Best of the Week
of May 24, 1998


Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of May 24, 1998, as selected by Y? These postings, as well as "Best of the Week" entries from previous weeks, also can be found in their respective archives, which we invite you to browse. There, you will find questions that have received answers, as well as questions still awaiting responses. We encourage you to answer any questions relevant to your demographic background, as well as to ask any provocative question you desire. Answers posted are not necessarily meant to represent the views of an entire demographic group, but can provide a window into the insights of an individual from that group.

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

 

THE QUESTION:
R294: Why do many young white girls (12 to 17) act "black"? I see girls every day who try to imitate mannerisms and language of the uneducated sector of the black community. Their slang and laziness of vocabulary is insulting, not only to me as a white woman, but to educated, intelligent black friends of mine who don't understand.
POSTED MAY 27, 1998
April, 24, white female, Tallahassee, FL

ANSWER 1:
First, understand that your "educated, intelligent black friends" are peeing on your shoes and telling you it's raining. They are hardly insulted by a culture very familiar to them. Rather, they hide their relativity to gain your acceptance. Sounds like they're pretty good at it. The white girls you speak of are probably doing this out of admiration for the unique quality of black colloquialisms. Try to understand that there is nothing lazy about this type of language usage. It's just another way we Americans manipulate and and therefore help evolve the English language.
POSTED MAY 29, 1998
Elliott, 44, black, franrod@wavenet.com, Los Angeles, CA
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THE QUESTION:
SO37: How do homosexuals meet, other than in "gay" bars? Is there a certain look or something? Or do they just go up to a person and flirt?
POSTED MAY 26, 1998
C.B., 22, heterosexual female, Memphis, TN

ANSWER 1:
Flirting with strangers is a risky venture - one is apt to get hurt. But flirting with strangers in a gay bar will improve the odds that one's advances will be appreciated, though there's no guarantee. However, gay people do more than just party at bars. We meet at pride events, volunteer and service organizations, professional associations and hobby clubs, through friends and acquaintances, at work and school, even at the grocery and hardware stores. Sometimes it is obvious when one is in the company of other gay people, but more often the encounters are more subtle. Just like heterosexuals, not everybody you meet is a potential partner. But when two people possess a mutual interest in one another, they will find a way to express it. Body language, the things that are said, the plans that are made, a special sacrifice, a response in kind: All of these can communicate the message. Having the shared experience of being gay makes it easier to interpret the signals.
POSTED MAY 27, 1998
Rex T., 34, gay white male <
rex_tremende@hotmail.com>, Cincinnati, OH

FURTHER NOTICE:
In the simplest terms, homosexuals meet other homosexuals in the same social environments as most heterosexuals do: Bars, parties, work, school, gyms, church, restaurants, discos, etc. However, where possible, gays and lesbians may choose to gather in venues that cater to them. In many cities and towns, there are places described above that cater exclusively to gays and lesbians, allowing them to meet in a more comfortable atmosphere without fear of rejection, ridicule or harassment. Unfortunately, in some locales where these venues do not exist and as a result of societal repression, some homosexuals resort to less desirable public venues to meet such as parks, restrooms, etc. This is a minority of homosexuals. The most important concept for anyone to grasp and understand is that homosexuals (like heterosexuals) are not homogenous. They do not all look alike, behave alike, dress alike, socialize together, remain single, have similar sexual desires, work in similar professions, etc.
POSTED MAY 27, 1998
Robbie, 30, gay male, Miami Beach, FL

FURTHER NOTICE 2:
There are several way homosexuals meet, the most common is by introduction of other homosexual friends. In addition there are numerous chat rooms, on line services, phone services and classifieds, on line, traditional newspapers, and gay papers.
POSTED MAY 29, 1998
Tim, florida99@hotmail.com, FL

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THE QUESTION:
O7: While our family was watching a male ballet dancer, we wondered: Why do male ballet dancers augment their groin area with padding or a disportionately large cup?
POSTED MAY 29, 1998
Mike, 51, straight white male, Honolulu
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THE QUESTION:
GE32: To men 25 to 35: How would you feel, after the initial shock wore off, if you found out that the woman you were dating had never slept with anyone? If you got along before you found out, would you still want to date her?
POSTED MAY 25, 1998
Meg, 28, MI

ANSWER 1:
I believe most men would be thrilled that they are with someone who has taken the unpopular road of waiting for the right person. If you are asking this question because you have waited, then good for you. You will be glad you did when you find that perfect person, and you will.
POSTED MAY 27, 1998
Kevin, Livonia, MI

FURTHER NOTICE:
I married a woman who had a similar background. I would be curious to know a woman's reasons for not having sex, to determine whether this reflected her values or a potentially significant hang-up that might persist after the wedding. If it's the former, more power to her. If the latter, perhaps some therapy would be in order if I loved everything else about her.
POSTED MAY 27, 1998
Dan, 34 <
dnh6n@virginia.edu>, Charlottesville, VA

