Best of the Week
of June 4, 2000

Best of Week Archives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of June 4, 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 have always been curious about why gay men use those odd mannerisms, such as the limp wrist, different speech patterns, etc. Are they supposed to be like women? Where do they learn these mannerisms, and are they attractive to other gay men?
POSTED 6/7/2000
Isabelle R., Leonardtown, MD, United States, 47, Female, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, medical transcriptionist, 2 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 662000105422

Responses:
Simple answer: Group behavior. Same way as other groups of people develop similar patterns of speech, dress, mannerisms, etc. People from from Minnesota say 'Ja' instead of yes, for example, and in any city you go to you will find the local kids divided into groups that dress and talk in a specific way. As to the origins of this 'style' (and this stereotype of gay men has been around a long time), one of the more interesting theories I have heard on this is that way back when, it was quite socially accepted with 'sissys' or 'dandies' of the Noel Coward, Oscar Wilde sort. This was (and still is) a hell of a lot less threatening to straight guys than if queers acted 'just like them.' If 'they' were just like you, then how would you know your friend or your brother wasn't one? It is comforting for people to behave in a way that lets you easily label and box them. So the whole thing may have started as a defense mechanism. Depending on who you hang out, where you meet your friends and their age group, you are more or less likely to see this pattern. Older guys whose only way to 'come out' was to start going to gay bars picked up this style very easily. Among younger guys whose first 'coming-out' experience is at youth groups, etc., with other people their own age, there is a much more individualistic style of being themselves. There's nothing wrong with the queens, though; camping it up is fun.
POSTED 6/8/2000
Iteki, Stockholm, NA, Sweden, <iteki@chickmail.com>, 24, Female, lapsed Roman Catholic, White/Caucasian, Lesbian, High School Diploma , Lower middle class, Mesg ID 68200023148

I feel it is likely that the reason you think all gay men have these mannerisms is that that is how you were brought up to identify them. In reality there are probably many other gay men who escape question because they blend into an otherwise straight society. I'm 17 and gay, and I don't have a limp wrist, or lisp, or speak in a feminine voice.
POSTED 6/9/2000
Dorian, Ralph, NA, United Kingdom, <r5_d4@hotmail.com>, 17, Male, White/Caucasian, Gay, musician, Less than High School Diploma , Upper class, Mesg ID 672000112142

The range of mannerisms in the gay community is incredibly broad, running from the effeminacy you describe to the super-masculine. Young gay men adopt the mannerisms that reflect their images of who they are and how they fit into the world at large. Some seem themselves as highly masculine; they may join the Marine Corps, ride motorcycles or become police officers. Others see themselves as graceful, behaving with the feminine graces they prize. And then there's the huge majority in the middle. As in the rest of life, some gay men find one set of mannerisms attractive, other mannerisms less so and some utterly offensive. A lot of this is cultural: heterosexual men in Italy and France often develop mannerisms that straight Americans at home would consider to be gay.
POSTED 6/9/2000
Thom, Washington, DC, United States, 57, Male, Gay, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 67200061955
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Question:
I'd like to know what people think about someone donating eggs. Do you think it's wrong to do because there are already children out there who want to be adopted? My father said I'd just be helping out the 'rich' if I did this, and that it would be wrong. He thinks that just because someone can 'buy' eggs doesn't make it OK for them to look past all the kids in orphanages. I am a very moral person. I don't drink or smoke. I'm really doing it solely for the money, but I know it will help someone. Also, isn't it kind of unfair to bash the rich just because they are able to do something like this?
POSTED 6/6/2000
Anonymous, South, NJ, United States, 25, Female, White/Caucasian, Systems Analyst, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 65200082120

Responses:
Your question is really about two different issues. One is the donation of eggs, and the other is the selling of eggs. The idea of selling body parts in general bothers me. I have seen advertisments from people willing to pay more than $300,000 for eggs from the right 'donor,' i.e. blond and blue, tall, high IQ, etc. It's as if the people are trying to create the 'perfect' child, and nothing less is good enough for them. I would never presume to tell another person how to spend their money, but I think about how much that same $300,000 could accomplish if put to some other use than to buy eggs - especially when there are other options for having a child. Is the selling of eggs any different than selling a kidney on eBay? On the other hand, I think that donation is perfectly OK. Eggs fall into a category similar to organ donation.
POSTED 6/7/2000
Lucy H., San Jose, CA, United States, 25, Female, Hispanic/Latino, Engineer, 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 662000124313

