PROGRAMMING ALERT: One week from today is Valentines Day. Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit. Ugh, you have to do, like, something thoughtful for the person you love, or at least the person you get naked with. Unless you don’t have a significant other, in which case (a) Yes! Money saved! and (b) oh god you’re going to die alone. Valentines Day is the worst non-holiday holiday of the year. Stupid February.

Before we get to your emails, a couple administrative notes:

  • Big thanks to Sarah Sprague for picking up mailbag duties last week. THAT’S GOOD HUSTLE! (doesn’t slap her ass, HARD, as that would be inappropriate workplace behavior)
  • Continue to email us your questions and problems. This mailbag is way better when more people write in.
  • A third bullet just to satisfy my OCD demands for using bullets. Two isn’t enough!
On to your questions.

Hey Matt!
Fantasy Football first (Just because I love alliteration): I’m in a keeper league for the first time and was hoping you could guide me in the right direction or at the very least confirm that my instincts are correct. Rules are you can keep up to 3 players and you lose the pick 2 before you made it in or a 9th round if it was a FA pickup. So after first glance keeping CJ Spiller (Drafted in the 8th, so losing a 6th round) and Alfred Morris (FA pick up, so losing a 9th) are no brainers for me. Should I stop there? Or are Danario Alexander or Josh Gordon worth keeping for an 8th round (both FA but Morris is already taking my 9th pick). With the RBs I’m keeping I was planning on blowing my load early on a top tier QB and WR pair.I figured both of them were pretty decent towards the end of the season but both could be a bust come next season (their FF playoff performances left much to be desired). I guess I’m having trouble guessing when they will probably go next draft. Thanks.

Gordon and Alexander both have solid upside but aren’t exactly a steal in the 8th round. Alexander was awesome towards the end of the season, so I might take a chance on keeping him unless the Chargers acquire a more clear-cut #1 WR.

Sex second: This is the first Valentine’s Day where I’ll have a real, steady girlfriend (yay!) but I have no idea what’s a decent gift. From an outsider’s perspective flowers/chocolates seems like an obvious gift but also kind of old school.

We’re both in our mid 20s and we’ve been dating for about a month and half, so not super serious but also not casual either. Anyway I’m sure you’ve had plenty of Valentine’s Days in which you’ve bought presents for a lady friend so I was wondering if you could provide some gift ideas that I could shamelessly steal.

Thanks,
First Time Keeper

Flowers. Always flowers. Even if she says she doesn’t need flowers: flowers. Doesn’t need to be roses (unless she only watches rom-coms); go to any florist and ask for help. Tell them a price and what colors she likes, and they’ll take it from there.

I’m also a proponent of buying lingerie for your lady. It’s up to you to determine whether that’s an appropriate gift at the six-week mark. Doesn’t need to be anything kinky; a soft baby doll chemise that she can sleep in generally walks the line between sexy and thoughtful (it’s also as close to universally flattering to the female form as lingerie gets). If you make decent money, Journelle and Agent Provocateur make far better lingerie than Victoria’s Secret.

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Dear I Miss Your Warming Glow,
Fantasy Football: I play in a keeper league where you can keep two players in the round you draft them in, with only 1 keeper between rounds 1 – 3 and one or both between rounds 4-16. The catch is you can only keep a player for 3 years. Based on their injuries, is it worth keeping RGIII (round 7) and Gronkowski (round 15) – I originally drafted Gronkowski 2 years ago, so have 1 year left. Another option would be to keep Brees (round 2) – this would be my last year to keep him. (So…I had both Brees & RGIII on my team last year).

Oohhhhh, that’s tough. Gronk is the obvious keeper, and I’d go with Brees over RG3 because I’m conservative as shit when it comes to drafting and keepers. In an ideal world, RG3 is the guy to keep because of the lower round and the fact that you can keep him for longer. But there are still some question marks about his return; he and his doctors say he’ll be back to start the season, but I’ve also heard timelines that say Week 6 or later, which means that you’ll be burning a relatively high draft pick on a QB anyway. That plus his injury history would make me keep Brees.

Sexy Time: Story is that I know a girl from mutual friends. We both used to live in the NYC area and for a few years now she’s been living on the west coast. Never that particularly close, could probably count the number of times we’ve hung out. We re-connected at a wedding back in the summer where she admitted she used to have a crush on me, but she was advised from our mutual friends against doing anything about it. Truth be told, that was good advice… I’m not attracted to her (I’m guessing my friends could tell) plus I wasn’t the boyfriend material I am now. About a month ago she came back to visit, her family still lives here and she still has plenty of friends out here. While in New York, she contacted me about catching up. We met for drinks, had dinner, then had consenting sex.