FURTHER NOTICE 2:
In my relationships with women, I have not met one who was a virgin. Men usually feel intimidated about this. Consider yourself lucky. I would have definitely preferred my wife to be a virgin!
POSTED MAY 27, 1998
Matt, 26, Polk, FL

FURTHER NOTICE 3:
Having years of experience in any field does not automatically imply competence. We see this all the time in the careers of our choice. The focus of my concern as a single male would rather fall on the quality of the relationship and whether there was genuine passion and commitment. Issues of sexuality, finances and personal lifestyles are serious, but ones that can be worked through, given the right partnership. I think you might reconsider the kind of boyfriend you wish to find. If he wants nothing but a physical relationship, it may be more rewarding for you to try to meet someone more suited to your beliefs.
POSTED MAY 27, 1998
Gary K., 32, single male <
garykuo@earthlink.net>, Van Nuys, CA
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THE QUESTION:
R285: I am a 29-year-old single black father. Why do many people display surprise or admiration at my relationship with my daughter. Is is that they may think black men don�t want or need a relationship with their children?
POSTED MAY 25, 1998
Joseph T., 29, black male <
Nile0099@aol.com>, Seattle, Wash.

ANSWER 1:
I am black and 26 and have a 10-month-old son. The only thing I can say is that the love between you and your child is the most important thing in the world - it doesn`t matter what people say or think.
POSTED MAY 26, 1998
Iirozh, 26, black <
firozh@wxs.nl>, The Netherlands

FURTHER NOTICE:
I think many people are misled by the media. I wrote a paper in college on the number of black men who are the primary caretakers of their children. The numbers would surprise many. I am the mother of two biracial children. Although I am divorced from their farther, he pays child support above the state guidelines and sends them an allowance and gifts. He is a generous, caring father. My ex-husband would take our children in a minute. I have met many black male single parents; they care passionately about the welfare of their children and frequently put aside their own dreams to further the goals of their children. The media likes to focus on the negative.
POSTED MAY 26, 1998
Lorraine. B, 41, white female <
BRITTinFL@aol.com>, Panama City, FL
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THE QUESTION:
R299: Why is it that Americans seem to have an impression that French people are rude and hate Americans?
POSTED MAY 27, 1998
E.W., French male, Portland, OR

ANSWER 1:
The American impression that the French are rude or dislike us is a tribute to inductive reasoning: It takes but a couple of such references to create a conceptual image that soon seems real. For me, the references came from two sources: My high school French teacher and a friend who had traveled to France. Both gave the clear impression that the French were intolerant of foreigners in general and found Americans in particular distasteful. This is an interesting question for me to reflect on, because while I feel French people dislike Americans, I have never been to France, and the only French people I have ever met have been friendly and agreeable.
POSTED MAY 29, 1998
Doug H, 45, Los Angeles, CA

FURTHER NOTICE:
As an American woman of French descent, I speak French and spend my summers living there. In general, French people are more direct than Americans, dispensing with the sugar-coating of any information, and rarely feel personally attacked by reciprocated directness. In general, they are not taught to "make nice," or smile at strangers, as we are here in America. This directness is often mistaken for "rudeness."

The French don't hate Americans, but they do resent the many visitors who assume the superiority of America and never consider the long history and many achievements of France. Regarding the "Ugly American" stereotype: Unfortunately, many stereotypes have a basis in truth. I have frequently witnessed Americans barging into shops and assuming the employees spoke English. They didn't politely inquire if anyone did; they just assumed. They also assume that American money is the only "real" money. The bottom line: This American "chauvinism" can be annoying to the French.
POSTED MAY 29, 1998
Karla O. 42, karlaober@aol.com", Long Beach, CA

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THE QUESTION: 
GE27: Are women more or less interested in men who have never dated?
POSTED MAY 14, 1998
Scott S., 34, <
gss@fair.net>, Jacksonville, FL

ANSWER 1:
It depends on the woman. Some might view it as a challenge, while others would most likely assume there was something wrong with him. It also depends on the man's age. A man of 25 who has never dated might be considered a little unusual, but he wouldn't be viewed with the same wariness as a man of 40. If a friend of mine had never dated and wanted to start, I would probably advise him to be rather vague about his past dating experience or lack thereof, at least until he got to know someone well enough that it could be considered their business. "I never really had a lot of time for relationships" would be a safe type of answer.
POSTED MAY 26, 1998
A. Morgan, 33, Houston, TX
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THE QUESTION:
D9: My mother is para/quadriplegic, and recently we have been trying to plan a trip to New York. Isn't it discrimination that it will cost her more to take a tour than someone who can walk?
POSTED MAY 11, 1998
Kara, Japan

ANSWER 1:
Is it discrimination that my wheelchair cost nearly 100 times what someone's shoes might cost? You have to understand that the other tour-takers would have to make up the difference for bus lifts or special assistance for the occasional disabled user. Is that fair? The Americans With Disabilities Act speaks of modification "within reason," and the best way to lose a right is to assume right over reason.
POSTED MAY 26, 1998
JerryEl <
jerry@lords.com>, Chipley, FL
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