It’s Tuesday, time for the anonymous mailbag to rescue you from your work or school doldrums.
As always you can send your anonymous mailbag questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, anonymity guaranteed.
With that in mind, here we go:
“I want your thoughts on the Superbowl halftime show. Everyone on my Twitter timeline is absolutely praising it, particularly for featuring two strong Latin American women. There’s no doubt they performed great and they nailed the league’s desire to appeal to multiple races and demographics. However, I thought it pushed the envelope a little too far. It was ten minutes of strippers and pole dancing. Don’t get me wrong, I was as turned on as the next red-blooded american man, but I was watching it with my wife and little kids. We had to turn the TV off and do something else until the game came back on.
Am I being over-dramatic? How far can performers go before it’s unacceptable? Will anything short of another nipple be accepted as “appropriate”? I know they’re trying to appeal largely to men as well as empower women, but this is primetime network television and it just seemed too raunchy for the millions of families across the country that were tuned in. A quick poll of my co-workers shows similar feelings. I feel like I can’t really voice my opinion because I’d be labeled as racist or sexist against these performers. I’d love your thoughts.”
Yes, I think you’re being over-dramatic.
Now let me explain why.
My position on this is pretty straightforward — if you didn’t have any issues with Adam Levine ripping off his clothes on stage during last year’s show — he ended up with far less clothing on than either of these women — how do you have issues with Jennifer Lopez and Shakira’s performance this year?
Now maybe I missed it, but I saw zero blowback at all for Levine’s performance last year. I mean, zero. Other than some people making fun of Levine. Just like with Justin Timberlake, Levine’s a male performer with an audience that is made up of mostly women.
Because they think he’s hot (and talented).
So how are the same moms who loved Levine last year now all fired up about Jennifer Lopez and Shakira? I think it’s hypocritical. A man is allowed to strip off his clothes and be sexy at the Super Bowl, but a woman isn’t?
Let me break it down further and explain further why I think you’re overreacting.
First, they both had on more clothes than your average mom does at the beach. So unless you’re covering your kids eyes at the beach, I don’t know how you can be upset with what your kids saw. (And if you’re upset about the dancing, really? There was very little male-female dancing at all, so it’s not like people were recreating sex poses on the stage. As for the stripper pole, you’re projecting. Most young kids don’t know what a stripper pole is. That could have just as easily been a cirque du soleil pole to dance on. Or a part of a jungle gym.)
Second, imagine that Jennifer Lopez, who is fifty, and Shakira, who is 43, are both fat moms performing at the Super Bowl and dancing the same way in tight outfits. If you criticized them at all you’d be accused of fat shaming. So why do we praise fat people for being “comfortable in their bodies” yet criticize hot moms who are in incredible shape? Shouldn’t the standard be the same for everyone? The only reason this performance is considered sexual is because the women are sexy. If you didn’t think they were sexy, it wouldn’t be sexy. So, again, this is about your impressions of the women, not their performances.
Third, most of the people making these criticisms are women. And typically they are women who aren’t as talented or as good looking as the women performing. Which is why, deep down, I think a large portion of this criticism is about jealousy. Women all claim to be about women’s empowerment, but they sure do spend a ton of time criticizing other women for their career and life choices, which is the very opposite of female empowerment.
Women spend way more time criticizing other women than men spend criticizing other men.
I don’t know if that’s because historically women’s power has been more social than economic, but when men disagree it’s typically not about the career choices other men make. In fact, I can’t ever remember one man saying another man shouldn’t do the job he’s doing because it demeans other men.
We understand that men are individuals making their own individual career choices, why don’t women have the same freedoms?
I’m a huge feminist — don’t laugh, I am — and at its most basic level that means I believe in the power of individual women to make their own choices. Just like I believe in men to make their own choices. I believe in the power of the individual, male or female. So if you want to be a stripper, be a stripper. And if you want to be a doctor, be a doctor. Hell, if you want to be a doctor who strips her way through medical school, have it it. In fact, I actually think that’s hot as hell.
My point here is all women, just like all men, should be able to make a living doing whatever they want to do so long as its legal. (And I actually believe prostitution should be legal too, but that’s for another discussion). And they shouldn’t be judged as representing their entire sex for the choices they make.
That, to me, is the very essence of feminism, trusting women to make their own choices, just like I trust men to make their own choices.
Someone even emailed me and said, “What would you think if that was your wife or daughter up on that stage?” And I was like, is this real life? I would be insanely proud if my wife or daughter were so talented that they got to perform at half time of the Super Bowl.
Do you know how much work and talent that takes to achieve? How many years you spend building to that point? It’s not like they just let anyone perform at the Super Bowl, you have to be one of the most talented entertainers of your generation to get this honor.
