Anonymous Mailbag

It’s Tuesday, time for the anonymous mailbag.

But before we get rolling here, I want to ask you a question: do you have way too much credit card debt? If you do, and you own your own home, you need to contact my guy Ryan Kelley at The Home Loan Expert and let him wipe out that credit card debt you’re carrying at high interest rates and replace it with a very low interest rate mortgage. Seriously, if you have credit card debt, own a home, and are carrying that credit card debt around month to month with insanely high interest rates, it’s time to get out of the debt crunch and make a smart financial decision. Go to The HomeLoanExpert.com today and get a new mortgage.

As always send your anonymous mailbag questions to clay.travis@gmail.com, anonymity guaranteed.

Okay, here we go:

“Last week, my wife and I got into an interesting “discussion” that was heated on one side (hers). Here is the scenario:
 
She was born and raised where we live, I was not. As a result, my sporting allegiances don’t always coincide with hers. In fact, our favorite baseball teams are arch rivals that play in the same division. It is no secret that I despise everything about the local team. She knew this when we were dating, when we were engaged, and now married, which will be for 15 years later this year.
I was recently invited to attend a game where the hometown team was playing an interleague game against an irrelevant opponent. Well, it just so happens that I own a hat for the visiting team, purchased when I was in high school.
Considering I despise the local team, I wore the hat to the game. The person who invited me knows I hate the local team, and chuckled when he saw the hat.
My wife, however, lost her shit. She could not believe I wore the hat. She said it was an insult to her and our children, and really reveals something about my character. Was I out of line? She wanted me to apologize, and I vehemently refused, saying it’s no secret how I feel about her team.”
I think your wife overreacted, but I also think you created a needless situation with her too.
Let’s start here — if your wife really believes this “reveals something about your character” why is she married to you and having children with you? Also, what does it reveal? Did you push her on that? What did wearing a baseball cap to a game tell her about you that she had been heretofore unable to decipher through 15 years of marriage? It seems to me she went way overboard here with being legitimately upset over your decision.
But I also think the payoff here for you wasn’t worth getting into a legitimate argument with her. In marriage, very often, discretion is the better part of valor. You could have put the hat on, walked into the room with your wife and said, “Okay, ready to go.”
She would have seen your hat, maybe smiled at least a bit — okay, you made your point — and then you could have tossed it off and gone to the baseball game without needing to make a huge deal about which team you root for. Further, while it doesn’t sound like this was business related, what if you’d been in a box with your wife’s work colleagues? If I’m there in the box and I walk up to you and say, “Oh, are you a fan of (insert team hat you’re wearing),” and you say, “No, I just really hate, (insert home team here),” it’s kind of dick move. It does seem, honestly, to be a bit anti-social and directed at pissing other people off as opposed to rooting for your team.
You were kind of like the guy who goes to the game featuring two teams and wears the gear of a third team. You always see that guy at college football games. Really, dude? You went to a game featuring two teams and wore the gear of a third team? My friend Neville did this at a the Miami-Tennessee football game in Knoxville one year. He wore a Florida Gator tshirt to Tennessee-Miami in 2003. That was actually pretty funny because he didn’t like either team and was a Gator grad, but in general I think this is a ridiculous move.
Furthermore, if your kids and your wife root for a team, I think the least you can do is not root against that team. Especially when they aren’t playing your team. Maybe I’m just a total pussy, but my seven year old roots for Alabama football right now and I’d rather Alabama win than not win while the game is on and the two of us are watching them play in any game but against Tennessee just because it makes him happier.
I’ve moved from that age when you cared about whether your team wins for your own enjoyment to the point where you root for your kids to be happy so you want their teams to win. A perfect example of this is the Nashville Predators. I root for the Nashville Predators to win now because both of my boys really care if the Preds win. And when they lose I think, “Oh, my kids are going to be so upset.”
And I feel bad for them.
I don’t really get that upset over my teams losing much any more because I think, in general, the older you are the less you end up caring about athletic events.
So I think your wife overreacted, but you also needlessly provoked her.
My dad told me when I was still a kid that most of being in a successful marriage was placating the woman. Find out what she doesn’t like and avoid doing that. I think that’s pretty good advice.

“About a week ago my soon to be wife and I went out for dinner and a couple drinks. We were at a little bar on the square that we have been to several times when I had to get up to take a leak. As I was walking toward the restroom a young woman I’m guessing in her early 20s who was making every effort to dress like a man walked right past the open women’s restroom and into the men’s. This is a one toilet per restroom establishment so I was forced to wait until I damn near pissed myself while this woman dressed as a man used the men’s bathroom while ignoring the completely empty women’s restroom. What the fuck is going on? What would you have done in this situation?”