It can't be any more wrong than sperm donation. I would, however, worry that your children would marry and have kids with their half-siblings.
POSTED 6/7/2000
Amy, Charleston, WV, United States, 28, Female, Baptist, White/Caucasian, Straight, 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 66200080721
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Question:
There are more Latinos moving into our community, and I strive to welcome them. Part of my job takes me into homes in the community - and of course, Latino homes. I am trying to learn the culture so as to be polite and not offend, but one thing is curious to me: In several homes I have visited, especially with younger heads of household, there have been several large stuffed animals on display. These are usually of cartoon characters, bears or dogs and some are 2-4 feet tall. Sometimes they are hanging on the walls like pictures. Why are these used as prominent decorative pieces?
POSTED 6/6/2000
Candice, Fremont, NE, United States, 25, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, education, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 662000120530

Responses:
I've noticed this here and there. I guess we just like to decorate our houses with inexpensive items. Sometimes you'll see clown and circus animal statuettes bought from flea markets, sometimes you'll see little plastic dolls from 25 cent vending machines, sometimes you'll see empty tequila bottles lined up on the mantle, sometimes you'll see a drawing made by a family member, etc. It has a folksy, kitschy charm to it, and it's a heck of a lot easier on the wallet than getting stuff from Spiegel or Nordstrom.
POSTED 6/7/2000
Dan, Los Angeles area, CA, United States, 21, Male, Pentecostal Christian, Hispanic/Latino, student, Lower middle class,Mesg ID 66200012505

I've never seen, heard or read about anything like what you describe among Latinos. I've always associated adults with stuffed toys as something young white women sometimes have a thing for, as a way of playfully showing they haven't yet needed to grow up because their families are so well-off. Sounds to me like what you're assuming is something that a few Latinos do is actually more a sign of upper middle class assimilation or imitating well-off white women.
POSTED 6/7/2000
A.C.C., W. Lafayette, IN, United States, 34, Mexican and American Indian, Grad student, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 66200060113

I don't agree that one can assume the questioner thinks all Hispanics have stuffed animals in an attempt to mimic rich white women. This generally lower-middle-class white lesbian has about 30 stuffed animals in her living room. My partner and I have collected them over the years to celebrate various occassions, and none of them cost more than $10. The primary reason Y Forum has been so successful is that people feel questions about other cultures can be asked without being raked over the coals for having the nerve to ask the question.
POSTED 6/9/2000
Alma, Kempner, TX, United States, 46, Female, Methodist, White/Caucasian, Lesbian, unemployed, 4 Years of College , Lower middle class, Mesg ID 67200083709
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Question:
I have spent a lot of time with gay men, time that I've really enjoyed. There is a problem, though. I find that they are often really unreliable. For example, they're late, they cancel arrangements at the last possible minute, etc. It's really hard for me to cope with. It's not how I operate. I realize that problem might not be just gay men, and that it could be a broader social problem, but am I right in thinking this is related to gay men?
POSTED 6/6/2000
Priscilla, Sydney, NA, Australia, 23, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 63200072314
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Question:
Why do ladies who are over-large (size 18 or more) insist on wearing skin-tight leggings with short t-shirts that show their rolls of fat wobbling as they walk? My mother is a size 18 and is just over 5 feet tall, but she wears trousers that taper to the ankle and blouses that come down to her hips. She often gets told how smart she looks. So, I guess my real question is: Do large women ever look in the mirror at their back view before they leave the house?
POSTED 6/6/2000
Patjlewis, Liverpool, NA, United Kingdom, 43, Female, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, sales assistant, High School Diploma , Lower middle class, Mesg ID 64200034400

