Best of the Week
of Oct. 15, 2000

Best of Week Archives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of Oct. 15, 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:
I've heard that Mormons aren't supposed to have caffeine, but that they've signed a deal with Coca-Cola, and that now it is OK for them Mormons to drink Coke products. Is this true?
POSTED 10/17/2000
Tanner H., Laramie, WY, United States, 18, Male, Lutheran, White/Caucasian, Straight, Student, High School Diploma, Mesg ID 10170012803

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Question:
My friend makes a lot of comments suggesting he has an interest in homosexuality. He told me about a study about men's finger-length and orientation, he's made joking remarks about becoming bisexual, he pays special attention to gay questions in Savage Love, he 'jokingly' appreciates pictures of the male body. He also likes to embrace and lie on my bed with me in his arms, to caress my back, put his hand on my buttocks, and he lets me touch him, too. But then he also demonstratively appreciates beautiful women in public, and has been with his first girlfriend for eight years, and had a couple of sexual dalliances with other women. My question is, do straight men normally engage in limited sexual contact with other men? Or is it more likely that he's a fence-sitter, as I am?
POSTED 10/16/2000
Dont know what to think, Seattle, WA, United States, <eyenvu@hotmail.com>, 35, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 10140034824

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Question:
We get a lot of Japanese-from-Japan tourists here in Hawaii, and something puzzles me. Japanese people appear to love a lot of American culture. I have friends who are very Caucasian-looking who have made lots of money modeling in Japanese fashion magazines. Why hasn't orthodontia become popular in Japan? You see a beautifully dressed, immaculately made-up young Japanese woman. She opens her mouth and has the worst snaggle teeth you've ever seen. Their teeth are clean, just really crooked. Asian people in general seem to have teeth that are more crooked than other people's teeth. Are their mouths just too small for the number of teeth they have? Or is it that Americans are obsessed with teeth?
POSTED 10/16/2000
Maile, Makawao, HI, United States, 19, Female, Methodist, Pacific Islander, Straight, Student, 4 Years of College , Lower middle class, Mesg ID 10150085828

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Question:
I am a late-20s Asian male professional in Chicago. I notice that when Asian men express their sexuality to Caucasian women (i.e. flirt, jog shirtless, make eye contact or otherwise express interest), it makes Caucasian women uncomfortable, which is exhibited in their body language and facial expressions. I realize that some Caucasian women are not this way, but my question is directed to those who have this 'problem.' Why are so many Caucasian women uncomfortable with an Asian male who has a sexual identity?
POSTED 10/16/2000
David, Chicago, IL, United States, <linstirr@earthlink.net>, 27, Male, Agnostic, Asian, Straight, Attorney, Over 4 Years of College , Upper middle class, Mesg ID 10150041248

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Question:
Within the last year I came in contact with two Russian females. They are both very similar in personality. They both are bold, feisty, nosy, hot-tempered and sometimes just flat-out rude. Also, I remember a famous Russian from TV, Flora from The Real World in Miami, and she was also what I described above. Is this just coincidence between these three people, or do Russian females have attitudes, sort of like the black female? Well, you know, stereotypically.
POSTED 10/16/2000
Jay, Pensacola, FL, United States, 21, Male, Muslim, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, Less than High School Diploma , Upper middle class, Mesg ID 101600124226

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Question:
I've recently befriended a lesbian colleague. We have become very close, and I found myself thinking about her romantically. The thing is, I have always thought of myself as straight. I told her of my feelings, but she admitted she wasn't attracted to me whatsoever. The thing I find so confusing is that I know she likes me a lot, and even told me once that she thinks I look good. So the problem is not my looks, evidently, and not my personality, either, since we get along so well. So, I felt extremely hurt that she could not feel the same about me. Because I'm so confused about my sexual orientation right now, I can only guess how it is for gays. How can they differentiate between a friend and a potentail lover? Can a relationship that starts out as a friendship evolve to more than that? I know this colleague has several lesbian friends with whom she hasn't been sexually involved. I've often wondered how she manages to draw the line. I mean, she loves her friends, but each might be a potential lover. So how can it be that sex hasn't got in the way? I'd appreciate it if lesbians would share some of their similar experiences.
POSTED 10/16/2000
Irene, New York, NY, United States, 28, Female, Jewish, White/Caucasian, Still not sure of sexual orientation, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 10160090404

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Question:
Why is it that Germans have a different liver from other people for assimilating so much beer?
POSTED 10/13/00
Ghislain B., Namur, Belgium, Mesg ID 10130054740

Responses:
Actually, our livers dont't cope all that well with alcohol. According to http://www.alcoholconcern.org.uk/information/factsheets/factsheet27.htm, cirrhosis deaths are a respectable 21.5/100,000 (presumably per year) in Germany; the risk to Belgians is about half that, at a total alcohol consumption that is only 10 percent lower (see http://fathers.ourfamily.com/alcoholconsume.htm). By the way, it's not the Germans who drink the most beer per capita but the Czechs (see http://beerchina.com/beerenglish/comsptn_by_country_en.htm )
POSTED 10/16/2000
Tomas S., Tuebingen, NA, Germany, 38, Male, engineer, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 10160014131

