Best of the Week
of Nov. 25, 2001

Best of Week Archives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of Nov. 25, 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.

First-time users should first make a quick stop at Y?'s guidelines pages for asking and answering questions.

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Question:

This is for any American: I'm a Mexican living in Mexico City. Two weeks ago I had a business meeting in Atlanta. This trip turned out to be the most traumatic experience of my life. I was walking in a mall when a group of men mistook me for an Arab. They started to yell and abuse me in the most profane language they knew. I just walked away without responding. I never expected this of the American people. I've been thinking about this a lot after my return home. Is American society just flat ignorant or racist? Can anyone enlighten me?

POSTED 11/30/2001

Omar G., Mexico City, NA, Mexico, Male, Catholic, Hispanic/Latino, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 1129200125558

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Question:

To African Americans and Asians: What comes into your mind when you think of the physical characteristics of white people?

POSTED 11/27/2001

Bobby, Portland, OR, United States, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID 1124200130049


Responses:
Just off the top of my head, without trying to be PC all-inclusive: Varying hair colors and textures from white to black, stick-straight and fine to curly and coarse; varying eye colors from blue to black; red-faced when angry, embarrassed or after exertion; flatter bottom, no matter what their weight; men hairier than black men or Asians, i.e. fingers and toes, chests, legs, backs; and lots of people with very small lips.

POSTED 11/30/2001

Jennifer, St. Paul, MN, United States, 31, Female, Christian, Black/African American, Straight, Non-Profit, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 1128200192233


Fair skin. That's it, really. I have a lot of friends of varying ethnic backgrounds, and come to think of it, my closest white friends are actually blond. But no, it's not hair color that comes to mind, just fair skin. And I know that's not a characteristic typical of all whites, but it answers your question, I hope.

POSTED 11/30/2001

Sarah C., San Francisco, CA, United States, 24, Female, Agnostic, Asian, student/retail/illustration, 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 11282001115145


To me, most white people considered beautiful by white standards are just ... nasty. Their butt is way too flat (I am not an advocate of a big booty, but a little flesh wouldn't hurt). The body is almost waif-like. The ones I consider beautiful are a little more curvy and woman-like.

POSTED 11/30/2001

Jasper, Dallas, TX, United States, 28, Male, Mesg ID 1129200182319

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Question:

OK fellas, fess-up: Why do some men feel the need to lie or tell half-truths? Do you males understand that a lie, once it is identified, can cause severe damage to a relationship? Once a woman no longer trusts you, it's only a matter of time before she's gone.

POSTED 11/21/2001

Julie, Woodbridge, VA, United States, Female, Black/African American, Straight, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 1120200142159


Responses:
Men lie for the same reasons women lie. Why would you think otherwise?

POSTED 11/21/2001

Rick, Springfield, OH, United States, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 1121200165911


I find your question peculiar. It is not males only who lie in relationships; I think we all do. 'Oh yes, you look good.' 'No, I don't mind that you forgot.' 'We are just good friends, really.' 'Yeah, sure you can go out. Don't mind me.' 'No I wasn't waiting.' The reason for all of the above, for all those lies and half-lies, is that none of us wants to hurt our loved ones. And all of us want desperately to be loved. So we pretend we're more understanding than we are, more loyal than we are, more caring, more perfect. You see, once a man no longer trusts you, it's only a matter of time before he's gone, too.

POSTED 11/27/2001

T., Munich, NA, Germany, 32, Female, Atheist, Straight, Over 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 1124200180948


We lie to either get sex or power tools. With girlfriends or potential girlfriends, its all angled at the 'prize,' so to speak. It would be nice if women fell into bed with only the truth, but if we have to lie to get someone to give it up, so be it. Women fall for the lies at a high-enough frequency to make it a pretty good risk/reward payout. If your little lies get found out and the relationship is damaged and she walks, well, you still got most of what you wanted.

With wives, we lie to avoid endless pestering. So let's see: I could either beg my wife to 'allow' me to buy that $250 router I've had my eye on at Lowes, or I can just go buy the damn thing and figure she won't see it among all the other thousands of tools I already have in my woodshop. Either way is a hassle, but at least with the second I have the router.

POSTED 11/27/2001

Steve, Houston, TX, United States, 45, Male, White/Caucasian, Straight, Corporate Slug - No Lie, Over 4 Years of College, Upper class, Mesg ID 11262001111602


In regard to 'white lies': I meant to call but I didn't have my phone with me, I can't come to your mother's this weekend because the boss has me working on a special project, I LOVED that movie... These are things we say that range from exxageration to outright lying. I use white lies with women for the same reason I (and most people, including women) use them in everyday life: they don't harm anyone significantly and they make life easier.

Big lies, on the other hand, I never tell. If there's something so important that I would jeopardize my relationship with someone, my view is that she deserves to hear the reason. However, many men feel big lies are justified in special cases: if the subject being lied about was an accident and will not be repeated (i.e. cheating on someone while drunk), if what happened would be misinterpreted, etc.

POSTED 11/30/2001

Alex, Beloit, WI, United States, <first_wizard@hotmail.com>, 18, Male, Jewish, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, student, High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 11232001111854

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Question:

To women: Do you always wear undergarments under your clothes? Also, do you remove all your clothing before having sex?

POSTED 11/19/2001

Rosa C., Middletown, CT, United States, <amoswindward2001@yahoo.com>, 40, Female, Catholic, Puerto Rican, Straight, student/mom, Less than High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 1119200184310


Responses:
Hey, you know me! I was in your comp lit class. To answer your question: No, not all women wear drawers. I don't. Also, if I'm in the full-fledged act of 'sex,' I'm naked. But if I'm just being sexual and sensual, no.