The best kind!

Thought being, what the hell…who am I to turn down sex. Plus we’re both adults and well aware we live on opposite sides of the country so no illusions about it being anything more (I assumed). A few days later she sent me a text telling me when she’ll be coming back and trying to set a date to meet. The trips by themselves are nothing out of the ordinary – she travels for work, her family lives here. Over this time she also sent me a text telling me she thought about me at midnight on New Year’s. I’m not sure if it was an innocent/flirty message or something more behind it.

Oy. Read the signs: expressing a feeling of longing at a romantic time when she could be focusing on anyone else is more than innocent/flirty. Take a long look, students. This is how hearts get mauled.

So….I’m fine with keeping the sex train going when she’s in town as long as she’s not expecting more. But, is there a nice way of saying “Are you fine with being a slam piece that I’m willing to have sex with because you will be on a plane within the next 24-48 hours?” I guess “slam piece” wouldn’t be the delicate term I’d want to use, but consort sounds so dated.
Signed,
Not The Worst Problem

“I have a great time seeing you but I’m not looking for a committed relationship right now.”

Also, uh… if you’re not attracted to her, don’t have sex with her.

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Dear KSK,
Sex: I moved to California from Pennsylvania two years ago for a military assignment. There was a girl who I hit if off with in PA (let’s call her Sarah), but we never got past the friend stage while I lived there. This was despite her giving me seemingly strong signals that she wanted more during hang outs. I asked Sarah out twice. I got shot down both times and then promptly left for Officer Training School.

So you’re Air Force, then? As far as I know, all the other branches call it Officer Candidates School. There’s no shame in saying what branch you serve in, you know. Sit in that chair in your blue camouflage with pride.

Sarah and I maintained sporadic yet consistent contact after I moved. She expressed her desire to visit me in Cali, and she eventually did after I had been there for about six months. Didn’t have any expectations of anything happening between us on the trip, and when she declined to sleep in the same bed on the first night, it was obvious this was just a friendly visit. Not ideal for me, but we had a great four day vacation anyway doing all sorts of touristy stuff.

That sounds nice. And by nice I mean LAAAAAAME.

We talked occasionally after Sarah went back to PA. When I came home 6 months later to visit family and friends, I ended up seeing her in a group setting. Same flirty, good chemistry. Sarah gave me two paintings she had done herself as gifts. Nothing more during that visit.

Who’s writing this, Nicholas Sparks?

Flash forward a year…I’m making my annual holiday visit home again except this time when I solicit for places to stay, Sarah offers her place immediately. Long story short, we finally hook up after us initially meeting 2 1/2 years ago.

hooray

We have an amazing two days together, then I’m back to CA again.

After talking things out over the next few weeks following this break through, Sarah admits that she never really wanted to do anything because she knew it would only be temporary (she knew shortly after I met her that I’d be leaving for military training). While this logic makes sense, this last visit I was home was no different. Still temporary. We still live 3000 miles apart.

Our discussions have led Sarah to suggest the idea of moving out here to live with me for the summer with the idea that if things don’t work out she can just move back home. If things are going well, she can stay longer. With Sarah being able to finish school online and only working waitress jobs right now, this isn’t inconceivable. It’s not like she’s uprooting herself from anything that can’t be accomplished just as well out here. Obviously, this is a big jump from us talking to each other intermittently and just being friends.

Am I crazy for leaning toward letting Sarah move out here with me? We get along great when we’re together, but as mentioned, it’s only been for limited periods and even more limited still in an intimate setting. I don’t know how else we can figure out whether this can ever work out between us unless we take this plunge, though, as we’ll likely never be in the same location for an extended time otherwise. For the record, she’s 24, and I’m 25.

With you being prior military, you know the strain that distance and a military lifestyle can cause. I’m likely going to PCS toward the beginning of next year which would give us around six months of living together (assuming things are still going well) before we’d have to make another decision of whether she’d move with me to who knows where next. I severely doubt I’d be ready for marriage at that point regardless of how well things are going.

Trying to get a sanity check here….I like this girl a lot, but don’t want to get trapped in something if it’s not meant to be. My optimistic side is saying go for it. No guts, no glory, right? My more realistic side is saying this is moving too fast based on too little. She wouldn’t be moving out here until June, so there’s still a lot that can change between now and then. If we’re both still interested at that time, do we try this thing out?
Thanks for the insight,
Lt Confused

Ehhhhhh… Seeing as how your romantic relationship is only 48 hours old in terms of intimate face-time, I think her moving in for an entire summer is kind of a big step. Obviously you’ve both liked each other for a long time, but I think part of the urge to be together right now is that the build-up lasted for so long: two and a half years of wanting each other without acting on it leads to a flood of emotion when that dam finally breaks.

