Anonymous Mailbag

Merry Christmas Eve! (Or happy holidays or whatever if you’re a communist and you hate Santa Claus).

I’m working pretty much every day the next two weeks so if you’re at home and haven’t checked out our FS1 “Lock It In” gambling show we’ll be live at 4:30 et today and Thursday and Friday of this week. Come hang out with us if you need to escape your families, as I know many of you do.

With that said, let’s dive into the mailbag.

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

Okay, here we go:

“Was attending the Christmas performance for my kid’s school (middle/high school). It’s held in a large arena (a few thousand seats) each year and is generally a big production.
The performance has its normal movement and small chatter but at some point a group of three girls (one hispanic, two black) sit next to me and begin talking loudly, laughing and watching videos on their phone with the volume up. After a couple of minutes, I ask “you all aren’t going to be disrupting the performance all night, will you?” At which point they stopped and later left.
Following the show, my wife tells me “you shouldn’t be correcting other people’s children, especially a 40-year old white man correcting African American or hispanic kids.” To which I state, race doesn’t matter. I would ask anyone – even adults – who were being disruptive to stop (#DBAP). To treat someone differently because of their race is, in fact, the very definition of racist. (Reminding her of this did not put her in the Christmas spirit)
Clay, you’ve got kids. What would you do in an instance like this?”
I’d have probably asked them to be quiet like you did.
But I certainly understand your wife’s fear here.
How do you prove you didn’t behave inappropriately if those girls decide to accuse a “racist white guy” of saying inappropriate things to them because they were black and Hispanic? I mean, if one of those girls starts crying on a video and posts it on social media it might go viral and you’re screwed if people identify you.
Even though all you did was tell them to be quiet while a performance was going on.
Remember the guy in Atlanta who complained about the lady having too many items in the express checkout lane? And she accused him of being a racist Trump supporter and telling her to go back to her country until he showed up AT HER PRESS CONFERENCE OUTSIDE THE GROCERY STORE and said he was a Bernie bro and she was lying about him?
I loved that the guy showed up to confront her, but how many people are brave enough to do that when a story goes viral, even if it’s completely untrue?
Not many.
Most just hide and hope the story disappears.
That’s because if someone accuses you of doing something inappropriate, how do you prove you didn’t do it? It’s impossible to prove a negative, which is why our courts require that something be proven to have happened, not that something be proven not to have happened.
The question I think you have to ask yourself in these situations is, would I treat every kid, regardless of race or gender, the exact same in this situation?
If your answer is yes, then I don’t think you make any exceptions for someone based on their race.
That is, you can’t think to yourself, “I’d tell these teenage kids to be quiet, but they’re black, so I’m going to treat them differently than I would white kids.”
Kids are kids, you have to treat them the same regardless of their background.
I believe the path to equality is by treating everyone as close to the exact same as you can. That means regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, or any other identity, you tell kids who are too loud at a play to be quiet.
I think you made the right move here. Not least because if you hadn’t done anything at all you wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the play. (Nor would others seated around you).
Teenagers aren’t known for their ability to look outside themselves and see what their behavior looks like. That was the case when you and I were their age and it’s still the case today. That’s why some gentle parenting reminders are always useful.
You did nothing wrong here.
“I am 29 years old and just took a job as a VP at a new company. I graduated from an SEC school and have been in the same industry since I graduated. I will be making around $50k a year at the new job. Each week, I read the mailbag, and it always reads, I’m a mid twenties guy and I make around $100k a year. I just don’t buy it. Statistically the average income in America for college grads is right at $50k. How many people do you think are lying? It’s got to be at least half right?” 
Well, based on demos the average Outkick reader is more educated and more successful than the average American would be. We also over index, for instance, for lawyers since my initial audience was young lawyers when I started writing online.
But I really don’t pay that much attention to the incomes that readers reference because my advice isn’t often connected to what a reader makes.
More importantly, I don’t worry about other people’s incomes unless those other people are doing the same jobs as I am; then I root for them to make as much money as possible.
For instance, when I hear Stephen A. Smith or Colin Cowherd are making nearly $10 million a year or that Skip Bayless might want $10 million a year in his new deal, I root for them to get all the money they can. That’s because we’re in the same industry and I hope to one day make salaries similar to theirs.
Sometimes it’s hard, but you need to look at the world as a constantly growing pie, where everyone can always make more, as opposed to a fixed pie, where in order for you to succeed someone else has to fail, for you to get your share of the pie.
And this is a very important lesson: if you constantly measure yourself by how you compare to others you are wasting a lot of time and energy worrying about things you can’t control at all.
Most people, I have found, worry more about other people, who they can’t change at all, than they do themselves, who they have complete control over.
I’m a big control what you can control guy.
And the only thing you control is you.
So instead of worrying what other people are making at their jobs, ask yourself what you have to do to make more money? (Or to be more successful or more happy in your own life. To fulfill whatever goals you might have).
(Having said all of this, if you’re a VP at a company making $50k a year, that sounds like a really shitty company. Unless you have some sort of substantial equity stake, I’d be more worried about the company’s growth prospects and future based on what they’re paying employees. You’re not making that much more than a school teacher would and you work at a for profit company. Where’s all the money going? What is your path to making more money? I’d be more worried about that than what others make in jobs that aren’t anything like mine.)
“I’m in my 30’s, married, with kids in elementary school. My wife and I have had a few of the normal ups and downs, no infidelity or serious money issues, and while things have definitely changed from when we first got married (I don’t think any young person in a first marriage has a clue what to expect), our marriage is great.
However, I’ve always had this nagging thought that one day my wife will wake up, realize she can do better, and bail. Maybe it’s a common thing for guys who outkick their coverage.

