By Bill Simmons
Page 2

In case you missed part one of the Fe-mail Bag, click here. As always, these are actual e-mails from actual readers. With a twist ...

Q: I have been a fan of yours for as long as I can remember. That being said, I did NOT appreciate being ripped to shreds in the public forum known as your mailbag (part one). I was mocking the beautiful Jessica Alba merely as an attempt to mend your broken heart. Not only is she gorgeous but her acting in "Honey" was Oscar-worthy. The important thing is that she is having carnal relations with your nemesis, and apparently you are just going to sit there and take it. What a pushover. Typical Boston fan -- let the New Yorker walk all over you. I hope I proved that I am by no means the catty b---- that you made me out to be.

Jessica Alba
"Dear Sports Guy: Love the column! Love, Mrs. Derek Jeter"

(As you requested: Brittany Murphy's aneroxia is really doing wonders for her, Christina Aguilera's bald spots add a level of sexiness and intrigue and, well, the Hilton sisters, dare to dream, dare to dream.)

Anyway, here's my question for part two: Recently I was stuck watching a re-run of the Hot Dog Eating Contest on ESPN2. I was shocked that one of the frontrunners was none other than a Mr. Bill Simmons, who has apparently been dominating the national wing-eating competitions all year. These alleged "vacations" of yours where you write "editorials" are all part of the facade, no?
--Meg Hart, San Francisco

SG: Not true. There's another Bill Simmons out there who eats a record number of chicken wings and goes by the name "El Wingador." Which reminds me, in the category of "Celebrities And/Or Infamous People That You Wouldn't Want To Have The Same Name As," I think the list looks like this ...

1. Any serial killer
2. Any New York Yankee
3. Any member of Al Qaeda
4. Bruce Buffer
5. Any porn star
6. Dustin Diamond
7. Any chicken wing record-holder

Q: It's probably a bad sign that I'm contacting Page 2 for help with my love life, but I need to consult with you, a fellow Boston sports fan. My boyfriend has this "move" (think: "Seinfeld"); I joked to him one night that his closing move is as reliable as Eric Gagne. But there's been trouble since I made that joke. Now, whenever he shifts into his, umm, "closer" position, I can't help but visualize the bullpen door swinging open and Gagne trotting out to the mound. And needless to say, those goggles and curly hair are doing NOTHING for me.

I guess, as a Red Sox fan, it could be worse: I could be visualizing Heathcliff Slocumb or Ugie Urbina and be overcome with a sense of anxiety ... and that's no good. But I really would like to banish all thoughts of Gagne and render the move effective once again. Any suggestions?

A loyal (and frustrated) reader,
--JC, Medford, Mass.

Eric Gagne
Another satisfying performance from Gagne!

SG: Well, it could be worse -- you could be thinking about Calvin Schiraldi running out during the '86 World Series. That could turn you more frigid than Trista in "The Bachelorette." I think you can work with this one, although I'm worried that you're carrying some repressed, unconsummated feelings for Gagne. And sure, if your boyfriend finds out and pulls a "DeNiro in 'The Fan'" on Gagne, the blood will be on your hands. But this situation seems like it should be salvagable.

Anyway, I went to the one man who can answer a question like this: Adam Carolla, who hosts "Loveline" and spends his days watching "Road House" and answering crazy sex questions like this one. After I read him JC's question, here was his response:

    "All right, here's the deal: It sounds like she needs to concentrate on someone else. Like what about Eckersley? He just went into the Hall of Fame, plus he had that nice Marlboro Man mustache and the long hair -- he looked like a '70s porn star. So instead of Gagne, maybe she could picture the Eck, one of the greatest closers of all time, bursting through these gates. I mean, that was one good-looking guy. And if that doesn't work, what she probably needs to do is choke up on the bat, try to make contact and protect the plate. She can't swing freely. She might need to lean into one, if you get my drift. (Pause, lowering voice) You're allowed to talk about fake orgasms on, right?

Q: In your Vengeance Scale column, you missed a great moment in the 1985 classic movie "The Legend of Billie Jean," after Christian Slater gets beaten up and his scooter is destroyed by the local rich kids. Billie Jean goes to get money from the rich kid's dad, who ends up putting the moves on her and never gives her the cash. Slater accidentally shoots the dad, so they go on the run. She cuts all her hair off, pseudo-kidnaps a different rich kid who just wants to be on TV, and starts a movement with the mantra "Fair is Fair!"

The dad who got shot ends up looking like a jerk, his kid is finally proved a jerk, and Billie Jean, the other rich kid, and her brother end up escaping to Colorado to live a better life. Not only an outstanding movie, not only a great vengeance example, but also a source of inspiration for me. After seeing this movie countless times on cable, all of my Barbies (even my Brooke Shields doll) received the infamous Billie Jean haircut.
--Lindsay, Charlotte, N.C.