I’m not completely ignorant on this matter, either: I had a three-year mutual crush in college that led to two years of being pen pals before we finally embarked on a year of long-distance dating. (FWIW, moving wasn’t an option for her since I headed to Kuwait/Iraq, and by the time I got back she was emotionally burnt out by being a Marine’s girlfriend. So. That one didn’t work out.)

Still, looking back on that romance, I can recognize that parts of the relationship were never fully formed. For as much as we wrote to each other and talked on the phone (remember: I’m old, the internet wasn’t robust enough for Skype yet), our limited time together was so focused on enjoying each other’s presence that we weren’t able to form the unsexy bonds you need to live with someone: We never argued.  We never stopped enjoying the rarity of the other’s presence to seriously discuss a future together. We never had to discuss bills or groceries or making dinner or cleaning or simply just dealing with the person you love always being in your personal space. If you’ve never taken that leap before, it’s a lot harder than it sounds.

Going from nascent long-distance romance to her living with you would be a three-month crash course that I would only watch from a safe distance and behind something sturdy. You didn’t say where you were in California, either, which is a potentially important factor: half of the military installations in the state are well inland — in or near empty stretches of the Mojave and low desert. If that’s the case, it’s highly unlikely she has friends in the area. Who is she going to hang out with when she needs time for herself? How will she make friends?

Judging by the “Lt” in your signature, I assume you’re an officer. That means you’ve got enough money to buy a waitressing student a plane ticket. Bring her out for a week or ten days to start. If she can keep herself entertained with exploring the area and doing her classes while you’re at work — if you two can tinker with having a routine and it goes well — THEN I might consider her moving in for the summer. *MIGHT*

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Captain-
FFB: I’ve kind of sucked the last few years (re-draft league). I feel like I’m in a draft preparation/in-season who-to-pick-up rut. I use ESPN and Rotoworld, but I’m wondering if you have any other prep sources (besides your illustrious youtubes *plug alert*) that you’d recommend.

I really like Yahoo’s Roto Arcade. It has a nice variety of voices and opinions, and I often look there to give my own advice a sanity check.

Relationships: Briefly, love of my life (let’s call her Satan) broke up with me totally out of the blue 5 months ago to be with her ex-boyfriend (from a long time ago). You know the story, never ending depression, sappy playlists, general misogyny, months of unrelenting manwhoredom etc. Took the mailbag’s traditional advice (focus on yourself, get in great shape, dominate work).

CRUSH that work!

Jumped back into the dating pool a few months ago, and have found a great girl – intelligent, rich, great job, funny, attractive. Been dating for three months, it is going well, she’s dropped the l-bomb recently.

Question: New Girl is ideal on paper (and really fun in person), but I don’t have the same sort feelings for her as I did with Satan. I’m still thinking a lot about Satan though we ceased all contact the day she broke it off (and I’d never take her back after the way she dogged me). I like New Girl a lot, but it just doesn’t feel like I’ll ever be as crazy about her as I was about Satan. Normally I’d just play it cool and see if feelings develop (though they were so immediate with Satan, I doubt they ever will to the same extent with New Girl), but I can tell that New Girl is getting very attached (aforementioned L-bomb, subtle references to moving in together) and we are at the age that when shit gets real, it gets real (late 20′s). Am I stringing along New Girl? Do I need to break it off? Be a little selfish and play along and maybe feelings will develop? I feel like I don’t want Satan to ruin a perfectly good relationship, but having recently been decimated by a relationship I don’t want to do that to New Girl.

I feel like the answer is something a long the lines of “have an adult conversation with New Girl about your feelings and let her know how you’re feeling.”

Yep.

But come on, telling some girl you don’t love them as much as your previous ex or that you’re not as into them as they are into you is as good as a break-up.
Ray Lewis Has 6 Kids by 4 Women,
Bill Braskey

Well, there’s your problem. You know, you can have an honest, mature adult conversation without saying, “I still have strong feelings for my ex.” Instead, say that you’re not ready to commit to saying “I love you” because you were hurt so badly in your last relationship. Tell her that you don’t want to lead her on and you don’t want to hurt her, but that you’d like to give it some more time. Try to appreciate what you have, and see what happens. Maybe you’ll pull your head out of Satan’s ass.