I would have used the women’s bathroom.

Is this something other people don’t do? If I go to use the public bathroom at a place like this and the men’s room door is locked and the women’s bathroom door is unlocked, I just use the women’s bathroom. I don’t see why this is a big deal. It’s not like I’m going to be in there for hours, I’m a really quick bathroom user, I pride myself on this. When there’s a long line at the bar, I go in and try to get done so fast that other people are going to think, “Damn, did you see how fast that guy peed? That’s the fastest peeing I’ve ever seen!”

Now I’ve never gotten this compliment before, but for like twenty years I’ve been thinking it every time there’s a long line for a bathroom at the bar.

Anyway, I go in the bathroom of the opposite sex — again, if it’s single stall and no one else is in there — all the time with my own young kids too. If they have to go to the bathroom and the men’s bathroom is locked, at a gas station for instance, I take them in the women’s bathroom to use it. If both are occupied and one of my kids really has to go to the bathroom bad, I take them out back and let them pee outside.

I don’t know why places like this need a men’s room and a women’s room, if two bathrooms are there and each of them only allow one person at a time to use them, shouldn’t you just have two bathrooms open to everyone?

Maybe I’m just missing all the public bathroom wars, but I don’t care that much about what bathroom people use.

If it makes you feel happier to dress up like a man — or woman — do it.

Now, I don’t think a guy’s a hero because he likes putting on panties and hose and wearing bras and high heels, but what the fuck do I care? And I also don’t care if a woman wants to wear a baggy shirt and jeans, cut her hair short, and pretend she’s a man.

If it makes you happier, do it.

It’s not heroic, but I’m in favor of people doing whatever they want to within the law to make themselves happier.

I’d suggest not letting this bother you either. Just use the women’s bathroom next time this happens. You’ve got a dick and you probably like it; imagine how much you’d hate your life if you desperately wanted a dick and didn’t have one.

Shit sounds awful just to contemplate, honestly.

I just refuse to get drawn into stupid arguments and which bathroom people use in public is, to me, a stupid argument.

(By the way, the biggest issue I have with public bathrooms is when to let your kid go on his own. My only public bathroom fear is that one of my kids is going to get molested in there if I let them go alone. So I always drag myself — or send my wife — with one of the kids. What age is old enough where you don’t have to do that any more? 12 or 13? Sometimes I go now, check the bathroom like I’m Daniel Boone, see that there’s no one else there and then leave them. But I hate that awkward dad move of just leaning up against the wall while your kid goes to the bathroom. Because then I think other parents think I’m scouting out their kids. That’s why you have to toss in a, “You okay?” every now and then so people know why you’re just there leaning awkwardly against the wall.)

“Clay, I have recently been talking to a company about a job. This is a good gig and game changer for me and my family.

They preach family first and then work. I am married with 2 girls under 5.

Anyway, we are going to Destin for our summer vacation. Well, the company reached out to me and want me to come to Minnesota for an interview that week. I let them know about the vacation but they have yet to get back to me about doing the interview a different week.

If they say there is no other week to do it, do I suck it up and miss a day of vacation or do I call bullshit on their family first approach.”

If it’s a good gig and a game changer for you and your family you should have emailed them that you were on vacation that week, but if they need you to interview that week you’ll be happy to fly up and do it.

If you’re a big company it can be tough to schedule and hire and interview during the summer. If you really want a job and they give you an interview date you take it.

It’s great if a company says that family is first and insists that you reschedule, but most big companies don’t actually mean that. They pay you to show up and work. Your family is not first at work. That’s just a cliche, don’t believe it. “They told me I could work part time as a lawyer and my family would never be inconvenienced once I had kids!” Yeah, they were lying.

There’s no such thing as a part-time lawyer. Sometimes you have to work when you don’t want to work. And sometimes that sucks for your family.

If I’m hiring for a competitive position that is highly sought after and I give someone an interview date and he tells me he’s on vacation with his family then, honestly, that’s a check mark against him. Especially if it comes down to two people who are relatively even for the same job, as it often does.

If you really want something, go fucking after it. And at an absolute minimum I’d email them I’m scheduled to be on vacation that week, but will be there if it’s the best day for you guys.