Responses:
If someone is happy with his or her body, I say let them wear whatever they want. We all come in different shapes and sizes. If you are a size 18, five feet tall and feel comfortable with yourself, then wear something that shows off your body. If you go around trying to make others happy, you will never truly be happy.
POSTED 6/7/2000
Samantha, Livonia, MI, United States, Female, Mesg ID 662000113550

Did you ever consider that your sensitivity to larger women may be your problem and not theirs? Maybe they're comfortable being who they are and don't consider opinions like yours relevant.
POSTED 6/7/2000
Gerry Z., Philadelphia, PA, United States, Mesg ID 66200043152
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Question:
I would like to know about Muslims' religion and would really like to have someone teach me the its followings. I'm not quite sure how or what to ask, except: How do I get started?
POSTED 6/6/2000
Stormi, Roach, SC, United States, 39, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, submissive bisexual, technician, High School Diploma , Lower middle class, Mesg ID 62200052218
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Question:
To females: Did you have any side-effects when you went on the Pill, and if so, what were they and how severe were they? I am worried that I will put on a lot of weight if I go on it.
POSTED 6/1/2000
Netta, Armidale, NA, Australia, 18, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Student, High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 531200025338

Responses:
Side-effects depend on the type of pill you are using. There are a lot of micro pills on the market that minimize the hormonal intake nowadays. The best thing is to talk to your gynecologist about it. As for me, I have always put on a little weight (been off and on the pill a couple of times in my life) due to water. But it really isn't that bad. On the contrary, I found that the pill reduces PMS (especially the cramps) significantly. And of course your cycle will stabilize. However, you DO have to consider the possible side effects that can come with the pill and which are decribed in detail on (or rather within) the package. By all means, talk to your doctor and/or pharmacist about it.
POSTED 6/5/2000
Tina, Atlanta, GA, United States, 34, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, software specialist, Technical School , Middle class, Mesg ID 61200022408

Speak to your doctor about this one. There are umpteen different kinds of pill, and it's not unusual for women to try a number before they find the right one for them. The first one I tried made me burst into tears at the slightest thing. The next one I tried was fine and has the added bonus that I don't have to shave my legs as often as I did! I don't know how common it is for women to put on weight when they go on the pill, but I didn't notice any weight gain on either kind that I tried.
POSTED 6/5/2000
Geraldine, London, NA, United Kingdom, 33, Female, Mesg ID 64200071734

I think it varies from woman to woman and on the type of pill your doctor prescribes. I was taking orthotricylen and really have only positive things to say about it - I didn't experience weight gain, my periods were not as heavy and were more regular, and my moods evened out. Taking the pill on time is key, though, not just for birth control issues, but also in terms of feeling nauseous after having to double up and your cycle not being as reliable. I would suggest buying a watch with an alarm until it becomes part of your routine. One caveat: when I stopped taking the pill, I lost a lot of weight very quickly (and later gained it back) and my period was really unreliable. It takes something like six months for your body to readjust, so be warned.
POSTED 6/6/2000
Lisa, New York, NY, United States, Female, Mesg ID 65200032230

I didn't experience side effects of the pill until I had been on it continuously for five years. I was far more irritable than usual, my cycles were very predictable (as were my moods), my hair became flat (it was fluffy) and I had terrible cravings about once a month. The side effects crept up on me and I was unaware of them until I was off the pill. If I were as active now as I was when I first got on the pill, I'd still be on it, though. There is, in my opinion, no better short-term method of preventing pregnancy. However, I wouldn't recommend staying on it for a prolonged length of time.
POSTED 6/6/2000
Charlotte, Charlotte, NC, United States, 32, Female, Presbyterian, Straight, Coordinator, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 652000111014
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Question:
Why is it that black people often seem to have a look of resentment, or an angry, belligerent sneer, on their faces, even when no one is looking at them? Is it a reaction to the racism they are surrounded by? Or is it just the way their faces look, and white people misinterpret it? Granted, people of all races can have a sullen look on their face, as many can have a cheerful look, but why does it seem that black people make themselves less likeable by looking so resentful?
POSTED 6/1/2000
Raul F., Denver, CO, United States, 40, Male, Jewish, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, cataloger, 2 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 528200041037

