Best of the Week
of Jan. 10, 1999


Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of Jan. 10, 1999, as selected by Y? These postings, as well as "Best of the Week" entries from previous weeks, also can be found in their respective archives, which we invite you to browse. There, you will find questions that have received answers, as well as questions still awaiting responses. We encourage you 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.

First-time users should first make a quick stop at our guidelines pages for asking and answering questions.

Question Code Key:

A=Age

GD=General Diversity

RE=Religion

C=Class

G=Geography

SE=Sensitive Matters

D=Disabilities

O=Occupation

SO=Sexual Orientation

GE=Gender

R=Race/Ethnicity

G66: Do people living in the South have more racist attitudes than people living in the North?
POSTED JAN. 14, 1999
Nicole, 21, white female <
ngebhart@hotmail.com>, NJ
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THE QUESTION:
GD34: I'm clueless: What is an aborigine?
POSTED OCT. 7, 1998
Doreen <
rdcs1020@monmouth.com >, Long Branch, NJ

FURTHER NOTICE 4:
Aborigines are the true owners of the land now known as Australia. There are like the Native Americans, in that they are the owners or first habitants of the land. They are very dark (like the regular Africans), but they have broader noses and thick, curly hair. Do not get carried away with television and think that Aborigines still live in caves. They are regular people who wear clothes and live in houses, go to school, etc.
POSTED OCT. 8, 1998
Ify <
ifebigh77@hotmail.com>, Miami, FL

FURTHER NOTICE 6:
I wish to correct Ify's misconception that all Aborigines are black and have broad noses and dark, curly hair. There was a governmental policy of "assimmilation" put into place in Australia whereby children where taken from their families because the government at the time believed they could "breed the black out" and thus destroy our culture. This is known as the "Stolen Generation." A peoples' culture can never be destroyed unless the whole race is destroyed through an act of genocide. In Australia, an Aborigine can have blonde hair, blue eyes and white skin. It is a matter of identity. Australian Aboriginal is always spelled with a capital A, and we were not recognized as people in our own country until 1968, when we were given the right to vote through an overwhelming majority referendum.
POSTED JAN. 14, 1999
Vikki, 47, Aboriginal female <
macallev@mpx.com.au>, Lismore, New South Wales, Australia
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THE QUESTION:
SO116: Do gay men really perceive themselves as being either "bottoms" or "tops"? If so, what's the criteria?
POSTED JAN. 14, 1999
Cliff R., 33, straight male, Tallahassee, FL
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THE QUESTION:
R577: A single black man from New York recently moved into a house on our middle-class cul-de-sac. He may be from a foreign country, though I'm not sure. We have driveways averaging about 75 to 100 feet long. He has taken to parking his car so that it faces outward at the very end of the driveway, so that the front end almost touches the road. Why would he park his car so far from his house, instead of in or near the garage? And why is it bothering me?
POSTED JAN. 7, 1999
P., white, Florida

ANSWER 1:
I find that with immigrants, any difference in behavior grates on me, even if it is insignificant, like the example you gave. I think this is because people expect conformity from those around them, and are disturbed when they see nonconformity, especially in "suspicious" (ethnically different) individuals. I think this is why the non-conformity you saw bothers you.
POSTED JAN. 14, 1999
Mark S., 30, white male <
xsites@aol.com>, Houston , TX

FURTHER NOTICE:
Clearly, he parked there to avoid digging out! In the Northeast, we all park at the ends of our driveways to avoid having to shovel out after a snow storm. Hope this helps.
POSTED JAN. 14, 1999
Monica, female, Needham, MA

FURTHER NOTICE 2:
Why don't you ask him why he does this, rather than defer the question to faceless masses? Would it be that difficult to ask a civil question of someone of a race other than your own?
POSTED JAN. 14, 1999
G. Long, 37, black female <
gelong@usa.net>, Chicago, IL
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THE QUESTION:
GE106: Why is it that modern feminists, although preaching equality, seem to be stuck in the '60s? To me, they seem to discriminate against women with more conservative views.
POSTED JAN. 14, 1999
C.C., 19, female, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
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THE QUESTION:
A37: Why do so many young adults become confrontational when asked to turn down extremely loud music? I'm talking car stereos so loud you can't carry on a phone conversation in the next building. Where do they get the idea they have a "right" to implode my eardrums?
POSTED JAN. 13, 1999
Alma, white lesbian with sore ears <
pridewks@seacove.net>, Kempner, Tx

ANSWER 1:
At 29, I just finished my first enlistment in the military, when first enlistments typically end at 22 or 23. Non-confrontational ones play their music loud, as well as the confrontational ones.

