Anonymous Mailbag

It’s Tuesday, time for the anonymous mailbag to arrive and jolt you out of the school and work doldrums.

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

With that in mind, here we go:

“My wife is pregnant with our first child and it’s a boy. Naming process goes underway and I’m dreading it. We are highly opinionated people who have a tendency of being complete opposites, so I’m thinking super negatively and know it could eventually come down to a coin flip or maybe even divorce.

We did the list thing and lo and behold she picks a name off my list.

Not my #1 name, but I’m okay with it and more so thrilled it didn’t end in divorce.

We start telling some of our close friends about the name and a buddy of mine calls me and says the name we picked is the name of a porn star (first and last name). Some other people we tell recognize the name as well. I don’t want to give the name, but just know that it’s somewhat of a gender bender first name that will be spelled the same as the porn star and the last name is one letter different than ours. I’m obviously taken aback by this and immediately Google the way we would spell it and the porn star pops right up. Then I start thinking about future ramifications and what this kid could potentially have to deal with at school and whatnot in the internet age. I start asking the wife about changing the name and she is completely not moving off the porn star name and doesn’t think it’s a big deal. Is this a big deal? Do I need to demand a name change and just go with something she likes? What’s the shelf life of a porn star… as in, will she even be a thing in a few years? What say you?”

I’d change the name.

If your wife doesn’t agree to change the name, I think you need to get others involved to explain why this name is a bad idea. Potentially including, and I hate to go here, her mom.

No one’s mom has ever wanted their grandchild named after a porn star.

Here’s an easy story from my past that you can share with your wife:

When I was in school there was a kid named Richard Simmons in our class. When we were in seventh grade, he was in the honor roll and they announced his name at an open assembly and the entire school laughed together.

Anytime his name came up — and it always came up with kids at school who tormented him over it — he’d say, “My parents were Canadian! They didn’t know him!”

Why would you start your kids off with something that might make people laugh when they hear his name? (It also, by the way, reflects negatively on the two of you because it makes you look like prudes, honestly, who didn’t even know their kid had the same name as a porn star).

At least Richard Simmons’s parents didn’t know that they’d given their son the same name as a popular exercise instructor, the two of you already know your son has the same name as a porn star.

Is it possible that porn star isn’t that well known by the time your grows up? Sure.

But the Internet is forever. It’s not like he’s going to disappear. So why would you risk that?

I think every parent has a duty to google the name they’ve picked for their child, especially if it’s not a common name, just to see what comes up. If the top results for that name that come up is unflattering and that’s going to be the top google result for your kid for years to come, then you should pick another name.

This seems simple enough.

For instance, I’m sure there is someone out there whose last name is Dahmer. You can’t pick Jeffrey as the first name for your kid. You just can’t. That’s even if you otherwise love the name. Hell, even if your dad’s name was Jeffrey Dahmer. You can’t keep that name going.

When your kid is attempting to get a job, you don’t want some future boss to look him up and think he might have worked as a porn star before.

This would be a much tougher call if the name was a family name or something akin to this, but your wife just picked it off a long list you guys chose already. She has no particular attraction to it, which is why your wife is making the wrong decision here.

You need to pick a new name.

Sidenote: what if you name your son after a porn star and he grows up to have a little dick? You think it’s gonna be easy to be the guy named Lexington Steele or John Holmes if you have a mosquito dick? You’ll never live that down in the locker room.

Sidenote part two: what if your wife is a huge closet porn star fan and she loves this guy’s porn career and that’s why she picked this name? She’s just secretly banging herself while she watches his porn videos all the time. Then when you point out the coincidence she plays totally dumb.

The only way you can keep this name rolling, honestly, is if your wife says every time someone mentions it. “Of course we knew he had the same name. You think we named him after a porn star by accident? We love his work. He’s the Abraham Lincoln of porn in both of our minds. We hope our kid can be as successful as he is one day.”

“I’m a student at an SEC school and a few of my fraternity brothers were sitting around watching the 49ers and Seahawks game on MNF. As the camera man pans across the San Francisco cheerleading squad, this question was presented. How much do they get paid? We began to speculate and someone suggested the rumor they had heard that the hot dog vendors for the cowboys make more than their cheerleaders. Some said the girls make 20k, some said 80k. 

