Best of the Week
of Sept. 17, 2000

Best of Week Archives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of Sept. 17, 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.

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Question:
If a man has married and even fathered children, and then discovers (or admits) he is attracted to men, why does he then call himself gay rather than bisexual? If he was able to be aroused by his wife at some point, why does he suddenly go exclusively the other way? Do people have an aversion to classifying themselves as bisexual?
POSTED 9/21/2000
Andrea K., Farmington, ME, United States, 40, Female, Catholic, White/Caucasian, teacher/musician, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 9500113403

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Question:
Why are some people against dogs in public places, such as public transportation, restaurants, stores, hotels, etc.?
POSTED 9/19/2000
Lee H., Sacramento, CA, United States, 55, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight, artist, 2 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID 9192000125052

Responses:
I am a bona fide dog lover. We had dogs (Boxers or German Shepherds) the entire time I was growing up. As an adult, I've owned nothing but Boxers, and I truly love and adore them. However, they are animals, and there are some things I do not allow my dogs to do. Licking my face, sleeping in my bed and eating with me are just a few of them. There are also certain places where I do not believe animals belong. I wouldn't want to eat in a restaurant where dogs were allowed because of their flying hair, their habit of licking themselves whenever and wherever they choose and other things. Also, many people have allergic reactions to animals or have a legitimate fear of them. These people should be able to enjoy a meal in public without being subject to an attack (whether it be allergic or physical) because of a dog. I don't have a problem with dogs in hotels as long as they are not permitted to roam freely. The only animal I think should be allowed on public transportation is a seeing-eye dog. As a dog lover, I have to keep in mind that not everyone shares my devotion.
POSTED 9/19/2000
Elaine, Newport News, VA, United States, 52, Female, Black/African American, Human Resources Rep, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 9192000101046

Some dogs are well-mannered, especially when they have nice owners who train them well. Other dogs jump all over strangers, slobber on them and sometimes even growl at or bite them. This is an invasion of space. I would never do that. I might jump on company's lap if they are nice to me, and I often rub against people's legs, but I don't make a pest out of myself.
POSTED 9/19/2000
Shadow, Minneapolis, MN, United States, 12, Female, Grey furry Feline-American, Mesg ID 9192000101634

I don't like dogs - the smell, the slobber, the fur. I wouldn't want to stay in a hotel room that smelled of dogs or eat in a restaurant where a dog could pop up and lick my hand or sniff at my plate or pee at my feet. Not all dogs are well-behaved, and accidents happen - I just wouldn't want to put up with the potential hassle. I wish I could say I'm an animal-lover, but I'm not.
POSTED 9/21/2000
S.R., Austin, TX, United States, 22, Female, Humanist, White/Caucasian, Straight, student, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 919200050332

1) some people are allergic, and it's extremely uncomfortable to be in close quarters with an animal.
2) In restaurants and hotels, for some people it seems unsanitary to have animals around where food is being served. It's particularly unpleasant to watch people who share food with their pets on restaurant dishes, or to find animal hair on tables.
3) Some animals can and do get out of control in public places. Most people who bring their animals out in public have them well-trained, but there are exceptions.
POSTED 9/21/2000
Elaine, Los Angeles, CA, United States, Male, Mesg ID 919200094527

Because they want to be left alone and don't want dogs coming up to them, smelling them, licking them, barking at them, jumping on them, dirtying their clothes, scaring their children, etc. Not to mention that some dogs bite. Also, some people just don't like dogs, and others are actually afraid of them.
POSTED 9/21/2000
C.P., Montreal, Quebec, NA, Canada, 22, Female, Mesg ID 9202000123646

I love dogs, but there are people who are allergic to dogs or are very afraid of them. Remember, although some people treat their dogs like children, they are just animals. Some dogs are not good with strangers and may bite. Not all dogs bite, but how are people to know the difference? And my pet peeves against dog owners: Don't walk your dogs on my lawn, and don't leave your dog outside all night where their barking keeps me up.
POSTED 9/21/2000
Laura, Baltimore, MD, United States, 24, Female, White/Caucasian, student, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 920200052231
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Question:
Why do TV news programs use Asian women as reporters and anchors, but not Asian men? And why do magazine photo ads with a racially diverse group use an Asian woman instead of an Asian man?
POSTED 9/19/2000
Larry T., Portland, OR, United States, 38, Male, Teacher, Mesg ID 917200031129

