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It’s Thursday, and my tour of places with new mask requirements continues. Two weeks ago I was in Los Angeles, last week I was in Las Vegas, and now I’m in New York City. They still haven’t even opened up the bar in my hotel, and they ask you to wear a mask in the lobby.
Remember two weeks to slow the spread?
That was 18 months ago.
Apologies for being late with the anonymous mailbag this week. I started writing it on Tuesday morning, but I’ve been in meetings here so much that I haven’t been in my hotel room long enough to finish cranking it out until now.
I don’t think I’ll be on the road that much in the middle part of the week in the days and weeks ahead, so I should be able to get back on the Tuesday schedule.
In the meantime, I’m belatedly here to solve all the problems of OutKick readers. As always, you can send your anonymous mailbag questions to email@example.com, anonymity guaranteed.
Okay, here we go:
“I am a woman in a fairly large (redacted) practice. It recently came to my attention that one of my partners is making very bad choices that not only will implode his personal/family life but also has the potential to create havoc in our practice. I overheard (junior employees) at the office talking, so I fear this Pandora’s box is open. It’s just a matter of time before this shit will hit the fan. The offense? He’s been sending dick pics to one of the junior employees, who has been sharing them with everyone. Why the hell he would do this, I have no idea? I thought he was an intelligent man, but obviously he has reverted to adolescence.
I am in my 40s. I am completely floored that this is actually a thing. As a married heterosexual woman who has seen many dicks over my years, I can tell you that there is NOTHING particularly special or attractive about the ole penis. Do guys really think that pictures of their dicks turn women on? This must be the results of the porn industry brainwashing dudes into thinking that women think about sex as males do. But, getting back to the professional quandary, what should I do about this?
I feel that the partners should have a meeting and discuss this with him. This is very poor judgment on his part and his stupidity is capable of wrecking his personal and professional life at the least, but honestly in this day of hypersensitivity, if these pics were unsolicited, it could be seen as sexual harassment at the worst. Especially since the employee is a subordinate. The only male partner I have discussed this with says that we shouldn’t get involved. I don’t know if he will share it with the other male partners, but I can’t imagine this staying quiet long. I just am having a difficult time not saying something to this guy, because I’m a bit disgusted and frankly pissed with my partner for being so reckless and cavalier with not only his life which includes a wife and kids, but with our professional practice as well.
What do you think about this situation? Should we tactfully say something or should we just let the house of cards fall and regroup at that point?”
I’m not a labor and employment expert in your state or in your line of work, so my first bit of advice here would be that you should consult an attorney who deals with issues like these in your state and city and profession.
If your partner is behaving recklessly with subordinates and you have knowledge of that reckless behavior, then your partnership could face significant financial consequences in the event a lawsuit eventually emerges. Sure, you have every reason to be concerned about your partner’s private life and the damage this behavior could do to that private life, but that’s far less serious to you from a liability perspective. From a business perspective, your primary focus should be on the potential liability you are facing as a result of his work behavior with subordinates.
Sending penis pics, whether they are solicited or not, to female employees at your place of business, who then openly talk and share this behavior with others, is a potential disaster for your partnership. So not only do you have every incentive to consult an attorney, you also need to have that attorney discuss the behavior with your partner and potentially levy significant consequences on him for behavior, potentially up to and including firing him.
In a previous life, I used to conduct internal sexual harassment investigations on behalf of private companies. I was retained to interview all parties, record their stories, and assess the truthfulness of all involved. These sorts of investigations are common, and that’s what you’re going to have to undertake here.
While there hasn’t been an allegation of sexual harassment yet, that could come at any moment. Which is why you are obligated, I believe, to retain legal counsel and have them analyze this situation.
Your partners advising you to do nothing about this behavior are idiots who are hoping the story just disappears. That could happen, but it feels highly unlikely.
And for anyone reading this right now who may need to see the advice: DON’T SEND DICK PICS TO CO-WORKERS! EVER! ESPECIALLY NOT IF YOU ARE MARRIED TO SOMEONE ELSE.
Your partner’s entire private life may be set to explode, but in the meantime you need to protect your business. You can’t control his behavior, but you can control yours.
If you feel like you should have a private conversation with your partner after retaining the lawyer, do just that. Have a private conversation between the two of you where you explain that you’d received tips about his having inappropriate relationships with subordinates and that he should stop being an idiot and clean up his private life. If he’s being unfairly accused — which, to be fair, could always happen — then he’ll have an opportunity to clear his name via the ensuing investigation from a private attorney representing your partnership.
