Best of the Week
of July 29, 2001

Best of Week Archives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of July 29, 2001, 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 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.

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Question:

For a long time I've wondered why some gay men act 'camp.' I would be interested to hear people's views about why some gay guys display traits such as a lisp, floppy wrists and a very expressive personality. I don't know any straight guys who behave like this, though there probably are some. I thought gay men might do it to show that they are gay or to set themselves apart from straight men. Can someone enlighten me?

POSTED 8/2/2001

David W., Uper Hutt, NA, New Zealand, 31, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, Government adviser, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 731200113123

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Question:

Do many blacks listen to white rap music? Not to say there are many white rappers out there. And why do many black people seem to always be mumbling rap music to themselves? Also, why do some blacks say, 'You know what I'm saying' so much? Is that their gang talk or what?

POSTED 8/2/2001

John, Evansville, IN, United States, 21, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, youth counselor, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 81200182226

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Question:

As a person of Indian descent, I have been described as 'dour.' Is this a racial stereotype of Indian people?

POSTED 8/2/2001

Marc D., Hull, NA, United Kingdom, Male, Asian, Mesg ID 822001124202

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Question:

Is it possible for a person to enjoy sex with somebody of the same gender without being attracted to them in an emotional way, or any other way that would make someone consider themselves gay?

POSTED 7/26/2001

Hero, Aberdeen, NA, United Kingdom, 16, Female, Atheist, Mesg ID 725200193722


Responses:
Sex is sex. An orgasm is an orgasm. Who's giving it to you doesn't matter, as long as it feels good.

POSTED 7/30/2001

Natalie, New York, NY, United States, 20, Female, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, actress, High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 729200175404


Do you mean that the enjoyed sex is nothing more than a mechanical act that causes pleasure, and carries no emotional weight? It sounds like you're saying the other person, coincidentally of the same sex, is simply an object, a tool that is being used for sexual satisfaction. While this is certainly possible, it isn't healthy. Human beings tend to form emotional attachments even when they don't intend to, and the unintended consequences of this are that one or both parties will get hurt. Add to this the confusion of societally disapproved gender roles, and it's just asking for trouble. If there's truly no emotional attachment, masturbation's a better choice. Be careful, though, that the emotional detachment isn't just a way to protect oneself from the difficulty in coming out as a homosexual.

POSTED 7/30/2001

James D., Summit, NJ, United States, 44, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Gay, entrepreneur, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 730200113914

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Question:

I am a nurse and am curious what taboos exist among Muslim women in terms of what they will do in front of women but not men. For example, I have had patients who will remove their head dress in front of me but not the doctor. When I asked, they said it was because I was a women and the doctor was a man.

POSTED 7/26/2001

Bold, Melbourne, NA, Australia, <Mistresskit@hotmail.com>, Mesg ID 725200193844


Responses:
I greet you with the Islamic greeting of peace: Assalamu 'alaikum.' You posted a very good question. The Holy Qur'an is the word of God. And in the Holy Qur'an, Allah (Arabic word and proper name for God) has commanded Muslims to dress modestly, and women are to be covered. Because you are female, I can remove my hijab (scarf) in front of you, but not in front of men outside the family. I do hope I have answered your question, and perhaps even piqued your interest in Islam.

POSTED 7/30/2001

Kimberly, Newman, CO, United States, Female, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 726200194847

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Question:

I recently had it put to me regarding advocating gun control that 1) it's the privilege of white, upper-middle class suburbans who live in safe, clean neighborhoods where the police are friendly; 2) it's only from this ivory tower that gun control advocates can declare that we as a society have outgrown the need to arm and defend ourselves individually and therefore support the abolition of private gun ownership for everybody; and 3) a great many African Americans, and especially Mexicans, support the right to bear arms, but when they go to voice these concerns in a public forum, they're shouted down as Uncle Toms or ignored because such thoughts don't mesh with the white liberal agenda, sort of a 'We know what's good for you people' mentality. I was wondering if this account is accurate in part or whole, and would welcome any estimates from black posters on the percentage of the black comunity (including poor, rich, middle class, Democrat, Republican, etc.) who favor the right to bear arms.

POSTED 7/30/2001

Justin, Chicago, IL, United States, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 7272001122621

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Question:

I guess it's before my time, but recently I read some jokes and found that there are a lot of jokes about Polish people being stupid. How did this start? Why did these people get labeled this way? Was it a specific event, the people in general, or something else?

