Best of theWeek
of March 2, 2003

Best of WeekArchivesArchives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchangeseither begun or advanced during the week of March 2, 2003, as selectedby Y? These postings, as well as "Best of the Week" entries fromprevious weeks, also can be found by accessing Y?'s database usingthe search form , or, in the case of posted before April 24, 1999, inthe Original Archives (allquestions from the Original Archives have been entered intothe database as well). In the Original Archives, as well as in thedatabase, you will find questions that have received answers, as wellas questions still awaiting responses. You are encouraged to answerany questions relevant to your demographic background, as well as toask any provocative question you desire. Answers posted are notnecessarily meant to represent the views of an entire demographicgroup, but can provide a window into the insights of an individualfrom that group.  
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Question:
 
I've had some Japanese penpals, and a weird thing has happened: they answermy emails and say they'd like to start writing emails with me and everythingseems to be fine. But then, after two or three emails, they just stop writingto me. I've been as polite as possible, trying to avoid too-personal questions,and still this happens every time. I cannot understand what I'm doing wrong.I'm interested in Japan and its culture, and I'd like to have Japanese friends,but it seems to be awfully hard to keep one. I've read that this thing hashappened to lots of people. Can someone tell me why the Japanese seem tostop writing after a couple of emails? Or is it just me being too boring?
POSTED 3/3/2003
Ella, Kotka, NA, Finland, 19, Female, White/Caucasian, Student, High School Diploma, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 322003104714

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Question:

Why do blacks barbecue in the front yard, even when they have a backyard? Perhaps this is a Southern thing for blacks, but I'm curious.
POSTED 3/3/2003
Len, St. Petersburg, FL, United States, 55, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight,Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 32200322708


Responses:
I've always wondered the opposite: why do whites insist on doing everythingin the back yard, when no one else does? It's not just blacks who barbecuein the front, it's also Latinos. We also tend to hang out in the front, havea beer in the front, even start a campfire in the front when it's cold andgenerally hang out in the front far more than whites do, particularly whitesin the suburbs. It seems to me that whites, especially middle and upper classones, are far too concerned with having their front yards be solely for show.(An older set of posts in Y? Forum about whites and their obession with havingperfectly manicured green lawns comes to mind.) They also seem to worry fartoo much about what the neighbors might think of them drinking beer or leavingashes in the front yard. (And those ridiculous Draconian neighborhood associationordinances back up with legal force that 'Pleasantville' kind of homogenousconformity.) It does also seem class related, because I've seen working classwhites, especially country boys, not care so much about appearances. So youtell me: why are whites such tightasses about their front lawns? Why do manyof you (not necessarily you personally) react with horror at the sight ofpeople drinking beer and barbecuing, even calling the cops sometimes?
POSTED 3/3/2003
A.C.C., Phoenix, AZ, United States, 36, Male, Mexican and American Indian,Teacher, Over 4 Years of College, Lower class, Mesg ID 33200343806

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Question:

I'm dating a guy who is having trouble deciding between me and hisfreedom. However, he still wants all the physicality without the commitment,and I don't do "friends with benefits." I wish I knew what he was thinking.He says he loves me and that I am the only girl he wants to date, and thatthe title "girlfriend" is not important. Why won't he just give me the titleif he doesn't plan on seeing anyone else? What should I do?
POSTED 3/3/2003
Melissa, Littleton, CO, United States, 20, Female, White/Caucasian, Student,2 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID 332003124539


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Question:

Why do Middle Eastern women have to have everything on their bodies covered except their eyes?
POSTED 2/17/2003
Andy, St. Charles, IL, United States, <Borderguy10@AOL.com>, 14, Male,Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, High School student, Less than HighSchool Diploma, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 214200362719


Responses:

The custom doesn't apply to all Middle Eastern women but only to thosewhose religion is Islam. While all Muslims do not agree, conservative Muslimsbelieve their holy book, the Koran, teaches that it is indecent for womento display any part of their body, and that to do so will cause men who seethem to feel sinful lust toward them.
POSTED 3/3/2003
Michael W., Tampa, FL, United States, Male, Mesg ID 218200342414

