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It’s Tuesday, time for the anonymous mailbag.
I’m down in Miami this week for the Super Bowl so I’m writing this after rushing back over from radio row and before I leave to do TV down on the beach at the incredible four block Fox Sports Super Bowl TV set.
So it’s a bit of a zoo down here.
As always you can send your anonymous mailbag questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, anonymity guaranteed.
Okay, here we go:
“My wife and I are expecting and we found out we are having a boy. We are both thrilled and can’t wait to start a family. We agree on almost everything with respect to child rearing, but a point of contention is now relevant. For years she has insisted that if we have a boy he would not be allowed to play football.
Until now, I have always delayed this conversation since it was not worth the fight if we never had a boy. As someone that grew up in the south, naturally I love football and played it all my life (same with her father). I don’t plan on pushing my son into playing football or not playing football, but plan to encourage him to choose a sport that he loves.
If it’s not football, I’ll support him enthusiastically 100%. However, if he does choose football (as is likely since we live in the south and all our family and friends thrive on it), how do we make a settlement with mom? I’ve tried to explain to her that all sports are dangerous in some capacity, and the football trauma injuries are most significant if a player plays in college or professionally. Being a statistical realist, this likely won’t be the case for my son. So how can I navigate this minefield? I need some guidance.”
Table the debate until you determine whether he actually wants to play football or not. Otherwise you might be fighting over an issue that’s not really an issue.
My bet is that if he does want to really play football, your wife won’t be willing to prohibit him from playing.
Realistically, this also shouldn’t really be a decision you make until 7th or 8th grade at the earliest. That means this issue wouldn’t even arise for 14 or so years.
Until then your son can play flag football if he’s interested in football.
My two oldest kids have both played flag football and it’s fantastic. In fact, many pro football players in Nashville put their kids in flag football rather than tackle football. Why? Because it doesn’t include any of the hits on young kids that make parents nervous.
I wouldn’t let my kids play tackle football before 14 or 15 years old, but ultimately I think it should be their decision at that age.
If a kid wants to play a sport in high school I think it should be their decision at that point, regardless of the sport.
Otherwise you’re not letting them grow up and make their own decisions.
“So I started dating a lady about six weeks ago who is fantastic… great chemistry… smoking hot… smart.. talented… loves her kids… wonderful person… the whole package.
Not long after we started dating she told me she’s Mormon… I’m not… no big deal… then a few days later she tells me she’s bisexual… again… no big deal to me…but that she could only marry a man… after a few questions she says that she could only be with one person (so no… the threesome thing is out… I know that’s what you are thinking).
Here’s the thing… fast forward to now… she mentioned that I’m the first boyfriend she’s had in a long time, as she only would go out with guys a couple of times… I’m thinking “cool”…. then she drops on me nonchalantly about having girlfriends… as in at least one long term girlfriend relationship (or more) since she got divorced.
So I’m starting to wonder has this girl basically been batting for the other team for the last few years and decided to come back to the straight side of the fence because she wants a husband? She said she could be happy with a man or a woman but could only marry a man because of her beliefs… so I’m a little wary here…how would you continue this conversation?”
It seems strange to me that a bisexual woman would be fine with having extra-marital sexual relationships with women, but she’d be unwilling to have a marital relationship with women because it violates her religious tenets.
She’s previously been married and divorced a man. But she has been dating women since.
Which is why the evidence you’ve provided here makes me think she may well be a lesbian who is pretending to be bisexual.
So what I’d be nervous about here if I were you is what if she’s not bisexual at all and is actually a lesbian? Then she’ll never be happy with you and your relationship is essentially a sham.
What I think you need find out is this — are all the members of her family aware she’s bisexual? My bet is that they aren’t and that she’s essentially lying to herself about the bisexuality to prevent acknowledging that she’s gay.
You are, essentially, her beard.
“I’m an 18 year old girl senior in high school with a job, a high GPA, and I play a sport. With all this being said…my mother still tracks me and gives little freedom at all.
Do you think she should be allowed to track me?
I’ve literally done everything expected as a kid and got a job without my parents asking. Also, I am going to play a sport in college next year at a great academic school and I am taking financial stress off of them. Are these good reasons to ask not to be tracked?”
I don’t know how common it is for parents to track the phones of their teenagers, but I can see why it’s addictive from a parental perspective. (My kids aren’t old enough for this to have been a legitimate debate in our house and the technology certainly hasn’t existed for long enough to have common standards in place here).
I’m sure what your parents believe they are doing is ensuring your safety by being able to fact check your kids whereabouts all the time. And I think just about every person out there reading right now would acknowledge that at some point in high school they probably lied, in one way or another, about their potential destination. You might have said, for instance, you were going to the movies when really you went to someone’s house.
