Anonymous Mailbag

It’s Tuesday, rejoice, the anonymous mailbag is here to make your life complete.

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

Here we go:

“A bartender that I frequently buy drinks from has made it pretty clear to me that she wants to bang. She is super hot. However, word on the street is she has given two or three guys the clap in the past. She just got out of a long relationship so maybe she’s in the clear. Do I risk it?”

How hot is super hot? Like a legit ten or an eight? The scale matters here.

Furthermore, I mean, surely she got it fixed at some point, right? It’s not 1874 any longer and you don’t die from this.

And even if she has it, it’s curable. (I only know this because I looked up gonnorrhea on the official CDC website. Sidenote, how great is it that the loving couples pictured up top are diverse. We’ve got an Asian, white, and black couple. Can you imagine the social media outrage if it was just a black couple? Jemele Hill would break three fingers rushing to Tweet this out.)

Here’s the diabolical genius solution, if you have the clap you can’t donate blood for 12 months.

So you pick her up for a date and go straight to the blood bank beforehand, claiming that you always donate blood every month because your platelet type is rare. (She won’t know what this means and it’s a lie, but it will make you seem like a great dude.)

But in order to donate blood alongside you she’ll have to say she hasn’t had an STD in 12 months.

If she refuses to donate blood, boom, you don’t hook up with her. If she donates blood, you’re good to go.

I really am a genius.

“I have a young teenage son with my ex-wife. My ex and I both have new spouses and have each been with them for around three years or so. Her husband has never had kids. Thankfully, my son’s new stepdad loves him as his own (as do I with my stepson). We all get along well and adopt the “we’re all family” thing, for the most part.

However, I’ve noticed on social media that my son’s stepdad always refers to him as “my son” in posts and comments he makes, so I assume he does so in every social setting. For some reason, this irks me. To me, LOVING a kid as your own and CLAIMING a kid as your own are different things. I could understand if I was an absent father and this guy had been the sole father figure for most of my son’s life, but I’m a constant and active presence and he’s only been involved for 3 years. Likewise, out of respect to my stepson’s father, I would never refer to him as “my son,” as he already has an actual father. Not to mention I’m far more present in my stepson’s life than his actual father is, but I refrain from calling him “my son” and stick with “stepson” nonetheless.

What’s my play here? Am I being overly sensitive and breaking the #DBAP directive? I’m all for him accepting and loving my kid as his own, but want to draw a line, as I feel that him calling my kid “his” publicly makes it appear as if I’m not present at all. I imagine that even if I address it as gently as possible, I’ll be considered ungrateful or be chided because “this is the way it should be” or “you should be thankful someone loves your son as his own.” I agree with both of those sentiments wholeheartedly. Even so, I would appreciate him being cognizant of the fact that words have meaning and that he respect my actual role and presence in my kid’s life on public forums by not usurping the use of “my son.” What say you?”

I feel like it’s almost making a bigger deal of the fact that he’s not really your kid by saying he’s your step-son in every social media post.

That’s especially the case, I think, if you end up with two melded families with different parents. Would you really want to distinguish between who was your step-son and who was your biological son on a Christmas card, for instance? What if you’d adopted the kids at the age of ten? Wouldn’t you still refer to them as your sons?

I think this guy is just trying to make a blended family seem like a family.

Presumably people who are friends with this guy recognize that he didn’t just magically have a son they’d never seen before. (Especially because he doesn’t have any kids of his own at all).

I also think raising this issue is likely to create more discord than it solves, especially because you said he’s doing a good job of parenting your son so far. Think about what this conversation would sound like:

You: “Hey, I’ve been following your social media accounts and I notice that you keep referring to my son as your son. I’d like for you to start referring to him as your step-son just so people know I’m the real dad.”

Sometimes when you see what you’d have to say written out in front of you, you can see how awkward that conversation would be and recognize that it would cause more problems than it would fix.

Because my suspicion here is that while you claim that you’re okay with this guy, deep down you worry that your son might like this new dad too much and that your role might be diminished in his life.

I don’t have any specific experience in situations like these, but I have two father-in-laws and two mother-in-laws because my wife’s parents divorced and both remarried. I don’t refer to either of them as my step father-in-law or my step mother-in-law, although they clearly would be, I suppose.

But, and I think this is also key, they don’t refer to my kids as their step-grandkids in social media posts even though that’s what they would technically be as well.

Personally, I think it would be more jarring if they were referred to as step-grandchildren than if they were just referred to as grandchildren.

Most people know your family history if they follow you on social media.

Presumably your son has your last name and everyone knows he’s yours.

This guy has never had kids of his own. Maybe he never will. I’d take it as a sign he’s proud of your son and his accomplishments and move on.