Responses:
I observe many white people looking pretty depressed and angry, too. I think our society has become so impersonal and violent that people are afraid to make contact and smile. Sometimes I get comments that I should smile more, but I may be thinking about something or just not in the mood. However, we should all make an effort to smile and say hello to more people each day.
POSTED 6/5/2000
Denise, Hartford, CT, United States, 35, Female, White/Caucasian, Straight, IT, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 62200022933

I think this is a personal observation of the people you have encountered in your area. I am an African-American female (from the South, so I actually have a reason to look sour) and am constantly being told I am so approachable and friendly. I constantly receive the comment 'What the hell are you so happy about?' on a daily basis. Perhaps the look you are seeing is one of tiredness, or boredom, or even depression. One can never truly tell what is going on in another's mind or what their true feelings may be, but to assume someone is less 'likable' based on what you consider to be an all-around trait in African Americans is a little broad and invalid. Keep Smilin'!
POSTED 6/5/2000
Jane, San Diego, CA, United States, <urofile@aol.com>, 29, Female, Agnostic, Black/African American, Bisexual, Paralegal, 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 62200064606

I will by no means claim the authority to speak for Afrikan Americans collectively, but this theory is without doubt a plausible one: In general, a person of Afrikan descent in America has little or nothing to justify the pasting of a permanent smile on his or her face. This issue dates back to our kidnapping from our true home and being brought here to suffer some of the most heinous atrocities ever committed against humankind. Think of it like this: imagine a stranger breaking into your otherwise peaceful home and then raping, robbing, maiming, torturing and otherwise dehumanizing you in every imaginable way (and some unimaginable ways), slaughtering your brothers and sisters before your eyes and then forcing you into complete bondage and servitude to him. Understandably, a single episode of this magnitude would induce severe levels of trauma in an individual, so just imagine the application of this to an entire people repeatedly for more than 400 years. As far as 'making ourselves less likable by not smiling,' I must ask just who is it who does not like us? Perhaps it is time we stopped smiling for the sake of granting comfort to oppressive forces and let how we truly feel show. Why should we worry about 'being likable' to those who smile at us as they subject us to less-than-favorable conditions, and then smile even more after the deed is done? I could not care less if a white man ever saw my teeth again. You have no idea what my people have been through and continue to go through. There are those who would say, 'Remember the Holocaust,' but ours continues even today at the hands of those who make, break and 'enforce' laws - they are all one and the same.
POSTED 6/5/2000
Sherman A., Calumet City, IL, United States, 30, Male, Muslim, Afrikan-American, Communications, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 652000125545

I have often wondered that myself being black. I cannot answer for everyone, but you are correct in that a lot of what we deal with from whites and others has caused us to become untrustful and angry. I hate to always use slavery, but over the years that anger has not subsided, because of the struggles we have gone through to get the things we deserve in the first place. But when I look at pictures of Africans, I notice they have that look, too, so maybe it's just our culture.
POSTED 6/6/2000
Sabrina, Houston, TX, United States, 25, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, student/Admin Assist., 2 Years of College , Lower middle class, Mesg ID 65200033230

Leaving aside all of the obvious historical, socioeconomic issues for a moment, in my opinion, some of the 'black frown syndrome' comes as a result of conditioning from others. I am generally a very friendly person, but I can't tell you how many times I've smiled or made eye-contact with a white person, only to be ignored or scowled at. After a while you just don't bother being pleasant anymore. It feels better to do the rejecting first, by maintaining a 'leave me alone expression,' rather than always being the one who gets rebuffed. C'est la vie.
POSTED 6/6/2000
K., Chicago, IL, United States, Black/African American, Mesg ID 652000100617
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Question:
To men: If you were a woman for one day, what would you do or what would you be most curious about? To women: If you were a man for one day, what would you do or what would you be most curious about?
POSTED 5/30/2000
P., E-Town, NA, Germany, 20, White/Caucasian, Straight, Student, Mesg ID 529200072301

