Anonymous Mailbag

It’s Tuesday, meaning the anonymous mailbag is here to solve all the problems in the OutKick universe.

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

With that in mind, here we go:

“About two years ago or so, my buddy quit his well paying job to strike out on his own in a completely different field. His wife likewise quit her job to strike out on her own. It wasn’t that long before he was barely working at all (he has some side gigs here and there) and his wife was the full-time breadwinner. This friend and his wife do quite well and make sure that we are all aware that they’re doing even better than before when they both worked. I should note here that his wife frequently makes comments about his house-husband status…that’s important for what comes next, and where things get weird.

This guy is SUPER sensitive about his stay-at-home dad status and any jokes the boys make related to it. If I ask him if he’s picking kids up from school, and can he give my kid a ride, he’ll tell me he’s not and that he’s busy (offended at the insinuation that he’s available because, ya know, he’s not working). If I, or anyone else in our friend group make any kind of joke about his unemployment (again, in a funny, ball-busting kind of way), he reports it back to his wife, who confronts me/us to defend his honor. He can’t even take an average tiny dick joke…’tell the boys how I have no problems in the bedroom!’ – direct quote.

One last example – the other day I invited him to lunch and he said he couldn’t because he had to do something for his wife. I again busted his chops about it. You can’t take 30/45 minutes out of your day and put down the honey-do list to have lunch with a friend? Sure enough, the next day, in front of our entire friend group, his wife calls me out and defends her husband’s honor for missing lunch. Again, I’m doing what any good friend would do and am giving him a hard time about it. Everyone else just stared blankly as things got super awkward.

What would you do in this situation?”

I mean, it’s pretty clear what’s going on here, right? Your buddy is super sensitive about the fact that his wife is the primary breadwinner in the house and overreacts when jokes are made at his expense about this issue. He’s so sensitive, in fact, that he’s telling his wife when you guys make fun of him, and she’s defending him. Which, ironically, just further reinforces her alpha status in their household. Worst of all, further proving her alpha status, she can joke about his job situation, but no one else can.

So what’s the solution here?

I’d probably just drop the house husband jokes. He clearly can’t take them in stride, and your comments are likely fueling his insecurities such that he is THEN TELLING HIS WIFE ABOUT JOKES THAT HURT HIS FEELINGS AND HAVING HER DEFEND HIM IN FRONT OF YOU GUYS.

Which further fuels the cycle of ridicule, I’m sure, in you guys’ minds. That’s like having your mom show up to throw back “your momma” insults at the other boys back in the day. He needs to fight his own humor battles, but he seems incapable of doing so.

Here’s the deal. There’s nothing wrong at all if your wife makes more money than you do, if you’re the husband. In fact, more power to her. But this isn’t about the wife’s success, it’s about the husband’s lack of comparative success. You say they both quit their jobs, but she ended up being the one whose career took off. His didn’t.

That’s fine.

But it sounds like your buddy is flailing around a bit in trying to determine what to do with his life going forward. If you love staying home with the kids, whether you are male or female, more power to you. It’s an incredible luxury not to need both parents to work all the time.

And I certainly think after the past year we’ve all had, many couples, even if both are highly educated and opposed to the concept of a nuclear family, have come to realize that the traditional nuclear family makes a ton of sense for most couples. That is, it wasn’t all just rampant sexism that created the family dynamic of one parent staying home to take care of the kids while the other parent worked. That system evolved over hundreds of years because it’s super efficient and effective for most households.

And it also works the best, I really believe, for the kids as well. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t fabulous single parent households or that kids can’t be wildly successful in this environment too. It just means that, generally speaking, the most productive atmosphere to raise kids is a traditional, two-parent household with one parent working full time and the other primarily focused on raising the kids.

But I also understand this structure creates its own challenges too.

My wife and I both worked when we had our first two kids. I would get the kids up, feed them, get them dressed, and then take them to day care. Then I’d come back home and work on OutKick and on the radio show while my wife worked as a high school guidance counselor here in the Nashville area.

We were both stressed beyond belief working full time with two young kids to take care of as well.

My wife would wake up super early in the morning to go to the gym before work and then get to her high school really early in the morning and by the end of the day, she was dead tired by the time she picked up the kids. We were both incredibly tired and beaten down by the time we got the kids to bed.

