Anonymous Mailbag

It’s Tuesday, rejoice, it’s time for the anonymous mailbag.

Week 13 college football picks are up on the Outkick VIP message board — I’ve got 15 of them of this week — and we’re at over 58% winners so far this year.

So if you’d just bet my picks you would have made money  on the year and gotten an autographed copy of the book in the process too.

The anonymous mailbag is presented by my guy Ryan Kelley at The Home Loan Expert. Own a home but also have too much credit card debt? Go to their website today and by this time next week your credit card debt can be wiped out and you can have a brand new low rate mortgage. Put your financial house in order just in time for football season by wiping out your credit card debt and visiting him today Also, if you use The Home Loan Expert and tell them Outkick and Clay Travis sent you, you get a free year’s VIP subscription.

If you have any anonymous mailbag questions you can email them to claytravis@gmail.com, anonymity guaranteed. Okay, here we go.

“My father recently moved to a big city several hours from home for a job, leaving my mother to work and live by herself during the week while coming home on the weekend. 

In a recent trip to see him in the city, I was enlisted to set up his wifi (typical dad move, right?). In doing so, I needed to use his phone to set everything up. While switching between the settings and internet tabs on his cell, I saw that the 3rd most recently opened app was an app called Grindr. Since you are an investor in the dating app game, I’m sure you know the target demographic for that particular app, it’s a gay men’s hook up app. 

So here’s my question(s), how in the hell do I approach this situation tactfully, since it could ultimately lead to my parents divorce? Do I approach him one on one? How can I knowingly let this type of behavior happen behind my mothers back? Naturally, my wife tells me I shouldn’t say anything, but I’m having a hard time letting this one go. 

What say ye sir King Solomon of the Internet?”

First, there could be a completely innocent reason why that app was open on his phone. What if one of the guy’s at his office was making fun of your dad being away from home and sent him a text message link to Grindr saying he should be able to find what he needs there?

And then your dad doesn’t spend that much time on the Internet, opened the link and didn’t close out the link on his phone? That certainly seems possible.

Then you’re getting yourself all worked up for no reason here.

Second, what if your mom knows and this is one reason your dad took this job in the big city several hours away from her? Because they don’t want to get divorced, but this is a tacit acknowledgment that he’s told her he’s gay and this way he can have his gay lifestyle while he’s away from her, but they can stay together too. I mean, doesn’t it seem odd to you that your mom wouldn’t want to stay with him in the “big city” while he’s working? I don’t know how old you are, but if you’re old enough to be sending an email like this to the anonymous mailbag — presumably you have to be 22 or older — meaning your dad — and mom — are probably in their fifties.

Most men in their fifties are starting to dial back how much they work, not suddenly leaving home for new jobs. Maybe your mom has an incredibly important job in your small town, but most women in their fifties aren’t still working their asses off either, particularly if their kids are grown.

So what if your mom knows and they’re hoping to keep this quiet and then you jump head on right into the middle of your parent’s own drama that they specifically decided not to tell you about and hoped you’d never know about? You might make things much worse.

Third, what if your dad is gay or bicurious, but has never acted on it and looks at men on Grindr while he jerks off alone in his big city apartment? Do you really want your dad explaining his jerk off habits to you? What if your dad and mom have been having secret MMF group sex for decades and she’s in on it too? Do you really want to be involved in the inner details of your parent’s sex lives?

Fourth, maybe you’re right and your dad is having secret gay sex without your mom knowing while he’s away in the city. Maybe that was even why he took his job, because presumably it’s much easier to be gay in a big city than in a small town. Do you really want to be the person to let your mom know that your dad is having secret gay sex? Does that make your mom happier to know the truth? Does it make your family’s life any better? Wouldn’t you rather them stay together and her never find out? He’s in his fifties or sixties, it’s not like he just turned gay this year. If he’s cheating on your mom now, with a libido of a man in his fifties or sixties, he’s been having sex with men secretly for decades.

