Anonymous Mailbag

It’s Tuesday, rejoice, it’s time for the anonymous mailbag.

This week’s podcast guest is Kirk Herbstreit. I think you guys will love this episode. As well as many of the other episodes so far. If you haven’t checked out my new podcast yet, make sure you do it.

Go listen here.

Fun additional news, on Friday at 6 we are going to do an Outkick event at the Downtown Sporting Club in Nashville. The address is 411 Broadway and we’ll be on the top floor. If you’re an Outkick VIP you get free drinks and a guaranteed spot, but the event is open to everyone.

So head to the VIP message board and reserve your spot or just show up on the DSC rooftop at six.

As always you can send your anonymous mailbag questions to claytravis@gmail.com, anonymity guaranteed.

I’m headed down to Memphis as soon as this anonymous mailbag posts, by the way, because I’m playing in the Wednesday celebrity golf event before the PGA and WGC golf tourney there. So if you’re going to be attending that event, hope to see some of you there.

Okay, here we go with this week’s questions.

“I’m a happily married man in my 30s making 6 figures. This has nothing to do with my question, but for some reason people always seem to give their status when posting questions. Anyways, when I get bored, I often play a little game in my head that I call the bang race. You basically have to decide which of the first five woman you see you would bang. The catch is that you have to decide on the first before you pass and go on to the next. The closer you get to #5, the more you lower your standards. It’s no fun to say no to an ugly #4, knowing that you’re stuck with the next woman you see. If #4 is decent looking, you have to go for her. If you’re only on #2, then you might pass her by, hoping for something better.

Is this normal behavior for a grown man? I would be mortified if my wife could actually see everything that goes on in my brain.”

One of my friends says every time he gets in any enclosed space — elevator, airplane, classroom, bus, DMV — he surveys the enclosure and decides which woman he would repopulate the earth with if he had to do so.

Every time I’m on a plane by myself I think about which woman would be the best to be stuck on a deserted island with in the event the plane crashes into a deserted island while flying across the United States. (You never know when a time warp situation might happen).

So I think a huge percentage of men play variations of the game you just described in their heads all day long.

I’d love to see a study of internal thoughts mapped for men and women, by the way, to see how different they are over the course of the day.

Do most women sit on airplanes and think about which man would be the best to be stuck on a deserted island with while everyone is boarding? No idea, I’d honestly love to know the answer.

I am, however, confident that while your game may be different in detail, the fact that you pass your time rating the attractiveness of women you don’t know, is incredibly common behavior for all men.

“My youngest brother is getting married in 3 months. My older brother is the best man in his wedding, and is tasked with planning the bachelor party. (I am the middle brother). My brother and I want to have the bachelor party in Nashville, for obvious reasons. A group of mid-20’s single guys will have plenty of success in Nashville for a couple of nights. 

The issue is that his fiancée is having her bachelorette party in Nashville and has had it booked over a year (if that matters). Because of this, our youngest brother, who is the one getting married, is insistent that we can’t have the bachelor party in the same city, even if we go on different days, per the orders of his soon to be wife. 

I think this is bullshit. We’re the ones planning the trip, and there shouldn’t be an issue with us going to the same city on different days. As the father of 3 boys that are sure to have arguments planning a bachelor party, what say you?”

This is a ludicrous position by his fiancee, you should definitely be able to go to the same city for a bachelor and bachelorette party so long as it isn’t at the same time. (Coed bachelor and bachelorette parties are ridiculously boring and lame).

In fact, I can’t even begin to think why she would be trying to put this restriction on him.

Again, as long as you pick different times to be there — they need to be different weekends entirely — this is perfectly fine.

I always get nervous when people are about to get married and either the engaged man or woman is making absurd demands. Because what these absurd demands are really about is controlling the other person. In other words, it’s not really about both parties being in Nashville, it’s about the fiancee forcing her fiance to bow to her will.

Tell your brother #dbap and put the bachelor party in Nashville.

