Anonymous Mailbag

It’s Tuesday, time for the anonymous mailbag to zap all your work productivity.

Here we go:

“DNA testing from one of those ancestry websites has revealed my spouse has a previously unknown first cousin. The DNA site advised that the new first cousin was adopted and is looking for info on her birth parents.

It took all of about 5 seconds to figure out that, 40-plus years ago, my spouse’s Uncle “John” had an affair that resulted in a baby.

Here is the kicker, the DNA website allows messaging, and now this new first cousin has reached out to my spouse and wants info on her birth father. Revealing this info to the extended family would cause all sorts of problems. Should my spouse message this person back? Ignore the message? Tell 78 year old Uncle John he has another child? Who knew a simple DNA test could get so complicated?”

I’m not an expert on DNA, but couldn’t the father here just as easily be your wife’s dad and couldn’t this person just as easily be her half-sister?

In other words, how do you know it’s your uncle and not her dad who had the secret child?

Because my understanding of how DNA works is that all brothers in the family, with the same mother and father, would have many of the the same DNA signifiers. This means that the way she has flagged your family, through DNA testing similarities, could just as easy make your wife’s father the dad here as it is her uncle.

Unless, that is, you have some additional knowledge about a prior affair that her uncle had or your wife’s father died young and couldn’t have fathered this girl, all this DNA match does is leave several men in the family as the potential fathers of this girl. You’d need more exacting DNA, probably, to figure out which man is the father of this girl for sure.

So what should you do?

This might be the most difficult question we’ve ever gotten in the anonymous mailbag. Because I don’t think there’s an easy answer here.

So let’s break them all down.

1. The easiest thing to do is just not to respond.

This way nothing changes in your family life.

If you do this you’re just pretending you never got this message and never saw the DNA match.

But doesn’t that seem unfair to the girl, who may well have been trying to find her father for her entire life? It could also, for instance, have medical and health significance in her own life. What if her father, and potentially her too, has a rare disease that passes genetically? Wouldn’t you want, at the very least, to find out information like this? I think so.

So not responding, while it preserves the illusion of things staying the same, isn’t that defensible ethically. Plus, it presumes that you and your wife never tell anyone about this and forget about the fact that there’s a girl out there who might be your cousin or your half-sister. It also presumes, by the way, that other family members aren’t going to be contacted by the same woman asking for her to do the same thing.

So I think not responding is unlikely to be a good solution here.

2. Respond and give the information on your family to the woman.

Then you can let the woman take it from there as she sees fit.

That’s probably the best outcome for the woman, but it might be the worst outcome for your family. After all, you don’t know who the father is in your family and you have no idea what this woman will do with the information you give her on multiple men in your family or how the men in your family will respond to her.

That’s why I think the best response is number three.

3. Approach each man in your immediate family who could be the father and privately tell him the DNA match results and ask what he would like you to do.

Before you do that, however, ask the woman who her mother is. Ask for her name and biographical details.

Then when you approach each man in your family individually, you can tell them the details and mention a specific woman’s name and give biographical details on her. If the other men in your family say they don’t know this woman or never slept with her, barring some unlikely story here — she was a prostitute and they never knew her name or she lied to them about her name, they’ll know whether they could be the father or not.

I like this choice the best because it allows you to permit your own family members to make a decision with the information you’ve provided them. Ideally the responsible father would then make the decision to contact this woman directly after you ask her for her information. (Or she could contact them directly once you give them the information). This allows you to maintain your loyalty to your family as opposed to a stranger you met on a DNA site.

But it would also allow the woman to receive information about her father, which she certainly has a right to receive. After all, how many of you out there would want to meet your father if you’d gone your entire life not knowing who he was? I know I would.

But here’s the toughest question, what if all the men in your family deny they could be the father and refuse to acknowledge they’d ever had an affair and ask you not to share any of their information with this woman? Then you’ve put yourself in a tough spot. Because, again, I think the ideal response here is you give the information to this woman, but can you do that if the men in your family all deny, contrary to clear DNA evidence, being the father of this woman?

