Best of the Week
of Feb. 29, 2004
 

 

Best of Week ArchivesArchives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of Feb. 29, 2004, 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 database using the search form , or, in the case of posted before April 24, 1999, in the Original Archives (all questions from the Original Archives have been entered into the database as well). In the Original Archives, as well as in the 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:

Why is it that Middle Eastern people seem to be the only ones working at 7-Eleven and Dunkin' Donuts?

POSTED 3/1/2004

Tamika, Bolingbrook, IL, United States, <Tamika256@aol.com>, 21, Female, Black/African American, Straight, student, 4 Years of College, Lower class, Mesg ID 2252004103910

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Question:

What would happen if an Indian female told her parents she was a lesbian?

POSTED 3/1/2004

Lou, Moe, NA, Australia, 28, Female, Church of England, White/Caucasian, Lesbian, Student, 2 Years of College, Mesg ID 2262004105029

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Question:

I recently moved to New Orleans from a small town with not many black people, and one thing I've noticed is that a lot of black people here have gold teeth. I don't understand why they do this because I don't think it looks good. Is there a reason they do this? Is it cultural? Is there some sort of history behind it? Or is it cheap? Don't mean to sound ignorant, but I've had more than one friend who has moved here from somewhere else wonder the same thing.

POSTED 3/1/2004

Brenda, New Orleans, LA, United States, 25, Female, Unitarian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Nanny, High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 227200451312

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Question:

What colognes/body sprays/etc. do women prefer their men wear? Feel free to get detailed (in the day, in the evening, what types of scents, etc.)

POSTED 1/4/2004

Brandon, Memphis, TN, United States, 20, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 129200393403


Responses:

I grew up in the country and around horses. So I prefer male body sprays that have a 'leather' or 'outdoorsy' base to them, such as Stetson or Santa Fe for the day. For something more formal (read: an evening date), I like a clean scent that is still 'outdoorsy', such as Drakkar or Cool Water. Some of my female friends who grew up ocean-side or in the big city prefer other scents such as Axe or Smalto. My advice also is to find out what her father wears on a regular basis and steer clear of it. It may get subconsciously weird for her.

POSTED 3/1/2004

K.C.E., Orlando, FL, United States, <spathgirl@yahoo.com>, 28, Female, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 17200462122


One of my favorite colognes on men is Adidas for men. Tommy also smells pretty good. Basically, it's sexy whenever a guy wears cologne - as long as it smells good.

POSTED 3/1/2004

Taunya, Yankton, SD, United States, <TMKRUSE@USD.EDU>, 19, Female, Catholic, White/Caucasian, High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 115200420326


Each woman has her own preference. My mother depises the smell of cologne on men, whereas I think it's incredibly sexy. But a word of advice to all men: The natural 'man smell' is the best. You know what I'm talking about, girls.

POSTED 3/1/2004

Bri, Albany, NY, United States, <gebhardtb841@mail.strose.edu>, 23, Female, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, Mesg ID 1192004111333


It depends on the man. I like wood or spice scents on my man, partly because they suit his woodsy personality and partly because they work really well with his natural chemistry. My brother smells great in LaCoste, which I never would have thought. Mostly, I think, you need to find a scent that makes you feel good, because it probably reflects some part of you that you like to accent. If you ask for samples at a department store, they will happily give you some so you can test them one at a time (layering is a really bad idea...) You can also try out scented oils at body shops or New Age-type stores. Sometimes, a simple scent works really well. One suggestion: don't overdo it. Anyone bathed in cologne or perfume is an offense to the senses. You shouldn't announce your arrival with scent, and it shouldn't be obvious 5 minutes after you leave a room.

POSTED 3/1/2004

Arc, Bloomington, IL, United States, 40, Female, Deist, White/Caucasian, Straight, 4 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 242004100048


Darlin', women are like night and day. Some of them, I'm sure, don't like any artificial smells. Some probably like the stuff poured on. I'd say a consensus among my girlfriends and I would be as follows:

Be clean generally - clean teeth, clean hair, clean feet. .. clean HANDS.

Generally men's deodorant is designed to smell good. To us. So go for it. Also a consensus: Old Spice is good.

Cologne is unnecessary, but not necessarily unwanted. It should be good quality, used sparingly ... and maybe most importantly, used far enough in advance to give it time to blend in with your smell, because that's the real point. Pity the man who has no scent whatsoever. That's what we really want, just a "you"-smell.