But his behavior hasn’t left you any choice at all. You have to retain a lawyer at this point and listen to his/her advice.
“My family and I flew to Rhode Island to visit my family. We live in Florida. We landed in Providence and find out my dad has COVID. He and my mom have been vaccinated, but it was a break through case. So my wife, kids and I go to Boston, get a hotel and spend the night. The next morning we decide since we can’t go see my mom and dad (my mom says no way), we are going to see some family friends.
My wife doesn’t feel great tho and I know our friends are Corona bro-ish. So I say let’s get you tested (even though my wife and I have both been vaxxed). We get my wife tested and sure enough she’s positive too.
So here we are 1000 miles from home and my wife and I have been sleeping together, riding around in a car together with our unvaccinated kids and now she’s positive. My mom and sister are both vaccinated too and both have no symptoms but have been getting tested daily and are now both have tested positive.
I still have no symptoms but we rented a car and drove back to Florida and I spent 15+ hours in the car with my wife as did the kids since we basically had nowhere to go.
As a vaccinated adult with no symptoms do my kids and I have an obligation to get tested? Do we have an obligation to quarantine? My kids are 16, 14 and 2. We don’t want to spread it, but we also have lives to lead and feel fine. I envision this scenario is going to be common. Where people are around positive people but have no symptoms and are probably spreading it even if they are vaccinated too, what’s our moral obligation?
There’s also a huge percentage of couples and families out there who if one person gets it, the family and spouse are spending significant time around the positive person before they get tested and even afterwards. There’s no way my two year old can deal without seeing his mom for 10 days. Especially since she only had minor symptoms. Not sure what the exact question is around this scenario….but just seems impossible for families to not spread it to each other.”
I think you did the right thing renting a car and driving back to Florida. You really had no good options, honestly. I suppose you could have left your wife to quarantine in the Rhode Island hotel room by herself, but that would have been impractical and a disaster. Especially given that you have a two-year-old who wouldn’t understand why his mom was away for that long. Not to mention, as a husband you would end up getting blamed for every awful moment of that hotel quarantine.
So that part of this decision you nailed.
I suppose, to be nitpicky, you could have had her get her own car and drive back by herself, but, come on, do both of you really need to drive back 15 hours each in two different cars? That seems excessive and potentially dangerous if she isn’t feeling very well.
The more challenging question is what do you do now that you’re back in Florida? I can’t tell you what the official medical protocol would be, but my general position here would be to keep my family inside the house and outside in our surrounding yard for a few days to see how everyone feels. Assuming your kids don’t show any symptoms and feel fine, I wouldn’t get them tested for COVID because you’d gain nothing. First, what do you do if they are negative? Keep testing them every day? They could be negative one day and positive the next. They could have already had it and that could be how you guys got it. It’s just a game of perpetual whack a mole once you start testing, and I’m not sure how you get a solid answer until you have them checked for antibodies later.
I’d probably try to keep my wife away from the two year old as long as she had symptoms, but once her symptoms disappeared, I’d go back to normal there.
And I’d eventually get my kids tested for antibodies in the weeks ahead to see if they’d been exposed to COVID or not.
The only change I’d make in terms of testing the kids would be if your kids were about to go back to school. My kids, for instance, start back to school on Friday of this week. If my wife or I had COVID again — we’ve already both had it — I’d get a test for my kids to make sure they didn’t have it before I sent them back to school. You’d still have the same COVID testing issues, but at least you could do the test right before they went to school and feel like you’d checked as close to school return as possible.
Again, this is how I’d personally handle a situation like yours.
But I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all policy for everyone.
Given the circumstances, I think you and your family have handled things pretty well so far.
“As a straight adolescent male in the 2000’s the SI swimsuit edition was something you looked forward to on an annual basis — a magazine full of scantily clad beautiful women that came right to your door assuming your family subscribed to SI which you didn’t have to go out and purchase yourself.
We’re well past the golden age of the swimsuit edition for myriad reasons (namely the internet) which I’m sure plays a part in SI’s decision to transform an issue that used to be stashed away by teenage boys into a political vessel. I lean more progressive than your average reader, am firmly against discrimination on any basis, and ultimately it’s SI’s decision. With that said I can say that neither teenage or current me is aroused by a trans cover model. People would object to that as crude, but the historical purpose of that issue was to scintillate male readership.