If I were you, I’d just completely stay out of it and pretend I never saw my dad’s phone.

But if you feel the absolute need to talk about it, I’d only talk to your dad about it and I’d specifically begin the conversation by saying you’re never going to say anything to your mom about any of this.

Good luck.

“In your recent mailbags, you’ve discussed how school wide events are being ruined due to one triggered parent. You even referenced Harry Potter specifically.
Well, in 4th grade Harry Potter was taking the world by storm and my teacher decided we were going to read it as a class. My mom wasn’t comfortable with me reading it at that age. My dad didn’t give a shit but in classic dad fashion didn’t think it was worth fighting over with my mom. BUT, I didn’t end up ruining it for the whole class. Instead, when my class was reading Harry Potter I would just go to another classroom and read a separate book in the back of the room by myself like fucking Steven Glansberg. I know I probably sound like a total loser, but do I/my mom get some credit for not completely ruining it for everyone else? If anything, I just punished myself by cementing the fact that no 4th grade girls were gonna try to kiss me at recess.”
I just can’t imagine being such an asshole of a parent that I would do this to my kid.
Especially over Harry Fucking Potter.
Plus, I don’t get your mom’s logic here either. If fourth grade was too young for you to read Harry Potter, was fifth grade going to suddenly be perfect for you? As a parent, bright line rules on ages don’t make sense to me.
For instance, my kids have all watched the Star Wars and superhero movies since they were three years old. In my experience once one kid gets into something, it’s hard to keep the younger kids from also being into it.
I took my three/four year old to see Venom, Black Panther, the Avengers, and the Star Wars movies with his older brothers in the movie theater.
I’d be ecstatic if he wanted to start reading the Harry Potter books in first grade and could understand them.
I was a reading nerd, but by second, third and fourth grade I was reading grown adult books with actual sex scenes in them. To their credit my parents never worried about whether a book was age appropriate for me. If you’re old enough to want to read it, they let me read it.
I’d say that all parents should let their kids read virtually anything that’s sold in a traditional bookstore.
That’s especially the case when getting many kids to read is so difficult. My oldest kid reads everything, my second kid won’t read anything. As a parent getting my kids to read is what I’m most concerned about because I think reading widely is the single most important thing you can teach anyone. That’s especially the case for boys since most men don’t read as adults.
So we’re printing out sports stories for my second son, doing whatever we can to get him to read anything at all.
The other day he said to me, “Dad, what do I need to read for? I’m going to grow up and play pro football. Unless I decide to play pro basketball instead. Which do you think I should pick? I know, maybe I should do both!”
Ah, the optimism of youth.
Anyway, at least your mom didn’t try and get the book banned for the entire classroom, she just branded you as the loser kid with the overprotective mom.
When I was a kid every classroom had a loser kid with an overprotective mom — I might even have been him some years — but it was only one kid and we all felt bad for him or her.
And it seems like that kid was always the one that ended up falling apart in high school or college when they finally got out on their own and had no idea what to do because they had been so overprotected.
The same thing was true, by the way, of preacher’s kids. Preacher’s kids were notorious vigilantes. Why? Because they were raised with too much religion so they rebelled.
Now it seems like every classroom is entirely filled with loser kids with overprotective moms.
And then these kids all grow up and they go off to college and they can’t handle being confronted by anything that challenges their world view because they’ve been coddled and protected their entire lives.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think a ton of parents, moms especially, the kinds who went to college and then got graduate degrees and now don’t have jobs and stay at home all day, need to worry about their kids less.
So much of this is just overly aggressive helicopter parenting.

“Clay, can you settle a debate between my wife and I? Is there a difference between telling someone “You’re acting like an asshole” vs “You’re an asshole.”     

She told me, surprise, “you’re acting like an asshole.” 

Later that night something came up and I said “Well what do you expect, you call me an asshole this morning.” She claims I didn’t call you an asshole, you’re just acting like one.  I said it’s the same thing, she says no it isn’t. Can you please settle this?”

