Best of the Week
of Jan. 7, 2001

Best of Week Archives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of Jan. 7, 2001, as selected by Y? These postings, as well as "Best of the Week" entries from previous weeks, also can be found by accessing Y?'s new database using the search form, or, in the case of answers posted before April 24, 1999, in the Original Archives (all questions from the Original Archives have been entered into the new database as well). In the Original Archives and the new database, you will find questions that have received answers, as well as questions still awaiting responses. You are encouraged to answer any questions relevant to your demographic background, as well as to ask any provocative question you desire. Answers posted are not necessarily meant to represent the views of an entire demographic group, but can provide a window into the insights of an individual from that group.

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Question:

I have noticed many hospital employees wearing their scrubs in restaurants and other places outside of the hospital. I thought scrubs were worn in hospitals for sanitary reasons. Doesn't it defeat the purpose of sanitation when the scrubs are worn as street clothes?

POSTED 1/9/2001

Gena L., Chicago, IL, United States, Female

Mesg ID 87200094435

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Question:

I have always wondered how a girl arrives at the point of displaying her private parts to strangers for money, and what the circumstances are. Little girls aspire to be doctors, actresses and lawyers, but surely not nude dancers, so how do they become dancers? Yet I find most nude dancers at strip clubs fascinating. Most I've talked to come from white, middle-class backgrounds and are bright and educated. One girl I got a lap dance from was born and raised in Beverly Hills and attends a reputable four-year university. Not quite a teenage runaway from a troubled home life. So how do these girls become nude dancers? Were they abused sexually in childhood, thus the 'different' view of sexuality? At what point does money become more important than maintaining one's sexual privacy?

POSTED 5/15/2000

Noah, Los Angeles, CA, United States, Male, Straight, engineer, Over 4 Years of College

Mesg ID 14200093007


Responses:
I was a topless dancer, and while I've given different reasons for doing it, I know the real reason stems from the fact that I was molested many times as a child and raped many times as a young adult. Although - as we have seen in the other responses - not all sex industry workers are victims of child abuse, I believe people like me strip to try to gain a sense of power and control over their sexuality. It is also a temporary rush and a high. It is a quick, easy way to get superficial affirmation and approval - a way to gain a false sense of self-esteem. Eventually this backfires. Perhaps there are people who work in the sex industry who don't have issues like this, and perhaps the occupation will not affect them adversely, but I have a hard time believing it. I think a person has to have some sort of sexuality, self-esteem, male, control or power issue to choose this profession. Many women in the business feel their choices are limited because of education, money or raising a child alone, or perhaps they just feel they aren't good at anything else. Other factors, like the glamorization of the job, the attention, the money (obviously), the fun of getting dressed up and looking sexy every night, the enjoyment of dancing and performing, getting to meet all kinds of different and interesting people, being able to talk about things you wouldn't with a person you meet on the street, the free drinks/drugs/parties, etc., may all lure and keep a woman in the job, but in my case, and in the case of too many women in the industry, the underlying factor is having been taken advantage of, objectified and dehumanized in the past, mostly in a sexual manner. I, too, am white, was raised in a very affluent community, was sent to an expensive, private, Christian college and have a high IQ. I was living on my own and wanted more financial freedom and enjoyed the freedom the money from dancing gave me, but I bet I would have never thought seriously about being a stripper to get that money if it weren't for some of my previous life experiences, namely molestation and rape.

POSTED 1/9/2001

Heather, Minneapolis, MN, United States, 22, Female, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, 2 Years of College , Upper middle class

Mesg ID 880083610


I know a lot of people in the S & M scene, and one very prominent dynamic is exhibitionism. We LIKE to be seen and admired, and nudity is not a big issue. Just think: the audience not only admires your beauty, but we pay cash for the privilege!