These women are insanely talented and they also happen to be insanely good looking. Just like, you know, Tom Brady or Jimmy G, two guys who have played in the Super Bowl, but also owe a ton of their fame to how they look while they perform.
Fourth, the Super Bowl used to be full of erectile dysfunction ads before generic drugs were allowed and killed the business. Those erectile dysfunction ads are far more blatantly sexual than anything in this performance. So your kids see those too. Plus, the Super Bowl is still full of alcohol ads, which aren’t for kids either. I have three young kids. But everything on television doesn’t have to be for kids.
And do you really think with all the things on the Internet today that your kids are being scandalized by two moms dancing in tight costumes for 12 minutes on television?
Give me a break.
Teenage boys can watch “Frozen” and want to go jerk off to princess porn. That’s because their minds are permanently on sex. The same is true, by the way, of many grown men.
My wife is all fired up about this negative blowback and I thought her opinion was a good one, a performance like this is a Rorschach test. You tell on yourself with what you see. If you saw these two women perform and the first thing you thought was, I need to go jerk off to some Latina milf porn, that’s about you, not them. (And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with jerking off to Latina milf porn, by the way. You do you.)
When many people are talking about what their kids will think of a performance, they aren’t typically thinking like kids, they’re projecting on to the kids what they are thinking.
Chances are your (young) kids saw a dance performance and enjoyed it.
Finally, what’s the big fear about kids being exposed to the concept of sex? I’ve never understood why as a kid growing up in the South our parents didn’t think twice about letting us see Rambo or Freddy Krueger kill a thousand people, but they were worried about us seeing a boob.
It seems like violence is far more of a danger to young kids than nudity is. So far as I know a bare breast hasn’t ever killed anyone. And, again, here there was no nudity at all.
I just think if you were bothered by this show you need to watch out because you’re close to embracing cancel culture.
The vast majority of people had no issue with this performance. And I think we need to go back to making things for the vast majority of normal people in this country and worry less about a tiny minority that’s perpetually offended by everything.
“I am a mid 30’s male, in a very long term relationship. I’m planning to propose to her mid July, and the ring is already in the works. Here’s my dilemma:
I have a diaper fetish. It’s not one of those ridiculous disgusting ones you see on TV where it consumes the person. It’s something I have felt guilty about my whole life, but I can’t shake how good I feel in one. I’ve seen therapists, I’ve done it all. Can’t get rid of it.
I’ve decided I want to tell my girlfriend. Do you think this is the wrong move? I believe in transparency and want her to know the full me before she agrees to marry me. I don’t need to act on my fetish when she is around, although it would be nice to have an accepting partner who doesn’t mind if I have a diaper on from time to time while we are together. I just believe in my soulmate knowing me, and knowing the whole me.
What say you? Is this something I should take to the grave?”
My first thought here is, why is this a fetish you need to share with her? In other words, does your wife or girlfriend add anything to your fetish? What do you do while wearing the diaper? Just wait to poop or pee? How is it sexual? Is it?
I’ll confess to not being a diaper fetish expert, but so far you’ve been dating her for years and she evidently doesn’t know about this diaper desire.
So why couldn’t you continue to keep this from her?
Because I’m going to be honest with you, it could be a deal breaker.
Not because your fetish is necessarily “wrong,” but just because to most people it’s pretty weird.
I’d think most women would find it a bit strange to know that the man they were going to spend the rest of their life with — and potentially have children with — enjoyed wearing diapers.
Plus, they’d also wonder, I think fairly, if you’re in to this, what else are you interested in that you aren’t willing to share with them.
One additional thought here, if you want her to know, but want to tell her the partial truth, at least initially: why couldn’t you tell her that you sometimes have an inability to control your bowels and as a result that a doctor prescribed you wear diapers occasionally?
Sure, that would be strange, but it would be a medical condition that I doubt she’d consider a deal breaker. (Lots of elderly people wear adult diapers for this reason, because they can’t control their bowels all the time).
Good luck, but if you choose to tell her the full truth, I think you have to understand it could end the relationship.
“I have three daughters. My middle daughter lost her favorite toy. My wife and I looked all over our house for this toy and can’t find it anywhere.
The search went on for close to a month, then we bought her another and moved on.
My mother-in-law made it her life’s mission to find this toy even after we’ve already replaced it. She asked me a couple times if it was in my car. I told her that it wasn’t.
Yesterday, my wife and I took one of our daughters to a lesson. My mother-in-law watched my other two kids. When I returned, I found out that she searched my car while we were away and the toy wasn’t in my car. Given that my wife and all of my girls were all within the area, I didn’t say a word about it, but it was evident when I walked away that I wasn’t happy about it. My mother-in-law left and we’re having dinner with our girls. My wife asked what’s wrong and I said that we can talk about it later.
