Best of the Week
of Sept. 2, 2001

Best of Week Archives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of Sept. 2, 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:

I am going to start work in an office next week. Most of the women in the office are extremely overweight and wear dresses that are very old-fashioned and are these neon colors. I'm by no means a model, but I have a nice figure and like to look my best and feel good about how I look. How do I dress businesslike and feel good without feeling like I'm upstaging these other women? I don't want to be labeled 'the skinny girl in the office,' but I don't want to hide behind a tent dress just to fit in.

POSTED 9/5/2001

Missy, Somewhere, PA, United States, 34, Female, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 95200115047

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Question:

Is it true that Indian women practice "eating down" (reducing their food intake) during pregnancy? What are the reasons for this, and why do Indian women eat only after the males have finished? Can someone help me with more information so I can understand this?

POSTED 8/27/2001

Bold, Melbourne, NA, Australia, 20, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Nurse, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 8262001111200


Responses:
I don't know about the 'eating down' practice you mentioned. However, in some cultures, males are so dominant that there isn't even parity regarding food consumption. Men will eat first because they have a higher status than women. Whatever is left is consumed by the women and children. Choice food items such as meat might even be off limits to the woman who cooked it.

POSTED 9/5/2001

Just Me, Philadelphia, PA, United States, Black/African American, Mesg ID 828200141116


Being an Indian woman, I've never seen other Indian women eat less during pregnancy, unless they had morning sickness, which is not ethnically specific. It may be that Indian food is spicy and bothers the stomach, and Indian ladies have a more restricted diet that way. I'm pretty sure, though, that eatung less is not a cultural thing. For the second part of the question, in my experience, the eating seperately is quite similar to the American situation of the men watching the 'game' while the women sit in the kitchen adn chat. Long, long ago, in Indian villages far, far away, the men were considered more important, as the hunters, warriors, etc. In tribal cultures, the more important people ate first. This isn't solely an Indian thing. See who eats first at a traditional 'white' dinner, too. Dad gets the big piece of chicken, right? The tradition has held up over time, even though the belief that started it hasn't.

POSTED 9/5/2001

Jen, Detroit, MI, United States, 25, Female, Atheist, Bi-Racial-Indian/White, Straight, Communications, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 94200180040

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Question:

Why is it that many Italian and Greek women where I am from stick to their own and do not date others?

POSTED 9/5/2001

Steve, Toronto, Ontario, NA, Canada, 22, Male, Protestant, White/Caucasian, Straight, Waiter, High School Diploma, Lower class, Mesg ID 95200175144

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Question:

Many older people (i.e. those who reached adulthood in the first half of the 20th century or soon thereafter) seem to have an unexplained, free-floating bitterness, anger and in general sour disposition. I have to wonder: How much of this is due to repressed childhood and young-adult sexual trauma? After all, in that era, these things were not spoken of in public, and this generation was trained practically to worship its elders, so that a 'molester uncle,' for instance, could get by with pretty much anything and the child would not have been believed, anyway. Likewise, those with homosexual attractions simply went ahead, got married and essentially lived a lie. There seem to be so many irritable, grouchy people among this generation, and I can't believe it's all due to old age and illness. They seem to be acting out something they can't go back and erase.

POSTED 9/5/2001

Augustine, Columbia, SC, United States, 40, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 95200141608

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Question:

I have a new friend of Asian descent and have found he has very little body hair. Not being very educated on different nationalities, I am wondering why that is.

POSTED 8/27/2001

D.C.S., Indianapolis, IN, United States, 40, Female, Just plain spiritual, White/Caucasian, Straight, Loss and Prevention Specialist, High School Diploma, Lower middle class, Mesg ID 8262001123818


Responses:
Although it's more common for Asian males to have little body hair, it DOES occur. It's just genetics - just as it is with our black hair and shaped eyes. There are some Asian men with full beards and chest hair, but there happen to be more without.

POSTED 9/5/2001

Romy, Clinton Township, MI, United States, Asian, Mesg ID 829200155716


I am an Asian female and don't have much hair in funny places, either. It's in the genes, just like the eyes and skin color, and the nose.

POSTED 9/5/2001

Syafinaz, Kuala, NA, Malaysia, 23, Female, Agnostic, Straight, Less than High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 830200142156


Different ethnic or racial groups have differing amounts of body hair; it's just that simple. Chinese and Japanese tend to be fairly sparse in that regard; the Ainu, who also live in Japan but are quite different, tend to be more hairy. I seem to recall that the Chinese contrasted themselves with their Mongol overlords, as the Mongols had beards.

POSTED 9/5/2001

Jerry S., New Britain, CT, United States, Male, Mesg ID 831200115321


Not being a geneticist, I can't give you a fully scientific answer, but the simple answer is that the amount of body hair any person has is due to genetics (heredity). What we term 'racial groups' share a number of genetic characteristics, and body hair or lack therof is just one of them. In other words, 'Its just one of those things.' Also, I doubt your friend would consider this characteristic to be a 'lack,' and he might even think you have excess body hair. It's all a matter of what you are used to seeing.

POSTED 9/5/2001

Ramonna, Minneapolis, MN, United States, 40s, Female, Episcopalian, Black/African American, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 94200181223

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Question:

What are people's views about when a women is at her sexiest in life? Is a young women in her 20s sexier than a woman in her mid-30s or early 40s? I don't mean just her physical appearance, but also her personality and mind.

POSTED 8/27/2001

Lauren, VC, NA, Australia, Female, Mesg ID 826200133323


Responses:
One would have to know a woman for a long period of time in order to judge when that woman was the sexiest. There are sexy women of all ages. Some women are young and sexy ... but some women put on a few pounds in the right places and get a good streak of gray hair and age into their sexiness.

POSTED 9/5/2001

Amos, Chicago, IL, United States, 32, Male, Methodist, Black/African American, Straight, Mortgage Banker, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 830200195920

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Question:

Can a Catholic get a dispensation from the Church to marry a Jew?

POSTED 8/27/2001

Don E., Potomac, MD, United States, 49, Male, Mesg ID 825200192721


Responses:
This Catholic husband has been happily married to his Jewish wife more than 20 years. I think we learn a lot from each other. We were married in a non-sectarian college chapel by a campus priest. We could not find a rabbi willing to officiate. During our pre-Cana lessons, we were segregated to the inter-faith group, but thought we had a pretty good chance to make it. We have always been respectful and supportive of each other's faiths. Our only common family holiday is Thanksgiving. There are no arguments over where we last spent Shabbos, Christmas, Passover Seder, Easter, etc.

POSTED 9/5/2001

JRT, Voorhees, NJ, United States, Mesg ID 831200123600


Yes, a Catholic can receive such a dispensation. It must come from the bishop of that person's diocese. The Jewish partner must make a promise that they will not interfere with the practice of your religion, and must also promise that any children who result from your marriage will be raised Catholic.

POSTED 9/5/2001

John, Detroit, MI, United States, Male, Mesg ID 93200151321


The simple answer is yes. A Catholic can marry a member of another faith. There are usually a few conditions. If a Catholic wants to marry a Jew (or Protestant, or Hindu, whatever) in a Catholic church, the couple will have to confer with the Catholic's pastor. During an interview, the Catholic will generally be asked if he/she intends to do everything possible to raise any future children in the Catholic faith. If the answer is 'yes,' there usually won't be any difficulty in getting authorization for a valid, sacramental, Catholic wedding.

POSTED 9/5/2001

Astorian, Austin, TX, United States, 40, Male, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, Mesg ID 93200193207

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