Like the insanely addictive song says, I’d just let it go. (Sorry for putting the song in all your heads).

“Let me preface this by saying I’m happily married for nearly 5 years.  I have 2 young kids.  Things are pretty good in the marriage other than the obvious natural chaos and moments that come with having a house with 2 young children in it.
Anyway, recently my employer sent me to a conference out of state for 3 nights, by myself.  During the conference, I chose a spot next to a girl my age (early 30’s) and was essentially paired up with her for those awkward icebreaker and group activities they make you do.  
I’m introverted and usually detest this type of stuff.  In this case though, I can honestly say I’ve never had greater chemistry with another human in my life.  Everything was so natural.  For 3 days I couldn’t get enough interaction and socializing with this girl.  Of course she was engaged and also has a daughter, but that didn’t stop her from asking me to meet her at the hotel bar and providing me with her room number. 
Probably as easy of a layup as ever has presented itself to me.  
I ended up spending each night alone in my room.  I wasn’t willing to jeopardize my marriage even though the likelihood of my wife ever finding out was next to none.  I suppose if she had wanted to, she could track me down on social media and make things interesting for me, but I’d also have that same trump card to play on her, since she’s also engaged.  It seemed pretty evident that it would have been just a casual 2-3 night thing that we could have taken to our graves, but again I decided better of it.
Anyway, this whole situation has been eating at me for the last little bit.  Tell me I made the right decision, or did I let an easy one slip away with someone I felt a sincere connection with.  For what it’s worth, I have no intention of ever following up with this person.”
Yes, you probably could have had a no strings attached sexual relationship with this woman for the weekend.
But everything in life is about assessing risk and reward.
The reward here is weekend hotel room sex with a comparative stranger, the risk is, potentially, everything else in your life.
Yes, you think the girl is normal and nothing can come from a one or two night stand — and you might well be correct — but what if she turned out to be crazy? Can you really judge a woman — or man — based on one weekend of interaction? How many times has someone ended up crazy that you thought was totally normal?
Furthermore, what if she talks? She tells all her girlfriends about you and, boom, somehow your wife and this girl overlap with friends? It’s just too easy for a story like this to emerge in a way you wouldn’t expect.
Even wilder, what if she got pregnant? Can you imagine that conversation with your wife?
“So I met this girl at a conference and she was so great in our group work that I decided to have sex with her and now, well, now our two kids have a half-brother or half-sister by a total stranger.”
How many women stay in that marriage?
What if she gives you herpes and then you give your wife herpes?
Yes, the risk is low, but the risk could be life-changing.
So I think you made the right call here.
Just do what normal married guys do and find her Instagram page and jerk off to it.
“In a few weeks I’m going to the annual reunion of my fraternity brothers.  We’re all in our late 40’s to late 50’s at this point.  This year my college roommate is joining us.  I only see him occasionally but keep in touch by text every month or so.  I’m fairly confident that he’s gay and the general consensus of the rest of our group is too. (including 2 other guys that are married to other men.)
How can I (or should I) bring it up that no one in our group cares if he’s gay?  The overwhelming makeup of our group is conservative Republicans but at this point I would like for him to know that he can be honest with the rest of us an not face any disparagement.  But if it’s something he wouldn’t feel comfortable discussing, I want to respect that as well.  What would you suggest?”
He’s kept a secret about his sexuality for thirty years.
If he really wanted to tell you, he’d tell you. I don’t think he’s been waiting over a quarter century for you to nudge him and say, “Boy, you really like the dick, huh?”
One of my college friends announced he was gay in an email to several of us a few years ago. In the email he specifically asked us not to say to him, “Well, we all thought you were gay already.” (We did all think he was gay already, by the way).
I don’t know if that’s a common thing someone says when they come out — he’s the only person who’s come out as an adult that I knew before he’d come out — but my question for you is this — why does his sexuality matter at all at the reunion weekend?
Are you running trains on hookers and you’re worried he’s not going to be up to his turn?
My guess is no.
If the conversation ever comes up of his own volition, be supportive, but he’s probably aware that 2019 is quite a bit different than 1989 and doesn’t need you to tell him that you’re okay with who he decides to sleep with.
I wouldn’t bring it up.
“So I work for a nonprofit organization that works with college students. We’re a ministry but our focus/approach is to help students walk through life. We help them navigate typical college issues- student loans, majors, roommate drama, etc… we do it all from a Christian faith based standpoint. 