We put our girls to bed and go downstairs. Immediately, my wife said “are you upset because my Mom searched your car?” I said “Yes, don’t you think it’s strange that she did that?” Then she shared that her and her Mom have been texting about it since she left and she won’t do it again. I said “She has to be told not to search my car?” My wife didn’t have a response. Then I said again “Don’t you think it’s strange that she searched my car?”
I wanted to share that my mother-in-law and I are not close for a number of reasons, but I really do my best to be patient with her because she helps out with our family and she’s the mother of my wife. Am I overreacting to this situation? Should I have handled it differently?”
I think it’s a bit strange, but it also sounds completely like a mother-in-law thing to do as well.
I can’t tell you the number of times in my life I’ve told my mom or my wife, “I looked for (insert object) and it wasn’t there,” and then my mom or my wife go look for it and find it exactly where they said it was. I don’t know why this is, but women tend to be better at finding things than men. And they also don’t believe us whenever we say we looked for something and we couldn’t find it.
I’ll give you a recent example in my own life; I don’t go grocery shopping for the family very often, but a few months ago I was out grocery shopping and I was supposed to find some dinosaur oatmeal for the kids because we’d run out at home. They all love this particular brand of oatmeal because it comes with dinosaur eggs inside the oatmeal. (This is clearly a brilliant marketing ploy because there’s really nothing involving dinosaurs in the oatmeal at all, just some random “eggs” that you can mix into the oatmeal after it’s heated.)
Anyway, I’m in the oatmeal aisle and I stood there for like ten minutes going over every damn row looking for this dinosaur oatmeal. Then I went and got a store worker to come help me look too. All because I knew the minute I walked in the door and said it wasn’t there my wife was going to say, “I’m sure it’s there. You just couldn’t find it.”
So what happens? I get home with everything on the grocery list, but the dinosaur oatmeal. My wife immediately says she’s sure it’s there.
What does she do? She goes back to the same grocery store to get it. (Luckily for me it wasn’t there, just like I told her it wasn’t.) So she eventually came back and admitted I was correct.
But the point here is that my wife, who has been married to me for 15 years, so distrusts my ability to find something at the grocery store that she went to look for it herself rather than believe me.
I think your mother-in-law is probably doing the same thing when it comes to looking for this toy.
Is it annoying? Sure. But if one of my boys had lost his favorite toy, I feel very confident my mom and my wife would have both been looking in my car to see if it were there, even if I told them it wasn’t there because I’d already looked. And you know what? They might have found it too.
So I think you’re probably overreacting a bit here.
Your mother-in-law’s intentions were good, not malicious. This wasn’t an indictment of you — unless you consider this to be an overall indictment of men’s search capabilities by women — it was an attempt to solve a problem for a granddaughter she loves a great deal.
The next time you see her, I’d just make a joke out of it. Something like, “Hey, (insert mother-in-law’s name) I think I lost my keys out in the car. But I can’t find them. You want to go check the car for me?”
Do it in a lighthearted and funny way and the story is over. In fact, she’s probably worried about your response to her car search and this way you disarm her with humor.
Don’t let this linger and fester, it isn’t a very big deal, let it go.
“Long time reader and big fan of the weekly columns. Generic question here that I’m sure is applicable to a ton of readers this time of year…as a guy how do you handle Valentine’s day at various stages of dating?
IE 1-3 months send a quick text acknowledging it, 4-6 months drinks/casual dinner, etc.
Always buy roses for Valentine’s Day.
Even if women claim they don’t like them — always buy roses.
If you can get the roses sent to her work, even better. Because every woman loves every other woman in the office knowing someone loves her.
In all honesty, I don’t think you ever go wrong with roses. It’s the simple solution to Valentine’s Day, which is otherwise a minefield of disaster.
“Settle a debate…
If you ask your wife to get you a Gatorade while you pump gas and do not specify a color.
Do you have the right to criticize her judgment when she brings back a white Gatorade?”
Yes, of course.
Inexcusable move by your wife.
Anyone who sees the entire bevy of colorful Gatorade options and chooses the white version, without having been told to specifically do so, has blown it big time.
Red Gatorade should be the default if no color is suggested, followed by blue. After that I’d suggest purple or orange.
White Gatorade is the absolute last choice.
Having said all of this, you could have, you know, made it much easier on her by specifying the exact color you wanted.
Which is what you should have done.
My kids do this every time I go in the gas station and grab them a Gatorade, which is frequently since we’ve tried to keep them from drinking sodas.
If you want something specific, tell the person, otherwise you’re as much to blame for their choice as they are.
Thanks for reading Outkick.
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