black-lab

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Hello, “friends.” Please note my sarcastiquotes, because friends would have chipped in with some more emails for the mailbag, even if those emails read, “Hey, I noticed that the historically mediocre sports franchise you love has risen to national prominence and won its first championship in stunning ass-kicking fashion. I thought I’d bolster your mailbag with some problem or just theoretical question, whatever, it’s the internet, let’s kill some time together.”

BUT NO. Damn near nobody wrote in, and so those who did got long, thoughtful answers. NO THANKS TO YOU. Read on for bandwagon fans, instructional porn, the Lions’ chances next year, cheering up divorced friends, and selecting the perfect dog for your girlfriend to hate.

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Dear Unlicensed MFT:
Football: I am a bandwagon Seahawks fan and I need some absolution. As a football fan in the the NFL-less greater Los Angeles area, I started following the Seahawks in 2004 when my sister moved to Seattle. I loved the city and stadium on my visits and I sort of jokingly said they were the team I would root for. The 2nd year I followed them they were in the Super Bowl so they were easy to root for and I know I’m a bad person for it. However, my fandom only got bigger when they had four years in a row under 500. I watched every game and followed the off-season even harder (probably what Browns fans do.) My question is, as a fan of the team for only 9 years, two of those with Super Bowl appearances, am I still a bandwagon fan rooting for an easy to root for team, or can I root guilt free now?

No matter what team you root for or the origin story of your fandom, you’ll always meet other fans who will turn it into a dick-measuring contest of loyalty. This is most commonly done in the Boston/New England realm, where the Patriots fans who cheered for Steve Grogan and (probably) called Hart Lee Dykes slurs need to establish their legitimacy in the face of the Johnnies-come-lately of the Brady/Belichick era (Ditto pre- and post-’04 Red Sox fans).

Look, becoming emotionally invested in a sports team is already highly irrational; that some people apply hard and fast rules to it makes no sense whatsoever. Nevertheless, here’s your absolution: you live in a city without team, you started following a team where you had family — on the same coast, no less — and you’ve attended games and supported the franchise through down years. You’re a Seahawks fan. Just enjoy the Super Bowl victory, and be glad you weren’t a fan any sooner.

Prepared for that jelly (via Getty Images)


Sex: Not that you have ever watched porn, but had you ever watched porn and you saw some new position or maneuver, how best would you incorporate that into your time with your lady? I recently saw something I wanted to try and it actually went over quite well with the wife of 8 years, but all the while I felt like she was thinking “hmmm… where did he pick this one up from?”
Yours Truly,
Bandwagon Porn Guy

There isn’t much in porn that I’d want to emulate in the bedroom with my wife. I mean, sure, the broad strokes (so to speak) make for nice fantasies, but the actual mechanics tend to stray away from what I want my sex to look and feel like.

As for what your wife might be thinking about the change in the bedroom: shit, you’d know better than I would. Do you think an intelligent woman in 2013 isn’t aware that men occasionally see porn? Besides, it’s a safe assumption that wives always know more than husbands realize, so if she’s not asking you any details, maybe she just likes the change of pace.

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Hey Cap,
First off, congrats on the Seahawks winning. Being a Lions fan I doubt I’ll ever see the day, so I shall live vicariously through you and Joel McHale.

I very much want to give you a platitude about the Lions and the talent they have, but they just hired Jim Caldwell, so.

caldwell

Nevertheless, you’ve taken the time to write in when all the other mailbag readers are checked out, so I’ll find some reasons for you to be optimistic. Maybe not “Super Bowl” optimistic, but at least playoff-optimistic.

Do you read Bill Barnwell? If you do, you know that the 10-6 playoff season two years ago was largely the result of a +11 turnover ratio (3rd best in the NFC) with only seven lost fumbles, while the 2012 swoon featured 16 lost fumbles and a -16 turnover ratio in a season where they lost nine games by a single score (not to mention their final eight games).

Every statistical model suggests that that turnover ratio, buoyed by improved fumble luck, would improve this year, and a repeat performance in one-score games would be likewise difficult to replicate. But nope: they were -12 (2nd worst in the NFC) and a slightly better 4-6 in one-score games. And once again they fell apart in the second half of the season: after Week 10, the Lions were 6-3 and in control of the NFC North; they then lost 6 of their last 7 — with 5 of those losses to non-playoff teams.