So there’s this one student who’s an anthropology major (why, who the hell knows…) and he wants to write his end of semester paper on the perception that black people in general are better athletes. His theory (undeveloped and unresearched at this point) is that the slave trade actually benefitted African Americans in this regard due to slave owners breeding slaves from the most physically impressive slaves and then selling them off. He wants to prove that if you traced the genetic line of say Lebron James back as far as you could, that it’s logical to think his ancestors were forced to breed, essentially like race horses, and that’s why he is so genetically gifted from you or I. 

He went into more detail and asked what I thought about his theory/paper. Initially, my thought on the theory is that I’ve never thought of it like that before, but it’s interesting and mind stretching if nothing else. But I also feel like there’s no way in hell he can turn this paper in and present on it and not be branded an absolute racist and kicked out of school and have this come up on google every time an employer looks up his name. 

So what advice should I give this kid- he’s a sophomore. Do I tell him to write his paper because he has free speech and freedom of thought and if he finds it interesting to go for it knowing that if this goes poorly he’ll almost 100% have to transfer schools. Or should I tell him to find another topic for his own personal safety.”

You should tell him not to write this paper.

I’m not that sure that his personal safety is at issue, but in this age of instant fame due to viral Internet explosions, he’s writing on a subject that could blow up in an instant, leaving him permanently labeled when his name is searched as a racist.

Furthermore, we don’t even know who LeBron’s dad is. So his family tree DNA isn’t that easy to follow even if there was any basis for this opinion.

Also, and this is interesting and why our concepts of race are so often deeply flawed and overly simplified — around 25% of all African-American DNA is European and around 4% of all white people have African DNA. Latinos in this country, meanwhile, have an average of 18% Native American ancestry, 65% European ancestry and 6% African ancestry.

So his theory is far too simplistic given how complicated most people’s DNA is.

Instead of allowing him to write this paper you should also give him a copy of the book, “The Sports Gene,” which actually debunks this argument by using Usain Bolt’s ancestors as an example.

It also examines many of the genetic issues surrounding athletic achievement and is done so in a very smart way.

Finally, you should also let him know that the argument, “Slavery was bad, but it had many benefits,” is probably not a very sound starting point for any college hypothesis in 2019, especially not one for a student majoring in anthropology.

“No one has called me out on this before, but I’ve recently wondered if this is kind of a weird thing to do in a work environment.  I’ve kind of got in the habit of when taking a leak at work at the urinal, I’d just pull out my phone and casually check twitter or facebook when pissing.  I never really thought much about it, but then when people walk up next to me at the urinals, I wonder if them seeing my phone out creeps them out.  Is this something that is overly weird, or am I just worrying about it too much?”

Everyone does this.

Just don’t take pictures of your (or anyone else’s) penis and don’t look at porn.

The thing I worry most about checking Twitter is I follow a couple of pornstars on my feed — they are Outkick fans — and every now and then I’m scrolling through Twitter waiting for the second grade school spelling bee to start and, BOOM!, there’s a huge close-up of anal sex right after the latest NBA news from Woj.

Regardless, pee without worry. (Unless it burns. Then you shouldn’t have slept with that hot bartender!)

“My girlfriend and I are both 30 years old, have post-graduate degrees, own separate homes (I live with her and rent mine out), have jobs that compensate us very well, etc. We have very great lives and are very blessed. The way she discusses our life you’d think we are complete and utter failures. Why? Because she pokes around on Instagram and sees all of these posts of people traveling private to the Maldives or taking a “day trip” to Monaco.

Those people make up .000000001% of people that exist on this planet. I think social media drives us crazy from politics to sports to fashion because we only see the best of everything. The vast majority of the time these people are extremely unhappy, but they have an external locus of control whereby they’re showing outward confidence driven by internal insecurities.Am I insane here? How in the world do I respond to these people that call themselves failures because they’re comparing their own lives to the Kardashian lifestyle?”

The best advice I can give anyone is this — looking to others to define your own happiness is a fool’s errand and will always leave you unhappy.

While most of modern day commerce is predicated on the idea that happiness can be purchased and many of you reading this right now also believe if you had the right boyfriend or girlfriend or husband or wife you’d be blissful forever, that’s just not true; happiness is almost entirely internal.

You control your own happiness, no one else does.

The sooner you realize this, the more happy you’ll become.

Now for some facts: if you are alive and healthy in America today, you live better than 99% of people in the history of the world have ever lived. You have more material possessions, less danger, better health and access to health care to get well if you get sick, fewer work hours, and more time for entertainment than most humans ever have in the history of our species.

If social media is making you less happy — and studies show that it often is — then spend your time doing something else.

Like reading the anonymous mailbag or donating blood with hot girls to see if they have the clap.

Send your anonymous mailbag questions to claytravis@gmail.com, anonymity guaranteed.

Comments

Get the Daily Outkick

* indicates required