Responses:
I don't know why there are so few Asian men represented in the media, but it's a shame. Usually, the only ones you see are martial artists. One nice exception to this is Curtis, a 29-year-old Asian-American lawyer who is on Big Brother. He's intelligent, funny, sexy and might actually win!
POSTED 9/19/2000
Rhiannon, Eden Prairie, MN, United States, <hyena@visi.com>, 30, Female, Jewish, White/Caucasian, Straight, Middle class,Mesg ID 9192000103220

What you observe is not practiced outside the United States. CNBC Asia - an English-language program for Asia and Australia - uses both men and women of all races. The United States seems to be very backward compared to Europe, Asia or Australia, preferring men to women as TV authority figures; and I assume network figures worry about Asian men, by virtue of their gender, being seen to be in authority. Presumably they feel Asian women, of the subsidiary gender, carry little threat to the audience.
POSTED 9/21/2000
Kent, Melbourne, NA, Australia, 57, Male, Episcopalian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Consultant, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 920200013914
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Question:
While reading today, I came across a reference to black people and watermelon (apparently there is a joke or myth that they eat it all the time). I've heard about this several times over the years but don't know its origin. How in the world did this joke/myth come to be? Why watermelon?
POSTED 9/18/2000
S.R., Austin, TX, United States, 22, Female, Humanist, White/Caucasian, Straight, student, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 9142000102224

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Question:
Is it true that there are more gay men than lesbians? If so, why? (I live in an area where the numbers seem about equal, but then again, lots of gay people move to the San Francisco Bay area.)
POSTED 9/21/2000
Crystal, Oakland, CA, United States, Female, Pagan, White/Caucasian, Straight, Office Manager, 2 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 824200044205

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Question:
This mainly goes out to people who have been in long distance relationships: It's been more than a year since I've last seen my ex-girlfriend. We both went different ways after high school, and our relationship ended nine months later. I have tried moving on, even though we're just friends. I finaly wrote her a letter saying it was a good time for me to say goodbye, and I haven't heard from her or written her since. But ... how long does it take for the emptiness to vanish?
POSTED 9/18/2000
Josh B., Fresno, CA, United States, 18, Male, Agnostic, Asian, Straight, Full Time Student, 2 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 9172000110816

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Question:
Maybe this question has more to do with my own self-confidence or lack thereof, but how does a man meet women who respect themselves? How does one approach a woman in a way that is respectful to them, but still indicates that one might desire to know them better? Furthermore, where does one go to meet such women?
POSTED 9/18/2000
Stumped, Rochester, NY, United States, 31, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, White-collar wage slave, 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 917200012727

Responses:
Wow! I like your questions. Thank goodness; there is hope after all. I have never met men who are interested in women with values/morals. You can meet 'those' types of women almost anywhere: happy-hour, through friends, libraries, movies, church ... and the list goes on. You just have to approach them in a manner that does not insinuate sex or being raunchy. There are lots of women out there who are interested in knowing the inner person; and most women would prefer a friendship/solid relationship to a casual, sex-oriented relationship. Just keep looking for your Ms. Right; you will find her.
POSTED 9/19/2000
Grace, Miami, FL, United States, 23, Female, Black/African American, student, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 919200023303

I think the problem here is that we still lack a meeting place better than bars, which are a terrible place to meet the kind of women you're talking about (same problem with meeting men, I assure you). As a woman, I have trouble meeting self-respecting, 'together' women with whom I can have a friendship. Some people say that church is a good place for meeting, but I see you're atheist, and basically, so am I, so church isn't the answer for us. As for approaching women: Don't you need to find one first? Or do you just like to always be prepared? Hmmm, didn't answer your question, but at least I know that there are other people (at least one) who are in a quandary over where to find the land of perfect mate.
POSTED 9/21/2000
Leslie H., Cliffside Park, NJ, United States, 32, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Straight, 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 9202000125721