I think all human beings, young and old, to some degree, desire to be the center of attention. I think the younger ones, and too many of the older ones, have not yet acquired the discipline to handle the nagging fear that we might not be the center of the universe. To take our mind off the unpleasant sensation, we crank our music too loud, take drugs or have an illicit affair with an intern.
POSTED JAN. 14, 1999
Mike <
leungm@ix.netcom.com>, Minneapolis, MN

FURTHER NOTICE:
I believe the behavior you describe is due to a failure of many parents to teach their children proper manners and appropriate behavior. I see so many parents today allowing their kids to run wild in restaurants, talk at full volume in movies and act disruptive in church. Is it any surprise these children show no consideration for the feelings of others when they grow to their early teens and twenties? I understand that many parents are exhausted after a hard day's work, but both of my parents worked full time and I was taught how to behave. Come on guys, show some backbone!
POSTED JAN. 14, 1999
Stacee, 30, female, Houston, TX
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THE QUESTION:
R574: When speaking with friends about where I like to go in Atlanta, I find them asking frequently, "But isn't that an unsafe neighborhood?" or "Oh, that's not safe at night, is it?" They have also made comments about various neighborhoods and places they avoid because of "crime." I know these neighborhoods are not nearly as dangerous as my friends think. The only thing that sets them apart from "safe" neighborhoods is that they're predominantly black. I know that if these same neighborhoods and places were predominantly white, my friends would think they were fine. Why do people think like this?
POSTED JAN. 5, 1999
Wendy, 24, white, bisexual <
wiebke@juno.com>, Atlanta, GA

ANSWER 1:
People assume that black areas are bound to be bad neighborhoods due to the way they tend to be portrayed in media coverage. The media tend to focus on many "black" cases, and so this creates a smokescreen for us to see, and we assume by this that all black people are bad. Although it is a fact proven by many sociologists that white people tend to commit as many and if not more crimes, if you have noticed (at least in England), the cases that are shown on the news are of average crimes commited by whites and one bad crime commited by a black person. This all leadsus to believe blacks are worse than the rest of us.
POSTED JAN. 13, 1999
Laura S., female, 17, sociology student, Kent, UK

FURTHER NOTICE:
Prejudice, stereotyping, media hype and hysteria.
POSTED JAN. 13, 1999
A.A.W., 42, black female <
ANABWI@aol.com>, Plantation, FL

FURTHER NOTICE 2:
I can tell you from firsthand experience that your friends are right more often than not. I have lived all over Atlanta, including several neighborhoods that your friends might consider "not safe." These include Midtown, Grant Park, Cabbagetown and East Atlanta/Kirkwood. My house was broken into in Midtown, Grant Park and Cabbagetown (three times in four months). I have dealt with threatening encounters from strangers (mostly homeless people) in all of these neighborhoods. My good friend was shot (he survived) at a Christmas party in Grant Park. This was a random act of violence the police attributed to "a gang initiation." Intown neighborhoods are not safe, plain and simple. Crime can happen anywhere, but there are some areas where it is more likely to occur. Unfortunately, Intown neighborhoods tend to fit this profile.
POSTED JAN. 13, 1999
K.L., 32 <
frankblack@geocities.com>, Atlanta , GA
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THE QUESTION:
D33: What is the best way to phrase a query to find out the nature of a person's disability? I find that since I don't believe in asking "What's wrong with...?" I am thwarted in situations where I would normally reach out.
POSTED DEC. 28, 1998
Roberto T., 27 <
bobbyboy5@aol.com>, Aurora, IL

