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Help! My Friend Uses A Separate Loofah Just For His Butthole!

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Time for your weekly edition of the Defector Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. And buy Drew’s book, The Night The Lights Went Out, while you’re at it. Today, we're talking about No. 1 picks, church, shaving cream, and more.

Before I shake off my vacation rust and dig into your letters, let’s all give a warm round of applause to Israel Daramola for keeping the seat warm here and once again proving that every Funbag guest host is better equipped to answer your questions than I am.

Unfortunately for you, I’m back, which means that you have to deal with my ignorant, pulled-directly-from-my-dad-ass responses yet again! SUCKS TO BE YOU!

But seriously … your letters:

Aaron:

I recently learned that my best friend has a loofah that he uses exclusively for his butt. In the shower, he applies body wash to the rest of his body (legs included) with his hands, but then uses this loofah to clean his butthole and the surrounding area. He claims this is a more hygenic approach than just using your hands everywhere. I vehemently disagree and think he's creating an absolutely repulsive, cursed loofah that hangs in the shower with him and his wife and their child. This loofah should be burned and the practice should be ended, right? Or am I the pervert for just cleaning my whole self with my hands and moving on?

There’s no more hygienic way to apply soap to your body if the process still involves you lathering up a washcloth, a loofah, a poof (like I use), or a dish brush. All of those items can become contaminated with germs over time, but not from washing one part of the body over the other. It’s your dead skin cells that attract the bacteria. Dead skin cells come from every part of your body, not just the perimeter of your asshole. So it doesn’t make sense to have one loofah reserved for your buttcrack and then another for the rest of you. Both can get nasty over time if you don’t replace them regularly.

And even then, I find the risk overstated. Do I keep my poofs in the shower for years before changing them out? Yes. Have I ever given myself staph as a result? Nope. Worst thing that happens is that I spot visible mildew on my poof and have to chuck it. Otherwise, it does the job effectively, on every part of me. More pointedly, no one should care if their loofah touched their own butt. That’s YOUR butt, not some bus station hobo’s. Just because you cleaned your asscrack with a loofah doesn’t mean that it’s forever sullied. It’s a fucking loofah. You rinse out the soap and grime, and then it’s good to go after that. There’s not gonna be a big hunk of shit still wedged inside of it when you’re finished. What are we, 8 years old? I have three kids. You know how much shit I have touched in my lifetime? No grown adult should be that uptight about their own butthole.

Nick:

Baker Mayfield is on his fourth team in three years. I notice the media often continues to give him the label of #1 pick, and to other players who meandered around the league for years (i.e., Sam Bradford, Jameis Winston) long after their brief prime. How many years and failures does it take for a player to lose this qualifier?

You never lose it if you fail. It clings to you like a bad case of herpes. Get picked No. 1 and you come into the NFL with the highest possible expectations, especially if you’re a consensus No. 1 pick, and especially if you play quarterback. No fan or media member is ever gonna let you forget it if you fail to live up to those expectations.

The only way you get out of having that moniker constantly affixed to your name is by winning a whole fucking lot. No one needs to bring up Peyton Manning’s draft position because he became Peyton Manning. Same deal with Cam Newton, Tory Aikman, etc. All of those guys lived up to the hype, essentially rendering it moot. Become an All-Pro and you’ll have to deal with plenty of present expectations, but there’s no longer much doubt that you were drafted where you were supposed to be drafted. It’s when your status as a No. 1 draft pick is proven to be a mistake that guys like me will beat you over the head with it until the day you die. That’s especially true for Jameis, who was not only the No. 1 overall pick but also an established piece of shit at the time the Bucs hired him. You weren’t worth risking an entire franchise’s reputation on, you turnover-happy crab snatcher. Horrible.

There is a bit of middle ground here, specifically with guys like Kyler Murray and Jared Goff. You can’t say Goff was a bust because he won an NFC title (and is still quite good at his job, even after getting traded to Detroit). And you can’t say Kyler is a bust because, A) He’s so fun to watch, B) He’s proven he can win games single-handedly, and, most important, C) He’s such a sour dickhead that I can use THAT against him instead. No need to call Kyler a former No. 1 when I can call him a current asshole. Also, the Cardinals organization is such a trainwreck that they also have to be held accountable for not being able to win anything with him. If you’re a lucky(?) No. 1 overall pick, you play for a team so worthless and shitty that it’s THEIR fault you never made anything of yourself. Ask Andrew Luck and Ryan Grigson about that dynamic.

