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Anonymous Mailbag

It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for me to solve all the problems in the OutKick universe.

As always, you can send your anonymous mailbag questions to claytravis@gmail.com, anonymity guaranteed.

Okay, here we go:

“Several of my friends and friend-groups are getting married this spring and all have out of town bachelorette parties (I’m participating in two of these bachelorette parties). One of our friends asked what is typical for the group to cover for the bride-to-be, because one of our bridezilla acquaintances (dodged a bullet on that invite) wanted everything to be paid for on her trip, including flight, hotel, meals, etc, and we thought that was a bit extreme. Another friend said it was customary for the bride-to-be to pay for flights and lodging only, and everyone else would cover the rest of her trip expenses. I certainly don’t want to be a cheap ass, but it seems that picking up the tab on all other expenses is a lot to expect when everyone is already dropping a lot of cash on these trips. I figured picking up dinner one night and making sure she has a drink in her hand the rest of the time is reasonable.”

I’m far from an expert in bachelorette parties, but I’ve been to a decent number of bachelor parties over the years. And I’ve never heard of any bachelor expecting that all of his expenses would be covered by the other guys there. What I’ve typically experienced is everyone, including the bachelor, pays a fair share of expenses, including, at the absolute least, covering their own airfare and share of the hotel expenses.

I’ve also been on bachelor party trips where one guy is super rich — not me — and he covers way more of the expenses than everyone else. That’s not required, but that seems like a reasonable friend thing to do. If you know one of your buddies is going to get killed over a club or bar tab and you have the resources to help him out, why wouldn’t you do so? Again, without making a big show of a it, which is kind of a dick move too.

Big picture here, if you’re having to sit around and discuss expenses before you even go, that also feels like it strips away a ton of the fun before the trip even starts.

My personal belief is that everyone should pay roughly the same when you are young and most of you have similar incomes. Then as you age, if some of your friends end up with way more money or way less money than others, as can often happen, that people should pay roughly what they can afford to pay. That is, the richest guy pays more than the poorest guy. Not by being ostentatious or showy about it, but just by grabbing more of a bar, restaurant or hotel tab than others might. Basically, I believe that everyone should be having as good of a time as possible, and if finances are hindering everyone from having a good time, you need to recalibrate the tip.

One bit of advice: double whatever you think you’re going to spend on any trip. And you might need to triple it. Because as soon as you get drunk, no one wants to be the person who ends the night because alcohol has gotten too expensive. So expect that you’ll end up spending more than you anticipated spending on pretty much everything.

But I fundamentally reject the idea that the bachelor or bachelorette should have all their expenses covered. I think they should be pitching in too, especially on their own travel and hotel costs, which I think everyone should be paying out of pocket on their own.

If someone volunteers to pay more than their share, that’s great, but the general rule should be everyone participates equally, including the bachelor or bachelorette.

“Hey Clay, I know you recently went to Mexico and would love some insight on my current dilemma: A close friend of mine is having his wedding in Cancun this coming July, and I am completely torn on going. He was a groomsman in my own wedding and has asked me to be a groomsman in his as well, making the decision even harder.

On one hand, I am fully vaccinated and am a young, healthy adult so I don’t really have any health related concerns about going. Money isn’t a huge issue either. My main concern lies with the current required testing and quarantine rules that are in place. I have seen several news articles in the past month about travelers going to Mexico (vaccinated or not), testing positive, and being required to quarantine there for 10-14 days even if they are asymptomatic. Although the chances of this happening are low, I can’t rule out the possibility that I could still obtain COVID or even have a false positive and be quarantined in a Mexican hotel room for 2 weeks. I am a healthcare provider with a full schedule of patients to see, so being forced to quarantine in Mexico for 2 weeks would be absolutely brutal for me work wise and would totally screw over our practice.

My wife has already said she won’t be going with me if I do go (for those same reasons), and she is strongly pushing me not to go, which I get. As a recently married guy, I feel like I absolutely have to side with my wife on this. I hate to let my friend down and not go just out of fear, but I feel like the potential risks far outweigh the benefits of going at this point. Would love to hear your thoughts.”

I’d 100% go.

You’re already vaccinated and you’re talking about a wedding in July. I would be surprised if the requirement to get a negative COVID test still exists by the time July gets here. In fact, I’d bet that in the near future, you can opt out of needing a COVID test for trips to Mexico by providing proof of vaccination. (Certainly by the summer.)

