Ask Matt Labash

Ask Matt Labash Vol XXVI: Dark secrets revealed, the moral failure of fly tying, and travels with the Jo Bros

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

Dear Matt: Why are you a more productive writer than Cupp? Does it have something to do with “The Curse,” or too much shopping? – Steve

That’s a pretty sexist thing to say. I don’t ordinarily stand up for women, because I figure that when you do, they get all uppity, and next thing you know, they’ll want to vote and drive and such. But I’m going to make an exception on this count.

I can’t speak to S.E. Cupp’s shopping habits or her cursing, but I will say that yours is a grossly unfair and inaccurate charge. In fact, I had the archivist check, and it turns out that since this little Hamas front operation known as the The Daily Caller launched, I have authored precisely 27 Ask Matt Labash columns, (including a special edition – which is why it doesn’t track with the Roman numerals of the title, assuming you can count in Roman numerals – I can’t, the editor does that for me). While Ms. Cupp has written 26 diarist columns, and has additionally chipped in a few non-diarist columns as well. So basically, it’s even- Stephen, productivity-wise. She’s even a little ahead.

But if I seem both defensive and uncharacteristically gallant, that’s because I have a confession to make. There’s a reason why Cupp and I rarely, if ever, file on the same day. Because it’s a lot of work when you’re writing both columns. You see, I am S.E. Cupp. Are you happy, sexist? You made me say it. Jim Treacher played at outing me before, when I made him angry after I carelessly scratched his Very Best of Christopher Cross CD. But since Treacher has a dark secret of his own, he stopped short of pulling the trigger, and pretended it was a joke. Only now can the full truth be told. I am Cupp, she is me, we are a he/she. Here is the real us:

No, I’m not completely done with the hormone regimen. But I’m getting there. I know at the moment, I look like Mrs. Doubtfire-as-a-seductive librarian, badly in need of a shave. So accept me as I am, or don’t accept me at all. It doesn’t really matter to me. Because for the first time, maybe ever, I’m finally accepting myself.

Do you tie your own flies? No, I don’t mean do you put flies in bondage; I mean do you tie your own flies to use in fly fishing? – Zoltan

I’m well aware of what you mean, as this is something I’ve had to wrestle with for some time. But no, I don’t tie my own flies. Many hardcore fly fishermen think you’re not a real fisherman if you don’t catch fish with flies that originate from your own vise. But I don’t tie for a very good reason: I like fly FISHing. Not fly crafts-making. If I wanted to screw around with crafts, I’d macramé or go to Build-A-Bear.

I am most grateful to fly tiers, of course, without whom fishing wouldn’t be possible, unless I wanted to revert to heathenism and use worms, or worse, Powerbait. But doing it myself leaves me cold. Maybe if you’re a less- than-committed fisherman, you have time to obsess over making sure you have just the right hot orange Giorgio Benecchi iridescent thread, or the Hareline Hare-Tron Dubbing, but to think that such fussiness marks you as a superior fisherman makes you sadly delusional. It’s kind of like assuming you’re a better fighter because you stitch your own boxing gloves. One skill has little or nothing to do with the other, unless you’re inventing something new which catches more fish than what’s already available. But they’ve already made the bead-head prince nymph, the parachute Adams, the Clouser minnow, the Fat Albert, and the woolly bugger, so who are you kidding? You probably won’t.

Many people justify the hours they while away at fly tying by saying it’s something they do in the “offseason,” when it’s cold. To which I respond: if you’re a truly committed fisherman, there is no such thing as an offseason. I fish when it’s hot, I fish when it’s cold. Sure, I catch fewer fish when it’s cold. Unless I go to my local sewage treatment plant, which has a warm water outflow where the fish like to stack. Some winter days, I do better there than I do during the loveliest warm-weather evening hatch. I’ve had 20-bass days at the poop plant with snow on the ground. No, it’s not very romantic. But it is aromatic: though the water comes out chemically-treated and probably cleaner than the rest of the river, the air is vaguely redolent of crap. But no more so than when I find myself downwind of someone who is insisting that I’m cheating myself by not tying my own flies. So it’s a fair tradeoff.
Matt, I attempted to click on a video link from the DC home page. They attempted to subject me to a 30 second commercial for a Jonas Brothers concert. But with my Spider Man like reflexes, I quickly closed the window, washed my eyes out with a fifth of scotch, and cranked up some Stevie Ray Vaughan for about an hour to cleanse my soul. My question: Why does Mr. Tucker Carlson think that 13-year-old girls visit his home page? Thanks, Wyatt

As a former Texan, I salute your Stevie-Ray-Vaughanishness, even if I can’t condone washing your eyes out with scotch (what a waste of perfectly good liquor). And I will add, for the uneducated, that Stevie Ray’s 1986  “Live Alive” album contains some of the finest guitar work (particularly on “Life Without You” and his version of “Voodoo Chile”) ever committed to vinyl, or MP3, or whatever it is we’re supposed to call it, now that it’s impossible to find a brick-and-mortar record store anymore.

That said, why would you assume Tucker doesn’t want to attract 13-year-old girls to his site? Of course he does. And not for the reasons you’re assuming, you freakin’ pervert. He doesn’t like 13-year-old girls in that way. He likes them because 13-year-old girls are the 14-year-old girls of tomorrow.

Also, earlier this year, at a pre-White House Correspondents Dinner party, I actually met Joe Jonas, or as Jo Bro scholars refer to him: The Hot One. I was going to take the piss out of him a little. But he’s a nice kid, with good manners, who can really hold his virgin mocktails. I told him that I’d wear a purity ring too if it helped me get a hot piece of tail like Demi Lovato. I was “washing my eyes out with scotch” that afternoon, but if memory serves, he looked at me, kind of confused, then said, “You wouldn’t, by any chance, happen to be S.E. Cupp?”

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,” was published this spring by Simon and Schuster. Have a question for Matt Labash? Submit it here.