Anonymous Mailbag

It’s Tuesday, time for the anonymous mailbag to zap productivity across the country. Send your questions to claytravis@gmail.com, anonymity guaranteed.

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Okay, on to the mailbag.

“I just passed the bar exam and one of my friends from law school set me up with a woman she knew. We hit it off on the first date and have been dating for a little over a month.
At one point, the woman mentioned that she was engaged but broke it off before a wedding date was even set. I thought this was strange that she brought it up but didn’t think anything of the engagement since she said she broke it off.
Since I work with attorneys, my friends decided to look up this woman’s background in the court system expecting not to find anything. Except my friends found out that this woman that I have been dating for about a month and a half not only has been married, but she is still married and has a pending divorce. And I have the court documents to prove it.
The final date for finalizing the divorce is in January. She has no idea I know about this divorce and I have no problem with her being divorced. My problem is that she went out of her way to blatantly lie about it. In addition to that, I may also have an angry ex husband to worry about since I’m sleeping with another man’s wife.
My question is this, do I confront her about it, let it go, or totally surprise her by showing up to the divorce hearing since I’m an attorney and I work near the courthouse anyway? I like her, but this relationship doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anyway. Any advice is greatly appreciated.”
As much fun as it would be for you to show up at her divorce hearing and surprise her, the easy answer is you should just break up and let her go on her own way. If you don’t feel like the relationship is headed anywhere, why needlessly dramatize and humiliate this woman?
My best guess is that she finds the divorce humiliating and hasn’t yet decided how she’s going to discuss it with guys she dates. That’s why she dropped the line about being engaged before, probably to see how you reacted to that as a prelude to telling you that she’s actually been divorced. (It’s also possible she’s been engaged before and that wedding didn’t go through and she’s only sharing part of her past history with you).
Regardless, to me, a marriage that ends in divorce without any kids isn’t that big of a deal. Your husband or wife is probably not going to be a virgin anyway; a marriage, especially if it happened when you were both young and, again, didn’t result in any kids, isn’t that much different than a long term relationship where both parties lived together.
So if you really like a person I wouldn’t let a prior marriage without kids impact your decision making.
But that’s not the situation here, this woman is married and in the process of getting divorced. It would be one thing, perhaps defensible, if she lied about the divorce being finalized because she really liked you and later you found out it hadn’t been fully finalized. (Divorce proceedings can drag on for months). But not having completed your divorce and not telling the man you’re dating about it is unacceptable.
Even if, as is probably the case here, the reason she didn’t tell you is because she actually likes you and is afraid of how you’ll react if she tells you the truth.
My biggest question here is about the friend who set the two of you up — did that friend not know this woman was in the process of getting divorced or, and this seems like kind of a big deal that most friends would know, that her friend was ever married? Wouldn’t that be something you’d want to share with another friend you were setting her up with? Maybe she’s a “friend” like many women have friends, they haven’t known each other long at all and suddenly become great friends over a few month period while this woman’s divorce was proceeding.
Either way the entire situation seems suspect. If you set someone up with someone else you should at least know whether that person is married or not.
Regardless, you’re a young lawyer, there are plenty of women who will want to bang you, find them instead.
“Hey Clay,
Hubby and I have been married 8 years, together 10. We have a 3-yr old, so a built in cockblocker. We’ve been trying to spice things up since sex is less frequent. Hubby has always wanted to try anal. I have never been a fan. However, I’m trying to be a little more adventurous. What is your advice? Should I give it a go? Thanks and Merry Christmas!”
I’m not an anal sex guy because anatomically it’s pretty much the same thing as fucking a guy in the ass, but if your husband wants to try it out and it and you’re willing to experiment, why not?
If you don’t want to do it though, say you’re fine with anal sex so long as it’s mutual, you plan to strap on a dildo and fuck him in the ass too.
I bet that dream dies really damn quick for your husband. And if it doesn’t? Well, at least you know your husband is gay, like you’ve secretly been thinking for all these years.
