Legends have long spoken of an ancient ritual practiced deep in the catacombs of the world’s most powerful cities. An arcane and dangerous rite than cannot be comprehended by the uninitiated and can alter the very fabric of reality as we know it. It has long been forbidden by civilized societies for obvious reasons. But, recently, rumors have begun spreading of a new sect ready to revive the hedonistic act and once again terrorize the world. And, if these rumors are to be believed, sometime early next week they will emerge into the light and present the fruits of their pagan labors. They will present…..the Burning Questions Mailbag.
It’s back. After over a year, it’s finally back. Why did it take so long to get part three of the Burning Questions Mailbag saga? I kind of forgot about it, if we’re being honest. But I just thought of my own Burning Question, and boy, is it a doozy. I knew then that I had failed the people. How many Burning Questions had gone unanswered and forgotten because of my laziness? I had to open up the mailbag once again. What is a Burning Question, you may ask? Well, if you’re new to the site, a Burning Question is exactly what it sounds like. A question that needs answering, ASAP. Doesn’t matter the topic, doesn’t matter how deep or complex. If it’s boring a hole in your brain, it’s a Burning Question. Yes, many Burning Questions could be misconstrued as “high thoughts” by those who lack vision, but, I assure you, at no point in the Burning Question process am I under the influence of any foreign substance. I just have a naturally inquisitive mind (my readers, on the other hand…). So, how do you submit a Burning Question? It’s easy. Just leave a comment, or send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or shoot me a DM (@TheBrianCurran for Twitter or @briansden69 for Instagram), or, let’s be honest, just text me since the only people who actually care about this segment already have my number, anyway. Get those brains working.
We’re back with another reader email. Always an honor to hear from fans, especially when they have Burning Questions they need answered. We’ve got a juicy one today, coming from our old friend WhiteKong, who is just full of Burning Questions. He asks (with slight paraphrasing):
“With all these marches and protests going on, is there really any point in just being a guy anymore? It’s like no one cares how hard we have it. Like when a little pee leaks out even after you shake, or any of the other countless hardships I have to deal with on a daily basis. Bleak times for those with Y chromosomes.”
First of all, I’d like to give my condolences to WhiteKong’s pants. I’ve been there myself, and I know the inconvenience it causes. Now, to the question at hand. I can tell WhiteKong is in need of a friend. A shoulder to cry on. The first light of dawn during the long night that is 2017. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can give him the answers he’s looking for. After carefully considering all sides, I can say that, as of today, it’s no longer worth it being a guy.
The world just doesn’t care about us anymore. It’s a painful conclusion to make, but sadly, a true one. There’s Women’s Marches every other day. Social media treats guys as constant punching bags. Women are now allowed to be popular, successful comedians. Every movie these days is just an all-female remake of an older movie. (I’m currently working on an all-male adaptation of Death Becomes Her. Look for me at the Oscars.) We’ve been pushed to the side. And as a newly marginalized citizen, quite frankly, I’m sick of it.
Everyone has conveniently forgotten how hard it is being a guy. The rigidity of what we’re supposed to like is overbearing. Women can literally admit to liking absolutely anything in the world and it’s met with applause. I say I love flowers and fruity drinks and daytime TV host Harry Connick, Jr. and I get harshly judged by everyone from here to Timbuktu. It makes me wonder how the world can be so unjust. And how about the expectations for what our bodies are supposed to be? Take me, for example. Due to my distinguished amateur eating competition career in high school, I’m always expected to eat a ton at parties, whether I want to or not, lest I risk being made fun of for not being able to eat as much as I could when I was 18. Guess what? I almost never feel like stuffing my face anymore, but I don’t want to become an outcast without a party trick. Where’s the march for me? And don’t even get me started on dealing with people accusing you of mansplaining. It’s become such a common phrase that a red line didn’t even appear underneath a made-up word. And while it’s certainly infuriating having a mansplaining accusation thrown at you for literally saying anything, mansplaining is really a catch-all for any of the thousands of phrases that replace the first syllable with man. They’re all so stupid and contrived and every single one of them makes me want to dive in front of an incoming 18 wheeler. I’d like to see a woman deal with a stupid phrase that starts with woman. Like womanplaining, which is when women complain online about things guys do by using a phrase that stars with man. But I’m getting too caught up in my emotions. The way to fight back against discrimination isn’t by lashing out in anger, it’s by peaceful and thoughtful protest. But we’re fighting a battle against impossible odds. Every action guys take is met with scorn and ridicule, no matter the intent. There are no right moves to make. No ways to win. It’s like being the husband of 20 years to the entire Internet. All that remains from a once loving relationship is contempt.
So there you have it, WhiteKong. There’s almost no point in being a guy anymore. How you continue on is a decision that each individual guy is going to have to make. I’m going to hold steady against the tide, trying to be the last beacon for those fellow guy lost in this new wilderness. When I’m the last guy remaining, who knows. I can only predict the future of football games. But I wish you luck, and I hope you know that at least one person out there still cares.
What do you think? Am I right? Wrong? Should I just kill myself for being a guy? Let me know your thoughts. The Brian’s Den is stronger when a whole pride is living inside. And always remember, if you have a Burning Question that needs answering, you know where to find me.