I hated the feeling every morning of dropping my kids off at day care. In fact, the first day that I did it, when my two-year-old realized he was being left outside the house for the first time and began to cry and grabbed onto my legs, it was one of the hardest things I ever did to leave him there.

I sat in the parking lot and cried by myself in the car.

I really did.

Because I felt so bad that, in order to do my job and for my wife to do her job too, we had to put our kids in day care.

If I could go back in time and give my family the money so that both of us wouldn’t have had to work, I would do it in a heartbeat.

Thankfully, we only had a couple of years of day care for our kids. Then our finances got better, and I started making enough money so that my wife didn’t have to work any longer. (We also weren’t making very much more money off her salary than we were paying for day care, which helped make our decision for us.)

When my wife quit her job, our family life got immensely better. The kids’ lives improved, our time with them was of a higher quality, the two of us got along better. Everything in our lives got substantially better when only one parent had to work.

I can’t guarantee the same thing will happen for you and your family, but if you can afford to have one parent stay home, male or female, I think the quality of your family’s life is likely to improve too. But, and this is key, the partner who stays home has to feel like their work matters too. And here it doesn’t sound like your buddy feels that way. Again, this isn’t about his wife or what you guys are saying, it’s about him.

What’s happening is your jokes are coming too close to the truth. You are joking that he’s a slacker and he’s worthless, and instead of laughing it off, he’s agreeing with you. He’s responding to a joke by trying to prove that it isn’t true.

The entire purpose of a joke is that it isn’t true. When people start combatting jokes with comments to prove they aren’t true, it means there’s too much truth in them. Your joke is your buddy’s truth. He already feels what you’re saying all day long.

So I’d probably lay off this issue right now.

His wife, by the way, thinks she’s helping, but she’s actually making it worse because she’s now not only making the family’s money, she’s also fighting battles for her husband. If he can’t make money and he can’t defend himself, what’s he actually doing?

I feel like your buddy may snap at some point and just start throwing punches at someone over something insignificant in a desperate and ultimately futile attempt to prove his masculinity, not to anyone else, but to himself.

Final thought, do women who work full time make fun of other moms for staying home with kids? I’m betting the answer is no, but I don’t know for sure because I have no idea what female conversations are like without men being involved. But if working women don’t make fun of other women for staying home, I’m betting that’s because most women realize what anyone who has stayed home with kids all day long knows: it’s not a particularly fun job to take care of young kids all day long in the house. And I’d bet they also don’t make fun of other women who get to stay home with the kids all day because I think there’s a huge percentage of working women, many of them highly educated, who are secretly envious of the women who don’t have to work all day.

Truly final thought: once the kids are in school all day, that’s different. Then, many women — and men — feel more able to pursue additional work. Is your buddy actually staying home with kids, or is he just driving them to and from school? Because if he’s actually taking care of the kids, he should just shoot back the truth, “Most office jobs are easier than taking care of young kids all day long.”

I definitely believe that’s true.

If he wants to use the truth as a defense, he ought to fire back at you guys by saying, “I guarantee I could do your jobs way better than you could do mine.”

In that, he might well be right.

“I live in a wealthy area in a moderately democratic state. My daughter is graduating from a state university and has been accepted to my county’s police academy in the fall. She intends to pursue a career in law enforcement. She will be required to be a patrol officer for at least a year, maybe two, before she’ll have an option to pursue another job within the police department (detective, security clearance investigator, HS resource officer, etc) or outside the local PD with the FBI, Secret Service, ICE, DOJ, etc. My daughter is conservative and very patriotic, which I love, and has always been self motivated and successful. I am certainly happy she has secured a job in the fall (pending a security clearance and passing a physical) and support LEO’s and the nearly impossible jobs they do. I am moderately concerned however that she is a petite woman pursuing this career at a time when the police are being demonized, defunded and attacked/assaulted on a regular basis. I am not inclined to talk her out of it and will have some sleepless nights I’m sure while she patrols the area and keeps us safe, but I was curious, if you had a daughter, would you support her pursuit of a career in law enforcement?”