FURTHER NOTICE 3:
I am 27 and have cerebral palsy, and have had to deal with questions regarding my disability all my life. I know many people I come in contact with are curious. I don't mind talking about my disability, but my level of comfort with the topic depends on the person asking and how they pose their questions. I do think it is rude for a stranger to ask questions. It really is nobody's business. One time, a furniture delivery guy asked me "What's wrong with you?" I was shocked at his nerve. If it is someone I know or even just someone I see frequently, like in the elevator at work, I don't mind that person saying, for example, "I would like to know more about you and understand your disabiliy. Can you explain what it i s and how it affects you?" It also may be helpful to apologize for your ignorance, although I understand that most people are not educated in terms of disabilities unless they have a family member or someone close to them affected by one. Also, do not make any assumptions about limitations the disabled person might have. I am offended when someone assumes I live with my parents, which I don't, or that I don't drive, which I do. Bottom line - just use sensitivity without talking down to the person and treat him or her the same way you want to be treated.
POSTED JAN. 14, 1999
Ginger, 27 <
Ginger.Atkinson@NATIONSBANK.com>, Dallas, TX
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THE QUESTION:
A11: When I listen to the radio these days, all I find is "oldies" stations or stations that seem to play the same 10 new songs over and over. What are most teenagers really listening to these days? Are they actually into '70s music? Or what?
POSTED MAY 15, 1998
Colette, 33 <
inkwolf@earthlink.net>, Seymour, WI

FURTHER NOTICE 9:
By the time someone gets to be 16 or 17, they realize pop music stations will play the same thing over and over again, just as a four-year-old would wear out a Disney videotape until they can memorize the script (or in this case, lyrics) verbatim. It is the realization that good music knows no time, place or person that many of my generation are into the current revival of music from the 1920s to the 1940s (such as swing, jazz and big band), as well as "classic rock or soul" of the 1950s-1970s. It's just good music, plain and simple. I also hold that record marketing from major record companies during the 1980s and 1990s has become more oriented toward producing music that looks good for MTV rather than being quality tunes.
POSTED JAN. 14, 1999
Jeremy, 17, male <
jeremy_craig@hotmail.com>, Macon , GA
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THE QUESTION:
RE131: I'm curious: Do Catholics think the rash of pedophilia among priests might be related to the celibacy that is required of them?
POSTED JAN. 12, 1999
Sara, female, Oakland, CA

ANSWER 1:
As a Catholic, I am ashamed and disgusted by priests who molest children, and even moreso by bishops and others in the Church hierarchy who hush up their crimes. As far as I'm concerned, priests who molest children should go to prison like any other felons, and bishops who cover up their crimes should be imprisoned as accessories. I also believe the Church would do well to reconsider its celibacy requirement. However, I also wish to state that there is no connection between celibacy and pedophilia. Every reputable criminologist will tell you that most pedophiles are married men! Clearly, then, marriage is not a cure for pedophilia. A man who has sexual desires for children will not lose those desires if he marries and engages in sexual relations with an adult female. And while celibacy is difficult, a normal heterosexual male does not develop desires for young boys. Celibacy does not transform priests into pedophiles. But I suspect that many men with pedophilic tendencies may be attracted to the priesthood - a few sickos may join the priesthood precisely because it will give them opportunities to meet children, but many more may feel guilty about their desires, and join a celibate order as a way of combatting those illicit desires.
POSTED JAN. 13, 1999
Astorian, Irish Catholic male, 37 <
Astorian@aol.com>, Austin, TX

FURTHER NOTICE:
I do not think there has been a "rash" of priests who have committed pedophilic acts. If you look at the percentages of priests who have committed such acts and compare that with the percentages of "non-clergy" who have committed the acts, I do not think you will find much difference. Secondly, many of the charges of pedophilia against priests have been proven to be untrue. Priests seem to be ideal targets for such accusations due to the circumstances surrounding their lifestyle. People assume that because they are called to live a celibate lifestyle that it will dement them and make them sexual predators at some point. Therefore, people tend to believe every accusation they hear, and for some reason assume this is a common occurance when it is not. For the priests who have committed such acts, I do not think you can directly attribute this to their celibacy. It may be the factor in some cases, but I believe anyone who is sick enough to commit such an offense was sick before they took a vow of celibacy.
POSTED JAN. 13, 1999
D.D., Catholic male, Cincinnati, OH