Those patterns — turnovers and close losses — are a combination of bad luck and poor coaching. Simple regression to the mean will help with the turnovers, and “Not Jim Schwartz” might be just the coach the Lions need to make it back to the playoffs. With a nasty D-line and Matt Stafford throwing to Megatron, they at least have a chance to win any game they play.

As for my question. My friend’s wife just left him for an older guy. Like, plus side of 45 guy, while we’re all around 30. So naturally he’s devastated right now. I know the “Ufford Post Break Up Plan” well and have used it myself when the situation arises, but how can I keep his spirits up without seeming cloying or transparent?

Basically any suggestions or tips other than take him to get drunk or to a strip club?
Thanks,
Divorcee By Proxy

I dunno, I think facilitating drunkenness or strip club outings may be what a new divorcé needs from a friend. It depends on the person, of course, but I think that can be the sort of empty stimulation that can provide some mental distance from the divorce.

Think about the perks of being married: it’s not “sex whenever you want!” — it’s stability, reliability, partnership. When that partner bounces for an older dude, the person you lean on is gone, and the only possible result is emotional collapse. So try to prop him up a little bit — just be there. He probably doesn’t need someone to share his feelings with as much as he needs someone to drink beer with while he watches war movies (I’m guessing: that’s what I’d do if my wife ever left me).

So don’t try to keep his spirits up: his wife just left him. You’re not going to be able to shuttle him back and forth between a jet ski and the comedy club. Actually, that sounds pretty great. If you have a jet ski and a comedy club nearby, do that. Otherwise, just hang out with him the same way you did when he was single.

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Captain,
I’ve been dating a girl for about 8 months now, I like her a lot, and I see it going far. A recent issue has come up though and I can’t decide if I’m being a dick or not.

I’ve been planning on getting a dog for a couple months now and the timing of everything is finally right for it. I’m pretty set on getting a black lab because they’re basically the best dogs ever, but the lady in question hates black labs. Chocolate labs and yellow labs are fine, as are just about any other breed but I guess she has bad memories of black labs from an ex-stepmom.

Her ex-stepmom was a black Lab?

I see this relationship going far, and this dog thing isn’t a deal breaker, but seeing as how were not married and we don’t live together do I have to factor her opinion in? It’s not a joint dog. It will live with me, I pay for it, etc. but she will see it on almost a daily basis. If things stay on this pace I will be moving with her once she gets placed for her med school residency in a year, so getting a dog she hates would be an issue eventually, assuming she’s still a lab-racist and a black lab hasn’t won her over by then.

Do I have to be a mature adult and compromise with a slightly different dog and keep everything kosher, or do I say “hey we’re not married, fuck it” and get what I want?
Thanks,
Trying to still get laid consistently

That’s a good question, for someone who loves black Labs but apparently hasn’t researched the breed. All Labrador retrievers are the same breed.  You can get different colored Labs from the same litter of puppies. Black, yellow, chocolate — it’s the same fuckin’ hyper working dog that needs constant attention and exercise.

(“Well actually, chocolates tend to be more–” STOP. I see you, Person Who Had a Lab Growing Up, and the answer is that the only difference in temperament between different colored Labs is the result of socialization, training, and the standard variation that comes in any breed.)

Okay, so you’ve struck out on Knowing Things About Dogs. You want to try “Sensitivity to Girlfriends” for $800?

clue[buzzes in] “Who is a selfish ass?”

Listen, if you had had the dog before the girlfriend, cool: the dog wins, and any woman who doesn’t like your dog sucks anyway. But because you already have a human connection to someone you have designs on a serious relationship with, then tough titty. You have to respect her desires, even if her desires are perhaps irrationally tied to a dog or dogs that are now dead.

DOG-RELATED ANECDOTE (skip if you don’t care): As anyone who read Warming Glow a few years back knows, I like corgis. My wife, however, had a friend in high school with corgis, and found them annoying and a little yappy (I know this is internet heresy, but it’s also not untrue). On the other side, she likes Cavalier King Charles spaniels, which I think are among the most boring effete pussies of the dog world. The result: we’re not getting either kind of dog, because (a) we each value the other’s happiness over our own, and (b) there is an AMAZING, soul-fulfilling mutt at the animal shelter nearest us that will wag its tail and give us unconditional love from the day we start feeding it until the day it dies. And when that day comes, we’ll be sobbing and inconsolable, and what we WON’T be thinking is “I wish he had been the breed I wanted.”

tl;dr — any dog is as good as a specific dog