“I continue to be amazed at how much time, money and energy our wives put into their annual Christmas cards. Professional photo sessions, choosing which photos to use from said session, finding a design online, tracking down new addresses, the list goes on.  And then you have to deal with the added stress of monitoring who has sent you cards, who hasn’t sent you cards, sending a late card to the family that you forgot about and wondering if you need to order another set of 30 just to be on the safe side.
When do we point out that social media has completely replaced any need for an annual Christmas card? Why go through so much trouble and spend so much money to send pictures of your family to a group of people who have already been viewing pictures of your family all year on Facebook and Instagram? As if that weren’t enough, I also feel compelled to request anonymity on this email because I’m afraid of what my wife would do if she found out I publicly criticized our family Christmas card.”
My wife is obsessed with our family Christmas card too.
Which is all the more absurd because she used to ridicule family Christmas cards to the high heavens before we had an actual family of our own. I mean, just crush how stupid they were. Now she spends at least forty hours on the Christmas cards every year.
And every year she’s always asking me if any of my friends have moved. Moved? I barely have any idea if my friends had another kid. Much less what their address is.
I Tweeted this the other day, but I completely believe that if we took all the time, energy and effort women spend on Christmas cards and instead channeled it into colonizing Mars, that we’d have Mars colonized by next year. There’s zero doubt this could happen. Particularly because Christmas cards seem to be an obsession of the highly educated, if your wife went to college or grad school she cares more about them than a high school graduate. So we’re talking about the brightest and most well educated women in America all obsessed with these things.
Back in early November I started getting text messages from guy friends about their scheduled photo shoot for the family Christmas card. How they had to meet in some park and carry around their kids, who are furious and don’t want to be there either, and stand around while someone takes the pictures. And now I see those pictures arrived and I’m thinking, “Wow, that family trip you took to the rustic house with the creek behind it really worked out for you this year, didn’t it? It looks so natural, the way that professional photographer you paid hundreds of dollars managed to capture you right at the perfect moment!”
In every dad’s eyes, if you look closely enough, you can actually see him thinking, “I fucking hate this with every fiber of my being and I can’t believe how much this is costing.”
Last year my wife decided that we were all going to get our pictures taken in matching onesies and we only did it on our bed, but the kids couldn’t even manage to be still for that. My wife was ready to kill them because they couldn’t be fucking still and just smile for thirty seconds. So she gets mad at them and then I’m trying to bribe them to avoid the conflict and then my wife gets mad at me because she believes you can’t bribe kids to be good because it sets a bad parenting precedent and so by the end of a picture on our bed my wife has her phone out and is looking up military boarding school for our oldest son. (My wife has been threatening our oldest son with military boarding school for the past five years and, to be honest, I’m starting to think it might make a ton of sense.)
Anyway, taking pictures with kids is the absolute worst, the kids are miserable and then you end up miserable and if you have multiple kids it’s physically impossible for them to all look normal at the same time and just fucking smile and then if they do look normal inevitably that’s the one picture where your wife has something go wrong — no one even cares about the dad at all, I’m not sure my wife even bothers to check and see if my eyes are open in our family Christmas card photo — so you’re just standing there sweating bullets with screaming kids and it’s totally hellish.
Why do we do all of this?
Just so people can see how falsely perfect our families all are.
I will say that in an age of Instagram and Facebook, there is something nice about a card coming in the mail. I’m not a Facebook guy so I don’t spend much time looking at people’s kids. That means at least ten times a holiday season, I look at a Christmas card and say, “(Insert person here) had another kid? Did you know that?” And my wife always says, “Yes, I told you that a year ago.” And then there are so many androgynous names now for babies, I’ll look at the babies in the Christmas cards and try and figure out whether Carson or Davies or Chandler is a guy or girl baby. And then I’ll ask my wife and she’ll somehow always know.
Plus, for older people who actually have lives and don’t spend all day on social media, this might be the only time they see a family photo. So I think it makes sense for them too.
But I do agree, there isn’t a man alive who doesn’t think the Christmas card obsession is pure insanity.
“Addiction sucks, and you clearly know this as you are on the record as the guy who hates addiction (and racism) more than anyone on the planet. I have compassion and understanding for anyone with an addiction trying to get themselves better. In fact, after a stint at a treatment facility I’ve now been sober for 495 days (but who’s counting).

