Anonymous Mailbag

It’s anonymous mailbag Tuesday, let’s roll.

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Send your anonymous mailbag questions to claytravis@gmail.com, anonymity guaranteed.

Okay, here we go:

“My wife and I have been hiding a secret from friends and family for several years. We had to use a sperm donor for our kids but have only told our parents the truth. It’s amazing to be able to go on a website and pick height, hair color, ethnicity and a list of donors with those attributes comes up.

It’s easier than picking a car out on the internet.

All friends and family think it was natural but we are 5 years into this charade and it’s getting harder to keep the secret. With the popularity of the DNA and ancestry kits out there, is this secret destined to be exposed? Our families are very traditional and not sure how this bombshell would go over. I just don’t want the kids finding out in health class or getting random emails from strangers saying I’m your brother, sister or even dad in the future. In your opinion should we keep quiet or expose the secret?” 

I’d keep it quiet while your children are young.

There are several reasons, but the primary one is the sperm donor relationship is predicated on privacy. That is, it’s not as if you’ve adopted a child from someone else, you chose to have a child, your wife carried that child, and you have raised the baby since birth.

This isn’t really similar to an adoption when everyone knows the baby isn’t your biological offspring and it would be hard to pretend otherwise.

I do think once your child reaches the age of maturity you should tell him or her — do they have the same sperm donor father or a different one? — but I think that would only make sense in terms of allowing them to be prepared in the event they join a DNA site and find out they have 100 siblings across the country. (Most of these popular donors must have tons of offspring, right?)

I think your average child might feel shocked upon learning that out in the future and I think you have a responsibility as a parent to tell your child. But, again, I wouldn’t tell them until they reached college age.

I wouldn’t tell other friends and family about this at all as I see it as a personal decision they don’t need to know about.

I’d also review all the confidentiality notices associated with this donor relationship. In an age of DNA testing keeping the donor’s privacy seems difficult to manage, but there may be statutory provisions at play here or contractual terms you’ve agreed to follow. I’d want to have this legal knowledge because it would be perfectly normal for your son or daughter to be interested in who their donor parent is and what that donor parent may do for a living or where they might live.

Good luck.

“So I got engaged over the holidays to a pretty awesome girl but with the wedding planning process we are already at odds with where we should have our wedding. We both live in Dallas, my family is in Kansas, and hers is in Mississippi. Dallas is a great midway point for everyone but she wants to have the wedding in Mississippi, which let’s face it nobody wants to travel 10+ hrs to Mississippi for a wedding. We both have average salaries so getting financial assistance with the wedding would help greatly. Now her family doesn’t have much money but my family is willing to help with the wedding. How do I convince her that Dallas is the best place for ya to tie the knot?”

The moment you proposed you gave up all control of your wedding.

Fighting your fiancee over the location of the wedding is a battle you’re either going to lose — which is unlikely — or win when she grudgingly relents — thereby losing forever because she will never forgive you and you will hear about this for the rest of your life.

Most girls want to get married in or near their hometowns.

She has been planning this wedding in her mind since she was four years old. You, on the other hand, have probably spent a total of thirty minutes thinking about this issue.

Defer to her and have the wedding in Mississippi even if, as you rightly surmise, no one wants to travel there for the wedding. The benefit is only your best friends and family will actually travel that far for the wedding. This means your total cost will be much lower than you budget.

“I just wanted to get your take on dating someone with differing political views. I’m politically conservative, and I recently moved to a major city that is is heavily liberal. I’ve found dating to be difficult here, as one of the first things girls ask is who I voted for in 2016. I tell them that I voted for Trump, and they either stop talking to me immediately or yell at me for being a racist, sexist, homophobe, xenophobia, etc. 

I personally don’t care that much about a girl I’m dating’s political views (as long she respects mine). I used to date liberal girls without much issue, but ever since the 2016 election it’s become a dealbreaker for a lot of girls. What’s your take on politics invading the dating scene, and do you have any advice for me?”

I don’t know why you need to talk about politics early in the dating process. But if you’re consistently asked this question just say you didn’t like Hillary or Trump or the tone of the 2016 campaign and aren’t that politically driven so you didn’t vote.

Yes, it’s a lie, but it’s a lie you can come back to later on in the relationship.

The other option is just to go total power move, tell her how you voted, and respond to her attacking your vote by saying, “Look, I voted for Trump, but if you’re good enough at sex, I’ll reconsider by 2020.”

My true suspicion here is that the girls are testing you to see if you’re willing to stand up for yourself. Contrary to the beta male ascendancy right now, most women still want a strong man who stands up for himself, especially early in a relationship. (Once you’re married this changes and every woman wants you to immediately agree with every household decision they make.) If you are consistently running into issues with women relating to politics, I suspect it has less to do with your politics and more to do with your personal interaction with them.