We Australians can drink anyone under the table.
POSTED 10/16/2000
Priscilla, Sydney, NA, Australia, 23, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 10160065909
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Question:
Should gays or lesbians try to change their sexual orientation? Are there any web sites with information about this?
POSTED 10/12/00
Jenn W., Whittier, CA, United States, <jenn_vbgirl@yahoo.com>, 18, Female, Presbyterian, White/Caucasian, Straight, student, High School Diploma , Upper middle class, Mesg ID 101200120627

Responses:
If someone feels dissatisfied with their lifestyle for whatever reason, they should examine all the options that are available. If the individuals want to change, they should be allowed to do so, hindered by no one. Yes, there are web sites available for those who want to change. www.imaginethatministries.org is one site that is available. Exodus International is another group, although I don't have their web site.
POSTED 10/16/2000
Ronald V., Edmonton, Alberta, NA, Canada, 47, Male, Christian, Mesg ID 10130025139

Gays and lesbians will always be attracted to people of the same sex. Despite what the religious right may want us to believe, homosexuality is not a choice, and once it is there it cannot be undone. However, it is possible for gays and lesbians to become attracted to people of the opposite sex as well. I was never happy being gay, not for religious reasons but because I wanted a family and kids, and I became quite depressed when my repeated attempts to stop being attracted to other men failed. But I did manage to condition myself to be attracted to women as well, and it was by no means easy. At first I had no interest in women, and now I have been in a relationship with a woman for seven months. When it became physical, I was nervous and awkward. But it didn't take long for me to get used to it. Now I really enjoy the physical aspect of our relationship, and I find myself checking out other women, too. But I am also still attracted to men; I just don't act on it. Gays and lesbians can never become heterosexual, but it is possible for them to become bisexual if the will is there. They can have meaningful, fulfilling relationships with members of the opposite sex, but the attraction to the same sex will never go away.
POSTED 10/16/2000
Robert, London, Ontario, NA, Canada, 29, Male, Atheist, Bisexual, Mesg ID 10140040253

In my humble opinion, no. In my case, it would just be unnatural to do so, and I'm happy the way I am. My advice for people who are unhappy with the gay lifestyle, and there are many, is to reject the labels and stereotypes, in the same way you would refuse to conform to the heterosexual 'norm.' Be gay or queer or whatever, but do it your own way. A famous 'ministry' that aims to encourage gays and lesbians to change their orientation is at http://www.exodusnorthamerica.org/ A news story there is worth reading - Exodus recently had to discipline one of their leaders who was caught in a gay bar. The methods used by these groups are controversial, and Exodus is probably more famous for statements made by 'ex-ex-gays' about them than for any success in really changing sexual orientation.
POSTED 10/16/2000
Ben S., Sydney, NA, Australia, <bscaro@hotmail.com>, 32, Male, Buddhist, White/Caucasian, Gay, Investigator, 4 Years of College , Lower middle class, Mesg ID 10150085936

Speaking from both personal experience and years of research, one's sexual orientation (whether gay or straight) is something one is born with and is therefore unchangeable. While we all have choices to make in terms of sexual behavior, 'sexual orientation' and 'sexual behavior' are different things. For instance, if I were not in a long-term, committed relationship, but instead had decided to be celibate, I would still have that basic attraction to members of my own sex, and that is what defines me as a gay man. It is something I cannot change, and even if I could, at 41 years of age I'd hate to have to relearn everything.
POSTED 10/16/2000
Chuck A., Spring Hill, WV, United States, <PolishBear@aol.com>, 41, Male, Gay, Mesg ID 101600112956

People should not change sexual orientation, if they are comfortable with the way they are - whatever is natural for them. (I was brought up as a Presbyterian as well.)
POSTED 10/16/2000
Priscilla, Sydney, NA, Australia, 23, Female, Agnostic, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 10160065231

If you are uncomfortable with how you feel, then you need to look for alternatives. If you want to break out, there is a web site titled www.anotherchanceministries.org This not only applies to homosexuality, but depression, or any struggle that you might have. Why do people have to be bound? Jesus came to set all of us free.
POSTED 10/17/2000
A. Valentine, Edmonton, Alberta, NA, Canada, Male, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 10170022741

You've actually asked a couple of questions. 1) Can people change their sexual orientation? The answer is that the sex or sexes one is attracted to is innate and predetermined. Sexual orientation is a genetically and hormonally determined and God-given trait. People can control their behavior, but a person who is gay can never have a fulfilling romantic relationship with someone of the opposite sex unless he or she is bisexual. Similarly, someone who is heterosexual can only be fulfilled emotionally and physically by a relationship with someone of a different sex. 2) Should gay people pretend to be hetero? Should hetero people try to make themselves gay? No, people should be themselves. 3) Web sites? A civil rights group, the Human Rights Campaign (www.hrc.org/) has links to information on the so-called 'ex-gay groups' that harm people by misleading them, lowering their self-esteem and inducing self-loathing, and failing to recognize the basic equality between gay and heterosexual romantic relationships. By the way, these groups have never succeeded in changing an individual's orientation.
POSTED 10/17/2000
Frank, Washington, DC, United States, 25, Male, Methodist, white Southerner, Gay, statistician, Over 4 Years of College , Upper middle class, Mesg ID 10170032323
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