Recently, we learned that some couple friends are getting divorced. Wife was the one who filed, and husband apparently didn’t see it coming. This is a couple that seemed happy, well suited for each other, and they also have kids. My wife is closer to her than I am to him, so most of what I hear comes from her perspective. Turns out he probably wasn’t an easy person to be married to, but I used to think we were at least somewhat similar. Seeing all this makes me worry – irrationally, I hope – that the same thing could happen to us.
My wife has never said or done anything that makes me nervous about this. We’ve talked about how lucky we feel to be happy together with great kids, and how we never want to get past a breaking point. We’ve both been the one to initiate this kind of conversation at different points, so I believe she’s being sincere.
My wife is doing her best to be a good friend to this girl. That sort of kindness is one of the things I really like about her. But am I nuts to be a little worried after this whole situation? Is it normal? Or should I just focus on how lucky I am? I don’t think I have reason to worry, but seeing someone else blindsided is unsettling. This one seems to hit home more than other divorces we’ve seen.
What do you think?”
It can certainly be unsettling when a couple you’re close to — and a couple that seems to be happy — suddenly gets divorced.
But I think it’s important to know that no one really knows what any couple is like behind closed doors. That is, sometimes we all fall victim to false appearances. Most people put forward their best selves in public — or on social media — and leave out the parts where they are yelling at each other or sleeping in different bedrooms. If you only read Instagram posts there has never been a bad husband or wife or mom or dad. We all know, however, this isn’t true.
You may think this husband was like you, but the truth is he may not be very much like you at all.
You’re worried that by hanging out with this divorced woman your wife might be more likely to get divorced herself, but what if the opposite is true? What if she hears about how bad this wife’s husband was and it makes her realize how good she has it with you?
I hate to cycle back to the advice I just gave, but you can’t control what someone else does. You are worried about what your wife might do because of what her friend did. But you can’t control what your wife does. All you can do is be the best husband (and father) you possibly can.
If you’re truly concerned about this, you can have a conversation with your wife and lay out all your concerns. The problem is your wife is probably going to say she isn’t going to suddenly get a divorce. Which is exactly what she’s said before. Meaning her answer isn’t likely to make you feel better.
That’s because your concern here isn’t about her, it’s really about you.
Which is why I think the most important thing you can say (and demonstrate with your actions) is that you aren’t ever going to leave your family or give your wife any reason to leave you.
I’ve told my wife ever since we had kids that I’d never leave her or the boys. And that if she decided she wanted to leave me, I’d just buy the house next door and let the kids run back and forth between the two houses like it was “Big Love.”
That’s because my family is the most important thing to me.
I can’t imagine not waking up in a house with my boys inside it.
So I do everything I can to make sure that remains the case.
I also think this comes down to your own self-confidence. The truth is, I don’t think my wife will leave me because I don’t think she can do better than me. Is that somewhat cocky? Sure. But do I 100% believe it? Yeah.
(Note: it may not be true at all, she might be able to do much better than me, who knows for sure? But if you believe you’re a good catch, the truth is you probably are a good catch. Because women are attracted to confidence more than anything.)
Your email makes it pretty clear you think your wife can do better.
So instead of worrying about that, ask yourself this: are you doing everything you can do to make everyone in your house as happy as you can?
If the answer is no, get to it.
This is a good life mantra to adopt as we move into 2020: Work on yourself, it’s the only thing you control.