SG: Nice rant. Although you left out a couple of key things ...

Billie Jean
The legend of Helen Slater fell faster than Rudy Pemberton.

1. We've covered this before on the site, but Helen Slater (who played Billie Jean) was a charter member of the Lacey Underall All-Stars for "Hot Chicks From the '80s Who Burst On the Scene, Won Everyone Over and Were Never Seen Again," along with the girl from "Just One of the Guys," Tom Cruise's girlfriend in "Rain Man," Ferris Bueller's girlfriend, the blonde from "Can't Buy Me Love," Axel's hot friend in "Beverly Hills Cop," Phoebe Cates, Justine Bateman and Michael J. Fox's blonde infatuation in "Teen Wolf." You're a girl, so you probably don't care about this. But it's wildly important.

2. You could make the argument that "Billie Jean" was ahead of its time, foreshadowing a social climate that would revolve around media overkill, real-life events taking a life of their own, the impending power of home-video cameras, and pervasive pop culture moments like the O.J. Bronco chase. Again, you could make the argument. Whether any of these things was intentional is anyone's guess.

3. This was Keith Gordon's only likable performance. Ever. Warrants mentioning. And yes, I still blame him for singlehandedly turning "Back to School" from a solid "A" to a "B-plus."

4. Any '80s movie that blatantly tried to draw parallels between the lead character and Joan of Arc, while at the same time featuring a theme song from Pat Benatar, needs to be discussed in a forum like this at least once every few years. I feel very strongly about this.

Q: I need your help with a serious problem in my marriage. My husband is an Orioles fan. Since the O's have been largely hopeless for the six years we've been together, this is usually not a problem. Our hatred for the Yankees unites us. However, during this week's Sox-O's series, he really started to get on my nerves. He was showing a lot of joy in cheering for the O's. I say since the O's are out of it and the Sox are fighting for a playoff spot, as the husband of a long-suffering Sox fan he should want the Sox to win. I asked him what happens the first weekend in October when the Sox face the O's if the Sox need to win those games to make the playoffs? Will he still cheer for the O's? Will he still want the O's to win?


I feel as if he is a stranger. Who is this man I married? We decided to let you settle this. Who should he cheer for in the above situation?
--Erin S., Frederick, MD

SG: I say the Orioles. You should always support your own team over your wife's team. Always. Even if your wife has really big breasts.

Q: You're going to think I'm insane but I have to do this. I've been dating Adam S. for three months and I'm completely in love with him. So why am I telling you this? Well, here's the thing. He's in love with you. He has read every single damn article you've ever written. It's come down to him printing your article at work and going to the restroom and reading it so that he's completely up-to-date with everything you've written. I'm asking you as a desperate female -- Sports Gal would understand -- to remind Adam of Long Beach, Long Island that he has a girlfriend and she deserves as much attention as you do. I think he would literally s--- a brick if he saw that he was mentioned in your column.
--Esther S., San Diego

SG: Even though I've always wanted to see someone excrete a brick, there are four ways to turn the tables on your man if you aren't getting enough attention. At the risk of violating the Code of Guys ...

Karate Kid
Sometimes, a little tough love is needed.

1. Cut him off. Give him the Mr. Miyagi routine for a few weeks -- a little "Paint the fence," a little "Wax on/wax off." You'll be surprised how quickly they come around.

2. Re-establish contact with an ex. "Mistakenly" leave one of his e-mails on your computer screen when your boyfriend happens to be over. When your boyfriend flips out, give him the old "What do you care -- why don't you print out another Sports Guy column and spend 20 minutes in the bathroom?" routine.

3. Go out with your friends one night. Tell your boyfriend that you'll give him a late-night call when you get home. Do not call. When you talk to him the following day, remain elusive about the events of the previous night, finally snapping at him, "What is this, an interrogation?" Then tell him that you're cranky because you had to take two birth control pills that morning.

4. And if none of these things work, find the biggest basketball player in the area, then take him as your date to a function/party that includes most of your friends and maybe even your family. On "90210," Donna Martin pulled this off to great success with C.U. star DeShon Hardell during her freshman year, when her boyfriend David wasn't paying attention to her because he had become addicted to speed. Sure, it took another six years, and they broke up three more times -- once because he hooked up with the chick from "Remote Control," once because she made out with a fireman, and once because he forged one of her checks -- but they eventually DID get married. There's a lesson here.

Q: Ana got hooked on your column after reading the "I Hate Bill Laimbeer" piece. Meg, on the other hand, began reading when her then-boyfriend sent her the "10 Simple Rules to Dating the Sports Guy" column. The latter inspired us to ask the question: Does the Sports Gal have any actual sports knowledge or interest? And are we the only two females out there reading your column?