There are important milestones in every blogger’s life. The first post. The first return reader. Inevitably selling out to the first offer that comes your way. And with apologies to my friends at Halls and Vicks, without whom I couldn’t possibly be fighting off the intense cold I’m currently dealing with, I haven’t quite reached that level of success. However, I did just receive an important gift: my first reader email. Granted, it was actually a text, but reader email sounds better. He (you didn’t really think it would be a girl, did you?) has a Burning Question that he needs answered. It’d be rude to keep him waiting any longer.
Reader WhiteKong asks:
“Idea for blog: something about the unwritten rules of switching sports teams. Like how you have to have a team picked before you’re 10 and you can’t ever switch it. And if you do the stigma surrounding it.”
Great question, WhiteKong, and thanks for reading! The murky waters of sports fan ethics can be difficult to navigate, but luckily for you, an expert helmsman is guiding your ship. There’s a lot to parse through here, but let’s start with the obvious. If you earnestly switch allegiances after being public with your old one, you do deserve to be cast out into the leper colony that is the bandwagon jumping community. However, it’s not always that easy.
For example, if your favorite team relocates, and, this is important, if you’re from the general area, you can switch teams. However, if you picked the team at random (a topic for another time), only the most egregiously unethical move (Colts, Thunder) can reopen your allegiance. For example, if you’re a Rams fan who was born and raised on the East Coast with no connection to St. Louis, you’ve got to stick with them even though they moved to L.A. The team stinking is not a valid excuse for team switching.
Poor performance does present another challenge, though, that tests your resolve as a sports fan. How do you hold off the temptation that the eye candy around the league gives? I struggle with this constantly, not necessarily because of poor team performance (literally none of my teams have been bad in like, 20 years) but because of appealing or new playing styles, exciting players, cool jerseys, really anything that can catch the eye. In college I a crisis of faith as a proud Celtics fan. I had to convince myself to root for the team when Rajon Rondo was the best player. They played slow, couldn’t shoot or run any kind of offense, couldn’t really defend, and were just generally horrible to watch and destined to finish with 44-48 wins. Meanwhile, the Spurs were crushing teams with the ball movement that’s commonplace today. The pre-title (and bandwagon) Warriors were running and gunning, casting up ill-advised 3s at will. Even the Grizzlies, who played a nearly identical style to the Celtics, were more appealing because of their passion and infectious personalities. It was the toughest challenge I’ve faced as a fan, but I held true. I looked at it this way: A married CEO may bring in a new secretary every week. Each one hotter than the last. But, at the end of the day, his wife is who he comes home to. At the end of the day, I knew that the Celtics winning the championship would still, even with such an unlikeable team, give me the most joy. It’s up to you to muster up the fortitude to stick around through the lean times. Look for beacons of hope, like Kristaps Porzingis or a good Color Rush jersey. Because I guarantee a lifelong Lions fan will get a lot more respect than a “lifelong” Warriors fan will.
Which brings up to the final obstacle, and one that I, unfortunately, have no secret to overcoming. What to do when your team becomes good after being bad? More specifically, what to do when the actually win a championship? How do you avoid that most feared of insults: accusations of bandwagon jumping? Luckily for 10 year old me, Twitter wasn’t around when the Pats won their first Super Bowl after decades of being mostly futile. Otherwise I myself may have had to fend off such charges. If, for some reason, you actually are a lifelong Cavs fan, how do you separate yourself from the legion of Lebron fanboys that fill your timeline with non-stop and unabashed bandwagon drivel? How do you separate yourself from the crowd that refuses to be anyone but Real Madrid when playing FIFA online? (No joke, one of my friends in college bragged that he was great with the 49ers in Madden 14. I’m pretty sure at least half the roster was 90 overall.) Well, there is no foolproof strategy. Besides abstaining from sports arguments that expose your rooting interests (unrealistic, I know), the only thing you can do is always have proof of your fanhood. Make your Twitter avatar a picture of you in Cavs gear that was clearly taken in 2002 or earlier. Make sure you have a physical copy of that picture with you at all times. Always have backup. Never leave the house without bringing someone that can confirm that you did, in fact, like the Seahawks before Russell Wilson. Never go online unless you know that person is there with you. Unless you already have one, don’t go out and buy a retro jersey, especially if it’s for an ironic player. Nothing exposes a hipster poseur faster than an Adonal Foyle Warriors jersey. And never, under any circumstances, try to intimidate your accuser by talking about how much you know about the old teams and how they were better. Because if your accuser is a bandwagon jumper himself, nothing will satiate his desire to declare the new better than the old ad nauseam. It’d be a never ending argument. And, if your accuser is not a bangwagoner, you’ve just insulted their fandom and intelligence. Other than that, the only solution is waiting until the team stinks again. Sometimes it’s fast. No one remembers that Heat fans used to be exactly what we view Cavs fans as. In fact, they’re probably the same people. Other times, like in my case, the teams are dominant indefinitely. Just be patient. Eventually, your declaration of fanhood will be met by the same apathy as 95% of professional teams. Other than that, it’s kind of a dilemma you have to solve for yourself.
So there you have it. About a tenth of my thoughts on sports fan etiquette. WhiteKong, I hope your questions are answered. All others, I hope your worldview is just a little clearer. Keep the reader requests coming. I’m more than happy to be your pilot through the rough skies of life. Now all we need is a comment section.