It’s likely that you probably didn’t get caught back in the day, but now with phone tracking you could. (I know kids can probably trick their parents with phone tracking too, but it does make things more difficult.)
But you’re 18 now and you feel like you are mature enough to not be tracked.
And the larger question here is, at what age does it become counterproductive to track your kids?
I think certainly when they leave for college you shouldn’t be following your child’s every move, but you can make an argument that it should cease when you turn 18 years old and aren’t a minor any more.
So I don’t know what your parents will say, but that’s the argument I would make if I were you. “I’m 18 now and I deserve the freedom not to be tracked.”
But I’m not sure what your parents will say because I don’t know them.
They may well say, we pay for your phone, so we deserve to know your whereabouts when you use it. If that’s the case, you could offer to pay for you own phone to kill that argument.
But regardless there’s no way it should continue when you’re in college.
“We are in our late 30’s and have elementary school age kids. We’re not having any more. We have a pretty typical sex life, happens every so often but not as much as I’d like. Since our last kid, my wife has been mentioning plastic surgery to fix some of the “damage” from the kids, including new boobs! I should add this is totally her idea, and not coming from pressure from me.
She’s found a doctor she likes and has worked out all the details. Haven’t given her permission to pull the trigger yet, but I’m obviously on board with this. My question is, what’s reasonable to expect in terms of access to the new goods? And do I try to negotiate now before agreeing to this?
I don’t expect to be having as much sex as when we first started dating, but at the same time I’ll be frustrated if she does this and there isn’t at least some uptick in frequency.”
The hope is that your wife will be more happy with her appearance and hence be more interested in having sex with you as well.
But I think what men have to realize is women often enjoy being sexy without being interested in sex.
In other words, every time we go out and my wife is dressed sexy, I’m thinking my wife is making it clear she wants to have sex with me. Otherwise, in my dumb male mind, why would she be dressed so sexy? But women, as you’ll eventually realize, often dress sexy for each other. In fact, women are generally dressing more for other women than they are for men.
Men don’t do this.
Almost everything men do is about maximizing our opportunity for sex.
Like, if a group of men are out on the dance floor, it’s almost never just because men like to dance. It’s because they’re trying to find women to dance with them in the hope they might be able to have sex with those women. If you doubt me, has an attractive woman ever approached a group of (straight) dancing men, tried to dance with them and had one of the men say, “Sorry, I’m just trying to dance with my friends tonight.”
I doubt it.
Yet women do this all the time.
Because women like dancing with other women. Just like women like dressing up for other women.
So while it may seem to you like the boobs are being added just for sex with you, your wife is probably more excited about how she’ll look in her (new) clothes with her (new) boobs than she is in having sex with you.
Having said all of this, I think expecting at least one more sexual encounter a week over the first six months of the boob job isn’t a bad goal.
It may be more than that, but I’d set that as a realistic possibility.
I actually got multiple questions from readers about the Kobe Bryant rape case that they requested be in the anonymous mailbag because in the wake of the Washington Post reporter fallout they were nervous being attached to the questions at all. Here’s one of those questions:
“Clay – I am curious as to why you haven’t discussed the sexual assault allegations against Kobe Bryant as part of the discussion of his death. (If you have and I have missed it, my apologies – I follow you on twitter and listened to part of your radio show on Monday morning and did not hear a reference to this.) Over the past few years, you have on multiple occasions rightly raised the fact that he admitted to (unintentionally and unknowingly, he claims) had sex with a woman who had not consented. The fact that this aspect of his life has gone largely – though not entirely – unremarked on in the wake of his death seems worth noting. He was a highly complicated man (as most of us are, though few of us accomplish anything close to as much as he did) – much to admire, and much to cause concern. In the past, I have appreciated your willingness to discuss difficult issues (even when I disagreed) and would welcome your thoughts on this, not least because you have discussed this many times in the past.”
I think this is a fair question, but it’s also a complicated one.
First, when someone dies in a tragic way, my natural inclination is not to focus on the most negative aspects of their public life no matter who they are.
For instance, several weeks ago Don Imus died. I didn’t listen to Imus, but much of social media reacted by praising him for his radio talents. But there was also a substantial portion of social media that focused on the Rutgers nappy headed hoes comments and said he shouldn’t be praised in any way because of what he’d said in the past.
That seemed unfair to me.
Judging anyone in the immediate aftermath of their death for their worst moments — especially when there were many good moments — isn’t the way I choose to respond to death. I try not to immediately speak ill of the dead.
I’m also not someone who goes on social media every time a celebrity dies and tries to talk about what a tremendously important figure they were in my life. That always feels ghoulish to me. If I know someone well, I think it’s perfectly appropriate to discuss that when they die, but I didn’t know Kobe Bryant so I mostly focused on his public profile and the facts surrounding his death more than anything else.