And even if the requirement to get a COVID test still exists, it was super simple at our resort. Now granted, my wife was afraid we’d get stuck in Mexico with a positive test — like you — but that was a risk I was fine taking. (I wouldn’t have minded getting stuck there and having a longer vacation. My wife was terrified of it.) The COVID test, which was provided at our resort, took ten minutes and we both tested negative. They emailed us proof of our results later that day. But if we’d tested positive, we were told we could take additional tests, probably until we tested negative. Do you know why? Because they don’t want to keep you in Mexico either!

This is a United States requirement, not a Mexican requirement. Mexico wants you to get on a plane and go back home and tell everyone how great of a time you had in Mexico because these resorts are desperate for as many Americans as possible to visit because Europe has been cut off as a prime travel market to them for a long time. Given the rates of false positives — and the fact that you’ve already been vaccinated — I’d expect they’d just keep testing you until you tested negative.

But, again, you’re asking me this question in April, just as anyone who wants the vaccine is about to have that option in the entire United States. By July, I think it’s going to be impossible for things not to be back to normal, and I’d wager a huge amount that the fact you’ve already been vaccinated will be permissible for out of country travel. That is, that you won’t need a negative test at all if you can prove you’ve been vaccinated.

Finally, I think you need to analyze the risk and reward here. What are the chances that, post-vaccination, you test positive for COVID in July, a time when COVID cycles are down in a big way just based on seasonal impact? I think they would be minuscule, absolutely tiny. Assuming your wife has also been vaccinated, I’d say the same thing to her.

Now if you’re looking for an excuse not to go, I can understand why you’d use the potential of getting stuck in Mexico, but if you’re both really nervous about it, why not get rapid tested the day before you leave for Cancun? If you’re testing negative the day before you leave — or even maybe the morning before you leave, depending on what time your flight is — the odds of you suddenly testing positive in the few days that you are in Mexico become even tinier.

Put simply, I’d go if I were you, and I’d go if I were your wife too.

“I have an old buddy that I’m ready to move on from but struggling to pull the plug. He was the best man in my wedding, we’ve had a ton of great times over the years and when he’s in a good place he’s a great dude.

The problem is when he does come around these days he’s prone to meltdowns, outrage, and is extremely sensitive to anything…he always has been, but it’s gotten worse. There’s no more ballbusting around him because he could lose it at any point. Our friend group walks on eggshells around him, and he’s been excluded from some of our increasingly rare hangouts. But he’s been part of the crew for 20 years so when we do get together we try to include him.

We’re in our late 30’s now, most of my friend group have started to have kids and we see less of each other. When we do see each other it’s usually for a brief time with our kids. He’s in a dead end relationship and doesn’t see himself as being as successful as the rest of us and harbors jealousy towards us, creating further tension.

It probably seems obvious to just cut the guy out, but the rest of my group is prone to giving him the benefit of the doubt. He’s also volatile and I’ve seen him use dirt that he has on other people when he feels slighted. So if I cut him off, I’m potentially cutting myself off from the group, and risking him using information that he may have against me. If I keep him around I get the kind of conflict that raises anxiety and blood pressure.

To make things worse, this guy’s mom just passed away in February and he’s understandably still grieving. I feel like axing the guy could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. I’d be crushed if he went down the suicide path, but my other friends and I have all admitted it’s on the table.

I’d love a 3rd party opinion on how to proceed.”

At your age, late 30s, you don’t publicly break up with any friend — did you ever? — you just spend less and less time with them if you don’t enjoy their company because you have less and less free time. As you’ve already said, you are rarely in close contact with each other now. Given that most of your friend group has kids, your free time is at a premium.

I don’t know what your schedule looks like this week, but pretty much every minute I’m not working is spoken for just by little league baseball. My kids have games on Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday this week, and that’s just little league baseball!

That doesn’t even consider the inevitable additional kid-related events and obligations.

I mention this because it sounds like your friend isn’t at the same life stage as most of your other friends. So he’s naturally drifting apart in that way because he’s probably not interested in showing up for the kid events that can also double as an excuse for adults to interact. (Kid sports and kid birthday parties are like 90% of my social life right now.)

