Best of the Week
of April 6, 2003
 

Best of Week ArchivesArchives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of April 6, 2003, 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.   

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Question:

As a rule, I don't go around telling people that I am gay. I keep a picture of my galpal on my desk at work, and I talk about us, what we did over the weekend, etc., openly, and I let people connect the dots themselves. However, since she has a name that could also be a man's name, sometimes people get confused and I have to say, 'She's a woman and we're gay.' Almost every time this happens, straight people have the same response: 'That's OK' or 'I don't mind' or 'It doesn't bother me.' Why do straight people feel the need to tell me it's 'OK' that I'm gay? If I said I was Catholic or Portugese, I don't think they would reassure me my religion or national origin didn't bother them. How come no one ever just says, 'Oh' or 'I see' or 'That's nice.'? I mean, it's not like I'm confessing a deep, dark secret and hoping that I'll still be accepted.

POSTED 4/7/2003

Jean, Southern California, CA, United States, 38, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Lesbian, Analyst, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 42200312807

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Question:

Are all the kids out there slackers? That's a question I would ask myself about young men my son's age. He's 20. I don't ask that anymore. He left March 19, 2003, to report to the 101st Air Assault Battalion after spending two weeks at home on leave after Army basic training and quartermaster school. I have a lot of respect for the young men (especially my son) who have chosen to enlist to support our country during these difficult times. You don't need to support the war in order to support our troops. Slackers? Not on your life. I'm looking at this generation of young men in a different light than I did previously, with pride. I'd be interested to know how the young men of this generation feel about the U.S. military as a viable option and how they feel about world events. (No, I'm not a recruiter, just a parent of three young adult children).
POSTED 3/24/2003
Bill, Burlington, VT, United States, 44, Male, White/Caucasian, Finance, Over 4 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID 321200335115


Responses:
I feel that young men my age (22) feel that the military is a viable option. I joined the Air Force three years ago after a semester of college. I was pretty bored with school and felt that maybe the military could provide some excitement in my life and even some opportunity. I was surprised at how many of my friends thought service to one's country was a great idea. Many have chosen careers of service as opposed to careers for personal wealth only (i.e. military, medicine, Peace Corps, FBI, etc.). I am proud to be a member of my generation - one with deep roots in service above self.

POSTED 4/7/2003

Dustin, Spokane, WA, United States, Male, U.S. Air Force, 2 Years of College, Mesg ID 324200334255


I'm not in the 'young men' category you requested, but feel I am qualified to answer your question. I am 23 and pursuing a master's degree in U.S. military history. Among the people my age I associate with (of both genders), an utmost respect for the military prevails. We collectively agree that the best opportunities for guaranteed success in life are the military and college. Though at times we may disagree with the policies and directives behind the soldiers, even those I know who participate in peace protests recognize the importance of our military - the men and women who so assist our country deserve great respect.

POSTED 4/7/2003

Jessica, Huntsville, TX, United States, 23, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, Graduate Student, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 3282003102122


As a 33-year-old male American living overseas, I have been quite concerned about the issue of the Iraq war. I have spoken out quite frequently about my reasons for opposing the war in my own email circle, and I would like to share with you the outcome of the ensuing debate that took place. Whether for or against this war, we love and respect the men and women who serve in the military. We honor them for their sacrifice by keeping the debate alive and by insisting on a free and vigorous exchange of ideas. (Notice I didn't say a free and vigorous media? The state of the U.S. media has become abominable in its total slavery to ratings and biased reporting.) The principles of freedom are protected by people like your son. Whatever their personal reasons may be for joining the military, be it pride and patriotism, a way to pay for college or to give direction to a directionless life, the U.S. military servivemen and women are the unsung heroes of our nation. Thank you for raising a son who has the commitment and temerity to do what many of us cannot (I am physically handicapped), and thank you for the strength you must have to see your son go to war in a place most of us will never see and for reasons that many of us will never fully understand. God bless you and your family.

POSTED 4/7/2003

Dave N., Frankfurt, na, Germany, 33, Male, White/Caucasian, Gay, bad hips/arthritis, Cross Cultural Consultant, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 330200343750


I think the greatest thing a person can do is serve in the military. I spent three years in the Army, serving in the Second Infantry Division in South Korea. I've since graduated college and become a lawyer. None of my other accomplishments, however, have instilled me with with the pride I have for having served my country. It's nice to know you are so proud of your son. I wish him nothing but the best.