POSTED 7/30/2001

Chris, Selma, AL, United States, Female, student, Mesg ID 728200121157


Responses:
I grew up next door to a family of Polish-Irish descent, and I learned all of my jokes from them, of which a whopping number were Polish. I eventually came to realize that in their case, these jokes were merely a safe way of laughing at some of humanity's stupider habits. I have never in my life (and there are a lot of Polish folks in Chicago) met anyone who told a Polish joke with the intention of insulting Polish people, which is interesting, as I could not say the same of jokes aimed at blacks or other minorities (gays, etc.). I have seen plenty of times people substitute either their own identity into these types of jokes (many of which are just old, silly, stale jokes), or a different one. So I'm not too sure how the poor Polish people got stuck being the 'default' group, but I've never seen them as any sort of serious stereotype of Polish people.

POSTED 7/30/2001

Carter, Chicago, IL, United States, 29, Male, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 730200114848

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Question:

I understand that many black people in Britain and the United States find the term 'colored' offensive. However, in South Africa, there is a community that for better or worse has been known as colored, and it seems this is regarded by everybody in South Africa, whatever their race or politics, as the normal way of referring to this community. This has become a problem because some schools in London have imported teachers from South Africa, some of them define themselves as colored, and prefer this term to 'mixed race.' So is the term colored acceptable in a South African context?

POSTED 7/30/2001

Campbell M., Glasgow, NA, United Kingdom, <campannexe@yahoo.co.uk>, 41, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, asperger's syndrome, technical translator, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 728200134342

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Question:

Is it true that men have more sex drive than women?

POSTED 7/30/2001

Sarah, Granger, IN, United States, <LemonadeShakeUp@aol.com>, 13, Female, White/Caucasian, Lesbian, Student, Less than High School Diploma, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 729200151020


Responses:
There is a great range of sex drive strength among males and females. Some women have very strong sex drives, while some men don't have a sex drive at all. However, I would say that in general, men have a stronger sex drive than women. This is based mostly on my own observation. But also, there was a study a few years ago that showed that male gay couples had sex more often than male-female couples. Lesbian couples had sex the least-frequently of the three groups. This shows that men generally want to have sex more often than women. Assuming that frequency of sex is a measure of sex drive, it would seem to indicate that men have a stronger sex drive than women.

POSTED 7/30/2001

Rick, Springfield, OH, United States, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 7302001104801


In my experience, no. I've known an equal number of men and women in heterosexual relationships who wanted more sex than their partners did. I think it might seem like men have higher sex drives because women are discouraged from liking sex too much or from having multiple partners. In addition, lots of women have been raped, molested or otherwise sexually abused, and therefore are not comfortable with sex. Many women experience an increase in sex drive as they get older. I know I have.

POSTED 7/30/2001

Rhiannon, Eden Prairie, MN, United States, 31, Female, Jewish, White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 7302001124651


The male sex drive is high in the teens and twenties. Women's sex drive is low at those times, but rises and peaks in the thirties and forties.

POSTED 8/2/2001

Ronald V., Edmonton, Alberta, NA, Canada, Male, Mesg ID 812001111858

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Question:

Why is it that a lot of men can't handle a woman who is emotionally and financially secure? Although most are initially intrigued by my ability to take care of myself, they soon try to regain the 'upper hand' or control. Is this a male trait? Also, because I speak my mind without hesitation (without using ignorance or profanity, mind you), I am referred to as 'bitchy.' Why is this?

POSTED 7/12/2001

Susan, Jacksonville, FL, United States, 41, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Real Estate, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 711200154238


Responses:
There are many possible answers to your question, and without knowing you, I can't tell which ones fit your circumstances. You are reporting your own observations, so you are not a third-party observer, and your own personality is part of the equation. First, many people need a certain amount of interdependence in a relationship; sometimes a lot of it. Clearly, those people are not for you. Some people are dog people, some people are cat people. Second, it may be that your pride in your independence leads you to certain behaviors that others don't like, and you may exhibit those behaviors more dramatically (or even exclusively) with men than with women friends. Remember, I don't know you; I can't tell if you are bitchy or not. I had a female acquaintance who went out of her way to 'assert her independence' toward her husband in ways that I thought were inconsiderate to the point of cruelty, i.e. hiding money, having affairs, lying about where she was going and when she would be back, etc. She wasn't, to my mind, secure and independent; she was nuts. Third - and this is a problem between me and my wife - men and women tend to have different social styles. I and my male friends tend to reach a decision (where to go to lunch, for example) based on who feels more strongly: I might say pizza, a friend might say burgers, and then we negotiate from there. If I really, really want pizza, I'll dig in my heels and typically prevail; if the other guy really, really wants burgers, I'll probably go along after some give and take. My wife and some other women I've known tend to take any 'second opinion' as outright disagreement, not a stage in a negotiation. If my wife says pizza and I say burgers, she'll figure I wouldn't have spoken up at all if pizza were acceptable, and she'll either (from her viewpoint) give in without a word or (because she is independent and secure) she'll announce that we'll have to eat separately. The former leaves me feeling like a bully, because I might well have gone along if she had persevered, and the latter leaves me feeling rejected. Different styles, unintended messages. Does any of that help?