POSTED 1/9/2001

Kerry, Ventura, CA, United States, 30, Female, Wiccan, White/Caucasian, Lesbian, Theater Stagehand, Over 4 Years of College

Mesg ID 102100123538

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Question:

It appears to be widely accepted that most of the major news media - NBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, etc. - have news anchors and reporters whose cultural and political leanings are primarily liberal. This explains the slant put on news today, but what I don't understand is, why do so many liberals enter this field? I recognize that there are the Rush Limbaughs and Dr. Lauras who have talk radio shows, but these are syndicated and not part of the mainstream news that people see every night while eating supper. Do liberals enter this field specifically in an effort to influence the thoughts and attitudes of viewers?

POSTED 1/9/2001

Kathy, Springfield, IL, United States, 47, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Medical, Over 4 Years of College , Upper middle class

Mesg ID 9132000104306

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Question:

Why is sex with children legal in Japan? What is the reasoning behind it? How do the Japanese feel about this 'Rorikon' (Japanese for 'Lolita complex' - meaning an older man after a young girl.)? Is there an opposing view? How do Japanese Americans feel about it?

POSTED 1/8/2001

J., Pittsburgh, PA, United States

Mesg ID 15200154540

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Question:

How would I be able to learn to act 'more black' around my black friends?

POSTED 1/8/2001

Zip, Vancouver, British Columbia, NA, Canada, 17, Male, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Student, Upper middle class

Mesg ID 172001114441


Responses:
Why would you want to act more black? No one can acquire the skills to 'act more black.' Being black isn't having a certain walk, talk, clothing, etc. It's a collaboration of things. Being black is an experience. Instead of trying to be more of something you're not, try learning more about the black culture as a whole. Learn the history, food, art, experiences, music, etc. through books, magazines, classes, films, documentaries and so on. Learning more about black culture is the best way to fit in with your friends. Trying too hard will only make you look foolish, and I am sure that's not what you want.

POSTED 1/10/2001

Krystall, Miami, FL, United States, 25, Female, Christian, Black, Spanish, Indian, British and Italian, Straight, broadcasting, Over 4 Years of College

Mesg ID 192001112023


Please don't try to 'act black.' I am sure your efforts to mimic your perception of black culture would be offensive and would not be appreciated. Besides, there is no such thing as 'acting black.' The range of behaviors, dress, language and style within the black community is immense. When you say you want to 'act black,' do you mean you want to adopt the hip-hop culture? The militant? The religious? The 'Buppy?' Do you want to emulate black professionals, black athletes, black drug addicts, black entertainers, the black working class, black politicians, black ministers, black activists, black entrepeneurs, black academics...? You see my point? If your friends are truly your friends, they will like and appreciate you for who you are. Don't try to be someone you're not. Try being yourself.

POSTED 1/10/2001

Alicia, Pensacola, FL, United States, 32, Female, Black/African American, Attorney, Over 4 Years of College , Upper middle class

Mesg ID 192001115105


Zip, if they are your friends, they will accept you for who you are. Why try to act 'more anything' than you are? Also, they might not appreciate you thinking that 'black' is a way to act. I know that I don't appreciate it when people here in the states try to adopt what they perceive to be cultural characteristics of African Americans and think it will bring them closer to me. My culture and history are something that cannot be bought or sold. If you're really interested in learning about the culture of your black friends, why not ask them about some good books to read and study?

POSTED 1/10/2001

L.T., Indianapolis, IN, United States, 21, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, 4 Years of College , Middle class

Mesg ID 19200144028

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Question:

I don't have a particularly glamorous job, but it's low-stress, I enjoy it and it pays my bills every month. I've joined a singles web site, and some of the women who have caught my eye on the site are 'professional' women who work office jobs. I've sent messages to three so far: one responded to me asking what I do for a living. I told her and she hasn't talked to me since. The other two ignored me, despite the fact that their ads made it sound like I could be a match for them personality-wise. Are so-called 'independent women' willing to give guys with lower incomes a fair chance, or do they prefer guys who make as much or more than they do?