One final wild card, why can’t the woman find out the father from her mother given that she now has a DNA match? You could respond and ask that question yourself. Why has this woman’s mother never revealed who the child’s father is? If that woman is still alive, isn’t it even stranger given that her daughter is now chasing down the DNA of her father?

Honestly, I want an update on this story. Please let me know what you decide and how it plays out.

“If you could go back to being 18, and having a do over of your life, would you hope it would play out the same? If not, what would you change? Any regrets regarding your career, etc? If so, what would they be?”

I’d be afraid to go back and relive my life because I’m afraid I’d screw things up.

I’m really happy where I am right now and wouldn’t change anything in my life.

If you’re the kind of person who wants to go back and redo your life, you’re thinking about things incorrectly, instead of worrying about the mistakes you made years ago you should be focusing on making better choices in the present day. That’s what you can control. Worrying about the past is time better spent on the present and future.

Having said that, if I could go back in time I would buy a ton of Amazon and Netflix stock. And I might go invest in this guy named Zuckerberg and his new company called Facebook when they initially raised money.

Also, I wouldn’t sell pants.

“How do you approach having a threesome with your significant other? I’m a male and I fantasize about getting my dick sucked by two chicks. My girlfriend is very reluctant and sort of considers it cheating. What’s the best way to convince her?”

My favorite thing about this email is the presumption that being a guy and fantasizing about getting your dick sucked by two women is some kind of rare fantasy. Do you also fantasize about super models wanting to have sex with you?

Wow, me too!

Every straight man in America has fantasized about getting his dick sucked by two different (hot) women at the same time.

So this isn’t exactly a big time fantasy surprise.

It’s not cheating if your girlfriend is also involved. But the way you get your significant other to do anything sexually is by convincing her it would be fun for her too. Is she interested in other women sexually? If so, congrats. If not, the odds of this happening are slim.

If you think this is unfair of her to not allow you to have your dick sucked by two women at once, how would you respond if she told you she wanted to have sex with you and another guy at the same time? Is that hot to you? If not, congrats, you both think the same thing about involving other partners in your sex life.

“In college, after a one night stand, a girl told a friend he was “well endowed for a short guy.”  He’s 5’8. 

How would you react to that? Gotta celebrate the fact that a girl called you well endowed, qualifiers be damned, right?

In the grand scheme, this has to be one of the better backhanded compliments to receive.”

What a total dick move by the girl.

If she just says, “You’ve got a huge dick,” this guy is walking on air. But she has to add in “for a short guy” which just reinforces this guy is short, a fact he has been unable to escape for the entirety of his life.

A short guy knows he’s short like a fat girl knows she’s fat. That is, for every minute of every day all day long.

This would be the equivalent of a guy hooking up with a girl and then saying, “You’ve got a really pretty face for a fat chick.”

So it’s a glass half full or half empty kind of decision for your buddy. I tend to be an optimist. So at least he’s not a short guy with a little dick.

Great bar debate, would you rather be a short guy with a big dick or a tall guy with a little dick?

I think you’ve got to go tall guy here because everyone can see how tall you are and most would never know about your tiny baby dick. Plus, if you have a really tiny dick you could just claim you were really religious, stay a virgin until marriage, only marry a religious girl, who is also virgin, never permit her to see porn, and then claim your penis is actually huge compared to other guy’s.

Boom!

Come on, chess not checkers.

“I have a bit of a dilemma and could use some advice. I work at a fortune 250 company doing business to business sales, I’ve been here about eight months. I really like everyone I work with and the female “talent” here is incredible. There’s just one issue- I absolutely hate the job itself. Terrible management, no work life balance and spending 95% of my time trying to attract clients to make $100-$200 in commission each deal (pre tax). Now, my dad owns a local plumbing business and is getting up there in age, he is looking for me to be the successor. A couple advantages to that- in time, I become my own boss with my own hours, roughly the same pay to start off with potential for 200k+ and I do something that I actually like instead of selling services most people don’t even think about switching. Disadvantages- I likely won’t have healthcare or any of the benefits that come with a large fortune 250 company, my dad becomes my boss for a 5-7 years and in theory, if I suck, could ruin what my dads worked so hard for. So clay, if you were in my spot as a 24 year old dude with very high student debt, what would you do?”