POSTED 4/7/2003

Mark, Los Angeles, CA, United States, 28, Male, White/Caucasian, Lawyer, Over 4 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID 44200390129

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Question:

A group of black men I work with have recently been in an argument at work with several women over what they describe as 'nosey black women who are always trying to get in your business.' They don't seem to be talking about any person specifically, just in general. What's up with this?

POSTED 4/7/2003

Alma, Kempner, TX, United States, 49, Female, Methodist, White/Caucasian, Lesbian, government employee, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 328200370842

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Question:

Why are some people drawn to fringe religions and cults? Even a dear friend admitted to belonging to a cultish Christian group for reasons he could not explain. As an atheist, I try to understand it, but these people seem to need to suspend reality in the comfort of religion. I was brought up in Catholic schools but never could embrace religion. I felt like I saw it for what it was.

POSTED 4/7/2003

Andrew, Melbourne, NA, Australia, 30, Male, Atheist, Straight, I.T. Professional, Technical School, Middle class, Mesg ID 329200332654

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Question:

I am originally from Ukraine and speak Russian and Ukrainian (there is a difference). Why do most Americans I meet think the word 'Babushka' means the kerchiefs (headwear) old Russian ladies wear, when it actually means old Russian ladies or specifically grandmothers? Where might this misconception have come from?

POSTED 9/10/2002

Nina, Sacramento, CA, United States, 28, Female, Pentecostal, White/Caucasian, Straight, Drafter, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 814200235617


Responses:
I've known for quite a while the meaning of babushka (having spent time in Russia), and I find the misconception a weird one that a simple dictionary could clear up. Then again, many languages take words from other languages and make up new meanings for them, or simply make up words that sound like words in other languages and attribute random meanings to them. While I can't immediately think of an example in English ... one example is the made-up German word "handy," which refers to a cell phone.

POSTED 4/7/2003

Vittrad, Chicago, IL, United States, 32, Female, White/Caucasian, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 1119200254239


Probably they were originally called babushka scarves. Then they just shortened it to babushka. That's why babushka brings to mind an article of clothing rather than a family member.

POSTED 4/7/2003

John, Chestnut, NY, United States, Male, Mesg ID 1215200252059


I have no idea, but I thought that, too. Thanks for clearing it up. Actually part of me thought they were the head scarf, and part of me thought it was a word for babies. Hmmm.

POSTED 4/7/2003

Mary Z., Detroit, MI, United States, 34, Female, White/Caucasian, Straight, technology, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 12182002114525


I've never heard of Babushka meaning a handkerchief; I've only heard it being used as a term of endearment, like 'sweetie' or 'honey.'

POSTED 4/7/2003

Christina, Long Beach, CA, United States, 22, Female, Mesg ID 46200332012

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Question:

How do you know if you're gay? Is there any way to find out or help you find out? I live in a community that is very unaccepting and prejudiced toward gays and lesbians. I think I might be gay, but I'm not sure. One day I think I like guys and the next I think I like girls ... and the next I like no one. Can someone give me some advice for dealing with a prejudiced community and figuring out who I am?
POSTED 3/23/2003
Allie, n/a, OH, United States, 15, Female, White/Caucasian, don't know sexual orientation, Less than High School Diploma, Mesg ID 322200390042


Responses:
What you're feeling is a normal part of growing up. If you think you might be gay, the odds are that you aren't. Gays KNOW that they are and don't have doubts.

POSTED 4/7/2003

Thomas K., South Orange, NJ, United States, 34, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 325200333947


I'm sorry that you have to deal with prejudice; however, I believe it is unnecessary to label your sexuality, especially when you are so young. Allow yourself to be attracted to whomever you are attracted to; fantasize about whoever you want to. If you must have a label, choose one after you've had more experience.

POSTED 4/7/2003

Jessica, Huntsville, TX, United States, 23, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, Graduate Student, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 3282003102458


Generally, if you think you are gay, you probably are, at least to some degree. I started questioning my sexuality around your age, and now I identify as lesbian/queer. There are two things I've learned about sexuality over the last few years: one, sexual orientation isn't static; some days/weeks/years I am more attracted to women, sometimes I am more attracted to men. Two, sexual orientation is best expressed on a continuum like the Kinsey or Klein scale (do some searching on google.com for these terms.) I generally feel like I am a '4' on the Kinsey scale, meaning I am 'predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual.' That said, all of that technical talk doesn't really help with the second part of your question. I grew up in a very conservative Methodist household in Oklahoma, and I wasn't secure enough in my identity to come out until I was halfway through college. I came out last year, at 22, and I am still dealing with prejudice, mostly from my parents. When I did come out to them, I was armed with a pile of books I'd read and the support of my friends. You might want to check out the gay & lesbian section of your local bookstore -- don't be shy! It can give you a lot of ammunition for dealing with nay-sayers. Take care, and feel free to email me if you have any more questions.