POSTED 11/28/2001

LILA the LEOPARD, Portland, CT, , <rainbowbright69@planetout.com>, 18, Female, spiritual, mixed race, Lesbian, student, Less than High School Diploma, Middle class, Mesg ID 1121200170348


I cannot speak for all women, but in my case, I do wear undergarments under my clothes. They may vary from basic comfortable cotton to the sexy Victoria's Secret. As far as removing all clothes before sex, it depends. Ssometimes the mystery of wearing a sexy something is more exciting than ripping everything off at once and getting down to business. Sex should be crazy, fun, romantic and sensual - never boring, mundane or routine. There's always room for spice!

POSTED 11/28/2001

Anonymous, Jacksonville, FL, United Kingdom, 26, Female, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Straight, technical, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 1121200182357

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Question:

Has anyone ever cut themself before? And why? I have, because my mum accused me of stealing money from her.

POSTED 11/27/2001

Lou, From a place that I'm not tellin', NA, United Kingdom, 13, Female, White/Caucasian, Straight, Less than High School Diploma, Mesg ID 1124200135258


Responses:
I have not, but I don't think this behavior is unusual. I once had a discussion with a woman who used to slash her forearms. I think in the past during periods of stress I could sometimes carry out extremely mild forms of self-harm, e.g. driving my fingernails into my forehead so that it left marks. I think you need help. You should contact Childline by telephoning 0800 1111 (it's a free call) or 0800 400222 (2 p.m. - 9 p.m. only) or write to them at Freepost 1111, London N1 (you don't need a stamp) or speak to your doctor, or a teacher.

POSTED 11/28/2001

Campbell M., Glasgow, NA, United Kingdom, <campannexe@yahoo.co.uk>, 41, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, asperger's syndrome, computer programmer, 4 Years of College, Mesg ID 1128200111420


About a year ago I began cutting myself on the palm of my hand. I did so for several reasons, the most basic being to prove to myself that I could withstand physical pain so the emotional pain I was in wouldn't matter. After several months of psychiatric treatment I'm all right, but I know a lot people who aren't. If you continue cutting yourself, I cannot urge you enough to see a doctor, or if I can't persuade you of that, at least talk to someone you trust.

POSTED 11/30/2001

Alex, Beloit, WI, United States, <first_wizard@hotmail.com>, 18, Male, Jewish, White/Caucasian, Bisexual, Student, High School Diploma, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 1130200123728

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Question:

I am well aware of the sticker culture among gay/lesbian/whomever (i.e.: Rainbow for gay/lesbian, earth tones for bears, and black/blue with a red heart for SM/leather peeps). Here is my question: The one thing that constantly puzzles me is when people affix their badge of pride to their personal mode of transportation either upside-down or backward (i.e.: instead of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet from top to bottom or left to right, some place them in the opposite order). Why is this? On a side note: Although I am proud to be gay, I am not one who would purposefully affix a target to my vehicle for vandalization. And while it is somewhat a game we play when on a road trip to say, hey there is a friend of Dorothy and pass them just to see if they are cute, I am not necessarily keen on advertising to strangers about my personal life, just as I would want the same from others.

POSTED 11/16/2001

Kinsey, San Francisco, CA, United States, 26, Male, Christian, White/Caucasian, Gay, Business Consultant, Over 4 Years of College, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 1132001120419


Responses:
To answer your first question: I don't think there's any conscious decision to display the rainbow bumper sticker upside down; I just think there are some gay people who aren't aware that the red stripe is supposed to be at the top (just like the color red would be at the top of a naturally occurring rainbow). And the rainbow bumper sticker I have on my car didn't come with instructions reading 'This Side Up.' As for this issue of 'advertising' one's sexual orientation, I think for most Gay people it's simply a matter of visibility. The more often that simple rainbow is displayed on cars, the more often Straight people find out what it stands for (Gay Pride), and the more Straight people realize that there are more of us than they previously thought. And when I see another car with a rainbow flag displayed, I'm not concerned about whether the driver is cute, but I am more likely to give them a friendly wave as an expression of recognition and solidarity. I also would dispute the notion that having a rainbow flag on your car makes it a target for vandalism; I live in a socially-conservative state, and this has never been an issue for me or any other Gay person I know. I've had letters to the editor in support of Gay civil rights published in my local newspaper, and I have yet to receive a single piece of hate mail or a single nasty phone call. One final comment: You say, 'I am not necessarily keen on advertising to strangers about my personal life, just as I would want the same from others.' If a co-worker of yours was married and kept photos of his wife and kids on his desk, would you consider that 'advertising?' Would you be proud enough as a Gay man to keep a photo of your spouse on your desk or walk hand-in-hand with a boyfriend in public? Straight people do such things all the time, and we never accuse them of being militant.

POSTED 11/28/2001

Chuck A., Spring Hill, WV, , <PolishBear@aol.com>, 42, Male, Gay, AIDS Educator/Radio Announcer, Mesg ID 1119200154208

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Question:

I just started seeing a Japanese girl; we both like one another and get along great. We've started fooling around recently, with clothes on (rubbing, massaging, etc). But while she lets me rub her sexually, she does not want me to kiss her, and I had heard from some other friends (with no substantial proof) that to Japanese girls, kissing is taboo and something you save for your definite loved one or husband. Is this true ?

POSTED 10/29/2001

D.R., Vancouver, British Columbia, NA, Canada, 27, Male, White/Caucasian, Mesg ID 1027200151401


Responses:
OK, this may not be the most accurate source, but I know in Japanese porno you see lots of wet kisses as part of foreplay before they get into it. And that includes their amateur porn, with women who don't do this for a living.

POSTED 11/28/2001

Porn lover, BFE Egypt, ID, United States, 22, Male, Mesg ID 1121200195434

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