There are several reasons many Middle Eastern women cover their bodies completelyin public. The origin of this type of dress is both religious and cultural.The Quran says people should dress modestly, but does not specify hijab orany other type of clothing. Because of this, there are varied interpretationsof what it means to dress modestly. To some people that means long sleeves,to others it means a burqa. According to the Islamic religion, dress is amatter of personal choice. Culturally, the practice of women covering themselvescompletely came about as a means of protection. There is a history of warin the Middle East, and many times a warring tribe would kidnap the womenof another tribe and sell them into slavery. As a form of protection, MiddleEastern houses were built like fortresses with interior courtyards and rooftopsfor the people to be outside yet still protected, and women wore clothingto obscure who they were so that any potential kidnappers would have no ideawho any of the women on the street were. This tradition has continued andbecome part of the culture. Currently, several of the totalitarian governmentsin the Middle East require that women wear a hijab or otherwise completelycover themselves as a form of social control. These governments claim theyare being true to the Quran, but really they are using this as a method toimmobilize half the population.
POSTED 3/3/2003
Jennifer, San Jose, CA, United States, 28, Female, Mesg ID 219200361014

Middle Easterners are sexist and think that women don't serve a purpose, so why should they be seen?
POSTED 3/3/2003
Zach, St.Charles, IL, United States, 15, Male, Mesg ID 222200315347

First, the basics: Even the most fundamentalist Muslim women say they aresupposed to cover their body and hair but can leave their face, hands andfeet bare. So covering the face is not an Islamic habit even by the mostfundamentalist accounts. In fact, covering the face is prohibited when youare doing a pilgrimage to Mecca, so it can't even be thought of as advised.Second, the complications: Most Muslims who wear a scarf point to a versein the Qur'an where God tells women to lower their scarves so that they covertheir bosoms. The Qur'an then tells men and women to dress modestly in general.The modesty advisory is for both sexes, but the verse on the scarves is interpretedby most Muslims as a sanction for wearing a scarf and making it long. Somepeople disagree and say that in pre-Islamic Arabia, women used to wear veilsthat covered their faces but would walk around with their breasts bare, sothey say the verse doesn't tell women to cover their hair but to cover theirbreasts. As usual this is highly debatable; most individual Muslim womenweigh the options and arguments and make a personal decision about wearinga scarf. This is not possible in some fundamentalist countries like SaudiArabia, but it is possible in Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, Morocco, etc.
POSTED 3/3/2003
Karim, Cairo, NA, Egypt, 23, Male, Muslim, Arab, University T.A., Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 224200345553

We can show our feet, hands and face. We cover ourselves because we don'twant other people watching us and judging us depending on our appearances.Also, the Koran states that Allah said: 'And tell the believing women tolower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only thatwhich is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms and not to revealtheir adornment save to their own husbands or fathers or husbands' fathersor their sons or their husbands' sons or their brothers or their brothers'sons or their sisters' sons or their women, or their slaves, or male attendantswho lack vigor, or children who know not of women's nakedness.' [Chapter/Surah24:31].
POSTED 3/3/2003
Nadia B., Ceres, CA, United States, <nbasidiq@dslextreme.com>, 13, Muslim, Asian, Mesg ID 227200331732

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Question:

I spend a majority of my free time with homosexual people. Others takethis to mean I am gay, but I am not. Would it be out of the question to juststop hanging out with these people, or should I just ignore what people aresaying?
POSTED 2/17/2003
Deanna, Lansing, MI, United States, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, High School Diploma, Mesg ID 217200395404


Responses:

It's hard to ignore the things people say about you, but if a homosexualhangs out with straight people, that doesn't mean he or she is straight.Sexual orientation doesn't mean you hang out with gays/bis/lesbians, it meansyou are gay/bi/lesbian. My advice is that if someone says you're gay, say,'Sure, that's why I've got a boyfriend.' Don't let people call you out ofa closet you're not in.
POSTED 3/3/2003
Tri, St. Louis, MO, United States, <pokie456789@aol.com>, 15, Female, Lesbian, Student, Mesg ID 217200354813

Your decision rests on whether you believe you should live your life accordingto your own beliefs and morality, or someone else's. There will always bepeople who disapprove of you and want you to choose between being true toyourself or bowing to their wishes. Every adult must decide for him or herselfwhich is the right thing to do in a given situation. Associating with gaypeople does not make one gay, any more than associating with people of adifferent race or sex or religion would. Some people judge others by theirfriends, but that says something about the judgers, not the judged.
POSTED 3/3/2003
James D., Summit, NJ, United States, <james_witted@hotmail.com>, 45, Male, Gay, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 2252003122310

If I didn't have my heterosexual friends supporting me during high school,I don't know what I would have done. I think that by losing your gay friends,you would be letting small-minded people judge your social life. If you likea person, whether gay or straight, it doesn't matter what their sexual orientationis. I really do respect straight people who support gays and lesbians.
POSTED 3/3/2003
John, Boston, MA, United States, 20, Male, White/Caucasian, Gay, 2 Years of College, Mesg ID 219200363148