Mike:

My son is a serious athlete (pretty good but takes it very seriously), but his basketball coach has been particularly poor. The coach encourages NBA-like one-on-one play and three-point shots, but no one on the team can shoot. So the team has developed into selfish players and they lose a lot, often to less talented teams. This has made my son discouraged enough to quit basketball entirely. I happened to run across an article written by Kim Mulkey, who was apparently a great player in the 80’s before becoming an NCAA champion coach. She wrote that winning basketball never changes—it’s about teamwork, sharing the ball and defense. Would anonymously sharing this article with the coach be a jackass move?

Yes, and I’m not saying that just because Kim Mulkey is the Kari Lake of women’s basketball. Even if this article has been written by someone who was NOT a raging asshole, I still wouldn’t send it to my kid’s coach. You’re gonna come off like a stage dad, and he’s not gonna listen to you anyway. You’ll feel cathartic for five minutes before realizing that nothing about the situation has changed. It’s like when I reply to a Joe Manchin tweet. Unless they’re truly abusive and horrible, you have to let coaches coach. You’ll get bad ones on occasion—Lord knows my kids have had them—but that’s the deal. Your kids will have coaches, teachers, and classmates they don’t like, and part of growing up is learning to work with certain people even when you don’t want to.

But I’m getting way too pedantic toward Mike here, because his son is losing his interest in the sport thanks to this particular coach. I would still advise that you NOT forward the Kim Mulkey thing. But I would ask if your kid can play for a club team instead, or quit his team to play pick-up ball, or maybe take a break from the sport for a little bit to see he gets the fire back. Also, it’s not necessarily a tragedy if the boy does give up basketball. Kids quit sports all the time, and it can often come as a surprise to you. My daughter quit gymnastics when she was 13 after spending a billion hours to get her kip. Quitting sports is a common phenomenon among young girls, but that didn’t stop my wife and I from being like, “Are you surrrrre?” She was. She didn’t want to be a gymnast anymore, and she’s been perfectly fine ever since. Kids are kids: they try on different activities and identities to figure out just who they exactly are. Quitting stuff is part of that process, even if it feels tragic to mom and dad.

Oh, or you could conspire with all of the other parents to get that coach fired. That’s how we love to roll in the suburbs. Don’t sell your passive-aggressiveness short.

Chris:

My wife and I both went to church growing up, but our family has never gone to church regularly. Recently, our 12-year-old daughter has been reading and studying the Bible. On the flip side, our 13-year-old son has said he believes in science rather than God. Both of their choices have been made without input from my wife or myself, and I'm proud of them both: the girl for seeming to seek Christianity based on the actual teachings of Christ rather than some shithead in a pulpit telling her gay people are dangerous, and the boy for being open-minded enough to put faith in something provable at the theoretical risk of his everlasting soul being sent to hell. Having said that, where does our duty as parents fall when it comes to religion? 

You don’t have any duty when it comes to your kids and religion. Religion is optional in this country, and don’t let any Tennessean tell you different. You’re allowed to raise your kids as you see fit, and it sounds to me as if you’ve handled it remarkably well.

I’m not religious, and neither is my wife, but we’ve taken our kids to church a handful of times, largely because churches and libraries are basically the only two places left in America where you can be with other people silently and peacefully. That’s valuable even if you don’t believe that Jesus was the son of God (and I do not). Church is meditative. It makes me grateful and happy whenever I go. Bored on occasion too, but that’s part of the deal with church. Do my kids like going to church whenever we take them? Fuck and no, they didn’t. If I told them that we were going to church this coming weekend, they’d all go NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO the same way I did back whenever my parents dragged me to church at Christmas. I hated that shit, and then I tolerated it, and now, naturally, I’m fond of that family tradition.

That’s how people ought to come into religion: not with a nun slapping them with a ruler at Sunday school, or a bunch of yahoos in the government demanding that you worship whatever God they think is right for you to worship. Religion, like everything else that’s important in your life, should be the byproduct of self-discovery. I would prefer that my kids not become rabid, bigoted Evangelicals. But if they unexpectedly find value and purpose in becoming devout, I’ll support them. That’s how parenting works. You’re not there to order your kids around (except when they start throwing shit). You’re there to back them up when they need support, to give them counsel when they ask for it, and to love them when no one else will. You’re there to give them the tools they need to figure out who they are and what they want to do with their lives. That applies to religion, education, hygiene, love, social interactions, you name it.