Knowing that you’re wife was a Titans cheerleader for X amount of years, I figured you’d be the man to ask. How much do NFL cheerleaders make a year?” 

I don’t know what they make now because of several cheerleader lawsuits that have been filed about unfair pay — I suspect it’s a bit more — but when my wife was a cheerleader for the Titans the cheerleaders would have definitely made way more money working as stadium vendors walking up and down the aisle selling beer, hotdogs, and sodas.

Even today I’d be very surprised if any of them are making anywhere near $20k a year.

The simple truth is there are tons of girls who want to be cheerleaders, so many that the teams don’t have to compensate them very well at all to do it.

Having said that, I’ve still always thought it’s crazy that an NFL team wouldn’t just budget, say, $500k for the cheerleaders.

That’s around $20k each and it’s a rounding error for the team.

Especially since the cheerleaders, more than anything else, are essentially a marketing department cost. You’re basically paying for them to advertise your brand, just like you pay the mascot. Kids, especially young girls, absolutely LOVE cheerleaders.

They deserve more pay than they get now, for sure.

“I’m pretty far down the path of interviewing at CNN. Now, I generally have no interest in politics, but I see myself as straight middle of the road, which in this current climate makes me the KKK. I like to listen to opinions from you, Dave Rubin, Candace Owens, Ben Shapiro, as well as Brooke Baldwin and Anderson Cooper so I can make up my own mind on how to feel about things. My question is, am I getting myself in a sticky situation by going someplace that doesn’t seem to care about any other side than their very obvious left-leaning side? It seems like a great opportunity, but it also seems like I could easily “like” the wrong tweet and be out on my ass. Do I just shut up and dribble if I decide to make the move and work there?”

Here’s the thing regardless of your political affiliations, we all have to make a living.

It’s crazy to me that anyone would risk their employment over a social media account that most people aren’t paying attention to anyway.

My job is to be opinionated and I think I’m pretty good at it. So I spend quite a bit of time sharing my opinions. But if, for instance, I was an athlete on a team, I’d never get political while my career was going on. Certainly not on social media. I’d focus on being great at my sport because that’s my job.

Even with my jobs now, I don’t go on “Lock It In,” get asked what my opinion is on LSU-Alabama and decide to give my opinion on Elizabeth Warren’s tax policy instead. I’m paid to talk about sports gambling on TV and I’m going to talk about sports gambling on TV.

That doesn’t mean I’m somehow not being true to myself, it just means that I have a job to do.

So if you like the job you’re interviewing for at CNN, I’d take the job and not consider it to be an endorsement of every opinion espoused on the network. I think it’s crazy to believe that anyone should have the same opinion as the business they work for. In fact, I think it’s crazy that we think of large businesses as having political opinions at all.

Why in the world do I care what Target thinks about abortion? I just want to buy my kids Spider-Man pajamas there. In fact, I’d prefer that every company not really have any political opinions at all. Let people have opinions, you guys just focus on your business.

I think one of the (many) great flaws of social media is it has encouraged companies to get involved in things they have no connection to at all. As I wrote in my book, why in the world do I care what Delta Airlines thinks about the Second Amendment? I don’t care what Applebee’s thinks about the death penalty either.

When I was a kid my grandma used to say to never talk about politics or religion in public. Yet right now it’s like every single person feels compelled to scream every political opinion they have from the social media rooftops all day long every day.

I just don’t get it.

On the rare occasion when I get on Facebook, the same people I knew in high school who couldn’t name the three branches of government are now obsessively sending messages about Donald Trump all day long.

“I’m like, dude, you can’t even tell me how many Supreme Court justices there are and you want me to take your opinion on how the court should rule on a complex immigration policy seriously?”

No, thanks.

Take the job if you like it and shut up and work.

“I’m a 21 year old male who attends a Big Ten school known more for our basketball team than our football. I recently pulled a DBAP and asked a girl out from my close friend group. I wouldn’t normally do this, but this girl is wife material, looks + smarts. Anyways she was taken by surprise and told me she would think about it. A few days later she told me that she thought a relationship between us wouldn’t work out in the long term and said no, but she still wanted to be friends (worst line for a guy to hear).