POSTED 4/7/2003

Stephanie, Norman, OK, United States, <steph@asteph.com>, 23, Female, White/Caucasian, Lesbian, student, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 330200341844


It's been a while since I was 15, but I remember how you're feeling right now. You're going through so many changes at this age that it's hard to be sure about anything - and being on the fence about your sexual orientation is really scary. The best thing I can tell you is not to worry about it right now. I know that's easier for me to say than for you to do. But you'll probably have a miliion different feelings for people of both sexes before you're clear on whether you're gay or straight. You're all full of hormones and stuff, so at any given moment, anyone could seem hot to you. Sexy is sexy, regardless of gender, and a person who is hot can just plain stir up feelings. Just pay attention to how different people make you feel and don't try to suppress or deny your feelings. Just be honest with yourself about how you feel and don't get freaked out if one day you're checking out the wrestling team and the next day you're checking out the cheerleaders. It's natural. And don't listen to anyone who tells you to have sex with boys and girls to see which you like best. Experimenting with different people to pick a favorite will just make you more confused. If you're going to be with someone, wait until it's someone you care about and who cares about you. Then it won't matter if it's a boy or a girl because it won't just be about the sex. And don't try to categorize yourself yet. You're young and it will all work itself out the way it's supposed to. One day you'll just know because it will just feel right.

POSTED 4/7/2003

Jean, Southern California, CA, United States, 38, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Lesbian, Analyst, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 42200310236


Orientation can change from day to day, so don't worry about it. Usually, the only people who insist there is one and only one 'correct' orientation have been wounded in some way. It may be that they are fundamentalists of some sort, or may be so afraid of being ostracized by their friends that they can't admit that an 'unapproved' attitude can be valid. They mave have been molested or assaulted and never come to terms with it. You are growing, exploring and learning. I hope you won't limit yourself by worrying excessively about what your friends might think. There is no time limit. I have friends (even older than I) who still don't know! A minority of people are only straight, some are only gay, and the vast majority are somewhere in between. Don't be afraid of self-knowledge or exploration, but stay safe. Especially in small towns, there are people who will harrass and despise (and even assault) anyone who dares to think outside the box of their limited norm. Enjoy masturbatory fantasies, but remember, they are only fantasy. It's normal for a straight person to have gay fantasies, and vice versa. Just because a person has a rape fantasy doesn't mean they want to be raped. If the only way you can reach orgasm is through gay or straight fantasy, then you're probably gay or straight. No biggie either way. But don't hurry into sexual activity. Don't mistake being horny for love. Don't confuse friendship with horny. Use protection. Don't hurry. Don't worry. Enjoy.

POSTED 4/7/2003

Dave, McCleary, WA, United States, 49, Pagan, mixed race, transgendered lesbian, philosopher, Technical School, Lower class, Mesg ID 45200323958

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Question:

If a black foster parent has a white foster child, should they go to extra lengths to ensure that the child has some access to what is commonly thought of as 'white' music, movies, etc.,if the main family and church experiences will be predominantly black? Or will the kids get enough exposure from outside sources so there's no need to seek out more experiences?

POSTED 4/7/2003

Katherine, Winston-Salem, NC, United States, 46, Female, White/Caucasian, social worker, Middle class, Mesg ID 442003100526

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Question:

Why do so many people have a problem with uncircumcised guys, when that's the way we're born and it's completely healthy and natural?

POSTED 4/7/2003

Tony C., Flagler Beach, FL, United States, 32, Male, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Gay, production superintendent, High School Diploma, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 43200320405

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Question:

I'm 19 and went to a dermatologist recently. He said that if I don't use Rogaine I will be obviously bald, at first glance, in 3 to 5 years (I'm balding in the front, not 'crown balding'). That stuff is a big hassle and a pain in the butt to use, but I can put up with it if I have to. But do girls (specifically those 17-25) really care about baldness at my age? Can I let myself go bald?
POSTED 11/8/2002
Ian C., Broken Arrow, OK, United States, 19, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, student, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 116200263841


Responses:
If you get a very short haircut, it will look much better than trying to keep the remaining hair long. Under no circumstances do the toupee or combover thing.