I’ve also talked about the Kobe Bryant rape case quite a bit — most notably when Kobe won an Oscar at the #metoo Oscars and had his jersey retired in LA amid the Harvey Weinstein Hollywood mess. It seemed to me to be intensely hypocritical for Los Angeles to be honoring a man who was charged with rape — and later bought off his accuser — at the same time the community was grappling with the #metoo crisis.
That’s a perfectly appropriate discussion to have about the legacy of Kobe and the extent of Hollywood hypocrisy when it came to a famous athlete.
But in the first 24 hours after his death — and certainly in the first few hours after it — does it really make sense to discuss the rape charge?
Not to me.
Having said that, I don’t see anything worthy of suspension about a Washington Post reporter sharing a story about Kobe’s rape charge, even if that story was shared immediately after his death. Again, I wouldn’t — and didn’t — do it, but I don’t have a problem with someone else deciding to do it.
Essentially what happened here was there was a (nearly) universal outpouring of grief and praise and relatively few individuals chose to challenge that grief and praise by pointing out elements of a life that weren’t praiseworthy. That cognitive dissonance, the difference between the way someone feels and the facts that conflict with that feeling, provoked rage at the information sharer.
Why does this happen? Because our society often has a very black and white standard when it comes to public behavior. People are either good or bad, saints or sinners. The reality, however, is all of us are somewhere in between. Sometimes we do very good things, but sometimes we also do very bad things.
The hope is that at the end of our lives the good will outweigh the bad.
But there are some acts that are so bad it’s virtually impossible to overcome them. For instance, I don’t think when Harvey Weinstein dies that everyone is going to praise his movies and overlook the sexual assault allegations. And I think the same thing is true of Bill Cosby.
It certainly appears that Bill Cosby could have been an incredible comedian, a great father, and a rapist. In fact, it’s altogether possible that the reason Cosby nearly escaped all punishment for his criminal transgressions is because people found it so unbelievable that the man from “The Bill Cosby Show” could be a rapist.
Our minds couldn’t handle the dichotomy.
The same is true of Kobe Bryant even though it’s certainly possible that Kobe was an incredible basketball player, a great father, and a rapist as well.
I think the big questions we run into here are these: what are the limits of redemption and to what extent should the worst moments of a life define you in death? When is your personal behavior so bad that it’s unforgivable? Sports provides an interesting window for that examination. For instance, Mike Tyson was accused of domestic assault by many women, convicted of rape, and served time in prison for that rape, yet now he’s a lovable pop culture figure.
Baltimore Raven Ray Lewis was charged with double murder, switched sides in the middle of his murder trial to testify against his co-defendants, and no one was ever convicted of murder in that case. In fact, we’ve never found the white suit he wore that night and we still don’t fully understand what happened that evening. No one has ever been brought to justice for those murders. Yet Ray Lewis has a statue outside the Baltimore Ravens stadium and is in the NFL hall of fame.
Ray Lewis, in fact, has received far more redemption — and far less consequences — for his double murder charges than Ray Rice did for punching his wife. Now partly you can attribute that to Lewis’s talent being more substantial than Rice’s, partly you can attribute it to the era and to the fact that Rice’s acts were on video, but is there anyone out there, who if forced to pick, wouldn’t rather be charged with domestic violence than double murder?
Yet Rice is the one who remains a social pariah and Lewis is redeemed.
How does that happen? If anything, shouldn’t those roles be reversed?
I think all of these are interesting and important questions and like most interesting and important questions, I don’t necessarily think they have easy answers.
So while I don’t have a problem with the Washington Post reporter sharing articles about the Kobe Bryant rape case within the hour of his death, I also wouldn’t personally have made that decision.
But I’m also incredibly troubled by the Washington Post decision to suspend this reporter. Because ultimately her job, and the job of any reporter, is to share facts that help us to better understand news stories. Kobe’s rape charges are indisputably factual and they directly impact — and complicate — his legacy.
In my opinion, it’s not the job of a reporter to make people feel better, it’s to share information that makes them better informed.
I don’t believe you can discuss Kobe’s legacy without addressing the facts behind these rape charges. It’s a huge part of his life story. And, again, as much as many may find it impossible to believe, it’s possible for Kobe to be a great basketball player, a good father and a rapist.
Personally, I’m far more troubled by ABC News reporting all four of Kobe’s daughters were dead in the helicopter crash than I am by this Washington Post reporter sending out an article about Kobe’s rape charges. Why? Because ABC got something 100% factually wrong. The Washington Post reporter was factually accurate, just insensitive. To me, the reporter who should be suspended is the person who got the story wrong, not the person who hurt some people’s feelings.
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