No, you should not stop hanging out with them. Gay people can be some ofthe most sensitive, empathetic, joyful friends a straight person can have.They have usually had hard lives and are open-minded, so they're good listenersand will talk to you about anything. You should ignore people who accuseyou of being gay by association, because they are just ignorant. And besides,there are much worse things I can think of being accused of than being gay- like being a bad friend or letting other people make my decisions for me.Take it from someone who's been there, done that and cherishes the gay friendsshe has in her life.
POSTED 3/3/2003
Michele, Portland, ME, United States, 30, Female, White/Caucasian, Straight, Middle class, Mesg ID 2212003113017

You're most certainly not gay just because the majority of your friends are.And why would you want to stop hanging out with those who make you happy,just to please those who make you unhappy? By the way, do you mean gay menor gay women? For dozens of reasons, many straight women love being aroundgay men. Trust me on that one.
POSTED 3/3/2003
Sarah C., San Francisco area, CA, United States, 25, Female, Asian, Over4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 222200390956

You are who you are, and your friends are who they are. Homosexuality isnot defined by who you hang out with; it's defined by who you're attractedto sexually. If people think you're gay because you have gay friends, theyare ignorant - and do you really care what ignorant people think?
POSTED 3/3/2003
Jessica, Huntsville, TX, United States, 23, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian,Bisexual, Graduate Student, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID224200385157

I am prejudiced against homos and have no problem saying it. I think thewhole fact of two guys or girls making out in public is utterly gross. Ifpeople want to practice homosexuality, they should do it in a private place.However, you should hang out with whomever you want. No one is going to stopyou.
POSTED 3/3/2003
Dave, Higganum, CT, United States, <hackerx2k2@hotmail.com>, 17, Male,Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Have ADHD, student, Less than High SchoolDiploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 2242003125826

If I hang out with women, am I a woman? If I hang out with left-handed people,am I a lefty? Tell these other people to drop dead. I do. If you are comfortableand the people you hang out with are comfortable, then let it be.
POSTED 3/3/2003
Don, Columbia, SC, United States, 31, Male, Episcopalian, White/Caucasian,Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 2252003114301

Does friendship mean so little to you that you are willing to end it becauseof what others think? I would hope you are not that shallow of a person.
POSTED 3/3/2003
Mike, Santa Cruz, CA, United States, 42, Male, Humanist, White/Caucasian,Gay, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 2262003121027

Where is your comfort level? Hanging with gay people who have a record offriendship, comfort and pleasure, or being friends with others who are goingto talk badly about you no matter what you do? If others wonder why you arefriends with gay people, invite them along to see the good time. If theyare not interested, let them go their own way. There will always be criticswho will wonder why you do what you do. No matter. Enjoy your pleasure, love,intimacy and stimulation where you find it.
POSTED 3/3/2003
Tom, Buffalo, NY, United States, 50, Male, Gay, Mesg ID 227200324108

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Question:

Why don't black parents teach their kids about name-calling? They don'twant to be called names because of their color, so I would think this wouldlead them to teach their kids that any sort of name-calling is wrong. I hearda black student tell a white student to 'sit your white a** down.' Isn'tthat a racist comment? With my kids, all it took was to point out to themhow it makes them feel when someone calls them a name. If you put your kidsin the 'wronged' postion, they have a better understanding as to what itfeels like rather than just telling them. Teaching kids that it goes bothways is a must.
POSTED 2/17/2003
Leah, Bartow, FL, United States, 40, Female, White/Caucasian, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 217200325555


Responses:
I am a young black female honor student, and I admit I have name-called.But everyone does it, not just blacks. You are mistaken if you think thatwhen you aren't around your children aren't cruel to others. In school, ourmentality is being cool. If someone does something to you that you don'tlike, you are supposed to stand up for yourself in front of your friends.If you don't, you are labeled a punk and your friends make fun of you. Name-callingis the way to gain respect from friends and to look tough.
POSTED 2/24/2003
Danielle, St. Louis, MO, United States, <lildevil69_01@hotmail.com>,14, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, Student, Less thanHigh School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 217200363319

My black parents did teach me about name calling. Therefore, there are blackparents teaching that. Maybe you meant to ask 'Why are SOME black parentsnot teaching their kids about name calling.' I have been called racist namesbefore, so it goes both ways. There are some parents, white and black alike,who just are not teaching this information. It is more than 'a black thing.'
POSTED 2/24/2003
Tha Real Deal, P-town, IL, United States, 22, Male, Black/African American, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 217200371054