POSTED 4/7/2003

Fernanda, Exeter, NA, United Kingdom, 23, Female, White/Caucasian, Grad student, 4 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 1112200235627


Shave your head and don't look back. Screw Rogaine, let your hair go bye-bye, and keep it shaved. It's very hot on balding men, i think.

POSTED 4/7/2003

Amy, Seattle, WA, United States, 32, Female, Mesg ID 1116200250405


Some guys look OK going bald, and others I think should just shave their entire head. A lot of women think shaved bald heads are sexy, and most I know can't resist touching them. (They just want to feel what it's like... and it's good luck) Think of the actor 'Vin Deisel' (not sure if I spelled his name correctly.) Please don't ever get a toupee. That just cries 'I'm old' and nobody really likes the 'comb over' look.

POSTED 4/7/2003

Heather, St. Louis, MO, United States, 26, Female, believe a bit of a few different religions, White/Caucasian, Straight, Middle class, Mesg ID 1127200225142


I don't want a bald boyfreind.

POSTED 4/7/2003

Brandy, Lexington, KY, United States, Female, Mesg ID 1127200234551


Look at Sean Connery. He's ancient, bald, and girls my age still get hot about him. You have nothing to worry about.

POSTED 4/7/2003

Jessica, Huntsville, TX, United States, 23, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, Student, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 1212200223736


If you went bald, most girls, including me, would not care. Sometimes men look sexier with less hair. Most men go bald, and that is a process of nature. If you feel you are too young, go ahead and use Rogaine, but don't worry whether girls will not find you attractive, because there are plenty of us who don't think it matters.

POSTED 4/7/2003

Kate, Jenks, OK, United States, Female, Black/African American, Middle class, Mesg ID 1224200253221


Premature gray I can deal with, but balding? No. I agree that if you don't want to use Rogaine, you need to keep it extremely short. If your head isn't a funny shape, I would recommend shaving it bald. Now that's sexy! Whatever you do, in no way should you ever do that combover thing (it is never attractive). And toupees are a bad idea. Just let nature take its course and make sure that the rest of you is in great shape. Take the money you will save on hair products and invest it on your wardrobe. A bald head is made even sexier by a great body and a magnificient wardrobe. I think you can pull it off. At least you're not a prematurely balding female - now that's a problem.

POSTED 4/7/2003

Aneba, Houston, TX, United States, 22, Female, Black/African American, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 1225200273346


My son is 20 and has thinning hair (he doesn't laugh at dad anymore). He joined the Army last fall and of course had a really short buzzcut, almost to the point of being shaved bald. While he was home between boot camp and advanced training, we went out a few times, and the girls were constantly checking him out. Of course he ate up the attention. So try shaving your head or keep your hair very short. The thinning or balding issue isn't as big a deal. Better yet, join the service; we need a few more good men (and women).

POSTED 4/7/2003

Bill, Burlington, VT, United States, 44, Male, Franco/Canadian/American, Finance, Over 4 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID 218200362851


Fear not! My first boyfriend in high school had significantly thinning hair at 17, and one of the most popular, genuinely well-liked and crushed-upon guys at my college was seriously balding (already at crown, hairline racing to meet it). I honestly don't care about hairline when it comes to attraction, and going by other girls' reactions to these young men, they don't, either. Personality and charm will get you a lot more attention than a full head of hair.

POSTED 4/7/2003

Jessica S., South Shore, MA, United States, 24, Female, White/Caucasian, Teacher, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 328200341257


I'm outside the requested age group, but willing to weigh in. A few names to consider: Michael Jordan. Ving Rhames. Sean Connery. Andre Agassi. Confidence is hotter than the best head of hair. I would tell any man I was interested in not to go the Rogaine route on my account. Spend the money on clothes instead.

POSTED 4/7/2003

Cari, Austin, TX, United States, 30ish, Female, Jewish, White/Caucasian, Straight, attorney, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 41200360417


I'm out of your requested age range, but before I was 25 I dated a few men who were balding. I think it can be quite distinguished looking. Whatever you do, don't try to disguise it with funny hair styles. I had a male friend who was balding by age 17, and instead of working with it, he would spike his hair like mad to make it look more plentiful. Ended up looking more obvious. Like the other responder, I think shaving your head is a good idea. That can be very sexy.

POSTED 4/7/2003

Stacey, Baltimore, MD, United States, 30, Female, Jehovahs Witness, White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 44200313438

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