First, as a dad or mom, I’d be very nervous about having any of my kids undertake a dangerous daily job, as a law enforcement officer or otherwise. So I think your concerns are natural, whether your son or daughter is undertaking the job. I’m not sure I’d be any more nervous about having a daughter undertake one of these jobs than a son because, frankly, men take more risks in all walks of life than women do, so I’d think the same would be true of police officers. That is, I think a male police officer, in general, would make riskier decisions than a female police officer would, just like a male highway construction worker would make riskier decisions than a female highway construction worker. I don’t think the job matters, I think men make riskier choices than women doing that same job.

There’s a reason why a woman’s final two words are almost never, “Watch this,” and men for generations have gone off into the great beyond with those final two words echoing in the air.

Now I do think it’s worth worrying that a criminal might be more likely to attack a smaller female police officer than he would a male police officer, but that wouldn’t lead me to try and dissuade my daughter from pursuing a job she really wants to do.

Second, I’m not sure there has ever been a time in our nation’s history when we’ve needed more talented, young police officers than right now. It’s incredibly difficult for many police forces to hire right now, and older officers are electing to retire in record numbers. That dearth of officers is creating an atmosphere for even more crime and violence in our cities and states.

If your daughter is diligent in her work ethic and you think she’s going to do a great job as a police officer, I’d tell her that. But I also wouldn’t hesitate to tell her how nervous you are as a parent about her new job and ask her to text you every day when she finishes work and let you know she’s okay.

Good luck to her.

“I’m 40 years old and my wife and I have a pretty normal sex life. We have sex on the weekends as our work schedules and kids’ activities pretty much drain us during the week.

We had a stretch of missing out on sex for about a month, due to work travel and just frankly a hectic schedule. I took some viagra (lowest dose possible) when we made it back in the sack because I wanted to make sure my dick didn’t go soft (I’ve had it happen when I’ve had too much to drink) and because it had been awhile and was very much looking forward to it. The little blue pill worked just as described and now I’m taking it every weekend because I feel it makes me harder and fuller than without. Here’s the kicker. My wife has no clue that I’m popping viagra before we have sex and I plan on keeping it that way.

I’m all about pleasing her and I’m terrified if we have sex and I’m not on viagra I’ll psych myself out and underperform. Any guidance here Clay?”

You’re juicing!

And hiding the fact that you’re juicing from her in the process.

I think you need to be careful about this because, at some point, she may find out and resent you not telling her. You know your wife better than me, certainly, but taking a medication without telling your spouse could be something that upsets her or other women.

Plus, you’re secretly taking pills before sex. How do you manage this without her finding out at some point?

Having said all this, I’ve never used Viagra or any other supplement. When it comes to all pills, I’m like an old school baseball player who won’t wear batting gloves.

My wife makes fun of me because I even hate using Tylenol when I have a fever. I don’t take any vitamins, any supplements, or any pills at all. We can debate whether I should — some pills are probably helpful even to healthy people — but I just have something against taking medication if the medication isn’t absolutely necessary. I mean, I’ll take antibiotics as needed, and it’s not like I’m super restrictive when it comes to what I eat or drink. But I’m just anti-pills.

Heck, I don’t even use ChapStick.

For most of my life I didn’t use sunscreen, but I now throw that on the first few times I hit the beach in the summer and if I’m going to be outside in the sun all day.

My logic on this was fairly straightforward: over tens of thousands of years, your body has evolved to work efficiently, and the less you try to confuse your body with pills, the better it will work overall.

Am I right in this? I have no idea.

But so far, I haven’t needed any pills to get through life. At some point in the future, maybe I will. But so far, so good.

Ultimately what I’d be afraid of in your situation is once you use something all the time, what happens the one time when you inevitably don’t have it? It feels like you’ll have to tell your wife about this at some point.

Surely you’ll be on vacation and realize you don’t have your pills, right?

Until then, good luck to you. Meanwhile, I’ll just keep swinging away without batting gloves.

As always, thanks for reading OutKick and keep your questions coming to claytravis@gmail.com, anonymity guaranteed.

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.

6 Comments

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  1. The general rule is that you can’t make fun of a buddy if it hits too close to home and they can’t immediately help it. Can’t call a fat guy fat, poor guy broke, big nose guy Gonzo, etc. The tiny dick jokes are fair game, though. (If he gets mad at those, maybe it hit too close to home as well, lol).

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