It looks to me that if you would just take 'black' and 'white' out of yourposting, you would see it applies to all rude children whose parents havenot taught them better. Why are people so quick to label an entire populationbased on their experiences with a few? There is no way in hell anyone cansay 'most xxx people do this' because you don't know most of those people.How dare you assume all black children are disrespectful in this manner.If I were to assume that all white college students call their black counterparts'nigger' (because of my experiences with this) instead of their name, youwould say that was ridiculous. Of course 'sit your white ass down' is a racistcomment. But then again, so is 'sit your black ass down,' which I have beentold a few times by whites. That would leave me to ask the same thing youdid, only with white in place of black.
POSTED 2/24/2003
Alex, Houston, TX, United States, 20, Female, Black/African American, 2 Yearsof College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 217200385411

Have you ever been to a probation office? I had occasion to go to one onbusiness. What a mess: 90 percent of the people there were black. They don'tknow how to say hello, goodbye, yes ma'am, no sir or much else without agrunt or a grumble. They can't seem to fill out the paperwork or have anappropriate response to a question. You mentioned that you teach your childrenempathy. These people who make up a lot of the black community haven't beentaught to read or write, much less basic behaviors. Most don't have positiverole models. You're not going to fix something that has been broken for along time.
POSTED 2/24/2003
Valerie, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, United States, 44, Female, White/Caucasian,Straight, Sales, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 218200385151

Take the focus off of race and put it on the parents. That's where it starts.It's not a black thing or a white thing. Kids are becoming worse with eachgeneration because parents aren't raising them. They send them off to schoolthinking that's all that needs to be done. You can't expect kids to knowbetter if that's what they see at home. You can't change the world by attemptingto point the finger at one gender, race, ethnicity or anything else. Youstart by asking that child why they would phrase it like that. Then you educatethem. My mother taught me that people are people, regardless of color.
POSTED 2/24/2003
Adam, Houston, TX, United States, 25, Male, Black/African American, Military,2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 219200311407

Why would you make an assumption about what 'black parents' teach their kidsvs. what you taught yours? You have described one incident of poor behaviorfrom a black student and used it to assume not only that that student's parentwould have approved of the child's behavior, but also that it's somehow representativeof how all black parents must teach their children to behave. Did you teachyour kids to think that way, too, and should we assume that it's becauseyou're white?
POSTED 2/24/2003
L., Chicago, IL, United States, 23, Female, Black/African American, writer,4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 219200344806

I can understand why you would think that was racist, but it really isn't.Blacks of this ilk don't limit name-calling to a certain ethnicity. Theywill make fun of whomever doesn't look, dress or act like them. Racial slurscan be part of this process, simply because it perhaps is the ultimate 'put-down.'Also, blacks do not feel it is racism to make fun of whites racially, becausethey hold the position of power. Anyway, these are low-class black kids whohave to put down others because they ultimately have low self-esteem forthemselves. Not all blacks behave this way.
POSTED 2/24/2003
Kristina, Washington, DC, United States, 22, Female, Christian, Black/AfricanAmerican, Straight, Transcriber, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID219200350704

You quoted one incident and attributed the incident to all black people.As a black male teenager, I have been taught very well that name-callingand stereotyping is wrong. It is wrong no matter who says it.
POSTED 2/24/2003
Trey, Seattle, WA, United States, Mesg ID 2202003112617

I've noticed that, in general, African Americans refer to color in all situations- not just abusive ones. Whenever a black guy comes on to me on the street,he will always refer to race, i.e. 'hey pretty white girl' or 'you're thesexiest Caucasion women i've ever seen,' etc. It's weird. I've never hadLatinos call me 'blanca' or 'gringa.' Also, when interacting with each other,African Americans often use lots of race-conscious words such as 'chocolate,''cocoa' or 'ebony,' even if a description of the person is not necessary.To directly address your point, African Americans do operate on the falsenotion that racism can only come from those in the majority, and that anyracially based hostility from them is somehow OK and does not affect therecipient. I think over the next few years there will be a huge backlashas whites and other groups get sick of the racial double standards and stopbeing so extra-sensitive to others perceiving them as racist.
POSTED 2/24/2003
Paula, Boston, MA, United States, Female, Mesg ID 2242003105138