“My best friend of 15 years and I are in our early 30s. I’m married with 1 kid; he’s also married. 
We still make ‘I banged your mom’ jokes. Neither of us have ever come close to nailing the others mom and there is zero intention or chance of that happening.

On the other hand, I also don’t think we’ll ever stop making these jokes. 

Is this a common thing among dudes our age? Why don’t women make these same jokes about their friends dads? Or do they? Are we just products of toxic masculinity? Will there ever be a cure?”

I assume that I banged your mom jokes have to end when one of your mom’s dies, but the fact that you’ve continued the jokes until your moms are both 60+ is solid commitment. I don’t see any reason to stop now.

I am fascinated by your question of why no women ever brag about banging each other’s dads. I’ve truly never heard of any woman making this joke and it’s funny even to think about. Why is this joke socially taboo while it’s incredibly common for men to joke about banging each other’s moms? I think it’s probably because as a society we tend to believe women make the choices about whether sex occurs or not. That is, when you say you are banging another guy’s mom it implies that she finds you so irresistible that she can’t refrain from having sex with you. The default assumption of this joke is that you would be perfectly fine having sex with the mom, but it’s the fact that she wants to have sex with YOU that gives the joke its power.

Plus, it also allows you to claim to be your friend’s daddy.

It is interesting, however, that no one makes this joke about someone else’s wife. That is, men don’t joke about banging each other’s wives. At least not without it ending in a fight or an orgy.

When it comes to why women don’t make the same joke about each other’s dads, I’d guess there are four main reasons this wouldn’t happen. 1. As a woman when you say the joke it implies you’ve chosen to have sex with your friend’s dad. (That is, instead of the mom choosing to have sex, you are the ingenue in this scenario, you, the woman, make the choice to have sex.) So you don’t make the joke because if you really wanted to have sex with your friend’s dad, you could. 2. Which brings me to point two. It’s too believable. What percentage of dads would actually turn down no strings attached sex from one of their daughter’s hot friends if the daughter’s hot friend threw herself at him? (I suspect way too many dads would have sex with their daughter’s hot friend to make this joke funny. While it’s common in porn, I think the number of moms who sleep with a son’s friend, or make advances on him, is infinitesimally low.). 3. I think most women would respond, “Ew, why would you want to do that?” if their girlfriend made this comment. The humor just doesn’t connect with them in the same way because, again, subconsciously they are aware they control when and with who sex occurs. So this joke lands too close to the truth to be funny. 4. Unlike men, who are taught having many sexual partners is a positive, women are taught to minimize the number of people they’d sleep with, or at least not brag about sexual conquest in the same way. So saying you banged someone’s dad is seen as slutty behavior by a woman, whereas it’s seen as dominant behavior for a man to sleep with someone’s mom.

That may be way too much deconstruction of why saying you banged someone’s mom is funny to men and not funny to women, but I think it’s accurate. (By the way, as a general rule trying to deconstruct why a joke is funny defeats the entire point of a joke being funny in the first place. So I’m sorry for potentially killing mom jokes for you.)

“My wife is currently putting me in a tough spot and I’d like to hear your advice on how to go about this. We are both in our early 30s and make basically the same amount of money. We are far from rich but combined we make about $140K/year and where we live the cost of living is low so we are very comfortable. We have one child who is almost 2 and recently my wife has expressed how she wants to work less and spend more time at home. And by this she means a lot more time at home. If it were up to her she would work 2-3 days a week max. There will be more kids in the future as well so this wouldn’t simply be a 3 year thing until he starts school. The huge issue here is that we have built a life around 2 steady, equal incomes including the large expenses like cars and a mortgage. We simply cannot live this current life without her income. I have never been happier than I am now, until she brings this up and it stresses me out to the max because in my opinion we are exactly where we need to be. I have to respect her ambitions but at the same time this could really shake things up in a way that I am not comfortable with. I just have no idea how to approach this with her. What do you think?”

You have to sit your wife down and explain the finances.