What you’re basically suggesting is a public friend break up, but that seems totally nonsensical to me. Your natural lifestyle seems like it will involve him less and less as the years go by. And, guess what? Maybe he will get his life back in order and become more of the guy you became such good friends with.

But if he doesn’t, just hang out with him less. There’s zero reason to make a big production of ending your friendship. That’s absurd for two reasons. First, if he’s truly struggling with issues in his life — and it sounds like he certainly might be, even before his mom died — then you essentially ending your friendship with him right now seems like a total dick move on your part. Second, to reiterate, it’s totally unnecessary, just based on the trajectory of your own life.

“I got round one of the vaccine last week. I couldn’t help but notice that in order to get this life saving vaccine for a virus that has hit low income minority communities tremendously harder than others, I had to show a photo ID. Why aren’t the media or politicians screaming about this? I acknowledge that low income minorities are much less likely to have photo IDs, but why do people only care when this involves voting? I read recently that low income black people are dying at a rate 2.4 times higher of COVID than higher income people, so shouldn’t the vaccine be available without photo ID based on current political logic and drama? Isn’t it more important to save the lives of poor minorities than to make sure they can vote? It all seems utterly absurd that no media outlet or politician on either side has made this connection. Does this prove once and for all that politicians (and the media) don’t care at all about the people they claim to, but just care about staying in power? After all, votes keep them in power, saving the lives of poor people doesn’t.”

I was scheduled this morning to get the one shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the local Publix. My wife signed me up because I told her I’d only go get the vaccine when three things happened: 1. everyone old and at high risk had already received it 2. anyone could sign up to get it and 3. when there was a one shot version.

I hate going to the doctor for any reason because it inevitably kills a huge part of the day’s productivity for me, so the last thing I wanted to do was have to schedule two different trips for a vaccine for a virus that I think I already had. (I think I had COVID back in early to mid-November when a bunch of people at my gym tested positive.) So this morning I got a call that they were suspending the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Just a couple of hours before I was scheduled to get it.

But before I got that call, I got an email with instructions on receiving the vaccine and the email instructed that I needed to bring a photo ID and an insurance card. I screenshotted the photo ID requirement because the first thing I thought was the exact thing you emailed me. You need a photo ID to get the vaccine?!

Why were no left wingers raising an issue about requiring a photo ID for a vaccine that’s potentially saving people’s lives when they’ve been losing their minds about photo ID requirements for voting? Shouldn’t the coronabros out there be outraged about the inequity of requiring a photo ID for a vaccine?

You need an ID to do virtually anything in this country: fly on an airplane, buy a beer, rent a car, pick up tickets for a baseball game, and, evidently, to get the COVID vaccine. I get that voting is a constitutional right, but so is buying a gun. And you can’t legally buy a gun without an ID either.

Requiring someone to provide an ID for all of the events I just listed above seems like common sense to me. And it doesn’t seem remotely controversial.

Put it this way, if you saw someone losing their mind because they didn’t have an ID to pick up their tickets to a game at a will call, would you feel like they were being treated unfairly? I certainly wouldn’t.

I also think it’s racist to presume that it’s somehow too difficult for minority groups to get IDs.

Which is why I had the exact same reaction when I saw I needed a photo ID to get a vaccine. (Not to mention a health insurance card, which is another level of identification.) It’s wildly hypocritical to say nothing about someone needing to bring an ID for the vaccine and then throwing a fit about needing a photo ID to vote.

By the way, the Washington Post analysis of Georgia’s new voting bill found it was likely to increase turnout. And the New York Times found it was unlikely to impact turnout at all. If both of those places are writing articles with those conclusions, you know this entire voter suppression story is total crap.

As always, thanks for reading the anonymous mailbag and send any of your questions to claytravis@gmail.com, anonymity guaranteed.

Hope y’all have a fantastic Tuesday.

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.

One Comment

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  1. -> Bachelorette Party:
    1) Why do women even have bachelorette parties? Correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t bachelorette parties a new concept? Can’t us guys have anything anymore? Dudes always had bachelor parties: tiddy bars, booze/drugs, and/or gambling. Women always had wedding showers: bunch of free gifts, house party, and getting loopy-drunk on shitty wine and champaign.
    2) Woman who feels entitled to have an all-expenses paid vacation sounds like a loser. Clay is correct, everyone splits the cost and you cover some of the shit for the person getting married.

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