POSTED 7/22/2001

Jerry S., New Britain, CT, United States, <jerryschwartz@comfortable.com>, 53, Male, Jewish, White/Caucasian, Straight, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 720200120342


I don't know if things have always been this way, but I have never had men try to 'regain the upper hand' in college, or now. I did very well in school and never really had that come up as an issue in my relationships in college, though it did intimidate guys in high school. My degree is in engineering, which has been a predominantly male field, and most of the men I dated were engineers. I married an engineer! It was important to my husband that his wife would hold a full-time job so that he was not responsible for 'bringing home the bacon' on his own. This jived with what I know of many of the men I dated. He and I make similar amounts of money, and it has never been an issue that our successes are similar. There may be some men out there who aren't ready to accept women in 'non-traditional' roles, but in my peer group (20s-30s), that sentiment is not openly held. On the question of speaking your mind, I've been working on my assertiveness. I am finding that there is a fine line between 'bitchy' and assertive. I have not been told (yet) that I've crossed that line, but I do recognize that it's there. I see it in my reaction to the other women I work with (and how assertive/aggressive they are/are not). It may take time for the public to learn the difference as well. In the meantime, I've been learning when to speak my mind and when to use other methods to get my point across.

POSTED 7/26/2001

H.M., Cincinnati, OH, United States, 26, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Engineer, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 723200114717


The answer is relatively simple: insecurity. The solution is far too complicated for individuals. The men you speak of still live in the old world, where women stay at home or have a job one would not want to call a career. The level of personal and professional independence you have achieved is threatening to many men, whether they are themselves professionally successful or not, because they are not as certain about their emotional security. Like anyone else who knows what they're looking for, you're going to need a lot of patience. It's much easier to find something if you have no idea what you're looking for, but you probably won't like what you find once you fully realize what you have. If you manage to hold out and find someone worthy of you, you cannot help but be happy. I guess it's the old rule of delayed gratification.

POSTED 7/26/2001

Steve K., Edmonton, Alberta, CA, Canada, 29, Male, Agnostic, Black/African American, Straight, Secondary Teacher, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 7262001122843


A lot of men can't handle women who are emotionally/financially secure because a lot of men are insecure, and we need to have the emotional/financial 'upper-hand' to make ourselves feel important and strong. I think strength is very important to most men, and if we can't see it within ourselves, then we need to see it externally (through the upper-handisms). I think this is primarily a masculine trait. Another reason men feel the need to gain control is that women often encourage male dominance by shying away from men who do not have these 'alpha-male' characteristics. However, I don't think women are referred to as 'bitchy' because they speak their minds or are emotionally independent. I think many women who are manipulative, bossy, obnoxious and/or irrational are referred to as 'bitchy' because they are just that: bitchy.

POSTED 7/30/2001

R.H., Syracuse, NY, United States, 27, Male, Agnostic, Black/African American, Straight, Law Student, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 716200185758


I would welcome a relationship with a woman who is both financially and economically secure. It seems that I meet either one or the other. Women who are finacially secure tend to have emotional problems, and emotionally secure women tend to have finacial problems. I am sure there are many of you out there, though. I am curious about why these men have to 'regain the upper hand.' Is there some sort of dominance issue here? Perhaps I am too much of an idealist, but I believe a good relationship should rely on a balance between strengths and weaknesses of two people. I can relate to the speaking of one's mind without hesitation. In my case, it is often referred as 'Foot IN Mouth Disease.' It's just the way I am.