First, high praises to you for asking a question that does not objectify women as sex objects. How you think of women and treat them is very important. Respectful women want to be friends with men and discuss important, non-sex-related issues. Respectful women want to be treated with respect and not gawked at, groped or grabbed. Sex is important in a relationship, but you shouldn't bring it up too soon because respectful women will think you are just after sex. Respectful women don't wear slutty clothes and are often educated and independent. Bookstores, coffee houses, college classes, libraries and political events are a good place to start. Upper-scale bars are probably OK if you don't make a bee line for the girl with the shortest skirt and biggest boobs.
POSTED 9/21/2000
Nancy, Atlanta, GA, United States, 32, Female, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, sales, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 920200013653
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Question:
Is there a difference between races in the rate at which medications/drugs take effect in the body - and the extent of the effects? That is, are there differences in pharmacological metabolism?
POSTED 9/18/2000
Humberto G., Mexico City, n/, United States, 49, Male, Catholic, Hispanic/Latino, director, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 918200062350

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Question:
This question is particularly for Vermonters or other New Englanders: Based on its recent and colonial history, Vermont seems to have a much greater respect for common decency, civil liberties and basic equality than any other state. Vermont was the first state to abolish slavery (in 1777 before it was even admitted as the 14th state) and the first to grant legal equality to same-sex and different-sex marriages (civil unions law went into effect July 2000). Notwithstanding the recent surge in bigotry by anti-marriage groups, Vermont is years ahead of most of the rest of the country. Can anyone explain A) what is so special about Vermont, and B) how the rest of the country can learn these values? How can a largely rural state with virtually no racial minorities (no major racial or ethnic minority makes up even 1 percent of the state's population) be so advanced?
POSTED 9/14/2000
Frank, Washington, DC, United States, 24, Male, Methodist, white Southerner, Gay, statistician, Over 4 Years of College , Upper middle class, Mesg ID 914200020235

Responses:
You might want to consider some things that conflict with your idyllic image. Vermont also had a racist policy of sterilizing as many American Indian men and women as they could get their hands on, and completely AGAINST the will of the natives. This lasted for more than 50 years, until the early 1970s. More recently, some people in the state government are pushing for the use of forcible genetic testing to deny natives their legal status as citizens of tribal nations. I'd say that lack of a large no-white population is the key to understanding the mentality of much of that state's people. It's more of an attitude of 'We can be generous toward anyone who's not our kind. But we don't want TOO many of them here.' That's actually slightly better than many places in this country, but still hardly something we should be encouraging.
POSTED 9/18/2000
A.C.C., W. Lafayette, IN, United States, Male, Mexican and American Indian, Grad student, history, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 916200085727

While not from Vermont, I have studied this topic before. Carving out a living in 'frontier' states did not leave room for bigotry, and in addition, anyone who survived proved themself worthy of respect. I believe this theory is confirmed by the state of Wisconsin, another frontier state, that was the first to grant the vote to women, even when it was a territory. Numerous frontier states support similar stories, with the exception of Alska, but I believe that is due to the fact Alaska was not considered a place to settle, but as resource to be exploited.
POSTED 9/18/2000
Alex, Elkins Park, PA, United States, Male, Mesg ID 9152000104646

Vermont has a history of populism in the true sense, not the right wing kind. I don't know why this is true, but there are real differences between Vermont and Maine and New Hampshire. Around the turn of the last century, Emma Goldman went to the Barre Granite Quarry and addressed the granite workers; Norman Thomas also showed up in Vermont a number of times. I think that some of the progressiveness is due to independence and the live-and-let-live philosophy of northern New England. Lately, though, the progressive politics are at least partially due to an influx of out-of-staters, and this as much as anything is at the core of the reaction against civil marriage.
POSTED 9/18/2000
Naomi, Standish, ME, United States, <nomad@watchic.net>, 45, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Lesbian, Organizer, 2 Years of College , Lower class, Mesg ID 917200020249
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Question:
To girls/women who wear short skirts or revealing dresses: Why do you do this? To attract men's interest? As a natural way to feel good about yourself? Because you enjoy arousing men? Because you believe it's your duty to please men? Also, if a man pretends not to notice, are you hurt?
POSTED 9/13/2000
Philip, Kuala Lumpur, NA, Malaysia, Male, Asian, Straight, Mesg ID 912200015405