Good luck. And if she buys you cologne ... wear it. Duh! You have no idea how many guys don't get this.

POSTED 3/1/2004

Anna, Rutland, VT, United States, 18, Female, White/Caucasian, waitress, High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 2152004112342


My husband tends to bathe in cologne, no matter what kind he gets for Christmas/birthday. Because of this, I have hinted to every gift-giver to go with something that's not that strong and lasts awhile. I leave it up to them what to get, though. My personal favorites are Clinique Happy and Drakkar Noir. They just smell great. He used to wear Aspen (not too bad after an hour), Obsession and, of course, Old Spice. Every man has his own 'scent,' and I guess it really depends on how the cologne enhances that. Maybe you could try like 10 sample colognes and let your partner pick her favorite.

POSTED 3/1/2004

Jo, Lavonia, GA, United States, <nandajo2u@hotmail.com>, 32, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Domestic Engineer, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 31200440129

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Question:

What traditions or customs do Hispanic-Americans (Cubans, Mexicans, Puerto-Ricans etc.) feel are most important to maintain and/or preserve?

POSTED 3/1/2004

David P., Kankakee, IL, United States, <davidpiacenti@hotmail.com>, 31, Male, Secular Humanist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Instructor, Over 4 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 312004100141

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Question:

I have often seen young Latino men playing with their nipples under their shirts. I have seen this in public several times. Sometimes they also stroke or fondle their chests. Anyone else noticed this? Is it a kind of sexual exhibitionism?

POSTED 2/15/2004

Matt A., Los Angeles, CA, United States, 31, Male, White/Caucasian, 4 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 26200445318


Responses:

Living in a Latin country, I can tell you this is no sexual exhibitionism. I notice this too from time to time, and have found myself doing it when brainstorming and needing to be relaxed. I can't tell you why we do it - it's instinct, but I believe the effect is for relaxation.

POSTED 3/1/2004

Juan J., Capital, NA, Argentina, Male, Mesg ID 2212004111211

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Question:

Why is it so easy for most people to believe that miracles and visions from God took place and were valid 2,000 years ago, but not today? Millions of people around the world base their lives and the lives of others on books written by men, supposedly dictated by God, but If I had a vision from God or claimed God spoke to me today, I'd be considered a fanatic or just plain crazy. Why?

POSTED 2/15/2004

Daniel, Phoenix, AZ, United States, <originaldan@excite.com>, 34, Male, Deist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Sales, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 27200494531


Responses:

I think you need to make a distinction between God 'speaking to you' and miracles. Many people feel that God speaks to them, not in a day-to-day, 'well, God told me it was going to rain today' way, but in a deeply profound, personal sense. Some people (priests, nuns, missionaries, etc.) say God 'called' them to a profession. I don't think these people are crazy. Miracles are another subject, though. As a Protestant Christian, I feel that God finished his miracle-making after the death and resurrection of Christ. Jesus presented us with the way to live our lives, and heaven is now open for us sinners. I tend to be extremely skeptical of supposed miraculous events happening today because often it's a way for someone to cash in on desperate people's beliefs.

POSTED 3/1/2004

John, Springville, NY, United States, 22, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 2152004100527


First, people do have visions/prophecies today, and they are accepted by others when God speaks to them. It says in 1 Corinthians 14:1 'Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy'. Christians are also told not to treat prophecies with contempt, and to 'Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.' (1 Thessalonians 5:20-21)

Second, Jesus wasn't exactly accepted when he spoke the word of God. Hence his execution. He was only widely accepted when he rose from the dead - see the book of Acts for how the situation turned from 11hopeless men to thousands upon thousands being converted across the world.

POSTED 3/1/2004

Z, na, NA, United Kingdom, 20, Male, Christian, Student, Mesg ID 218200443433


Who said it was 'easy' for anyone to believe in those miracles 2,000 years ago? We have had 2,000 years to decide whether they were crazy or whether their experiences were valid. If you spoke to God, you might spend the rest of your life spreading His word and then wait for scholars to write about it hundreds of years after your death (possibly by crucifixion). I'm going to mangle a phrase that Carl Sagan once said: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary investigation.

POSTED 3/1/2004

Dave C., Toronto, Ontario, NA, Canada, 39, Male, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Technical School, Middle class, Mesg ID 222200434248

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Question:

I am a college student and have often noticed that Asians at school will switch to an Asian language, most often Korean or Chinese, when white people approach, even though they speak English perfectly well. Do they not realize that this is extremely rude?