Because then you put the onus on them to make the decision, but you also demonstrate that you’re willing to do whatever possible to get the job.

“So, I took my family to Miramar Beach, Florida over the 4th and we decided to eat at the Hub at 30A. I have 2 kids and it looked like an awesome place to take them. While watching the kids run around and having some drinks I noticed a guy walking around wearing an Outkick tshirt. After looking closer, I noticed it was none other than the gay muslim. I shouted at my wife “holy shit! That’s Clay Travis!” My wife responds “who the hell is Clay Travis?” I had to remind her you are the gentlemen that believes only in boobs and the 1st amendment. A few moments later I see James Franklin. While not a Penn State fan, I am a fan of good coaches.

I wanted to come say hello to both of you and say how I enjoy Outkick and watching Penn State play. Nothing more than “Hey, I enjoy and respect both your products and hope you have a Happy 4th.” Then I got to thinking, they’re on vacation. Leave them alone and let them enjoy their families and vacations. So, here’s my question. What is your advice approaching uber-celebrities like yourself while on vacation?  Should I have not been a pussy and come say hello or do you get tired of people constantly coming up and talking to you? Take care.”

First, a bunch of people came up and said hi to both of us when we were out eating with our families on 30A. Several people wanted pictures, that was fine. James Franklin is a great dude and his wife and my wife have become really good friends. So they hang out pretty regularly and we’ve obviously gotten to know them decently over the years.

Second, I didn’t know we’d be out in public or I probably wouldn’t have worn the Outkick tshirt like that. While I think me wearing an Outkick tshirt is like a coach wearing a polo of the team he coaches, it’s also perilously close to wearing your own jersey. The truth of the matter is this, I wear tshirts and shorts most days and wear Outkick tshirts for my shows and then often leave them on when I’m running around taking care of other responsibilities. I try to avoid wearing them to social events.

Anyway, now on to your question, I’m not sure what it’s like to be a huge celebrity — so I’m sure this rule would be different for Justin Timberlake or Beyonce — so I think it’s fine to say hi and I enjoy meeting Outkick fans. But I think you want to keep the interaction under a couple of minutes at the absolute most. If you want a picture or to shake my hand, that’s great just go straight to it. But I probably don’t want to have a ten minute conversation with you or try to balance out meeting you with parenting my kids and eating dinner with my wife.

I’m a totally normal, accessible dude, but I’m stunned by the number of people I don’t know who email or DM me wanting to meet up and get a beer. Seriously, this happens all the time. Lots of guys will even be like, “Hey, I’ll buy you a beer, let me know where we can meet up!”

And they expect me to drop everything because they are willing to buy me a $5 beer?

I genuinely question who these people are. If you don’t know me at all, why would you think I’d want to spend my very limited free time hanging out with you while I’m on vacation with my family? Now if you see me out at a bar, that’s a different situation completely, I’m happy to talk with you there, but actually plan a trip to meet up with a stranger? There’s a 0% chance of me doing this.

I don’t understand who these guys are either, are there tons of guys who want to hang out with strange guys on their vacations?

“My wife and I are 30 and 31. We have a 3 month old and a dog. We live in the northeast in a suburb of a major city. We are both attorneys earning around 65K per year. We live relatively within our means, with our big expenses being student loans and a mortgage. We have very little credit card debt. I am about to accept a job and my salary will be doubled. This may not be 30A beach house money or multiple beach house money, but it is life changing for the two of us. My question is this, when you first started earning more money, what advice do you have for someone in my situation?”

Great question.

Live two years behind your income.

That way you don’t get overly strained if the new job doesn’t work out or you end up losing it. So many people spend their raises before they get them or live paycheck to paycheck. That can make sense when you are just getting started off and don’t have that much money, but I always like to think, what happens if I don’t make a dollar for the next year?

That is, assume everything goes awful and you make nothing for an entire year.

Could I live my current lifestyle or would our life fall apart?

If your answer is no, then you’re probably way overextending yourself. Especially if, again, you’re making a decent salary.

So my advice is to live beneath your means and invest the extra money. Now one thing I’ve run into, to be totally transparent, is many of my investments are illiquid. That is, they aren’t easily turned into cash. That can happen when you’ve got money in real estate partnerships or stock investments in your retirement accounts or just a house with a ton of equity tied up into it.

So I think there’s a value in having money sitting in your checking account or in having a line of credit set up to bridge times when you may not have cash on hand for major unexpected expenses.

Congrats on the new gig.

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

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