Best of the Week
of Feb. 27, 2000

Best of Week Archives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of Feb. 27, 2000, 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.

First-time users should first make a quick stop at Y?'s guidelines pages for asking and answering questions.


Question:
I am a black American, but I have to say I am tired of blacks blaming the system in which we live today for problems that do not even reach the levels they say they do. To other black Americans: Why is this done? I know racism exists, but when the time comes for me to rightfully claim I am being discriminated against (God forbid), I'd like to be heard.
POSTED 2/29/2000
Jerrod P., Clarksville, KY, United States, <buddap@yahoo.com>, 21, Male, Black/African American, government worker, High School Diploma , Middle class, Mesg ID 29200010413
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Question:
To people who have been both poor and rich: I read a study that surprised me: The richest people rated themselves as only slightly happier than the poorest people. Does that finding hold true for you?
POSTED 2/29/2000
Gerry, Fort Worth, TX, United States, 34, Male, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Tech Support, 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 2252000101338
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Question:
Why do many senior citizens view a daily shave (for men) as virtually mandatory, while daily bathing of the whole body is pretty much a matter of personal preference? The only reason I shave is that I am out in the working world; if I were retired, I would not shave at all except occasionally to trim areas of my face where the beard is very sparse. Yet retired senior men 'have' to shave daily, it seems. Moreover, if you go back and look at attitudes 60 to 75 years ago, a daily bath or shower was not seen as mandatory. A Boy Scout book I read from the 1940s urged a soap bath two or three times a week. I would feel dirty if I did not shower daily. My father worked as a physician's aide when he was growing up, and the doctor took a bath once a week, yet shaved every day. Aside from the obvious impediment of inadequate plumbing, why do people of all ages not bathe daily? I would much rather have clean hair and a full beard, washed daily, than be meticulous about my facial hair and have the rest of my body unwashed.
POSTED 2/28/2000
Augustine, Columbia, SC, United States, 39, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 227200025326
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Question:
My nephew is new to the Islamic faith and has met a young lady he will be marrying on Saturday. They have known each other three weeks. Is rushing common within this faith, and if so, why?
POSTED 11/10/1999
Debbie, Edinburg, TX, United States, <dcat2187>, 38, Female, Christian, Straight, student, 2 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 1191999110459

Responses:
The way most Muslims look at that, it is not rushing but protection. I am 20 and got engaged in July 1999, and I hope to get married sometime the end of 2000. That wouldn't exactly be rushing the engagement period, I suppose, but you would probably think I'm still rather young. True, but the way we look on it is that sexual desire is natural, and in many circumstances if it is not given into lawfully, it will be performed unlawfully, hence marriage legalizes a need and reduces the risk of the young fulfilling themselves unlawfully. In fact, a person getting married in Islam is said to have saved half of his faith. And basically that is the bottom line of marriages being encouraged at a young age.
POSTED 2/28/2000
Zuhair R., Dubai, NA, United Arab Emirates, <zuhair@lcnsys.com>, 20, Male, Muslim, Tanzanian of Asian Descent, Systems Engineer, Technical School , Middle class, Mesg ID 2262000115144
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Question:
I'm curious about what girls my age want, and what attracts them to guys. I've spent half my life as a criminal and just recently went straight and got my GED. I'm going to community college in the suburbs, and I've found I have no idea how to talk to the ladies out there. It's kind of funny, a former bad-ass like myself getting tongue-tied when I talk to relatively sheltered women, but it happens. I'm reasonably attractive with a jolly Irish way about my face, but girls are really standoffish when I approach, much more so than with other guys. Any insight would be much appreciated.
POSTED 2/28/2000
Seamus M., Charlestown, MA, United States, <madskat@home.com>, 20, Male, Straight, Student, High School diploma , Lower class, Mesg ID 2272000103359
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Question:
I cannot begin to fathom how a man could lust for another man. Of course, I understand why a woman would enjoy sex with a woman. Are straight women as disgusted by lesbians as straight men are by gay men?
POSTED 2/24/2000
Jason, Greenville, NC, United States, 27, Male, Baptist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Communications, 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 2202000100623

