to swim a lap). Of course there was a response to this, in the form of the all-concealing men's swimsuit. I read somewhere an American regulation

Lifeguards association from 1917 in which the exact sizes of the bathing suit are prescribed. For example, the legs were not allowed to end higher than '4 inches' (ten centimeters) above the men's knee. The 1970s were one big reaction to all conceivable civil rules, so we saw the introduction of the swimming briefs, the tiny, barely concealing handkerchief around the private parts. Towards the end of the last century, prudishness increased again, and we saw swimming trunks grow into mini bungalow tents that ended ten centimeters above the ankle!

Now I'm the first to say that everything was better in the past, but I don't think it would be wise to go swimming completely naked, at least not in the local swimming pool. Fortunately, we have now also gotten rid of those gigantic specimens. In fact, we have now more or less entered the era between the swimsuit and the swim briefs. Then you think of the white swimming shorts that Elvis Presley wore in Blue Hawaii (1961) or the dark blue around Sean Connery's buttocks in Goldfinger (1964). The latter was copied by Daniel Craig in 2006's Casino Royale, complete with retro string and faux strap. Such swim trunks come from the surfing environment. The legendary Hawaiian surfer Duke Kahanamoku, also an Olympic swimmer, is known as the pioneer of the so-called board shorts. These swim trunks were called 'Makaha Drowners' (Makaha is a sleep mecca in Oahu).

In those years, nylon was also introduced, which not only reinforced the fabric (a strap was no longer necessary) and improved the fit, it was also a material that dried quickly - ideal for the man who after a dip in the deep one on the terrace wants to take a seat for a nice cold beer. The irony is that Olympic swimmers have actually attracted more fabric around their bodies in recent years. Prudness plays no role here; Such an aerodynamic suit streamlines the body and reduces resistance to the water. But unless your surname is Van den Hoogenband and your father's first name is Pieter, you would opt for a nice board short as a Father's Day gift.

Arno Kantelberg is editor-in-chief of Esquire .
As the style pastor of the Netherlands, he guides men through the minefield of good taste. Every other week he writes a style column for OGER as a guest editor on The OGER Journal.

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