Responses:
I've been wearing skirts and tank tops lately because they are cooler and much more comfortable than heavy jeans and sleeved shirts. (It's hot here in south Texas.) I've noticed that I tend to feel better about myself when I look more feminine, and yes, sometimes I enjoy getting looks from men (not arousing them, just being noticed). At other times I'd rather not be noticed at all and am happy to wear plain, unrevealing clothing. There is no great ulterior motive to wearing these clothes; it just feels better. When a man 'pretends' not to notice (or doesn't notice, period), it seems to be a gesture of respect. If he does, it's kind of flattering and funny (as long as he's not being disgustingly overt).
POSTED 9/18/2000
S.R., Austin, TX, United States, 22, Female, Humanist, White/Caucasian, Straight, student, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 9142000100949

Maybe it's just hot. Sometimes I wear a short skirt. Sometimes I don't. Sometimes I do this with the idea of attracting male attention - maybe I'm going to a party, or on a date, or out with friends. Sometimes I do it just for comfort. You seem to have an implicit idea that a woman's body is nothing more and nothing less than a sexual object, and that to wear a short skirt is an automatic sexual invitation, while covering up is the only way to avoid having men see one that way. Do you think if a man wears tight pants it's because he believes it's his duty to please women?
POSTED 9/14/2000
Colleen, New York, NY, United States, 21, Female, Mesg ID 913200030228

You may as well ask 'Why do men wear shorts and singlets - or even no shirt at all?' I wear short skirts because I live in a very warm place and it is too hot to wear much else {although I try to wear long-sleeved shirts to prevent sunburn}. Trust me, there are very few women around who wear revealing stuff just for guys. We aren't here just for your visual pleasure, you know.
POSTED 9/21/2000
Netta, Armidale, NA, Australia, 18, Female, Christian, White/Caucasian, Straight, Student, High School Diploma , Middle class, Mesg ID 9192000111421

I think Philip is asking about something more than a skirt above the knees or a tank top. Hopefully he means skirts that come right below women's butt cheeks and shirts that allow someone to guess a woman's bra size without much difficulty. I also think he's asking why some women put their bodies out there as objects. As I walk down a street and see the lack of length in skirts, the tightness of tops and bottoms, and the revealing necklines, I can't help but think the same questions that he's asking, and I'm a woman.
POSTED 9/21/2000
Stacey, Boston, MA, United States, <stimply@bigfoot.com>, 28, Female, 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 9192000112459

I wear revealing clothes because I'm young and have a nice figure. I want to enjoy being this way. Age will take my nice figure and looks away eventually. If you got, it flaunt it, right? I do it also because I like to get some attention. I like it when guys look at me in a non-threatening, non-obtrusive manner. I like to know that men find me attractive. I also feel good about dressing myself up. I do it for me. If a man gets aroused, then that's on him. I feel good about myself all the time, whether or not I'm wearing revealing clothes. I just have the confidence in myself to dare to be bare.
POSTED 9/21/2000
Dorothy, Porterville, CA, United States, Female, Mesg ID 920200020342
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Question:
What do men think of women with full, 'pouty' lips? I inherited this and as an adolescent was teased and questioned about my ethnicity, but now guys tell me it's attractive. Do men think this is a flaw or strength?
POSTED 2/9/1999
Julie H., N/A, MO, United States, 19, Female, Mesg ID 299914229

Responses:
I think it's a matter of taste. I usually don't even notice unless the lips are unusual in some way. I do find lipstick beyond the natural lip borders unattractive. The star of the new show 'Dark Angel' has unusually full lips, and I find her face intriguing. You were probably teased about your lips because that was what the others noticed; they'd have just as readily teased you about something else.
POSTED 9/18/2000
Jerry S., New Britain, CT, United States, 52, Male, Jewish, White/Caucasian, Straight, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 913200045803
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