I’d be a plumber.

I was reading an article the other day about how there is a huge shortage of plumbers in our country and these guys are all making six figures plus and getting recruited like crazy because the market is so competitive.

I suspect that’s because many people look down on the job and think poorly of plumbers.

Fuck that.

If you like a job and can make a good living at it, go do it. If anything, you should be happy no on else thinks your job is cool because then you’ve got it locked down for the next couple of generations.

It’s not like people are going to suddenly stop shitting. Pipes are always going to get clogged. (Side note, how pissed would plumbers be if suddenly shitting ended? You talk about a bad break. This is like putting every dollar you had into a massive horse farm right as cars took off. Think about all the horse knowledge that just vanished overnight. For most of world history, everyone knew a ton about horses and then starting about 1900 suddenly we all knew nothing. I can’t even tell you a single fact about horses. Double side note, this reminds me of the people we had in law school who were experts in how to use the law library. The law library was one of the most complex parts of being a lawyer. It was hard as hell to find cases and cite them. And then, boom, the Internet arrives and you can Google pretty much everything or look it up on Lexis and WestLaw. Lawyers don’t even need books now. All that knowledge people had — some of them got advanced degrees in legal research — and it’s just gone, poof.)

“Just curious. With the recent decision by Miss America to clamp down on true feminism (isn’t true feminism letting a woman do whatever she pleases) when can we expect and hope for a counter culture to build? Think of Hugh Hefner and Playboy. It wasn’t just about the pictures but it was a banner for a counter culture. The whole 70s was really about the freedom to just be you and whatever you wanted. But the same generation that headed that movement is now the generation that is backlashing against the same movement they created. I’m not a hippie but “live and let live” really isn’t such a bad thing. Do you see an end to this crazy whitewashing to individuality? Or has our society jumped the shark?” 

I always say I’m a feminist because I believe women should be able to do whatever they want within the law. Just like men can.

This decision to end Miss America’s competition based on looks, both swimsuit and evening gown, is pure insanity. First of all, it will kill the point of putting the show on TV, which will mean that the money and influence of Miss America will cease to exist.

No one is watching a goddamn contest to see who has the best personality. First, that’s impossible to judge in a couple of hours on television. Second, will the women still wear make up and nice clothes? Couldn’t that skew the personality ratings? Shouldn’t all the women appear in burkas just to insure we don’t allow our biases to shine forth? Either that or we have to blindfold the judges.

Seriously, come on, this entire decision is peak 2018

Look, some women have better bodies than others. And objectively some women are better looking than others too.

This is incontrovertibly true.

If some women believe they are the best looking then why can’t they compete with other good looking women to see who is the best looking? And if you don’t think you are good looking in a bathing suit, maybe don’t compete in a beauty pageant?

I know, I know, crazy idea, let women make choices of how to spend their time.

This entire country was founded on the basis of competition. When people compete, some people win and some people lose. That’s the entire purpose of competition itself, separating the winners from the losers. If everyone wins then everyone also loses, which defeats the entire purpose of competition and ensures, wait for it, that most people don’t get better.

You might think I’m crazy, but the ending of Miss America is just part of a larger war on masculinity which is rooted in a rejection of competition. Most of masculine culture is about competition, being the best at something, trying to beat someone else. That’s why we don’t still live in the caves. Some of y’all think I’m crazy, but we’re not far from sports themselves coming under attack.

It won’t be long before scoreboards are considered to be oppressive hate symbols.

I’m serious, years from now my grandkids are going to be like, “Oh, look at silly old Grandpa Clay, he’s so old they still kept score in the games he grew up watching! Score, can you believe it?!”

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

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