“So I’m 22 years old and I’m currently a senior at a Big Ten school. I met this a girl almost a month ago at the strip of college bars we have here.  I meet this girl and she is out of my league by a mile. But I’m not afraid to spit some game and make a fool of myself.  Unexpectedly it goes really well and she’s tossing it right back.  The best part is she’s not even drinking as she was DD’ing for her friends (which is great because as long as I was talking to her It would’ve cost me a fortune in drinks for the both of us). My friends that I am with are waiting on me to go  to the most popular bar which is a club next door.  I tell them “I got to see about a girl,” and to leave me here, which I intentionally say loud enough so she would hear (I catch her smiling in the corner of my eye). 

We end up exchanging information at the end of the night as she leaves to take her friends back.  We talk quite often and have hung out a few times since. 

The other night she texted me drunk and said she really enjoys spending time with me and wishes we could hang more.  Me preparing for finals texts her back that if she really meant that she would text me the same thing sober.  The next morning she texted me back confirming what she said last night.  This totally throws me off guard because she is hot and I’d I’m pretty average borderline ugly which is why I’m hesitant to actually pursue her (I would rate her as an 8 – 9 on the 10 point scale and 5 – 6 for myself).  Also makes me wonder “WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THIS GIRL?”

I know a lot of people around campus and a few of my friends (boys and girls) know her at least a little bit.  Of course I tap into my resources and get the scouting report on her.  She totally checks out as a normally cool smart girl.  I find out that she is in the same sorority as my ex.  I contact her for the first time in three years and ask her about this girl, she even vouches for her charm and says she’s the smartest girl in their sorority which is known as the most prestigious one on campus. Most girls that are as hot as her on campus are totally full of themselves and flat out dumb, but she is just so not that.  

I tend to pride myself over my ability to read people but I cannot get a read on this girl.  Maybe I am reading her wrong and she just wants to be friends??? I joke with my friends that it’s my 6 sense and they actually often come to me for advice.  I would come out and say that I am definitely the “alpha” in my friend group so of course I’m not going to ask them for any advice on this topic as I feel they would lose respect for me.  For the first time in my life I am totally dumbfounded about what to do about this girl.  The only thing I got going for me is that I’m somewhat witty and charismatic.   I don’t come from a wealthy family, I’m getting a liberal arts (worthless) undergraduate degree, and I’m not very tall.  She’s actually the same height as me which means she’ll be towering over me if she flaunts the heels on her Instagram when she’s with me.  I know how much girls salivate over having a man that is taller than them on heels. I feel like I know where I stand in society and I have always preached the “staying in your lane” philosophy. Of course my biggest fear is putting everything I have into this girl and having it not work out.

My questions to you are: Should I find a way out of talking to her because she scares me and I’ve never really felt that before about a girl? Should I tell her my fears about pursing her? Or just DBAP, put my chips to the center of the table exposing myself and tell her I like her and ask her out?”

First, if you are “definitely the alpha in your friend group,” this is the largest group of betas the world has ever known.

Because your entire email to me reads like a guy whose dick doesn’t work.

Seriously, re-read this email and ask yourself if this sounds like the email a guy whose dick works would send.

Second, YES, ASK HER OUT!

I don’t know how much more obvious she can make it that she wants you to ask her out. I slapped my own self in the head when you told her to re-send a text saying she wants to hang out with you when she’s sober the next day. Are you an idiot? People are more truthful when they are drunk, not less truthful.

She likes you and couldn’t have been any more clear about it.

I don’t know why she likes you.

But she likes you.

Instead of worrying about the reasons why she might not like you, ask her out and enjoy the fact that she likes you. (And that she sounds like she’s pretty awesome. The fact that you did research on her because you were convinced she must suck if she liked you is also, by the way, not a good sign.)

Plus, what’s the worst thing that can happen here? She eventually doesn’t like you.

So what, you’re in college? You’ll always be able to find another girl.

In the meantime, ask this girl out NOW before she comes to her senses and realizes what a loser you are.

“In the last few months my boyfriend of nearly four years proposed. I said yes. The proposal was fairly traditional – he got down on one knee, the whole nine…. but the time following the proposal has been anything but… it’s been overwhelming to say the least.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that no relationship is perfect. But I’ve been concerned if this is really the right match for forever…

My fiancé and I have a mostly positive relationship and it checks a lot of the boxes for a healthy, happy, and loving partnership. Except for communication and well, sex.

Our communication has come a long way since the start of our relationship. But we’ve developed some mighty unhealthy arguing patterns. It leads us to arguments that escalate, result in screaming at each other and sometimes storming into another room without resolve. It leaves us both frustrated and unsatisfied. Earlier in our relationship we developed a list of criteria to fight fair together…but we’ve both disregarded it since. As a result, our fights have continued to be real intense. I’ve been asking for couples therapy and he’s reluctantly agreed. For me, communication is the root of all things so if we figure that piece out, I know it will help. Plus, it can only help us to establish healthy habits for a future together.