The girls who read your column and guiltily laugh at your WNBA jokes
--Meg & Ana, Palos Park, Ill.

SG: To answer your second question -- no, you're not the only one. Heck, look at these last two mailbags! There are at least 11 or 12 other female readers out there. Second, it's difficult to tell whether the Sports Gal has some actual sports knowledge. Just when I think she's totally out of it, she'll surprise me -- like two weeks ago, when we were watching a Celtics summer league game and she noticed that the C's gave Antoine's old No. 8 to Al Jefferson. Of course, she also couldn't believe that they weren't retiring the number.

Anyway, your question inspired me to interview her about current sports topics to determine whether she knew what was happening. And you know what? I'm still not sure. Here are her actual answers, unedited:

Pokey Reese
What's in a name? Perhaps Pokey has hidden leadership qualities.

  • On the Red Sox: "I think Nomar ripped the heart out of the Red Sox because he didn't care. He sat on the bench and looked out onto the field in the biggest game. They should get rid of him and get a better shortstop, someone who cares, like a captain who could lead the team. I think Pokey should be the captain because I like his name."

  • On the Curse of the Bambino: "I think they think they're cursed and that's why they're cursed. If they really wanted to get rid of the curse, they would hire a good manager.

  • On the Yankees: "Joe Torre is awesome. I'd want to win for him, too. He's like a grandpa. He's like that older teacher in college who also really got along well with the students, like you were happy when he showed up at the bar to drink with you and your friends. He just has a kind, nice face. And obviously he makes good judgments because the Yankees have been winning."

  • On Kobe and Shaq: "It's a phony relationship. When two people win, they're supposed to love each other and get along, but we know that they didn't, so it was all fake. I feel cheated. They should have been sharing in each other's lives, they should have been friends, like family. They should have appreciated what they accomplished. But I don't think Shaq was the problem, I think it was Kobe. I don't think Kobe will ever appreciate anything."

  • On ESPN's Top 25 Sports Movies list: "It bothered me. They kept counting down what happened after every commercial -- 20, 19, 18 ... I was insulted. If I invested all this time in watching a show, I should get credit for watching it from the beginning. Plus, "Jerry Maguire" was too low, it should have been higher. I think it's a movie for everyone. Guys can look at it and want to become Jerry Maguire, and girls get to watch it and dream they can meet someone like Tom Cruise. And maybe they can leave their office job some day for some sap and end up with a good life."

  • On the dwindling popularity of tennis: "It was more popular when we were younger because John McEnroe played. They need someone with charisma like that. They need like a Tiger Woods of tennis. Actually, Tiger is a twit, too. Tiger with his stereotypical blonde Swedish chick. God forbid any of these guys dates someone with a personality. Wait, don't put that in -- that's going to make it seem like I'm ugly."

    Q: As a longtime fan of your column, I have a question for you. I'm a girl and an honest-to-God sports fan who even TiVo's PTI every day. With this in mind, does the fact that I have been TiVoing the 1 a.m. SportsCenter this week just to see Mike Hall make me a bad person? I can't help it, the boy is just too damn cute for words! What do you think of this?
    --Jessica R., Arlington, Va.

    SG: I think this is looking like the last Fe-mail Bag ever.

    Q: What is the cutoff age of young female celebrities for guys not to be considered total "pervs" in thinking they are hot? For example, a lot of my male friends looove Lindsay Lohan. Now that she just turned 18 and is "legal," does this make their obssesion with her non-taboo? Or, should age only be a secondary factor, combined with how old the actresses appear to look along with the age of the male in question?
    --Brigid, Kalamazoo, Mich.

    SG: I would say the answer has to be 18, since that's the legal age and all. With that said, we're the same guys who look back nostalgically on Britney's "Oops, I did it again" Era, Alicia Silverstone in "The Crush" and Anna K's first Wimbledon, and we're the same guys who counted down the months until the Olsen twins' 18th birthday and spent entire days exchanging e-mails on whether Lohan bought implants or not (my buddy Raff and I have spent hours arguing about this -- I still say no). The point is that the vast majority of guys are "total pervs." That's just who we are. And women know this.

    I think there's a bigger question here: When did this stuff become socially acceptable to even discuss? To borrow a phrase from Malcolm Gladwell, what was the tipping point? For instance, Nicole Eggert was smoking-hot on "Charles in Charge" back in the '80s, but I doubt adult males were openly lusting after her like they would now. Was it the birth of the Internet? The growth of these pseudo-Playboy mags like "Stuff" and "Maxim"? Did Kournikova start this whole thing? Britney?

    Natalie Portman
    The Sports Guy recommends that you don't use this photo as your screen-saver.

