Ask Matt Labash

Ask Matt Labash: Vol. VI

Matt Labash Columnist

EDITOR’S NOTE: Have a burning sensation? Consult your doctor. Have a burning question for Matt Labash? Submit it here.

What’s the appropriate amount of touching from a stripper when you’re attending your own bachelor party? The amount that you can be comfortable with yourself, I mean; I assume the soon-to-be-missus would approve of nothing. — SB

Before advising you SB, let me just state my position at the outset: I personally loathe strip clubs. As a male hunter-type, I’m always made uneasy when women work that hard to turn me on. Call me old-fashioned, but I’m supposed to be convincing them to take their clothes off. Volunteering themselves straightaway wrecks the natural order of things. In fact, I’ve long thought of starting a get-dressed club: where scantily clad women slowly and seductively put on more clothes, lending an air of mystery to the proceedings, providing a lap-dance for the imagination. Also, their extra pockets would provide more convenient places for customers to tuck $10 bills.

But that wasn’t your question. To assist you, I’ve surveyed some of my more libertine lady friends. Their consensus seems to be that it is completely appropriate for a stripper to extend a congratulatory handshake and, depending on your rapport, a firm clap on the back, offering you hearty well-wishes and eternal happiness in the spirit of platonic friendship for your pending nuptials to your beautiful fiancée. As for how much it’s appropriate for you to touch, I say let your conscience be your guide. Roe v. Wade stipulates that it’s your body, and no woman should be allowed to tell you what to do with it. So touch yourself as much as you’d like.

A question on global warming—where is Al Gore? Has he gone dark? — Beth

Look Beth, I don’t agree with everything Al Gore says either. But I will not tolerate racism. Kindly take your master-race rants elsewhere.

Matt, how is your leg healing? — fallon1977

You’ve clearly confused me with Jim Treacher, which is understandable. With our Clooney-esque mug shots, we are often confused. Ordinarily, I’d bat this question over to him, so he could tackle it in his completely non-derivative series, “Ask Jim Treacher,” his not-so transparent attempt to sandbag me, to cost me traffic, and to let the readers punch themselves out in his comments section so that they have no energy left to ask for my life-changing advice, relegating me to taking up superfluous questions such as “How is your leg healing?”

But, okay. I’ll take Treacher’s sloppy seconds. It wouldn’t be the first time (Would it now, killtruck? Call me.) Since Treacher and I have forged the unbreakable bond that results from new-employee orientation, team-building ropes-courses excursions, and living in S.E. Cupp’s shadow (readers inexplicably think she is hotter than both of us, though they haven’t seen us in our skinny jeans), I feel qualified to answer on Treacher’s behalf:

My knee’s doing better. My pride isn’t. Yes, I came to the big city from Idaho or Illinois or whatever flyover state I originated in that starts with an “I” (I’ve forgotten — success has changed me). For a season after arriving in Washington, D.C., I lived the high life and tasted the spoils: I had the chili dog at Ben’s Chili Bowl, with the works. I had the steak fajita burrito with the extra $1.85 guacamole at Chipotle. (I didn’t care. I owned this town.) Every night at happy hour—and every hour was happy hour—I drank Cabana Boy rum punches out of men’s shoes down at the Meat Magnet. By the time that State Department SUV came barreling at me in that fateful crosswalk, I thought I was invincible. So I kneed it as hard as I could in the grill, as though I were leveling a shot right in Hillary Clinton’s breadbasket. But there, in the crucible, I learned my limits. Unlike Hillary, I’m not made of chrome and steel. I’m just a man, made of flesh and bone, muscle and sinew. And blood. And 2 percent body fat after my grueling physical therapy. So I owe the readers and the State Department and my family and friends back in Iowa or wherever an apology for forgetting who I am and where I came from.

Also, I’d like to share some X-ray outtakes. The nurse wouldn’t let me have a Diet Coke before my MRI. Guess I showed her.

My husband and I coverted to Catholicism a few years ago. On paper, Catholicism is great, but the actual practice of being Catholic (the dry homilies, awful choir, lazy parishioners), not so much. I miss our old Protestant church, but my husband is perfectly content. What should I do? — Ann

Get a divorce? You forgot to mention the multitudinous kid-touching scandals, but it’s not my place to nitpick. Full disclosure: I come from an Italian family, so I grew up Catholic until I was four. Then we decided to become Christians, so we could start worshipping God instead of the Pope. (Put the gun down, Catholic friends—just a little Prot joke.) Don’t get me wrong. I love Catholics. They know how to prepare fish. They make those snazzy Catholic schoolgirl uniforms. And who doesn’t like bingo?

But personally, I’ve gone Protestant, as I’m generally for eliminating bureaucracy, and so prefer dialing the red-line directly to J.C., rather than having a priest in the confessional, doing it for me. You played the game “Telephone” when you were a kid, one person passing along what he thought he heard another say. You know how things can get confused. I say, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.” He hears, “Caress me, Father, for I am 10.”

Which is not to taint an entire denomination with the broad brush of ignominy. The Catholic leadership has managed to do that just fine on their own, with even more disgraceful cover-ups and mealy-mouthed apologies for the pedophilia abominations in Europe and in the United States. All of which are not only a grievous sin against the child victims, but against good priests who are truly doing the Lord’s work. I do, however, believe you can grade a church on the caliber of their clerical scandals. Protestant miscreants generally bang the church secretary or a hooker. Catholic versions of the same generally prefer the church secretary’s or the hooker’s underage son. All things being equal—tie goes to the non-child rape scandal. Advantage: Protestants. So by all means Ann, come back, and bring your husband, at least until the Catholic hierarchy can decide to stop harboring criminals, and to do something even more unfathomable, such as bringing them to justice.

Matt Labash is a senior writer with the Weekly Standard magazine. His book, “Fly Fishing With Darth Vader: And Other Adventures with Evangelical Wrestlers, Political Hitmen, and Jewish Cowboys,” is just published from Simon and Schuster. Have a burning question for Matt? Submit it here.