The other thing…the sex is confusing for me. I’m in my 30s, fairly attractive (I’d give myself an 8: looks, body and personality wise), I have my shit together and even have a high sex drive. I really love sex, but not just for the emotional piece like most gals…I like the physical. The challenge with this is It seems my fiancé isn’t on the same page: I typically initiate sex and seem more into it than my fiancé (who’s also in his early 30s). He mostly just lets me initiate and also has me take the lead in all areas (aka a LOT of cowgirl), while he basically just lays there. In some ways that’s a mood killer because I feel like he isn’t into the act, or in to me.

When I’ve brought this up to him, he says that he’s tired the time of day (morning or at night) when I initiate. This is a really strange response to me. I haven’t been with a guy who has been too tired for sex before. I also haven’t been with a guy who seemingly isn’t interested in sex as it’s happening… so I just don’t know what the hell is going on.

Since you are married, I thought you could lend some sage advice on these potential pre-wedding jitters and help clear up my confusion with the sex? What am I missing? What advice do you have for me in this scenario? What would you tell my fiancé?”

The first, and most important, question to ask in any relationship is this one: are you happier now than you were before you met this person?

If the answer is no, you should break up immediately.

The only reason to date — or marry someone — is because they make you happier.

I can’t answer that question for you or for anyone else.

But you have to be honest with yourself and answer that question before anything else. (By the way, being sad if you break up isn’t being happy. In other words, defining how you’d feel if the relationship ends as your default happiness is backwards. Most people are sad when they break up. The question you have to answer is whether you’re happier now than you were before you ever met the person. There are obvious outliers here too. You can’t blame the person you’re in a relationship with, for instance, if your mom or dad dies or you lose a job. I’m talking about the person making you happier with the things he or she can control, the relationship itself.)

If you aren’t happier now than before you met that person — and are you are now engaged — it is unlikely you will suddenly become happier once you get married. Marriage isn’t a magic elixir, it doesn’t suddenly cure whatever ailed your relationship before the marriage. (Kids aren’t a magic potion either. If you think kids are going to fix an unhappy marriage this is like lighting your house on fire because it’s cold inside. Kids don’t fix struggling marriages, they make them worse.)

On to the sex question, sit down with your fiance and ask him about it. Tell him how many times you’d like to have sex in an ideal week. (I don’t know what that number is. Maybe it’s every day, maybe it’s once a week.) Then ask him what his ideal number is.

Clearly, the two of you have different numbers.

It seems to me that’s fairly common in relationships.

So what you have to do is try to meet in the middle. (There are lots of married men laughing right now, by the way. Because many married men would have sex seven days a week if they could. Conversely, their wives might want to have sex, at most, twice a week. So they compromise and have sex as often as the wife wants to have sex).

In your relationship it sounds like you have the higher sex drive.

But how much higher is it?

That’s at least a starting point.

I think it’s easier in relationships, honestly, where the woman has the higher sex drive, rare as they may be, because most men don’t turn down sex. But maybe there are things you aren’t doing that he finds sexy and he’s afraid to discuss with you. (I have no idea what those might be, but I think having a frank, honest discussion about this is the only way it gets resolved.)

But the sex answer is far less important than the first question, are you happy or not? Most of the time sex is a symptom of relationship problems, not the root cause of it.

Good luck.

“It seems like most people enjoy receiving cash / gift cards more than physical gifts, yet there seems to be a negative stigma around giving cash / gift cards due to perhaps a perceived lack of effort. People would rather put thought into something you don’t want or need rather than feel lazy. Thoughts?”

I think this is true, but I’m still a big cash guy.

Just give people cash and let them buy whatever they want.

I hate gift cards because I lose them or forget I got them and then feel bad about not using them. (This is common, by the way. It’s why gift cards are so popular for retailers. Because a significant portion of them never get redeemed.)

Cash, on the other hand, never gets lost. (Or at least it doesn’t get lost to the same degree).

I’m kind of a Scrooge in general when it comes to Christmas because I’m not much of a shopper and I really don’t need anything. (If I need anything, I buy it at Costco or Amazon, which is where I spend 99% of my disposable cash).

Plus, my wife buys all our gifts for people so I never have any idea what’s inside the presents either.

So I’m not a big Christmas present guy.

I like the family time and the movies and the kids waking up early because Santa Claus came, but the actual gift giving is not really my thing.

Bah humbug.

Merry Christmas — or happy holidays if you’re a communist who hates Santa Claus — and thanks for reading Outkick.

Comments

Get the Daily Outkick

* indicates required