FURTHER NOTICE 2:
Considering the vast number of priests, bishops, cardinals and other clergy in the Catholic Church worldwide, I think the instances of child molestation that we hear about would not be considered a "rash." Given the nature of the priesthood (celibacy and devotion to Christ, among other things), whenever a case does occur it becomes a sensational news story, and as we all know the media just loves to cover sensational stories. In any case, I don't think pedophilia among priests has to do with their vows of celibacy; it has more to do with the person committing the offense. Offenders can be from any walk of life, and child molestation is also committed by many married and sexually active males. Many of these cases involving such males barely warrant a paragraph in the back pages of the newspaper, while one priest's offense will garner prime-time television coverage. Another example of the media influencing public perception.
POSTED JAN. 13, 1999
Stephen S., 31, Catholic/Episcopalian, San Antonio, TX

FURTHER NOTICE 3:
I believe there are some correlations with pedophilia and celibacy. Having talked to some priests about this subject, I was stunned to find out that some seminaries literally brainwash potential priests. They are reminded not to put their hands in their pockets, lest someone misconstrue what they are doing; they are constantly reminded the only sexual relationship they need is with God (who supposedly is a man?). So, for years and yeass they are sexually repressed, with nowhere to release a natural feeling. Where is the easiest place to release these feelings? Maybe with the young and/or "weak." So, some priests may seek out young people to "befriend." Certainly there are probably some true pedophiles in the ranks, as there are in any group, but I believe there is a correlation. And don't forget there are many priests who have female friends on the side. And please don't necessarily always connect pedophilia with homosexuality. The Catholic Church needs to take a much-needed look at its stance on celibacy and stop using the "ostrich" approach.
POSTED JAN. 14, 1999
Sheila, g/l/b/t/q youth director, 49,white, lesbian, West Palm Beach, FL

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THE QUESTION:
R376: Why are Asian male/white female couples much rarer than Asian female/white male couples? And why does one hardly ever see an Asian male/black female couple?
POSTED JULY 17, 1998
Julie B., 25, white <
bouzoun@mri.jhu.edu>, Baltimore, MD

FURTHER NOTICE 5:
It seems to me that the main factor is mass media portrayals. Asian women have been portrayed for decades as desirable, sexy and willing. Asian men have been portrayed mainly as foreign, geeky and asexual. (It doesn't help that the last three major American conflicts have been fought in Japan, Korea and Vietnam.) And think about sex symbols: Any race of males has its own sex symbols every decade or generation. However, Asian men haven't had one since Bruce Lee, who's been dead for 25 years. I know this might seem like I'm placing an undue emphasis on how the media portrays us, but if you never see examples of sexy Asian men, how would you ever become attracted to them? It isn't because we don't exist, but in general the media (and most Americans, I think) are more comfortable with Asian- American men as Asians and foreigners and "the other" first, and everyday Americans with all the attendant privileges (including being dating material) second, if they grant them that at all.
POSTED JAN. 12, 1999
David, 35, Filipino-American male <
HoopNation@aol.com>, San Francisco, CA
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THE QUESTION:
GE105: Why don't women have the same sexual urges as men? What prompts my question is that you don't ever see male prostitutes soliciting and engaging female "clients," but the opposite (female prostitutes soliciting male "clients") is evident in virtually every major city in the United States.
POSTED JAN. 11, 1999
Michael M., male <
mikmyfield@aol.com>, Bel Air, MD