    I would argue that it goes back to "Beautiful Girls." Remember that movie? The one where Timothy Hutton (searching for himself in his late-20s) returns home for a few weeks, hangs out with some old buddies, and ends up in a bizarre mental love affair with a 13 year-old Natalie Portman? Romantics would argue that Hutton's character appreciated the purity of Portman's personality -- she was untainted by life, wise beyond her years, and maybe three more years from being smoking-hot -- and it was easy to have a harmless crush on someone like that. Cynics would argue that this was a romantic comedy about a budding pedophiliac. The truth probably lies somewhere in between.

    Here's the point: Every guy thinks that Natalie Portman was hot in that movie.

    And again, she was like 13 at the time. Which is really, REALLY creepy. But that was the whole point of the movie -- Hutton's character was beaten down by life and relationships, and the Portman character symbolized a fresh start for him. He just had to wait until she was legal. That's how desperate he was to find true love -- he would rather wait on the potential of the "Token Hot Girl Everyone Loved Back in the 8th Grade" (mine was Tina Salomon) and the "Token Unattainable Hot Blonde" (Uma Thurman's character) over rolling the dice with the above-average, unexciting relationship he was already involved in. And yes, I liked this movie. Maybe it was predictable, maybe it cheesy, and maybe there were lines in it like "Don't let her go, man," but this was a pretty good portrait of a tortured guy in his late-20s. And a good example of why guys are "total pervs." On behalf of the entire male race, I apologize.

    Q: You wrote that "It's crazy to me how many women have trouble finding a decent boyfriend, yet they'll stay in the same city for 10 years. If you were fishing in one section of a river every day, and you never caught anything, would you keep returning to the exact same spot, or would you try your luck somewhere else?"

    Well, have you considered that it might not be our fault? I've been refered to as the "Joey" -- that Katie Holmes-esque girl who is your soulmate, but who you'll never end up with. I'm as sports gal as they come, and going to a sports bar, or a sporting event, or whatever, where I might find a guy who I'd have enough in common with to want to take him home, leads me straight into Joey territory every time. How is that my fault for staying in the same city? It's not like I'm not willing to try other cities, but I get the feeling, having lived in New Jersey and Baltimore before D.C., that my luck isn't going to change with a shift in address.

    Maybe you need to school your male readers: tell them that a girl who wants to watch sports with you and then hop in the sack is a better choice -- at least you'll want to talk to us in the morning. And we might even make you breakfast.
    --Liz G., Washington, D.C.

    SG: Do I hear $2500 for Liz G's e-mail address? OK, $2500 from the guy in the black suit ... do I hear $3000? $3000 over there, what about $3500 ... can I get $3500 ... ?

    One note on the "Joey" complex -- I would actually call this the "Boof Complex." Remember how Boof improbably became Mrs. Teen Wolf and beat out the Token Hot Blonde Chick after the big game? Well, she gave hope for an entire generation of budding Boofs ... because, in real life, Teen Wolf is going with the Token Hot Blonde Chick 98 out of 100 times. That's just the way it is. I'm sorry.

    And yet there's an entire generation of Boofs who watched C. Thomas Howell swimming for Lori Loughlin at the end of "Secret Admirer," Mary Stuart Masterson dressing up like a chaffeur and bagging Eric Stoltz over Leah Thompson in "Some Kind of Wonderful," or Ally Sheedy putting on some makeup and landing Emilio Estevez at the end of "The Breakfast Club," and they assume that the world works like this in real life. Which it doesn't. In fact, you could argue that '80s movies owe reparations to an entire generation of aggrieved women in their 30s suffering from the Boof Complex right now.

    (And if you think the last two paragraphs were just an excuse for me to write "Boof" over and over again ... well, you're right.)

    Q: Congrats on getting your own site, it's definitely past due. It's great to see a writer who still cares about his readers and doesn't mail it in. (At least not until Vegas weekends turn into weeks of gambling and drinking binges, complete with an embarrassing Wayne Newton "incident" and the intern is writing the columns and Page 2 starts a new feature called "Behind the Ramblings: A True Page 2 Writer's Story" that details your rise and fall from obscure Internet fame to sitting on a park bench telling random people you "used to work for Jimmy Kimmel ... Jimmy FREAKING Kimmel, DAMNIT!" to finally cleaning up and getting your life back on track when the Sports Gal threatens to leave and take the Sports Kid with her by launching "SG Redux" and winning back disgruntled fans, along with bringing in a whole new generation of readers.)

    Good luck with everything.
    --Maureen, Binghamton, N.Y.

    SG: Umm ... thank you. I think.

    Bill Simmons is a columnist for Page 2 and ESPN The Magazine. His Sports Guy's World site is updated every day Monday through Friday.

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