So when your kids end up taking up a passionate (and healthy) interest in anything of their own accord, that means you’ve done your job. A lot of devout parents take their kids to church from birth, which is perfectly understandable. But then those same parents won’t give their children a chance to leave the faith if they grow apart from it, which is where things go sideways. You have to give your kids the power to make their own choices, especially when they become old enough to make them. If you have overly elaborate expectations for them, not only are you fucking them over, but you’re also fucking yourself over. You’re depriving yourself of the surprises that come from raising kids, and those surprises are often the best part. Let them figure out the world and learn from the choices they make.

Keep them away from Scientology, though.

HALFTIME!

Adam:

Don't you hate finding an attractive pasta recipe that doesn't just call for a pound of pasta? It calls for, like, 10 oz. or 14.26 oz. or whatever? Shouldn't all pasta recipes be for one pound, by decree? Also, don't you think Flanders is a big jerk?

I run into this issue mostly with non-American recipes, where some random European chef will call for “100 g of sugar,” as if I use the metric system like they do. This is America, dammit. We don’t go for all those woke weights and measures, Brunhilda. Give it to me in cups and spoons and packages, like I’m a goddamn child. That’s the grownup way of doing business. Don’t make me WEIGH something.

But Drew, I own a baking scale and it’s really usef—

FUCK OFF. I won’t do it. I got enough kitchen implements already. One more goddamn mini-appliance and my house will be an honorary Williams-Sonoma outlet. Cups are inexact, but guess what? This isn’t The Great British Puddingjerk. I’m not making a cake shaped like Stonehenge. I’m just making some brownies. I got room at the margins here. I want measurements that I can easily recognize, either with whatever equipment I have or on the package itself. So yes, all pasta recipes should just be for a pound.

In related news, I still count calories every day using an app called LoseIt. The app is easy, because I can just scan the bar code on your food and HEY PRESTO. All of the calories per serving instantly show up for me to log. The problem is that this particular app loves to make me enter how many fluid ounces, ounces, or grams of what I’ve been eating. Motherfucker, just make the serving size what it says on the box: two cookies, one serving of dried pasta, one cup of sauce, etc. I’m trying to eat some honey-roasted peanuts. I was told there would be no math involved.

Nico:

I'm a 25 year-old gay trans man and I've got a bathroom question. Basically, I haven't actually gone into a big public men's room yet and I'm super intimidated. I'm moving to Florida on Monday, and I'm trying to start fresh there so I really want to just be cool entering the men’s room. Anyway my question is: how weird is it to use the stall to pee? For reference, I can pee standing up and could use a urinal, but I heard from one cis guy that only old men and children use urinals. Anyway I'm just an anxious guy trying to understand the mysterious men's room before I walk in one. Anything helps!

Hey, which one of you told Nico that only old men and kids use urinals? If it was you, then you’ve NEVER been in a public men’s room, that’s for goddamn sure. Maybe Trump said it. Sounds like something he’d bring up while touring a military hospital. The point being: I walk into any rest-stop bathroom and I see a gallery of rogues lined up at the urinals: truckers, teens, laborers, dads, Giants fans, dudes talking on speakerphone, etc. We all use them. So Nico got some shit advice there.

But I’m dodging the question. Nico, you can bail on Urinal Row and use the stall to piss if you want. I’ve used it to piss on occasion because I, at 46, still occasionally get a wicked case of stagefright. Sometimes I need my own private space to take a whizz, and I have no compunction about using a stall for it, especially if the bathroom isn’t crowded. Also, there are guys who piss sitting down, presumably so that they can have a little extra phone time to themselves. Either way, once you enter a stall, no one else in the men’s room is gonna say shit about it unless A) They’re EXTREMELY drunk, and B) You’re in there forever. The average men’s room is more silent than the inside of a church. Given that you’re moving to Florida, which is currently America’s foremost eugenics testing lab, I can’t guarantee you’ll avoid incident every single time you piss in a stall, but I still like your odds. Once the average man walks into a public bathroom, he’s all business until he walks back out.

Matthew:

Do you think anybody has ever actually *passed* a field sobriety test? Like, by the time it gets to the point where the cop is giving you the test, they've already pretty much already decided they're gonna arrest you, right?

Most of the time, yes. When I was given my field sobriety test back in 2009, that cop had already smelled beer on my breath (bet it smelled terrific) after pulling me over for driving erratically. The field test was merely a formality: a legal necessity so that he could slap the cuffs on me. If you’re administered that test, you’re already a suspect. This is true for almost every single DUI arrest, because drunk driving is easy to spot with the naked eye.