ANSWER 1:
Sex drive varies from individual to individual, but a major difference between men and women is the way their brains and bodies are wired for sex. Women have wombs. Women can get pregnant and are more protective of their bodies because they have more at stake. Men cannot get pregant and have little to lose in a sexual encounter. (Diseases exist, yes, but I'm speaking in terms of biological instinct.) Biologically, men aren't made for monogamy, and their instinct is to sustain (the population of) mankind by reproducing. By the way, male prostitution (while not as common) does exist - I have a male friend who used to work for an "escort service." And women have plenty of sexual urges! The ancient Greeks warned their men that women would drain them of all of their sexual energy.
POSTED JAN. 12, 1999
S.R., white female, 20,.Austin, TX

FURTHER NOTICE:
Biology is not destiny, but it does explain many human behaviors. Most male mammals are quite promiscuous. They instinctively seek to impregnate as many females as possible. Female mammals, on the other hand, have a much greater stake in the repoductive process than males - they're the ones who have to go through months of gestation and months or years of raising the young. Therefore, females of most animal species are much more selective about their sexual partners. Now, since human babies are born helpless and take much longer to reach maturity than most other baby animals, a human female must be especially choosy - she wants a mate who will take care of her and her children. Nowadays, of course, women earn their own money, and because of birth control, don't have to be as hesistant about engaging in sex as they used to. So, in the distant future, it's possible women will be as promiscuous as men. But it's unlikely. Our instinctive, animal urges don't change that quickly.
POSTED JAN. 12, 1999
Astorian, 37, male, Austin, TX

FURTHER NOTICE 2:
First, there are such things as male prostitutes. Second, most women become prostitutes not to please sexual urges of a man but due to poverty. It's either have sex for money, or starve. On a global level, girls are often sold into prostitution so families can offord to live. Third, women have sexual urges just like men, yet choose to express their urges differently. Women have to worry about pregnancy, rape or getting beaten up, things that as males you would have no concept of because it is a privilege you are born with and therefore always overlook. Not exactly men's faults, but nonetheless the reality of the differences between men and women and their sexual choices. Therefore, many women feel safer having sex with men they know and are comfortable with. Prostitutes, on the other hand, have probably been so degraded, either by sexual or other forms of physical abuse at a young age, that they don't care about themselves enough to get out of the business, nor can they envision a bright, prosperous future for them or their children.
POSTED JAN. 12, 1999
Sarah, 28, female

FURTHER NOTICE 3:
I'd wager that most female prostitutes aren't in their profession because of their "sexual urges," but because it's the only way they know to make money fast without starting at the bottom, going to school, etc. If there weren't so many poor women with no other options, there wouldn't be so many prostitutes.
POSTED JAN. 12, 1999
Wendy, 24, female, Atlanta, GA

FURTHER NOTICE 4:
I don't believe women in general have a lower sexual desire than men. (Of course there are exceptions on both sides.) The difference is, I think, one of conditions necessary for sexual desire to arise. Most women don't "turn on/turn off" like a light-switch, the way many men seem to. Most women need emotional intimacy before sexual intimacy. Love, trust, commitment - all these things are often prerequisites for having sex, because for most women sex and love are not easily dissociable. I don't think very many women see the attraction in paying a stranger to have sex.
POSTED JAN. 12, 1999
C.P., female, 21, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

FURTHER NOTICE 5:
The classic answer is that women view sex in the context of long-term relationships (securing a father/husband to raise a child). The extent to which this reaction is biological or societal has been debated by scholars for several decades. Women have been socialized to view sex as more dangerous for women than men (think rape or unwanted pregnancy). Also, young girls are taught to suppress the recognition and acknowlegement of sexual urges. Boys are taught that this is a normal part of growing up. Look at how many coming-of-age movies about boys center on the loss of virginity as a positive experience. How many movies about girls show the loss of virginity without a self-destructive end or social stigmatization?
POSTED JAN. 12, 1999
Stacee, 30, female, Houston, TX

FURTHER NOTICE 6:
I'm paraphrasing Dr. Ruth here (from Sex for Dummies): Men and women generally (this is a broad generalization) have different feelings toward sex. Men have an easier time separating love/romance from sex. That is why it is easier for men to have a "quickie" with a prostitute. There are gigilos out there, but they usually have long-running relationships with their clients that involve more than sex. The service-providers are just catering to their clients like any other business. Gigilos most likely don't have to solicit their services in the same way. Again, this is a generalization. There are plenty of exceptions.
POSTED JAN. 12, 1999
White, 25, CA