Responses:
Most women are not disgusted by gay women. I have tried it and talked with a lot of other women, and they all agree they are into trying it sometime. Women are beautiful and know how to appreciate another woman's body. It is a fantasy for most.
POSTED 2/28/2000
Melanie, Winnipeg, NA, Canada, 28, Female, White/Caucasian, Straight, Technical School, Mesg ID 226200031737

I disagree. I am female, and I think it sounds revolting.
POSTED 2/29/2000
Amy, Charleston, WV, United States, 27, Female, Straight, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 2282000104312

I am a straight woman, and I do not have any problem with homosexuality. I also know many straight men who are not bothered by it, either. It's just a fact of life - some people are gay, some people are straight. If you are comfotable with yourself and secure in your sexuality, you shouldn't have any problem with someone who is gay.
POSTED 2/29/2000
Jacqueline C, San Jose, CA, United States, 26, Female, White/Caucasian, Engineer, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 225200021550
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Question:
I seem to notice that a lot of black people have buck teeth, gap teeth or both. Why is that? Also, I am curious why a lot of black people seem fascinated with gold teeth.
POSTED 2/28/2000
Lee, St. Louis, MO, United States, Straight, Student, High School Diploma , Middle class, Mesg ID 2272000113418
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Question:
How can women justify spending thousands of dollars on fertility treatments to have their own babies, when thousands of unwanted children are in orphanages? I'd prefer a response from a family that has gone through or is considering fertility treatments, or professionals who deal with such issues.
POSTED 2/23/2000
Alex, Elkins Park, PA, United States, <first_wizard@hotmail.com>, 16, Male, Jewish, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, High school student, Less than High School Diploma , Middle class, Mesg ID 2222000110013

Responses:
We are considering fertility treatments for the following reasons: 1. Foreign adoptions are expensive and require you to live a couple weeks or more in that country; we can't afford that. 2. We are afraid we will adopt a child and the parents will come back later and take it back. 3. We are not sure if we can handle a child with emotional problems or severe physical difficulties. 4. We love each other and would like the chance to have a baby together.
POSTED 2/24/2000
Bellario, Omaha, NE, United States, 31, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class,Mesg ID 2242000124050

First, it's misleading to say women choose this. In many cases, women and men make the decision together. Second, I think anybody who chooses to conceive their own child, whether or not they need fertility treatment, is creating a new life instead of taking care of one who has nobody to care for them. Anybody who wants children can adopt. I have not decided whether to have my own child or adopt, but I've been giving it serious thought, and I think there are valid reasons to choose either path. For some women, it's deeply meaningful to go through the experience of pregnancy and childbirth, and for some men it's meaningful to be a partner in this experience. For some women (not all by any means), it fulfills a potential that our body has, and it's a basic part of life as a woman that we want to experience. I see pregnant women and feel a longing to have a child. Some people want a child who looks like them. Some people don't know how difficult or how expensive fertility treatment is going to get when they start down that path, and some have a lot of pressure from their families to try. And some people are afraid an adopted child will have medical and/or emotional problems because they did not have a secure infancy or early childhood. That feels like a lot to take on. But all of that considered, I still may choose to adopt because there are children who need families. I think either decision will be valid.
POSTED 2/28/2000
Anita, Los Angeles, CA, United States, 40, Female, Middle class, Mesg ID 224200073013
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Question:
Why do older people seem to not like teens nowadays? Why is it that they have a bad opinion about them at all times? It seems that teens and older people never get along.
POSTED 2/22/2000
Carlos, Porterville, CA, United States, <coseguera@ocsnet.net>, 20, Male, Catholic, Hispanic/Latino, Straight, student, 2 Years of College , Lower middle class, Mesg ID 2212000114139