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Dear Antler Spray,
Fantasy: A buddy and I have been arguing over a historical fantasy question. We turn to you because we haven’t had any luck tracking down old pre-draft fantasy rankings. Who do you think is the best value fantasy player of all time Who produced the most points relative to draft position over an extended period of time? Essentially we want to know, who is the anti-Ryan Matthews. I said Priest Holmes.He was undrafted, had low expectations going to KC and after his monster 24 touchdown year in ’02 he was undervalued going into ’03 because of his hip injury; however, he would then score 27 touchdowns and have over 2000 yards from scrimmage. My buddy argues that it’s Gronk because he had an unpredicted breakout season, was then undervalued because of the injury (which he predicts again) and as a tight end is inherently better value than a running back. My buddy is also a filthy masshole who has spent entire games justifying Brady endorsing Uggs, so please tell me that even if I’m not right, he’s full of shit.

Really? These are the discussions you have with your friends? I suppose I could look at their numbers and comparative values, but shit, man. It’s the offseason and this blog is half-assed as it is. I’m not crunching numbers for you. Priest Holmes and Rob Gronkowski are both completely equal in terms of historical value.

Sex: Two years ago I was with a girl who got pregnant. I loved her and wanted to marry her, so despite it being unplanned I was excited. We’re both adults with good jobs, so we weren’t candidates for any shitty MTV shows, we were two mature adults in love and perfectly able to provide for each other and the kid. We were both happy when we got the news and enjoyed starting to think about the wedding and having a kid together. It didn’t last long. Her mother was an unforgivable thunder cunt about the whole thing, basically saying that she didn’t think we’d work out and wouldn’t help with the baby and started to talk to my girlfriend about having an abortion. Like an idiot I pointed out how awful her mother was, and between that and having a really hard time with the pregnancy my girlfriend became severely depressed and had an abortion.

I tried to get over it and we stayed together for several months, but I just couldn’t seem to forgive her and I was constantly thinking about it. It’s impossible to avoid babies, they are freaking everywhere. Everyone is having them, they are in half of all commercials and tv shows and every time I saw one I’d feel like shit, I still do. I broke up with her because I couldn’t get over it. Since then not only am I still fucked up about the baby, but I’m still obsessed with this girl who, despite breaking my heart, I was absurdly in love with her and wanted to marry her. Now it’s two years since the abortion and 1.5 since we broke up and I can’t get over either one.

Apart from that life is good. I don’t have trouble meeting girls, I just don’t have any feelings for them once I do. I have a good job, I keep busy, I’m in good shape. In short, I’ve followed the advice you usually give to people in similar situations. So what the hell do I do? I’m going crazy being obsessed with a woman I simultaneously hate and love and who isn’t a part of my life. Reconciliation isn’t an option, and I just can’t seem to put her behind me. So apart from drinking myself to sleep every night, what the hell do I do?
Chris Culliver’s Gay Lover

I’m not going to get too deep into my personal history here, but I had essentially the same thing happen to me, except with a miscarriage instead of abortion. After she lost the baby, she got depressed and clearly wasn’t in love with me, so I broke up with her even though I still loved her. And I continued to to be in love with her for — well, too long. Much longer than where you’re currently at. The good news is that I eventually met my wife, and the relationship I have with her makes me endlessly happy that I’m not with anyone else. The girl I loved for years has found love of her own, and I’m genuinely happy for her. We both ended up with better lives and better loves because of what happened. So I promise: it gets better.

Of course, that doesn’t do a lot for your present state. All I can say is keep living your life the way you are. Put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. Pretend that you’re not in still in love with her — don’t talk about her with your friends, don’t make any contact with her — and eventually, you won’t be pretending. And right about that time, you’ll meet another woman who fills that void.

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Sultans of Twat,
Fantasy: We transitioned to a keeper league this year. Pick 1: Eric Decker (6th round), Percy Harvin (6th round), or Andrew Luck (10th round). I’m already keeping CJ Spiller (7th round) and I’m leaning Decker due to his high floor. Harvin has tremendous upside but also huge downside with his health, and Andrew Luck is good value but I feel like I can scoop a QB later on without sacrificing much.

Really? Decker in the 6th over Luck in the 10th? Luck was the 8th-best quarterback in the NFL in total fantasy points in 2012 (9th in FPPG), just behind Tony Romo, who generally went in, what? The third round? Maybe fourth?