FURTHER NOTICE 7:
For a species to survive, you need a lot of creatures to reach the age of being able to reproduce. While both genders of our species clearly have a sex drive, men are more instinctually driven to "spread seed" to create infants, and women are more instinctively driven to nurture infants through to an age where they are self-sufficient, and as a corollary to find a mate who can be a provider for children. These instinctive roles obviously can fly in the face of modern concepts of morality and gender equity.
POSTED JAN. 12, 1999
B. Hale, monogamous <
halehart@aol.com>, Hartford, CT

FURTHER NOTICE 8:
I do not know one way or the other whether women have less sexual desires than men. I do, however, believe the reasons behind your observations lie not in the disparity of sexual drives but the "morality" differences imposed in our society.
POSTED JAN. 12, 1999
Michael, 28, white male <
Mjick@aol.com>, Southfield , MI
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THE QUESTION:
R578: Is it true that black families are not allowed to adopt other ethnic groups (i.e. Caucasian, Japanese, etc.), but Caucasians are allowed to adopt any race regardless?
POSTED JAN. 11, 1999
Shalonda L., female <
adnolahs@umh.hfs>, Westland MI
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THE QUESTION:
SO63: I have heard that the size of certain structures in the brain and inner ear is linked to sexual orientation. Is this true?
POSTED JULY 26, 1998
Dave A., Camden, NJ

ANSWER 1:
There are anecdotal reports of anatomical differences between heterosexuals and homosexuals, though to my knowledge no major study has been done. The inner ear findings you mention refer to a report that lesbians are more likely to have a hearing sensitivity similar to that of heterosexual males, rather than heterosexual females (there are some well-known hearing differences between straight men and women). There have also been reports that lesbian fingerprints often follow trends associated with males. These findings suggest that some lesbians may have been exposed to a masculinizing influence in utero, though no one knows what this might be. However, these differences were not found in all lesbians - only in a disproportionate number of them.
POSTED JAN. 12,1999
Tim, male, gay, 32, mailto:tcran@hotmail.com, NY, NY

FURTHER NOTICE:
Researchers were examining possible differences between lesbians and heterosexual women. When they studied the inner ear structure in women who had died, they discovered a statistically significant difference between the inner ears of lesbians and those of heterosexual women. The significance of this was that, up to that point, no physical differences had been found between heterosexual and homosexual women, and there had been speculation that, while gay men may have been "born that way," lesbians were perhaps "choosing" their sexual orientation. Gay men, by the way, have been found to have different hypothalmus glands than straight men, and research is still looking for other physical differences.
POSTED JAN. 12, 1999
Larry M,, male, Westmoreland , NH
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THE QUESTION:
A36: Why do so many senior citizens buy such large automobiles? With having a reduced family size, wouldn't it make more sense for them to drive smaller, more economical cars? I've also observed many an older adult struggling to maneuver these large cars. Are senior citizens just showing off their disposable income? It seems to me that on many levels, smaller cars would make more sense for their driving needs.
POSTED JAN. 8, 1999
R.J., 36, male <
rjorgensen@umr.com>, Cincinnati, OH

ANSWER 1:
As a member of a senior family that has just purchased a minivan, I can tell you our reasons for wanting a larger vehicle: We upgraded from an Acura Integra, a small, three-door auto. Space-space-space, and comfort. If you have spent three or four days in an automobile traveling, you would understand the need for a comfortable ride and the necessary storage for clothing and other necessary items. In addition, most small cars are very low to the ground and do not afford much in the way of being able to see the surroundings and other traffic. When you are traveling on the Interstates at 60-70 mph, you have a lot more confidence in a larger vehicle.
POSTED JAN. 12, 1999
White senior citizen <
JPHILJONES@AOL.COM>, Port St Joe, FL