There are a lot of white parents who don't know how to raise their children,either. Why do white children call black children 'nigger'? I see so manywhite parents who don't know how to correct their children. Their childrentalk back to them any kind of way.
POSTED 3/3/2003
Natalie, Baltimore, MD, United States, 24, Female, Methodist, Black/AfricanAmerican, Straight, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 332003112824

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Question:

Why do people from India haggle so much? I am in retail sales, andI work in an industry where margins are low. I have come very close to losingmy temper with people who haggle like this, and I have actually yelled ata couple of Indian people in the past, and it didn't seem to have any effect.I am slowly losing patience, and most of the time I walk away from Indiansin my store and let other salespeople deal with the frustration. Could someoneoffer some advice to help me understand how to deal with these people ina better way?
POSTED 2/17/2003
Doug, Omaha, NE, United States, Male, Mesg ID 217200310440


Responses:

Although I don't have experience with India, when I was working in Africa,haggling was the way of life. Africans look at haggling like a social art.In our society with instant burgers and instant sales, haggling seems outof place. The purpose of haggling from the eyes of non-Americans is to havea time of interaction and skill. 'How are your kids?' 'My wife is not well.''Would you take $80 for that item?' 'Make it $120. I am teaching my ...'It can take a while to make a sale this way. But you can make friends inthe process if you do it right.
POSTED 3/3/2003
Arnold U., Edmonton, Alberta, NA, Canada, 50, Male, Christian, Mesg ID 218200332843

I can sympathize with your problem. I also work in retail, and like you,I deal with people from India who want to haggle over the price of everyitem I try to sell them. They simply don't understand that prices are non-negotiable,I guess.
POSTED 3/3/2003
Ben, Morgantown, WV, United States, 25, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight,salesperson, Over 4 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 2252003113806

In many cultures, haggling is taken for granted. Paying the marked priceis considered a sucker's game. The haggling is sometimes very straightforward,and sometimes it is an oblique part of sharing a cup of tea and conversation.I'm barely old enough to remember when haggling was done in many shops inthe United States, and it is still done in some places (consumer electronics,for example, and college tuition). You'd be amazed at what does go on. Forsomeone who takes haggling for granted, they may take your refusal to doso as a lack of respect.
POSTED 3/3/2003
Jerry S., New Britain, CT, United States, 54, Male, Jewish, White/Caucasian,Straight, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 218200385416

In most shops in India, if you bargain with the store owner, you might geta discount. That's because most shops here are small operations, not bigsupermarkets like in the United States. The best way to handle this is tokeep calm and tell them it is a 'fixed price.'
POSTED 3/3/2003
Jatin, Delhi, NA, India, 32, Male, Hindu, Indian, Straight, teacher, Over4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 2202003100021

I am a manager in the customer service industry, and most of the time thatwe have a 'problem' customer, it is a Hindu or similar. I believe it is cultural,but I can't stand them anyway, so I always send one of my subordinates todeal with them, because I have no patience for such nonsense.
POSTED 3/3/2003
Rick, Oakland, CA, United States, 41, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight,Management, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 2212003112529

First, thank you for wanting to find an answer instead of hating all peoplefrom India. You took the first step to solving your problem, and you shouldbe commended. Second, it is not a race of people who are haggling. It isthe few you have met, and it is just a coincidence that they were all thesame nationality. Think about it: they could be from Pakistan, Israel, SaudiaArabia or Iran, and just because of their brown skin you thought they werefrom India. Next, think about all the Indian people you have walked awayfrom to let others deal with. How do you know they would have haggled, too?If someone should haggle again, be they white, black, red, brown, yellowgreen or purple, be patient with them. Try, and you will see how they willslowly change. They will understand how you are showing ultimate patience,and they will ease up and eventually walk away if nothing can be done. Justbe patient, because there is enough hatred in this world already; we don'tneed anymore.
POSTED 3/3/2003
D. Poet, Everywhere, NA, Anywhere, Mesg ID 228200362520

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Question:

What is the optimal age for marriage? While browsing through postingson Y? Forum, I noticed that several people in their early twenties (and sometimesteens) were married. I find this odd - probably because I'm 26 and unmarried.It seems as though it would be extremely difficult to be in a lasting relationshipwhen you're so young. You don't have a clear sense of yourself, let alonesomeone else. You haven't settled in a career. You haven't explored the world.How can you come together with someone else when you haven't finished growing?
POSTED 2/17/2003
Helen, Ann Arbor, MI, United States, 26, Female, Black/African American,Straight, Grad student, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 217200312007


Responses:

I don't think there is any optimal age. It's all a matter of personal feeling.And I disagree with it being so important to have a clear sense of yourselfor career. I'm 29 and married my wife five years ago. At the time I had alreadysettled into a career and felt I knew who I was. I admit that I am not exactlythe person I was back then, but who is? The important thing is to grow withsomeone instead of apart.
POSTED 3/3/2003
Me, San Francisco Bay Area, CA, United States, 29, Male, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 217200340544

Some young marriages work, some don't. One advantage of marrying young isthat you can grow together. I've been married three times: at 22, at 25 andat 37 (I don't recommend that anyone repeat this as an experiment). Duringmy first marriage, my wife and I were entering full adulthood together, andwe formed a lot of our ideas of how things should be together. Despite thefact that we came from very different backgrounds, we generally got alongfine. My second wife was several years younger than I and had never reallylived as a grownup, so she more or less learned from me. By the time of mythird marriage, my third wife and I had both lived as adults, with families,for many years and were quite set in our ways. We have never melded togetherthe way I did with the first and second wife.
POSTED 3/3/2003
Jerry S., New Britain, CT, United States, 54, Male, Jewish, White/Caucasian,Straight, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 224200393401

There are two sides to that issue. I agree with you, as do others, that youneed to know yourself before you are in a position to get married. What isimportant to you? I don't think you need to be well-traveled to settle down.To be married young is to limit your options more than you have to. But peopledo change, and if they change together, it is a growing experience. Somemarry unaware that they will be giving up some of their choices for the sakeof their relationship. But young or old, marriage is a committment to carefor one another, no matter what, rather than finding the most comfortablepair of shoes, which can be exchanged at a later date if one so chooses.
POSTED 3/3/2003
Arnold U., Edmonton, Alberta, NA, Canada, 50, Male, Christian, Mesg ID 218200333844

I got married when I was 34 and am 45 now. Waiting until than was a verysmart decision. I think the optimal age for marriage is between 25 and 35,because a person more likely knows what they want in life. My wife and Idated for about 15 months before we got engaged. We got married 18 monthsafter that. I think it takes a good year to 18 months for a couple to reallyget to know each other. You seem like a very intelligent lady, and my guessis that you will be very successful in life.
POSTED 3/3/2003
Dan C., Omaha, NE, United States, <grouch10000@msn.com>, Male, Mesg ID 218200385401

A lasting relationship for some people is a month or two, and for othersit's years. For me, it was finding someone whom I loved very much and wantedto be with. I can't see my life without my wife in it. I was married at 21and am now 25. Some people mature at different rates and find their careerssooner than others, and love is the same way. Don't give up on finding someonespecial because you don't feel old enough. One day you may have waited fortoo long...
POSTED 3/3/2003
Adam, Houston, TX, United States, 25, Male, Black/African American, Military,2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 219200311959

The optimal age for marriage is when the following conditions are met:

1. You have achieved a sufficient maturity to make a lifelong commitment to someone.
2. You are in a healthy relationship, and you and your partner are willingto make the sacrifices that are involved in a marriage. These conditionswill be met at different times for different people.

In response to your question about not having finished growing, I know peoplein their 80s who are still learning and growing. Nobody ever really finishesgrowing, and part of a marriage is growing together.
POSTED 3/3/2003
Trudy, San Jose, CA, United States, 20, Female, Mormon, Straight, Student,4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 219200385728

My husband and I have been married 19 years. He'd just turned 20 and I wasgetting ready to turn 23 when we married. I look back and think we were soyoung. But I've always had a strong sense of who I was, and though I've grownmore, I haven't changed the core of who I am, nor has he. I married him becauseI loved him, he completed and complemented who I was and am, and we bothwere deeply committed. We both put the other's happiness above ourselves.We keep working for the best for each other, the best for our marriage andthe best for ourselves - in that order.
POSTED 3/3/2003
Colleen, Brunswick, ME, , 42, Female, Teacher's Aide, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 220200383317

I believe everything you say is correct - in most cases. I have lived withmy husband since we were in high school, and we have essentially both savedeach other from destruction and grown together. I'm in graduate school andhe's working on his bachelor's degree in physics, so we're not the 'barefootand pregnant high school sweethearts' that get publicized. In fact, we don'tintend to have children. So, in answer to your question, different peoplehave different reasons. It's also somewhat of a generational question - ourgrandparents were ready for marriage younger than our generation is becausecultural expectations have changed.
POSTED 3/3/2003
Jessica, Huntsville, TX, United States, 23, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian,Bisexual, Graduate Student, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID224200384057

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