But I DO know people who have been pulled over at your standard DUI blockade—the kind of dragnet that cops set up on big drinking nights like Thanksgiving, etc.—and been tested while genuinely sober, and then gotten off. Were all of these people white? You know they were. But they walked away because they got ensnared in the kind of honey trap where cops don’t need to arrest EVERYONE they stop, just enough to make it look like they did something useful. I’d say that happens, like, 0.3 percent of the time. Most of the time, you are fucked.

Brendan:

I recently discovered that shaving cream is a despicable hoax perpetrated on the hair-removing public. I was in a hurry one day. Instead of lathering up, I just ran my regular razor under hot water. I got a much closer shave, with no nicks, in way less time, with no real cleanup required. I've now done this several times with the same result. I invite you and all of our fellow defunctos to join me in taking back our precious time and money and faces from Big Cream. 

I also don’t use shaving cream. I bailed on it after reading a McSweeney’s article—an actual article, not one of the viral satirical essays—about this very subject. I can no longer find the link to this article, which means that the evil overlords at Barbasol almost certainly secured a court order to have it memory-holed.

But after I read it, I began shaving in the shower without cream, and have done so for years and years ever since. I make sure to run hot water over my face to open up the pores, and then I get my razor on. HOWEVER, my facial hair is both sparse and relatively thin. If I ever try to grow a beard, it looks like someone glued cotton balls to my face. So if you’re a swarthier guy, I can’t guarantee that you’ll have the success that I’ve had. I told my brother that I don’t use shaving cream and he thought I was a fucking loon, but he has more rugged facial hair than I do. He might need shaving cream, as other Defector readers might. Like, if you’re Greek? You’re gonna need a whole can of Edge to get rid of that stubble. Us babyfaces? Not so much.

Matthew:

In a recent Distraction episode, you mentioned that your daughter went to a party where there was alcohol and you talked to her about how much she drank. Simmons said the same thing about his daughter on his podcast. Is that just the way it works now with high school kids? Do parents not even try to keep their kids from drinking? Were you at all worried that the cops would show up to the party and she would get in trouble at school? Do cops still break up parties because of underage drinking? My daughter is only two, so I don't have to worry about this for a long time but am interested in how things have changed since I was in high school.

My wife and I judge it case by case. I used to think about teenage drinking in extremes. Either your kid had to drink behind your back, or you were Amy Poehler in Mean Girls and actively supplying your kid and their friends with booze. Now that I’m charge of teenagers, I know that it’s more of a spectrum. We’re not gonna let our kid fuck off to some rager that has 300 kids and dozens of sketchy guys in attendance. We’re never gonna let her drive drunk. But we have let her try beer/wine/booze in front of us—same as my folks did with me—to see how she liked the taste, how it made her feel, etc. And we’ve let her drink around friends she trusts. We know she was always likely to do the latter anyway, because teens are gonna do teen shit. So we may as well keep that line of communication open, judgment-free. The more you treat you kid like an adult, the more they tend to act like one.

Also my wife barely ever drinks and I had to quit, so we’re now decent role models in that regard. None of this is necessarily gonna prevent the girl from getting shithoused one day in college and throwing up in her laundry basket, but it gives her a decent foundation to make her own choices about when to drink, who to drink with, and how much. It’s not a case of Nowadays They’ll Let Teens Do Anything. It’s just my generation trying to figure out a smarter way of going about all this.

By the way, giving your kid booze for the first time is fun as shit. They NEVER like the taste of it. It’s a throwback to when your kid is a baby and you feed them mashed prunes just to see what kind of face they’ll make once the flavor hits. First time my daughter tried beer, she was aghast that people actually drank that shit.

Email of the week!

Andrew:

I read with interest, and occasional horror, your accounts of poops gone wrong. But I never thought I would find, shall we say, a nugget of my own. Well, here one is, from Kimberly Clark's quarterly earnings call earlier this week. As background, part of my job is to serve as a kind of in-house journalist for a major professional services firm. So I write a lot of responses to current events. I hope one day to be able to write a contextualizing remark along the lines of the final sentence below (emphasis mine). 

On a conference call with analysts, Chief Executive Michael Hsu foreshadowed innovation in the second half of the year “that will blow your minds when you see it,” which “has to do with the poop side of things.” He even promised analysts a tour of “our war room on Poop Superiority.” “That’s kind of the business we’re in,” he added. It was unclear if he was referring specifically to diapers, toilet paper or something else.

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