Your wife is correct.

If she had said, “You’re acting like LeBron James,” because you bumped into her in the kitchen and then fell down and grabbed your knee, would you think she was saying you were LeBron James?

Of course not.

Let me guess, you didn’t read many books as a kid, did you?

When someone says you’re acting like something else it specifically means you’re not normally like that. Hence the use of the words “acting like.”

My bet is she was right and you were acting like an asshole.

Honestly, based on the fact you emailed the anonymous mailbag about this, it’s also possible you’re just an asshole and your wife was being overly kind.

“So, I have been dating this girl for about 7 months. We are both in our late 20s. She works a night shift job and we see each other on her days off. We make it work.  Everything is pretty great for the most part except the argument keeps coming up, I hate that she smokes (cigs).  She does not do it around me and says she never will (since I have confronted her about it), but I’m a firm believer in how bad it is for your health and she knows how bad I hate it that I can smell it on her breath. 

She only does it at work (on breaks) for the most part.  I’m looking to eventually marry this girl and start a family with her and she wants the same.  She continues to smoke and seems that she “wants” to quit but doesn’t want to “right now”. I don’t want to give an ultimatum or give up on her but is that what it needs to come down to in order to get her to quit? She has smoked for 7 years but since meeting me has gotten better she says.  Need the wise advice of you Mr. Travis.”

I wouldn’t date or marry a girl who smokes cigarettes.

I think many of you reading this feel the same way.

That’s just not something that I find attractive so it would knock someone out of the dating pool before I even got started with it.

So why did you start dating a girl who smokes cigarettes? The answer is because you’re willing to date someone who smokes cigarettes. Deep down, she knows this too.

She doesn’t believe you’ll actually break up with her over this so every time she makes the decision to smoke a cigarette she knows the consequences aren’t that severe.

If it truly matters to you that much, you give her an ultimatum — it’s me or the cigarettes. But I think we both know you won’t really do that. If it truly mattered that much to you, you wouldn’t have started dating to begin with.

My bet here is, as with most things, you’re willing to put up with the smoking because she’s hotter than the other girl you might be able to get who doesn’t smoke.

So decide what matters more to you — her being hotter than the next best girl you can get or her smoking.

“What are your thoughts on older people and social media? Specifically, the ones that do not know how to use it. My mom is in her mid 60’s. She accepts friend requests from anyone and everyone and posts things with my daughter and I in them that I wish everyone didn’t see.

Especially my ex husband.

I’ve asked her to remove him because it’s weird. It was not an amicable split. He didn’t even have an account until after we were divorced.

Secondly, she is a FB stalker. She will comment on pictures from years ago. She will say things like “so and so at the beach” no shit sands in the background, mom.

It can even be a person that she doesn’t know and she will comment on a picture out of the blue from 5 years ago. 

Now she’s “friends” with my new boyfriend and comments the weirdest stuff on his posts. 

I write in because I am wondering if I should tell my very sensitive mother that she’s doing it wrong. Anytime I try to mention anything that may seem critical she breaks down in tears. What’s my play here? Suffer through and let people think she’s crazy?”

Can you mute your own mom on Facebook?

My best advice is just to ignore her.

Unless you think she’s actually putting you or your daughter in harm’s way with her behavior, there’s nothing particularly awful or egregious about her social media habits and the good thing about social media is it hardly lasts more for than a day. That is, your mom’s strange behavior isn’t probably noticed by most people. And if it is noticed, we all have goldfish memories on social media so we move on to something else very rapidly.

Having said that, honestly, what you’re describing sounds like someone who is very lonely. Does she have friends? Could you and your daughter spend more time with her?

Lonely and sad people seem drawn to social media, I think, because it makes their lives seem more fulfilling. When you say something on social media and someone responds to you, it serves as a validation that you matter.