POSTED 7/30/2001

Dean, Dallas, TX, United States, 34, Male, No organized religion, White/Caucasian, Straight, Automotive Technician, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 717200115455


Like H.M., who also responded to this question, I am an engineer, and the majotiry of my coworkers are men. It has always been this way, and I have never had any problems. Of course, I have met some men who were insecure about their own position in the world, and those are generally the men who have issues with professional women. I have had many coworkers and even some managers who were Indian, Pakistani or Persian/Iranian. These guys are from cultures that are stereotypically very male-dominated. Yet I have never had a problem with them. In fact, some of these guys are my close friends. I am definitely someone who speaks my mind - all the time. If I am not speaking mt mind, people ask me if I am feeling OK. There is a line between assertiveness and bitchiness. I have known and worked with women who crossed that line. In my observation, those were the women who are expecting men to hold them back, so they are already on the defensive. They are looking for chauvinism, so they see it everywhere. Or they transfer their feelings about their experiences with certain men onto all men, expecting them all to be the same way. These women are the ones always trying to get the upper hand to prove they are just as good or better than the men.

POSTED 7/30/2001

Lucy, San Jose, CA, United States, 26, Female, Engineer, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 7272001100625


I have a male friend, a pushy man who walks around giving a lot of unsolicited advice and negative critism using an inflated idealization of himself as a yardstick. People hate him behind his back, but they tolerate him to his face because he has 'juice,' or what-have-you. I tell him people don't really like him, but he responds as if such a thing couldn't be possible. He refuses to acknowledge that people don't appreciate his usually negative input because, after all, he's just 'speaking his mind,' and there's nothing wrong with that, right? Perhaps you are such a person. Here's a failsafe test: if you read the tone of this post as 'jealous,' you're probably the kind of jerk described above, and the part when your boyfriends 'try to regain the 'upper hand'' is probably the point at which they get sick of taking your crap.

POSTED 7/30/2001

Justin, Chicago, IL, United States, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 727200122623


In a male dominant society, men tend to want control, to nurture and to be a provider for 'their' woman. They feel they would be seen as weak if their woman seemed to be more dominant than them. Within your socio-demographic, men will tend to prefer 'feminine' females. We have had years of being fed an 'image' of the perfect woman by the media. This ranges from Disney's Snow White - a stay-at-home housewife, if you will, who prepares the house for her seven working men, to Sleeping Beauty - who falls asleep and is awoken by her perfect man (you can't get any more passive than that) - to a modern advertising industry that says, 'Use our product, become more attractive and capture your man.' This is also a society that puts physical beauty over intelligence. You can say I'm stronger than you, but you can't say I'm more intelligent than you without appearing conceited. Any woman not conforming to any of the above stereotyping will be seen as an outsider and will be referred to in derogatory terms. So the short answer is you are causing male insecurity! Although most would deny or not recognize it if questioned.

POSTED 7/30/2001

S., London, NA, United Kingdom, 33, Male, Humanist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Company Director, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 730200135433


Many guys possess various levels of insecurity, and much of it is due to the 'macho ideal.' According to this ideal, which is no doubt perpetuated by their circle of friends, they ought to be the top dog. Imagine a cover of a cheesy romance novel in which some buff pirate guy is holding the quivering, helpless nobleman's daughter in his arms, and that's basically the macho ideal in a nutshell. In contemporary terms, a guy who doesn't have mastery over his life (which means having the upper hand financially and emotionally in a dating/marriage relationship) is seen as falling short of this. He is perceived as seeking the financially (more) stable woman as his 'sugar momma,' and he is perceived as seeking the emotionally (more) stable woman in order to have someone other than himself wear the pants in the relationship. Essentially it's a matter of machismo, ego and insecurity.

POSTED 7/30/2001

Dan, Los Angeles, CA, United States, 22, Male, Pentecostal, Hispanic/Latino, student, 2 Years of College, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 7232001100222


I believe we all choose relationships with people who are at the same level of dysfunction as ourselves, i.e. our relationships mirror the 'issues' we need to work out. So the question is: why are you attracting/or are attracted to those type of men where control seems to be the issue? I also speak my mind without hesitation but am not typically referred to as 'bitchy' (lacking prudence, diplomacy, tact, maybe) so you may be doing more than merely 'speaking your mind.' I'm independent, opinionated, etc. I am also 6'1", which adds a whole new dimension to the male insecurity deal. Six years ago, I married a man who has all the same traits, which makes us fiercely competitive. He calls me a 'bull dog,' I say he is 'hard-headed,' but in the end, we have tremendous love and respect for each other and our individual strengths and talents. He never tries to dominate me, nor is he a milksop to be trodden over. Most importantly, we strive for honest communication (microscopic truths) that tries to address the message behind the message that is so often the problem in male/female relationships. There are many men out there who appreciate and respect strong, independent women, but you might have some things to work on in yourself before you find them.

POSTED 8/2/2001

Misho, Las Vegas, NV, United States, 35, Female, White/Caucasian, Straight, Analyst, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 730200150455

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