With that said, John Skipper is full of shit. We are in a day and age that corporations find a way to support employees who need treatment, especially a behemoth like ABCESPNDISNEY. So why resign?

I rather dramatically entered rehab last year. Even people close to me were surprised. But I knew I had a problem when I woke up with a black eye, my wallet in my driveway and no recollection of what I’d done the night before or where my car was.

I own my own company and when I entered rehab I had 38 clients. When I came out I had 37. Instead of firing me they were shockingly understanding (except for that one prick). When I was exiting rehab I was wound tight with anxiety about how people, especially my clients and colleagues, would react. It was pretty damn amazing how understanding everyone was.

If you go to treatment while not having done anything wrong at work, you’re going to be okay at work when you get out, especially when you’re the boss. I wish John Skipper well in his recovery, but something else clearly happened. Also, I’d have more sympathy for him if his company hadn’t been systematically ruining sports over the past few years.

If you do have substance abuse or drinking problem, there’s no shame in getting help. So ask for help and DBAP about it. You will probably find that people will be very supportive of you.”

If Disney forced John Skipper to resign because of his drug or alcohol issues, guess what, that’s not legal. Addiction is a disease and Disney would be behaving like total assholes if they actually made that decision.
Nope, it’s just not true the reason why John Skipper suddenly resigned was because of substance abuse issues.
I suspect details on why Skipper was fired will come out soon, in the meantime, I agree with everything in this anonymous email, if you can’t control your drug or alcohol use, get help.
While acknowledging that you need help can be personally humiliating, I think you’ll find most people are forgiving, generous and helpful in situations like these. Of course, most people won’t be as forgiving, generous and helpful as me because I hate addiction and racism more than anyone else in the country, but they’ll all do their best.
“This Christmas Eve my in-laws are coming to my house for dinner. My dad and his wife are also coming (not important, but yes she is a stepmother.) Here’s where this worries me some. My father in-law is basically a SJW, we’re talking on board the Kaepernick dick sucking train at the start of his protest. Very anti-gun, and occasionally very vocal about this shit. On the other side of the spectrum is my dad, me included. We are very much on the conservative side by all definitions. Fuck Kaep, Michael Bennett can go to hell. We support the 2nd amendment, blah blah blah.
Only, my dad does not ever boast his feelings about political shit around the company of others. Unless he is provoked! So really I’m asking the King Solomon of the Internet. Should I be worried about a conflict between my dad and father-in-law? How might I defuse a heated conversation in the event that it does happen?”
There are a ton of people with this fear as the holidays inch closer and closer. This is the most politically charged Christmas we’ve seen since last year, but I do think this year is likely to be less contentious than last year shortly after the election.
But historically the past two years have been pretty tame compared to prior Christmases. Can you imagine Christmas during the Civil War in Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, East Tennessee or Western Virginia? When you had families literally split over which side people were fighting for? We lose total sight of how relatively insignificant our disputes are now — should there be a tax cut and whether Obamacare should be repealed aren’t that massive of issues in a historical context.
But, of course, no one has any historical context in this country right now, which is how Donald Trump ends up getting compared to Hitler.
Plus, many families tend to be politically homogeneous now, which actually makes things worse, I think, because many don’t have to temper their remarks thinking about other family members who might disagree with them and so the conversation ends up like social media, a rabid mob of people who believe anyone with a differing opinion is the devil.
Having said that, I don’t know why people would feel compelled to talk about politics at Christmas Eve dinner. At least not in an aggressive manner where you just assume everyone agrees with you. And unless you want to do an awkward statement beforehand about how we’re going to ignore politics — which probably makes political talk more likely — if things start to get tense over political talk, I’d just hop in and say, “Well, we clearly don’t all agree on everything in this country or at this table. But that’s a good thing, because if we did we’d be in North Korea where we weren’t free to share our actual opinions at all.” Then steer the conversation into safer ground — why does your coach suck? Would you rather have Dabo or Nick Saban for the next five years? Which are better, boobs or asses?
“First off, just want to clarify that I do not condone sexual misconduct by any means, but could you please explain how all of these people coming out of the woodwork for sexual misconduct that have signed nondisclosure agreements and received monetary compensation are able to just come out NOW and take someone out. It just seems like society has said fuck it and everyone’s going down for everything. Does this lead to people with power and money to be a lot more careful since these payoffs and NDA’s don’t seem to mean shit anymore?”
This is honestly one of the big questions I’ve had — do nondisclosure agreements just not work anymore? Are they totally unenforceable? Generally speaking an NDA is written in such a way that breaking the agreement violates the underlying settlement, requiring the return of all funds received thus far, and exposing the party breaking the agreement to substantial additional liabilities.
That’s the entire point of the NDA, otherwise why would anyone sign these things at all?
So are the guys in these cases afraid of suing their accusers and enforcing the contracts both parties signed? I mean, I can understand how that looks bad publicly, but shouldn’t it also be unacceptable for a woman to accept payment for an alleged issue, sign an NDA, and then break that NDA and keep all her money? Talk about getting your cake and eating it too, so you get paid a substantial sum of money, potentially millions of dollars, for an alleged incident and you still get praised for being brave and publicly calling out your harasser?
That doesn’t seem right.
It’s also wild to me how selective some of this outrage is. For instance, yesterday Kobe Bryant retired two jerseys with the Lakers. (Yes, two). But to be fair to Kobe fans, 24 didn’t rape anybody, that was just number eight.
In a post-Harvey Weinstein LA wouldn’t you think that someone might have noted the hypocrisy of Weinstein being blackballed and ridiculed to the high heavens for sexually inappropriate behavior which, at least so far, has not yet led to any criminal charges, and Kobe Bryant being charged with rape and paying off his accuser millions of dollars to agree not to testify and receiving laudatory media coverage yesterday?
Now you can argue that Weinstein has more accusers and a longer history of inappropriate behavior and that explains the difference in treatment, but you can also point out that Kobe, unlike Weinstein, was actually charged with rape and publicly acknowledged inappropriate behavior. Both guys claim they are innocent of any criminal charges. I just think it’s fascinating how the media treats two somewhat similar situations in the same city totally differently.
Think about it the Oscars have permanently barred Weinstin from academy membership and ever attending the ceremony again, meanwhile the Lakers just raised two Kobe jerseys to the rafters for all time.
Amazing, really.
As always send your anonymous mailbag questions to claytravis@gmail.com, anonymity guaranteed.
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