Decker’s no slouch, either, of course — seventh among wide receivers in fantasy points. But getting a top-8 QB in the 10th round, in my opinion, provides demonstrably better value than a top-7 wideout in the sixth. (I also happen to think Luck will get better next year, and in general he poses a better long-term investment, assuming your league allows multi-year keepers.)

Sex (well, relationship, really): My girlfriend and I are in our mid to late 20′s and looking at getting married. However, we’re looking at places to settle down and start a life together and it’s been a recurring point of contention. I’ve lived all over the place, but she has always lived her entire life in South Carolina (we met at college). After 7 years in the south, I’ve had enough of it. I think I have a pretty reasonable criteria looking forward – I’m trying to find places that have a decent economy, a good public school system, and all other kinds of boring adult shit. I’m also a big granola eating tree hugger, so I’d love a place with mountains or water, preferably both. She, however, wants to be close to her family.

My ideal landing spots would be places like Seattle, Portland, and SF, but she says all these places are too far from her family, so I’ve conceded there. I’m also open to places like Minneapolis, Austin, New Orleans (I don’t count it as the south), and others. I love her dearly, but I can’t stay in NC/SC/GA/TN without giving myself cirrhosis of the liver. Plus it’s 2013, just get on a plane when you feel like seeing your family. How do I handle this? I feel like her criteria, while simple, is unreasonably restrictive. I’m unwilling to sacrifice my happiness (my happiness is much more location dependent than hers), but at the same time I don’t want to make her sacrifice hers. How do I handle this? Other than this one issue, our relationship is great.
Hugs and Kisses,
Ready to leave hot summers and racists

Well, this is pretty simple, really. You either love her enough to stay in the South, or she loves you enough to leave her precious fucking family.

Sorry, that was too strong: I come from parents who left their families behind in order to build one of their own, and I’ve never felt so tied to a place that I felt I couldn’t leave it. Therefore, I’m not inclined to take your lady’s side in this.

So it comes down to that old foundation of all successful relationships: compromise. Why not try living in Charlotte or Atlanta for a year? Sure, it’s still hot as shit. Yes, it’s still NASCAR country. But both of those cities are (a) close to South Carolina and (b) able to provide enough culture / craft beer / barbecue to satisfy even a filthy liberal such as yourself for a year. Reevaluate at the end of 12 months, and if she wants to go back home to South Cackalackey, you give her the boot and live somewhere you don’t need to make a compromise. Maybe there you can find someone who can meet you halfway on future compromises.

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Oh all-knowing Captain,
Seeing as the season is over and I had an embarrassingly poor performance (where I got beat for the second year in a row by my fiance, which now means I have to try Ethiopian food) I will not ask for your fantasy advice but you bet your ass I will return with a fantasy question next season. Never again!

Ethiopian food is fucking awesome. And really, a gay man such as yourself should be more open to fun culinary experiences like that. At least, I assume you’re gay because you wrote the masculine fiancé and not the feminine fiancée. If my assumption is wrong, perhaps make note of that distinction.

My question centers around relationships and more specifically the seventh circle of hell that is wedding planning. I am in the advantageous position that both our parents have agreed to help us pay for the wedding. However, my parents have offered to kick in extra money to cover a number of guests they feel they are obligated to invite. These are people they are friends with who have invited them to their children’s weddings. My problem is they have now put together a list of about 50 people (we are inviting around 200) and about 20 of them I can’t even picture since I probably haven’t seen them since I was in grade school. This has really pissed off my fiance, who has never met many of the extra guests and has led to many fights when we get into the guest list. The problem I have is how to approach the situation because “I know you’re giving us $20,000 for this party, most of it specifically to invite your friends, but we don’t want your friends to come.” I feel is a bad way to go. It seems like an argument in which I have no leverage. My question is do I have a good approach on this situation where I can get a peaceful resolution, or will I just have to suck it up and deal? And in the event of the latter, any advice on how to calm the tension during guest list discussions?
Thanks,
All out of anger-defusing moves

GUHHHHHH wedding planning BLOWS. And you know why? Because there’s no happy solution: someone always gets stuck not getting what they want. Someone always does. And while I’m a proponent of sticking up for the wedding YOU want — and not the one your parents want you to have — the reality is that, yes: twenty large buys your parents a couple guests of their own.

Consider this prep for the rest of your life: communicate and compromise with your future spouse to find a solution that works. She hasn’t met some of your extended friends and family? Boo hoo hoo, welcome to EVERY wedding. Mine was four times as small and there were guests I hadn’t met. Or maybe you don’t get to invite some of YOUR friends as a compromise to your parents. Go with whatever you find works best. I’m done with that headache.