POSTED 2/15/2004

Raymond G., New York, NY, United States, 21, Male, White/Caucasian, Student, Mesg ID 212200483216


Responses:

Maybe you're being rude for wanting to know what they're talking about. Why don't you ask them what they're talking about the next time that happens and see what response you get? Ever had a private conversation?

POSTED 3/1/2004

D., Vancouver, British Columbia, NA, Canada, 27, Male, Atheist, Hispanic/Latino (may be any race), Straight, Student, 2 Years of College, Lower class, Mesg ID 2172004125948


A better question is why is it any business of yours if Asian people choose to switch to their native language when you approach them? And why do white people think the world is supposed to come to a screeching halt because you're approaching a group of people? The Asians are probably talking about how silly, pompous and self-important some white people like yourself behave. Do yourself a favor -- stop worrying about what Asians are conversing about ... and for God's sake, get over yourself. You are not that important.

POSTED 3/1/2004

Rhonda P. Outlaw, Laurelton, NY, United States, 42, Female, Lutheran, Black/African American, Straight, Account Rep, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 217200421455


I think the natural tendency is to switch, especially because you can continue to speak without being conscious about your English - no matter how perfect it may be. Personally, I find it more offensive when I'm part of a group and suddenly they start to speak in their native language. As far as Korean or Chinese are concerned, I'm sure they do the same among their own kind too, switching between Mandarin and Cantonese. Among (Asian) Indians, I know some ethnicities like South Indians tend to do the same.

POSTED 3/1/2004

Diya, Albany, NY, United States, 28, Female, Muslim, from Indian Subcontinent, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 217200435801


I don't think they do it because a non-Asian approaches. They're probably just SO comfortable doing it that it becomes habit. They probably are not trying to be rude. Unless, of course, they're talking about YOU!

POSTED 3/1/2004

Jay, New York, NY, United States, Mesg ID 218200415921


I noticed that women might tend to do this more often than men, but that's just out of a preference to keep their conversations private. I used to go to an international school in Korea, and I would speak in English to my friends. Even though I was bilingual, I preferred English over Korean in Korea because my friends could understand me and I could talk freely about almost anything without others knowing about what I did after I got drunk. In that culture, you don't talk about those things in public.

POSTED 3/1/2004

Brian L., Davis, CA, United States, 21, Male, Asian, Straight, Student, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 221200435348


What I've noticed is that these groups speak in their native tongue most of the time, not just when an outsider approaches. And in my opinion it is not rude, though sometimes I wonder if I'm being talked about, particularly since I'm African American, and relations between my race and theirs is not the best at times.

POSTED 3/1/2004

Kristina, Washington, DC, United States, 23, Female, Black/African American, Straight, Homemaker, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 2222004121941


Perhaps they were already speaking in Korean or whatever language when you approached. How do you know what they were speaking before you got there? I am Welsh-speaking, at least when I'm back in Wales, and English people often accuse us of just speaking Welsh to exclude them (presumably they think we speak English the rest of the time) - but we are speking it because it's our first language! As I presume Chinese/Korean is for the students you describe. You wouldn't go to France and expect everyone to be speaking English, would you? Just because I live in an English-speaking country doesn't mean my first language is automatically going to be English.

POSTED 3/1/2004

Jill W., London, NA, United Kingdom, 30, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight, exec assistant, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 222200481913

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Question:

How to Iraqi teenagers live? How do they worship? What do they eat? How do they deal with constant blackouts and bombings? Do they watch TV? Do they attend school? What are their houses and bathrooms and yards like? Do they play sports? What do they do for fun?

POSTED 2/15/2004

Smurf, Greer, SC, United States, <Dafantasy4u@aol.com>, 18, Female, Christian, Hispanic/Latino (may be any race), Bisexual, student, High School Diploma, Upper class, Mesg ID 212200491042


Responses:

I have been to the Middle East and have seen how typical Arab teens live. I can't answer all your questions, but I'll help you with a few. Most Arab teenagers are Muslims like they're parents, but, like in every culture, teens are a bit more liberal than their parents when it comes to religious views. Food: They usually eat rice. That's the cheapest thing around. If they can get their hands on meat (which is expensive), it's usually lamb or chicken. No pork. No shellfish (shrimp, lobster, crab, etc.) because those foods are religiously prohibited. TV: I doubt most families have TV, but I could be wrong. TV isn't that popular in the Mideast, but most Arabs love radios. School: To my knowledge, yes, they attend school. Living: Houses vary according to family wealth, but the bathrooms are strange by U.S. standards. To our eyes, it's simply a hole in the ground with a nozzle. You have to 'squat and aim.' Sports: The main sport in the Arab world is soccer. Upper class Iraqis and Arabs in general enjoy horse racing. I wouldn't be able to tell you how they cope with the blackouts and bombings; sorry, but I hope my information helped.