I spend a ton of time on social media for my work, but I spend almost no time on social media in my private life. Other than liking the pictures of my family my wife posts, I haven’t posted on my private Facebook account in years. I have no idea what everyone else has going on in their lives because I just don’t check in very much.

I have several good friends who have never gotten on social media. They work all the time at their jobs and have just never seen the point of spending more time on their phones. Increasingly, they seem like geniuses to me.

So far my kids haven’t asked for cell phones or social media accounts, but I’m going to keep them off both for as long as I possibly can.

Remember, social media is designed to addict us. That’s the entire purpose of the products. The more time we spend on them, the more money they make.

As with most things, moderation is the key, but is your social media use moderate? Mine isn’t. But at least I can blame my job. My job, honestly, is to be on social media a great deal.

It sounds to me like your mom is lonely — why else is she looking at all these old pictures? — and looking for more attention from others.

Examined in this light her behavior doesn’t seem weird or inappropriate, it just seems sad.

“Okay, let’s preface this, we live in Nashville with a small child. Our family has had season tickets in the north endzone in Neyland Stadium since they built it. We know all the people around us and call them our fall family. 
With better technology for HD TV resulting in empty seats across the country, is it even worth being a season ticket holder? When we look at the schedule there are at minimum 3 games each year that aren’t worth the drive in or time commitment. Whether it’s against rooster poot state or going in to see us get pounded by Bama. And here recently our only good OOC game has been at neutral sites. So that leaves 3-4 “fun” games that you’re paying an entire season for. 
Is it worth spending $900 a pair plus donation for an entire season in Neyland, or based on our location in Nashville, is cherry picking games on the secondary market in almost all other SEC towns easily within driving distance from Nashville the better option?  We’re of course assuming that based on empty stadiums across the country, the days of sold out games and impossible tickets are a thing of the past — like tearaway jerseys and Gulden’s mustard packets in our Smokey Dogs. 
For us once we give up these seats they’re gone. Due to donation structures we can’t go back to this rate again. Is worth keeping them for “one day” when we’re good again?”
When I was a kid there was nothing better than going to Neyland Stadium for a game, but you know what I like at least that much now? Watching college games at home with my kids.
My boys absolutely love watching football with me. (And their mom). Last week when I was in LA, my wife got all three boys in bed with her and they all fell asleep together watching Monday Night Football. On Saturday I got home from travel and two of my boys fell asleep with me watching Ole Miss-Vandy.
I know come Monday night my boys will be in bed with me watching Titans-Texans.
It’s honestly pretty fantastic to have kids to watch big games with now.
I enjoy watching a game on television just as much as I do going to one. That’s especially the case in college football when going to one game means I miss getting to watch a dozen on TV.
Now we have season tickets in the north end zone for the Titans — our seats are next to the pair my dad has had since the Titans stadium opened in 1999 — and we go to those games and have a really good time. But if you have season tickets where you live it’s pretty easy to go those games. Even still there are there some games we don’t make it to because the weather is crappy or we have other obligations.
I can’t imagine having season tickets for the NHL, the NBA, or, god forbid, Major League Baseball and actually going to all of those games. I write and talk about sports for a living and I’d be miserable going to all of these games. It’s just too much of an obligation.
But football is easier because there are comparatively fewer games.
What I’d think about doing is keeping the season tickets and selling all but three of them every year. That’s a nice balancing act. If you find that you still aren’t interested in going to those three games then I’d consider letting them go and just watching the games on television.
If you have the money to spend you can get tickets to any event in the country. So it’s not like you’d be giving up on ever seeing your team play again. You’d just go to the biggest games.
I think, in general, that’s what we’re seeing in American entertainment. There’s a flight to quality. We’re all so busy now we only want to watch or attend the biggest events.
Whereas there used to be a ton of regional sporting events, now everything is nationalized. The biggest events just keep getting bigger, but the smaller events get snowed under.
Hope y’all have great Thanksgivings.
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