Which leads me to my question. Is there any market share for the mid 2000’s Kate Upton version of the swimsuit edition or has it been crowded out of the market by internet porn on one front and wokeness on the other?”
The SI swimsuit issue has been replaced by Instagram influencers in bikinis.
Every day is an SI swimsuit issue on Instagram, and there are way, way more models there.
Back in the day, there were relatively few supermodels who were distributed via relatively few sources of pin up material. The reason the SI swimsuit issue was such a big deal was because there were relatively few opportunities to see ridiculously good looking women in bikinis. There was an amazing amount of demand and a relative scarcity of product.
The SI Swimsuit issue was a business gold mine. It was an acceptable level of sexiness. Not porn, but way closer to porn than almost anything else on the market that was permissible for regular guys to see.
Now the demand for hot girls in bikinis is still massive, but there’s many more people servicing that demand than when we were kids. That’s why the SI Swimsuit issue has to go woke now. Good looking women in bikinis aren’t attention grabbing enough, their marketplace value is devalued relative to where they once were.
Think about this: what percentage of Instagram’s value is derived from attractive women posting photos of themselves? I mean, it has to be an insanely high percentage of the overall views on Instagram, right? If tomorrow hot women weren’t allowed to post photos on Instagram, the entire Instagram business model would collapse.
I’ve seen studies that 40% of all Internet traffic is pornography. Well, I think way more than 40% of Instagram page views go to hot women. I’m not sure Instagram would exist as a business without them.
And in the process, the rise of the Instagram influencer has killed SI’s swimsuit issue.
“I work at a university in a state where mask mandates have been outlawed. Since the new CDC guidance was issued, we’re being ‘encouraged’ to wear masks, and they’re ‘recommended’ even if you’re vaccinated. It’s starting to feel like they’re using peer pressure and the need to ‘set a good example’ as a way of requiring masks without saying so. I’m fully vaccinated and don’t believe I need to wear a mask, especially around a bunch of colleagues who I’m pretty sure are all vaccinated too. I’ve also recently been promoted and am starting to feel that my refusal to mask up is going to really rub some people the wrong way–both those who report to me and those who are above me. Any advice?”
Masks, at least the masks that most people wear around all day, are cosmetic theater.
Even one of Joe Biden’s top advisors himself said so recently on CNN.
Joe Biden’s top covid advisor just went on CNN and admitted the masks people are wearing don’t work against covid. As I’ve been saying, this is all just cosmetic theater. pic.twitter.com/bB58Up5GXN
So this raises an interesting question: should you participate in the mask theater, in an effort to avoid drawing attention to yourself for your rebelliousness, or should you make your own decision as an adult who can look at data and not follow all the sheep in your office?
Clearly, the latter choice is the one you should make based on the data, but university communities are often run by the people who advance up the management ladder by upsetting people the least. In other words, much of your career advancement in university settings isn’t predicated by what you do, it’s about how you do it.
So this is the advice I always give people: look at your boss’s boss. Is that a job you want? If the answer is yes, you have a career. If the answer is no, you have a job. Jobs are replaceable, careers aren’t. That is, you can always find another job, but if you absolutely, positively love your job and can’t imagine being anywhere else, that’s a different dynamic and it’s harder to replace.
Protect careers, pick jobs.
My second question for you: is the mask reflective of larger issues at your work? In other words, are you chafing at your job now and the mask is an irritant that personifies that discomfort, or is it just a minor annoyance that you can deal with?
I think this matters in a big way too.
If it’s a minor annoyance in a job you otherwise love, I’d be more likely to wear the mask.
Let’s also be clear here, by the way. Your mask discipline doesn’t have to be ironclad. You can be a very lax mask wearer.
My position is I’m not wearing a mask unless it’s required. So later today when I enter the airport, I will put a mask on, but other than wearing a mask at the airport, I’m not wearing one anywhere in my home state.
And even in the airport, I’m going to get a water and drink it as I walk around and sit and wait for my flight.
I’d encourage you guys to do the same. We need to non-comply to COVID idiocy as often as we can. It’s the only way we get back to normal.
As always, thanks for reading the anonymous mailbag, and I hope you guys have fantastic weekends.
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