POSTED 3/1/2004

Lewis, New York, NY, United States, 28, Male, Agnostic, Hispanic/Latino (may be any race), Mesg ID 229200453403

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Question:

Is it appropriate to hold the door or go out of my way to help an individual in a wheelchair?

POSTED 2/15/2004

Joe M., Sioux falls, SD, United States, Male, Mesg ID 213200433721


Responses:

My girlfriend, a wheelchair user, tells me to wait to be asked if you're a stranger. Spontaneous pushing of a wheelchair is invasive, and sometimes very frightening. On the other hand, I open doors for anyone!

POSTED 3/1/2004

Andy B., St. Albans, NA, United Kingdom, 27, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Middle class, Mesg ID 2202004121840


Putting aside the disability factor for a moment, would you not hold a door open for an able-bodied person? Just because you are in a position to help someone who happens to be in a wheelchair doesn't necessarily mean you are showing pity, but rather expressing common courtesy. In addition to people in wheelchairs, I've opened doors for people who are blind, elderly, pregnant, on crutches, with their arms full, etc.

POSTED 3/1/2004

Murray C, Halifax, Nova Scotia, NA, Canada, 35, Male, White/Caucasian, Draftsman, Technical School, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 225200470451

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Question:

I recently saw a British show where the judges and lawyers all wore white wigs and colonial-type clothes in court. Everyone else in the courtroom wore modern clothes. Is this normal, or just for the show I was watching?

POSTED 2/15/2004

Kare, Herndon, VA, United States, Mesg ID 215200425858


Responses:

Perhaps not normal - but quite usual. In some courts (Magistrates', Coroner's, Civil and Family Courts) wigs and robes are not worn. But in the higher criminal and county courts they remain - a hangover from the Seventeenth - Eighteenth centuries, when wigs were the fashion. The black robes of barristers were adopted at the beginning of the Eighteenth century when the nation was in mourning for Queen Anne. - I guess they liked the look so much they stuck with it. By 'colonial' dress, I guess you mean the way we dressed when North America was a British colony - which would be about the time that our court dress froze in time. It is still the norm in much of the rest of the Brtitish Commonwealth - though Canada stopped the wearing of wigs. There has been recent consultation by government on getting rid of these archaisms, but, if you'll forgive the pun, the jury is still out. There are many judges and barristers who value the gravity and solemnity that the dress lends to proceedings, and not a few who also appreciate that changing into modern dress at the end of a trial renders them harder to recognize when leaving the building.

POSTED 3/1/2004

Mark, Oxford, NA, United Kingdom, 40+, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 216200494629


If it was a criminal case, the robes are correct. In cases heard in public, the barristers will wear black gowns and gray/white wigs (traditionally horsehair but more commonly nylon). They are worn with white clip-on 'tabs.' No other fancy dress is required. The judge may have purple or red robes depending on his seniority. Robes are not worn in cases heard in private (all cases involving children and divorce) nor in the magistrates court (the lowest courts, which deal with less-serious criminal cases). There is currently an ongoing debate about whether the robes, etc should be scrapped or changed - however, it can make it easier to spot your 'brief' from a distance. My friends at the bar also say that prolonged wig-wearing tends to speed up hair-loss!

POSTED 3/1/2004

Margo, Trowbridge, NA, United Kingdom, 30, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight, solicitor, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 217200460019


Yep, it's normal - the wigs, etc date back to the 18th century when our present legal system was founded. I'm not 100 percent sure why they still wear them, though. I think partly it's a kind of badge of office. At least the legal system has moved on (slightly) even if the costumes haven't.

POSTED 3/1/2004

Jill W., London, NA, United Kingdom, 30, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight, exec assistant, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 222200483136


Although judges may generally wear the wigs, lawyers are simply expected to wear suits. although this varies according to the court. I would think this was just that particular show.

POSTED 3/1/2004

Jen, Leicester, NA, United Kingdom, 17, Female, A.S Level Student, Middle class, Mesg ID 226200495956

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