FURTHER NOTICE:
I think many senior citizens know that their reflexes are slower than they once were, and drive larger cars because they provide more protection in case of an accident. One other explanation is one of traditionalism. Since most of the older cars were large, lots of today's elderly drivers like to display the fact that they are "From The Old School" by driving big automobiles.
POSTED JAN. 12, 1999
Dan B., male, 26 <
MookieB21@aol.com>, Tucson, AZ

FURTHER NOTICE 2:
I think it is because most senior citizens grew up and matured during the time when very large cars were the norm, prior to the gasoline crisis of the1970s and when large families were common. It simply is what they are accustomed to having. Also, they may feel that a large car is a safer vehicle for them. And yes, maybe they are showing off their income, but probably more likely feel like they have earned the right to purchase whatever car they wish. Unless they are asking for someone else to pay for it, I say more power to them!
POSTED JAN. 12, 1999
Kathy, white, 46, Springfield , IL

FURTHER NOTICE 3:
As people age, the body takes longer to repair itself. With that in mind, I think senior citizens choose larger cars because they provide a higher degree of safety than smaller ones. Additionally, larger cars usually yield more comfort and are roomier, features I believe mature folks value above economy.
POSTED JAN. 12, 1999
Alonzo C., male, African American, Jacksonville, FL

FURTHER NOTICE 4:
They are showing off disposable income and/or wealth. Fifty years ago, prestige was driving a big car.
POSTED JAN. 12, 1999
B. Hale, 43 <
halehart@aol.com>, Hartford, CT

FURTHER NOTICE 5:
Many older people prefer larger motor vehicles because, in the event of a collision, they are safer for them than smaller ones.
POSTED JAN. 12, 1999
Michael, 34, male, Syracuse, NY

FURTHER NOTICE 6:
It would make more economic and environmental sense, but many older people feel safer in a large car. Statistically, they are - bigger cars tend to protect passengers better in a crash. I think that's part of why you see many younger people in oversized Sport Utility Vehicles, too.
POSTED JAN. 12, 1999
Gene, 32, male <
geneand@ix.netcom.com>, Oakland , CA

FURTHER NOTICE 7:
Also, as you get older, you lose your flexibility. It really is difficult for older folks to get in and out of the smaller cars.
POSTED JAN. 12, 1999
Carlos C., male <
cjcaro@msn.com>, Colorado Springs, CO

FURTHER NOTICE 8:
I believe the reason is twofold: 1)When those who are now senior citizens bought their first cars in the 1930s - 1950s, every car coming off the assembly line was approximately the size of a small aircraft carrier. All kidding aside, these cars were built to last, explaining why you still see them on the road today. Bigger was better back then, and the prevailing attitude was that no one built them bigger or better than the good old USA. Many seniors may still feel that way today and express that with their car purchases. 2) Seniors I know who buy large cars have indicated they are doing so for improved safety. Let's face it, with the explosion in Sport Utility Vehicle sales, they may be onto something! And besides, if they can afford a big road boat and it makes them happy to drive one, so what? I've never seen it as flaunting wealth, exactly for the reasons I've given. If anything, Boomers are the worst offenders of conspicuous consumption from what I've observed, not seniors.
POSTED JAN. 12, 1999
E.J., 39 <
bugz2@ix.netcom.com>, Nashua, NH
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THE QUESTION:
GE41: Why do women spend so much time, energy and money on their appearances, but then become upset when a man stares at them? And do women really become upset at this, or are they just pretending?
POSTED JUNE 15, 1998
John, 27, Riverside, CA

FURTHER NOTICE 5:
I spend time and money on my appearance because it is impossible in this culture for a woman not to do so without risking disapproval from friends, lovers and random strangers. I also do so because it makes me feel more confident, and that makes me feel more attractive. These two things go together: Women really do mind the attentions of strangers when they are unsought. Women are attempting to attract specific individuals - i.e. when I wear a short skirt to go on a date with my boyfriend, I am hoping he will approve, find me attractive, whatever. But I do not want to a be accosted, grabbed or stared at by others. That's called harassment.
POSTED JAN. 12, 1999
Lisa, white female, 26, Boston, MA
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