Responses:
I'm 65, so I suppose I qualify as being part of the older generation. I like young people as much as I do older people, provided they are thoughtful of those around them. And the same provision holds for older people. If a person my age sits next to me at a traffic light with a sound system that jars my ears, then I 'don't like them.' I consider behavior, not age, in deciding how I will respond to a person.
POSTED 2/28/2000
Phil S., Panama City, FL, United States, 65, Male, Unknown race (don't know who my great grandfather, Retired, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 2272000112049

I think it's a real shock to a parent when the child who has deified them in the past changes and now looks upon them with amusement, hate and loathing. So begins the years'-long battle until the kids are gone. This is a learning experience for both parties that neither has prepared for. To be lied to, ignored and embarrassed by your teen children naturally gets carried over into how one sees all teens. Adults still see themselves in their mind's eye as young. I feel young, think young, I AM young. I know how young is supposed to be enjoyed. So, why can't these other young people control themselves? One of the most remarkable and irritating acts is when a teen wakes up on their 18th birthday and has suddenly absorbed massive amounts of wisdom and knowledge from their pillow overnight, and refuses any suggestions or ideas or someone else's take on the realities of the world - yet they still require regular infusions of cash. As you can tell, I still need closure on some things. My kids are all grown, and I finally learned to treat them like people, and they now listen to me - if I present my opinion in a non-threatening manner. This type of behavior takes years to learn. It is the hardest thing I have ever done, and they have made me cry with happiness, pride, anger and frustration. Now that some time has passed, I no longer growl when I see a teen. I believe that in a perfect world, kids should grow up in a multi-generational home, and the grandparents should raise the young, as they are the only ones who have enough wisdom and patience. Of course, for this to start, some unlucky generation would have to raise two sets of kids.
POSTED 2/28/2000
David, Battle Creek, MI, United States, 49, Male, spiritual, White/Caucasian, Straight, factory worker, High School Diploma , Middle class, Mesg ID 2272000100914

I've been asking the same question since I was 18, and that was almost 9 years ago. I can't offer you an answer, just an opinion. I believe too many senior citizens think my generation (and that of my 18-year-old cousin) owes them blind respect because of what some of them did or went through more than half a century ago. Killing other people in a war doesn't garner respect in my world, but that's another issue for another time. Secondly, the Great Depression - and World War II, for that matter - happened WAY before my generation came into being. I can only show respect for deeds done in my lifetime. Those seniors I do respect are those who make an effort to communicate with teens and young adults, not lecture them condescendingly about how their problems are of little significance compared to 'my day.' I'm of the philosophy that respect is earned on BOTH sides of the generational divide. That is, just as my generation has to do what we need to in order to earn respect, so do the older generations (e.g. not pressuring Congress to sacrifice financial aid funding, with the sole motive being the protection of their own programs, as I believe happened to me in 1995 when my application for a scholarship was rejected due to budget cuts; or not believing every young person to be the enemy of 'decent' society because they don't dress according to your criteria or listen to your type of music).
POSTED 2/29/2000
Vincent B., Chicago, IL, United States, <ariesflame73@il.freei.net>, 26, Male, Black/African American, Student, Over 4 Years of College , Lower middle class, Mesg ID 2292000122020
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Question:
Is it true that Europeans are less dependent on the car than North Americans, and if so, what are the reasons for this difference?
POSTED 2/22/2000
C.P., Montreal, Quebec, NA, Canada, 22, Female, Mesg ID 2222000102549

Responses:
That's very true. Mass transit is cheap, efficient and plentiful for the most part over there. The United States was headed that way also, until the early car companies coralled the government's interest (and subsidy) away from trains. Also, the way most of Europe is 'spread thicker' encourages maximizing available space. You are either in the country or the city; not much suburban sprawl. So they never really developed a mass love affair with the car as an 'independence identity machine' like we have.
POSTED 2/28/2000
Mike, Warren, MI, United States, <rolfsy@prontomail.com>, 25, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, Editor, 4 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 225200022715
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