“I’m 28 and just moved to a small mid-western city for a lucrative job offer. My brother’s really hot sister in law also lives in this city. I really hit it off with this girl at my brother’s wedding about a year ago, so much that things could have escalated further, but I didn’t think it was the time or place. Now my brother’s wife is dropping not so subtle hints that I should make a move. First question is whether this is weird at all dating my brother’s sister in law? Second question is whether it is even a good idea? Biggest con is that any type of breakup would be awkward for both of are families. Biggest pro is that she is a great girl and reminds me of my brother’s wife who is incredible, so I kinda know what I would be getting. I’m also afraid that I will always have some regret in the back of my mind if I don’t at least shoot my shot. Do I go for it or is this a no go? Or is there a third option I’m not thinking of?”

I mean, you could make your brother’s life infinitely more awkward if you turned out to be a huge asshole and she hated you for the rest of her life, but I don’t see how this really harms you very much no matter how it ends.

Most people don’t see their brother or sister’s sister or brother-in-law that often and you can easily avoid occasions when you might run into each other.

The biggest issue I see here is it’s hard to have a casual relationship because you’re entering this relationship already with the familial connection. So you’re basically parachuting into a relationship that’s brand new as if you’ve already been dating for six months or longer.

Provided you’re okay with that kind of immediate relationship acceleration, I think it’s fine to go for it.

“My dad is finally leaving his girlfriend of like 15 years. She’s kind of awful so this is a good thing. He’s getting his own small apartment and is giving me a lot of stuff I otherwise would have had to wait to inherit. Among the items: 16 years worth of Playboys. I’m 30 so I’ve had access to decent internet since puberty. It’s not like there’s a sentimental connection to the spank bank of old. Plus I’m single and get the impression that finding over a hundred Playboys in anyone’s possession would send up a huge red flag. His legitimate argument is that I should read the articles and learn about life and that they might be worth something. What’s the best way to proceed here? Clearing a browser is so much easier than disposing of three-hundred pounds worth of physical porn.” 

I’d check and see if any of these magazines are worth much on the resale market — my guess is no since all of the magazines would have been printed in the millions and I doubt there is much demand for them — and then quietly dispose of them.

The old Playboys are a bigger deal to your dad because he lived in a pre-Internet era. He probably hates to see them go because he’s an old school fan of naked women whereas you’re a new school fan of naked women. Porn to you is incredibly easily to procure on the Internet. For your dad, porn was work.

I’m old enough to straddle both these worlds. I can remember when obtaining a magazine filled with pictures of naked women was an aspirational goal of every teenage boy in America. I mean it was something we all plotted about day after day. I even wrote about it the pursuit of a Playboy in “Dixieland Delight.”

But then the Internet arrived and porn was free, plentiful, and neverending.

So the business models of naked magazines essentially collapsed with the rise of the Internet.

Your dad thinks he’s giving you a major gift. So accept the gift as if it’s a big deal. Then dispose of the magazines as you see fit without letting him know you did so.

(The other option is to decline to take possession of all the magazines and let your dad keep them, but, again, I think your dad believes he’s bequeathing you something of value and his feelings might be hurt if you decline.)

So I’d take them, keep a few “famous” covers, and then let them go. There’s no reason any man alive today under the age of forty, anyway, should ever have hundreds of pounds of porn in his possession.

“I need your help when it comes to snakes and sleeping with women. This girl I have been talking to wants a friends with benefits situation but owns a snake (python to be exact). It’s currently 2 feet. Should I pass? I am terrified it’s going to escape and kill me while I sleep. What should be the rule with snakes?”

General rule: Don’t date girls with snakes as pets.

But if she’s really hot, you could only let her sleep at your place.

Never sleep in a house with a snake as a pet and if a girl has multiple snakes as pets it doesn’t matter how hot she is, you can’t date her. She has major, major issues in her past.

This is science.

“How much would it take to let Jeff Bezos knowingly have an affair with your wife? I asked my wife and she said a billion. (I said 100 mil). Thoughts?

I would sleep with Jeff Bezos for a billion dollars and I have an unblemished record of heterosexuality. Any woman who wouldn’t sleep with him for a billion dollars, married or not, is crazy.

But that’s a one time thing.

An affair is different because it implies a longer term relationship which could end up exploding your marriage. What if Bezos has the magic stick or he falls in love with your wife and steals her away from you? You don’t get any compensation for that and you’d be getting cucked by the richest dude in the world. Which is, you know, better than getting cucked by a personal trainer or the cell phone guy at the mall, but still not good for your mental health.

“The Clemson Tigers visited the White House and got fed fast food. I honestly think this incredible because I am sure college students don’t want to eat a whole ton of fancy food. If you were to visit the White House for dinner, what food would you most want to be served?”

This is a bit of a funny question because I got to visit the White House last year and eat in the West Wing restaurant.

I ordered a turkey burger.

But here’s the deal, if you get invited to meet the president, do you really care what food is being served? This is the craziest media obsession I’ve seen in a long time.

Plus, I think most college football players would prefer a Big Mac over dinner on a fancy plate.

Do you know what many SEC teams give their players after football games? Chick fil A!

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen players leaving the locker room and exulting because there’s Chick fil A waiting for them.

Hell, do yo know what the media covering the SEC title game gets after the game in Atlanta every year? Chick fil A! In the press box. And it’s amazing. Every year.

The sports media is ecstatic to get it.

So this entire story was wacky to me.

The only thing I can criticize Trump for is not filling the entire room with Chick fil A. That would have been even more popular.

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

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