POSTED 1/8/2001

Dave, Berea, SC, United States, 26, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, Cashier, 4 Years of College , Lower middle class

Mesg ID 17200130402


Responses:
I am a professional woman with a PhD. I married a guy who was a 'poor guy' and boy, and was that a mess. I have dated men from lower-income brackets, and I find that, when it comes down to it, they are attracted to me because I am a doctor and have money, not because I am a cool chick to hang with. I routinely do not date men from lower-income brackets for this reason. Additionally, as a well-educated woman, I prefer that the men I date are well-educated as well. This often means they are in similarly high-level professions. Not that I or any of my 'independent woman' friends would never consider dating a 'poor guy,' just that it would definitely not be my first choice in men.

POSTED 1/9/2001

Leslie, Tampa, FL, United States, 26, Female, White/Caucasian, Straight, Health Care Professional, Over 4 Years of College

Mesg ID 18200184658


Before I married, I dated several people with significantly less income than mine and had many problems as a result of it. We weren't able to do many of the things I wanted to do or go places I wanted to go because of money. Even if I was willing to pay my own way, they often couldn't afford the nice restaurants or occasional weekend getaway. When I offered to pick up the tab, egos were bruised. On the flipside, there were those who were more than happy to tag along - always at my expense - which gets old pretty quick. In one of the more serious relationships - someone I lived with - it soon became clear that there wasn't an equality of responsibility or motivation. I was responsible for our lifestyle and held down a very stressful job to support it while he had a no-stress, low-salaried job but reaped and enjoyed all the benefits of my hard work. Now I am married to a man whose salary may not match mine dollar for dollar but who supports and contributes to our lifestyle in a fair way. We may never be 'rich,' but I feel like I have a partner, which makes all the difference in the world to me.

POSTED 1/9/2001

Alicia, Pensacola, FL, United States, 32, Female, Black/African American, Attorney, Over 4 Years of College , Upper middle class

Mesg ID 192001112821

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Question:

Why is minority recruitment for HIV vaccine trials always so difficult? I remember the horrible Tuskeegee experiment, but that was decades ago. Still, perhaps this remains part of the background problem? Or is it difficulty with governmental paternalism? Or, is the conspiracy theory of HIV's governmental manufacture really that strong? Or a combination of issues? How can confidence be strengthened?

POSTED 1/8/2001

Curious, Los Angeles, CA, United States, Female, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, Over 4 Years of College

Mesg ID 18200130931

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Question:

Why do African-Americans come 'unglued' when they are informed of the death of a close kin? Are they acting for the benefit of those around them? Or is it a learned behavior? Blacks who belong to Catholic churches and Episcoplian churches do not seem to exhibit this behavior. Is it a fundamentist exhibition? Are they doing it for the benefit of those around them? Are they 'acting'.

POSTED 1/8/2001

Bob, Fincher, FL, United States, 67, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, retired, 4 Years of College

Mesg ID 16200185604


Responses:
Perhaps it's the emotions of extreme grief, sadness and shock that makes some blacks wail at the news of the passing of a friend or loved one. Not all blacks do this, just as not all whites are solemn when they receive the same kind of news.

POSTED 1/8/2001

K.C. Tate, Jacksonville, FL, United States, Female, Black/African American, Paralegal

Mesg ID 182001100937

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Question:

Does it hurt to have anal sex?

POSTED 1/4/2001

Happy Love Camp, Boston, MA, United States

Mesg ID 12292000113111


Responses:
I haven't tried anal sex but my general experience of heterosexual sex has been like Mark's experience of anal sex. So, maybe, there is not as much difference as people think. Yes, I realize there is no natural lubrication, etc. with anal sex, but if you use enough lubricant, I have been told, it won't hurt.

POSTED 1/8/2001

Priscilla, Sydney, NA, Australia, 23, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, 4 Years of College , Middle class

Mesg ID 16200130639

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Question:

Why do black women overlook or disregard black men in wheelchairs? Every man in a wheelchair is not helpless.

POSTED 1/4/2001

D.L. Hollis, Carbondale, IL, United States, <NasD247@aol.com>, Male, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, Paralyzed, student, Over 4 Years of College

Mesg ID 12272000125257


Responses:
I don't think it is fair to categorize all black women as not giving disabled guys a chance. I personally would not want to date a person in a wheel chair. Let's be honest, everyone prefers to get a perfect package in a partner. If I fall in love with a guy who is disabled, I would not deny my heart, but I prefer a perfect man. It is easier for disabled men to find partners than disabled women. so don't give up.