Let’s say your wife’s income goes from $70k to $20k.

That takes your family’s income down to $90k from $140k.

Well, that means you have to cut out $50k in expenses in order to avoid going into debt. (This may not be entirely accurate as you have to be paying a decent amount, I’d think, for child care, so you can remove those expenses from your cost analysis. But the point remains, your income would decline drastically as a family if she quits full time work.)

It’s not only that, either, it’s that your family’s financial security then becomes totally reliant on your job. Right now if one of you loses your job you have the other person to fall back on, but what happens if she quits her job and then you lose your job? You can go from a very safe financial place to a very unsafe financial place in a hurry.

That’s why you need to have a completely logical discussion about a decision that may be primarily an emotional one one — what happens if she quits her job?

This isn’t an indictment of emotional decisions — it’s important for her to be happy and for your family to be happy as well — but emotional decisions have a financial cost too. If they didn’t, no one would work and we’d all just spend all day every day doing exactly what we wanted to do.

My suggestion on how to plan what your life might be like with her stopping work full time? Live on the $90k budget for several months before she quits her job just to see if it’s possible for you both to do it. She may find out that she’s trading one stress — working with a baby — for another stress — not working with multiple babies and insufficient money to live as she wants to live.

My grandmother, who worked as a teacher, used to say that my grandfather worked for a living and she worked to make life worth living.

That’s still true today; a dual income provides many advantages that a single income doesn’t.

It’s fine to give up that dual income, but you need to understand the impact that decision truly entails before you do it.

“I am 29 years old and do alright making about $80K as a financial planner after bonus. I took a job that is brain dead about 1.5 years ago. “Brain dead” a la Office Space TPS reports, 6 bosses you know the drill. I have one 5 year old and another child on the way and my wife makes an okay living in the nonprofit sector. My question is how do you know when it’s time to move on a from a job factoring in that you have life expenses (kids, childcare, mortgage etc).”

This is one of the most common questions I get “I hate my job, should I quit?” The answer is, I don’t think you ever know for sure whether it’s the time to quit a job.

I would say most people have in their minds an ideal job they’d like to work that’s different from the job they presently have. The question you have to answer is how realistic is making a living off your ideal job compared to your current job. And, to be fair, have you considered the amount of work required to be successful at your ideal job?

Many people have artificially romantic notions about making a living off their dream job.

The reality is most “dream jobs” require an awful lot of work too.

Many people don’t just have dream jobs, they have dream locations where they’d like to live as well. Having lived on a Caribbean island, I know what it’s like to live full-time in a place many consider to be paradise. When you vacation on a Caribbean island, you’re escaping life’s challenges and you often conflate that experience with what the experience living on the island would be like too.

The reality is, eventually your life anywhere has the same challenges. You have to find a place to live, your car will get a flat tire, your kids have to go to school, and you have to go grocery shopping; my point is the fantasy of a life without struggles is just that, a fantasy.

The same is true of a fantasy job. Most of the time changing a job will not suddenly, miraculously, make you happy.

In fact, any job you have, even if it’s your dream job, will have things you don’t like.

For instance, I HATE getting up at 4:30 every morning for my radio show.

Right now as I am writing this mailbag I can barely keep my eyes open.

You can never go to bed early enough to get a full night’s sleep when you wake up at 4:30.

But I really like my job, so the fact that every element of my job isn’t perfect doesn’t mean I’d leave for another job. And it’s not my job’s responsibility to make me happy, it’s my job to make me happy.

The biggest decision I think you have to answer if you decide to leave a job is this one — what’s better than where I am now? You know how it’s always easier to find a girlfriend when you’ve already got a girlfriend? I think the same thing is true of a job. So what job that you don’t have right now is better than the one you have right now and how do you get that job?

That’s the question you have to answer before you decide to leave.

Good luck.

Okay, I’m off to Memphis to play in the PGA tournament event down there.

Hope y’all have great Tuesdays.

Go listen to the Kirk Herbstreit podcast! 

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