Fast forward a few weeks and our friendship is completely changed, it’s always awkward when we hang out with the rest of our friends and it seems like she purposefully avoids talking to me. My question is, is there any hope that a friendship like this can be mended after laying out the big matzo ball, or should I just move on and count it as a lost?”

You should move on by trying to hook up with her closest friend.

I’m kidding, kind of.

In all seriousness, you took a big risk and put yourself out there. Unfortunately for you she doesn’t return your interest and now she (understandably) is feeling a bit awkward around you and you are feeling (understandably) awkward around her.

I know that some people say you can be friends with girls you like — even if they know you like them and don’t have any interest in you — but I think this is a bad move and virtually impossible to pull off. Primarily because those girls often keep you around to make themselves feel better. You’re their safety net when the boys they really like treat them poorly.

Once she’s publicly deemed you to be in the friend zone you’re just one step away from becoming the guy she starts complaining to about other guys she likes that don’t treat her well enough.

You never, ever want to find yourself in this situation because you might as well just saw your penis off with a plastic knife.

Your only option here is to move on and bang someone better looking than her, which might cause her to reconsider her opinion of you. By the way, you think I’m joking, but girls are like this. They don’t realize they like you until you bang someone hotter than them and they hear about it.

Then they reconsider their opinion of you.

That’s science, trust me.

Good luck.

“So pretty soon I’ll be turning 21. I’ve never drank alcohol before and I don’t plan on drinking again after I’m 21, but for my 21st birthday I’m thinking about trying some sort of alcohol. What specific kind of alcohol would you recommend?”

First, be careful. If you haven’t ever had any alcohol before and you suddenly decide to drink on your 21st birthday it can be easy to get dangerously drunk.

Second, I don’t know why you’d cut off alcohol forever after you turn 21. After all, alcohol, as Homer Simpson memorably taught is, is simultaneously the solution to and the cause of all of life’s problems. Why retire this early in your drinking career?

Having said that, you won’t like beer the first time you drink it so I wouldn’t spend any time on that.

I’d probably suggest going with a mixed drink that doesn’t taste much like alcohol. There aren’t very many people who like the taste of beer or liquor the very first time they have it. So I think you need to get some mixed drinks. Tell the bartender you just turned 21 and ask them for the best tasting drinks on the menu.

Have fun.

“I’m 32, happily living with my girlfriend of several years and I’m going to pop the question soon. It’s time to start shopping for rings. The only problem is I don’t know crap about them. I’ve looked online and seen so many “rules” on how much you should spend. Right now I have zero debt and my take home pay is about $6K a month. $12-18K for a ring sounds about right to me, but before I make this kind of purchase I thought it would be wise to consult King Soloman of the Internet. How did you approach this purchase for your wife and does 2-3 months salary seem about right to you?”

Do you own a home? If not, I wouldn’t even think about spending $12k or $18k on an engagement ring. That’s an insane amount of money, I believe, for someone at your income level.

I think it’s much sexier, and I’d bet most women agree, to have that money to put down on a home deposit than it is on the ring.

Since you’re already living with your girlfriend, I’d go to her and pose this question: “would you rather have a bigger ring or a bigger, better home?”

This is a no brainer to anyone with a functional brain. Honestly, if she’d rather have a bigger ring than a bigger (better) house then you need to run in the other direction instead of getting engaged.

Sure, having this conversation can kill the engagement surprise, but you’re already living together and you’re over thirty years old, there’s not much of a surprise here.

If she’s living with you and won’t marry you then you’ve got a crazy woman on your hands and you need to run the other way for that reason too.

I can’t give you any specific engagement ring advice because it has been 16 years since I proposed and engagement ring knowledge is one of those things that you learn about for a couple of months and then never think about again, hopefully. (If you get divorced and remarried you have to relearn it all again). Back then I know about carats and cut and clarity and all that razzmatazz, but now I can’t tell you any of it.

Women, however, generally know more about rings than men, which is why you should go ahead and involve her in the process.

You can still drop to one knee and propose one day in the future, but I’d involve her in the ring selection and I’d also involve her in the home selection process.

Thanks for reading.

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

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