POSTED 1/8/2001

Ify, Miami, FL, United States, Female, Black/African American

Mesg ID 16200140231

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Question:

I am in a relationship with a woman who has had lesbian experiences. She tells me I am great in bed. She tells me the only way she can have an orgasm is by oral sex or other means. But one time I felt her ejaculation come out, but she didn't recognize it. My question is, do lesbian experiences make a woman ignorant about or unfamiliar with experiences with a man?

POSTED 1/4/2001

Mike M., Huber Heights, OH, United States, <songtus@yahoo.com>, 18, Male

Mesg ID 1225200030437


Responses:
I can see that you are trying to understand your girlfriend's position, but it also sounds like you're saying you know more than she does about how and when she has an orgasm. Her perspective is the only one that matters in terms of whether she has an orgasm. Experiences with women do not necessarily make women get less out of experiences with men, if the women are bisexual. However, if your girlfriend is a lesbian, then she would not be interested in men sexually, so this seems unlikely. The other possibility is that she is not sure at the moment. I can tell you I fluctuate between being interested in men or women or both.

POSTED 1/8/2001

Priscilla, Sydney, NA, Australia, 23, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, 4 Years of College , Middle class

Mesg ID 16200124253

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Question:

I am researching the American addiction to chewing gum and am astounded by the similarities to drug addiction. I was taught that gum chewing at work was unprofessional and unladylike, yet I know several people who cannot function at work without gum in their mouths that they are constantly popping and cracking. I recently watched two well-paid telemarketers lose their jobs due to their refusal to not chew gum while serving customers on the phone. I also watched a young lady walk into a job interview chewing gum and then wonder why she didn't get the job. Several teachers tell me this is one of the primary problems they have in classrooms. The anger and defiance attached to this behavior leads me to believe it's an addiction, not a habit. Can anyone explain this?

POSTED 1/4/2001

Alma, Kempner, TX, United States, 47, Female, Methodist, White/Caucasian, Lesbian, unemployed, 4 Years of College, Lower middle class

Mesg ID 12292000100744


Responses:
I've noticed that phenomena as well, and it does seem that some habitual gum chewers cannot function without gum. I have known some gum chewers who went through several big packs of gum a day, just as a chain smoker would with cigarettes. Being deprived of gum would cause these individuals the same anxiety and discomfort that smokers seem to have when deprived of cigarettes. Further, it seems that there is a conflict between what is considered acceptable gum-chewing behavior and what is considered acceptable behavior for other activities. For example, very few people would sit at the dinner table and chew with their mouth open, chomping loudly, rolling the food around in their mouths for all to see. To show someone the chewed food in your mouth is considered at best juvenile and at worst, seriously distasteful, but it is quite common to see people blowing and popping bubbles, cracking and smacking their gum and chomping away with their mouths wide open. If asked to please keep their gum quiet and chew with the mouths closed, gum chewers will often look at you like you have three heads and respond in a passive-agressive fashion of chewing louder and cracking their gum more often. I have been told that rapid repetitive movements such as gum chewing have a calming effect, as they cause small amounts of serotonin to be released in the brain. If this is true, perhaps, gum chewing can be seen as an addiction for some because they become hooked on the drugging effect their own serotonin has on them.

POSTED 1/8/2001

Robin, Pittsburgh, PA, United States, 25, Female, White/Caucasian, researcher, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class

Mesg ID 15200150259


I work in an office of a large company and am surrounded by black women who constantly pop their gum while chewing. I think this is a 'black' thing - the popping and cracking -because I know white people who can chew gum quietly and not pop. To me, this is just like eating with your mouth open, and it digusts me. I cannot find any way to express my disgust without causing a problem at work; therefore, I must put up with it daily.

POSTED 1/8/2001

Hate the Poppers, Detroit, MI, United States, Female, White/Caucasian

Mesg ID 17200161019

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