Responses:
I would want to go through the menstrual cycle to see what it is all about. I know this would be hard to accomplish in one day, but maybe an abbreviated form of it. Maybe having and holding my newborn child as well. Hopefully this could be contained to one day. I know it is kind of weird to pick these two, but other than these, I don't think there is much difference between men and women.
POSTED 5/31/2000
Matthew, New York, NY, United States, 42, Male, White/Caucasian, actor, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 531200074541

I'd like to be lactating - feeding a baby. I'd love to know what it feels like to have breasts and feed a baby.
POSTED 6/5/2000
Malcolm, Sydney, NA, Australia, 41, Male, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, 4 Years of College , Upper class, Mesg ID 642000110153

If I were a woman for a day I'd like to experience a multiple orgasm. A women's orgasm comes in waves until climax, and then it starts over again. Men build up to climax ... then it's over.
POSTED 6/5/2000
Rick, Charlotte, NC, United States, 29, Male, Baptist, Black/African American, Straight, student, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 64200092926

The obvious answer is that I'd go out and have sex. Duh. I think everyone is curious about what it's like for people of the opposite sex. Then I'd probably go about my normal, everyday activities and see how much differently I got treated as a man. But the sex thing would come first
POSTED 6/5/2000
Melissa, Montgomery, AL, United States, 21, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, 2 Years of College , Middle class,Mesg ID 622000124659

I wonder why no man said he would like to be a woman for a day to give birth? Yes, it does hurt. But so do a lot of things. I would like to know what it is like to experience morning sickness, pregnancy and giving birth so that I could understand what a woman goes through. There is the other side to the orgasm, you know. Does any other man agree with this?
POSTED 6/7/2000
Ronald V., Edmonton, Alberta, NA, Canada, Male, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 66200021603

I'd go camping, and pee standing up.
POSTED 6/7/2000
E.D., Kansas City, MO, United States, 43, Female, Mesg ID 67200012227
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Question:
Why is it that more and more white men are interested in black women?
POSTED 5/30/2000
Cheron, Coopersville, MI, United States, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, customer service, 2 Years of College , Lower middle class, Mesg ID 5292000101101

Responses:
I think it is because it has become more socially acceptable for white men to date black women. I am a white man and have dated two black women, and they were both fantastic women. Many black women have been sexual icons in pop culture: Tyra Banks, Halle Barre and Janet Jackson, to name a few. Not only white women are magazine covers and television; the beauty of the black woman has also been portrayed in pop culture and elsewhere.
POSTED 6/5/2000
Tyler, Grand Rapids, MI, United States, 20, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Automotive, 2 Years of College , Upper middle class, Mesg ID 64200031119

I am a black female and have dated a number of white men. I will say that white men are not necessarily becoming more interested in black women, but they are becoming more open about their interest in black women. White men in general have always had interest in black women (and I am not including those who seek us for sexually based, rape-motivated and/or stereotypical reasons); it is just that based on the times, locations and specific societal pressures that they face, white men may not be as frank and explicit with their desires to seek black women or extend their dating options to include black women. Of course, there are white men who are used to white people, 'white ways' and white environments, meaning population and types of people, and because of this narrowed experience with only their own ethnic background, they may be comfortable with only or mostly white women as romantic partners. Still, I have met and dated white men from those types of environments who are tired of mono-racial experiences and seek to diversify their options and relations to black/non-white women as both friends and dating partners. I think as society becomes more representational of interracial relationships and settings in sufficient ways through mass media, public events and functions, the ability for white men and anyone else interested in people of different ethnic groups to date will become more of a normal rather than taboo issue.
POSTED 6/5/2000
Mindkandy, Los Angeles, CA, United States, <Mindkandy@hotmail.com>, 22, Female, Black/African American, Straight, college student, 2 Years of College , Upper middle class, Mesg ID 642000123140

I think the answer is that more women who are considered African American have Caucasians in their family tree. Although many of these women have dark skin, they were raised in a partially white culture, which means there is more in common between the two. As cross-cultural relationships continue, I think we can expect to see even more of this in the future. The lines are beginning to blur.
POSTED 6/6/2000
John, Mt. Clemens, MI, United States, 34, Male, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, 2 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 622000110956
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