Savage Love Jul 3, 2019 at 4:00 am

Prejudicial Statements

Joe Newton



@103: I thought Brad Pitt was cute in "A River Runs Through It," but other than that, I'm with you.


Bi @102: That's just not true, though. I ask everyone where they are from, and the majority of people I run into are white Americans without accents. I still want to know where they are from if I'm getting to know them at all. Most people I meet are not living where they grew up. To me it's a basic part of getting to know someone. Why does the assumption have to be that I think you're some sort of weird "other"? Why can't it just be that I am curious where you're I am with everyone? I don't live where I grew up, and haven't for 20 years, and I enjoy talking about regional differences and things like that.

I dunno. I find it a little ridiculous that the question is considered rude. I'm aware of that, and try to modulate my behavior accordingly, but I think it's silly.


I suppose if you have an accent which is unusual in the region where you are, and someone asks where you are from, you assume they are asking because of your accent. Similarly if you are a minority. But that doesn't make it true. It's too bad there isn't some simple way to convey that. I am a fairly standard-flavor white girl, and other white people ask where I'm from. To me, it's like asking if you have siblings or what you do for a living (which I'm vaguely aware is a typically American thing to ask). It's just part of how you get to know someone.


Sorry for the multiple posts, but this bothers me and I'm trying to work out why. It seems to come down to something like this: is it more important that I treat people the same regardless of appearance/external features, or that I appear to be treating them the same?

Because if it's the former, I'm gonna ask where they're from. And if that's considered rude, then we're saying that it's correct to modulate even innocuous questions so as to not appear to have noticed that someone looks/sounds different. Like, if I am going out for lunch at a chicken place, should I not invite along a black colleague, so they don't think I'm inviting them because it's chicken? Doesn't that sort of thing result in more exclusion and separation, which is what we want to avoid?

Seriously, how is that helpful?


@ciods: These are good questions and it's a tricky topic. I think if one is consistent--asks everyone they meet where they're from, because they see that information as interesting or revelatory or whatever--and one asks in a friendly way, then it's fine. Undoubtedly, someone who isn't white is going to be offended, if they don't realize that you question everyone, but there's not much you can do about that.

But if one realizes that one only asks that question of people who aren't white, then there's an implication of exoticism or foreignness that is offensive. I have a Japanese-American friend. She's 3rd generation American, and is absolutely American culturally. And yet I've seen people ask her where she's from, when they didn't ask anyone else who is with her where they are from. It's insensitive and insulting.

Just yesterday, I met a Pakistani man who has a pronounced accent. I didn't ask him where he was from because
(a) I assumed--correctly, as it turned out--that it was Pakistan
(b) it didn't come up organically in the conversation and it doesn't matter to me.

But if I had asked, it would have been his accent, not his skin color or features, that would have prompted it. I think anyone with a foreign accent gets asked where they're from, and that seems to arise from a genuine curiosity, whereas being asked where you're from if there are no indications that you're not from wherever it is the conversation is being held, is sort of like a challenge: do you really belong here? Are you "American enough?"


Sanguis @103: Not even in Thelma and Louise?

Ciods @106-@108: What part of my post isn't true?

Bear in mind that I am speaking as a person who lives in a foreign country.

Perhaps I should amend it to "two types of people frequently get asked where they are from within seconds of their first contact with someone." Does that ring true for you now?
I am not talking about "getting to know someone." I am talking about this being the first thing people ask me when I open my mouth. If you're a white American talking to other white (or non-white) Americans, and you're happy to talk about your OWN where are you from, then you're Having A Conversation. Like I said in my initial post @16, if it happens to come up in conversation, that's fine. And when you, as an American from a region of America, ask another American from another region of America where they are from, there is no inequality, there is no othering. When you are a native and the person you are asking is not, you may just have to trust me on this, it can come across as "perform your country of origin for me, foreigner!" Zero awareness that the person has been asked this umpteen times and may have left their country of origin for good reason and not really want to talk about it. That's why I said the asker should be aware of any hint of reticence and move onto the weather or what about that local sports team if they seem annoyed or uncomfortable. Make more sense now?

If you rarely run into people from other countries, my post is probably not relevant to you anyway.


NoCute @109: Posts crossed, but yes, that's exactly what I'm talking about. Your Pakistani acquaintance was no doubt relieved at having had a full conversation without being asked about his accent!


Bi @110, yes, your rephrasing works better for me. I get a little literal at times. And I will also totally agree that having that question be the first thing out of your mouth would probably be rude. I may have been mis-reading the objections as a "Don't ask that question at all" when it wasn't meant that way, but more, "Don't ask it in the first twenty seconds."

At the moment I don't live somewhere with a lot of people from other countries, but for many years I lived in the Bay Area, and for many years in Boston, and there it's common, of course. I also have spent chunks of time in other countries--not as much as you, Bi, for sure, but more than your usual American--and I got asked where I was from a lot. Maybe because I'm white and was visiting, rather than being an ex-pat, it never bothered me; it seemed like standard conversational fair.

I dunno. I don't want to make people uncomfortable! I just dislike moments where I feel like I'm changing my behavior around someone--treating them differently than would be my wont--specifically to come off like I'm not treating them differently. It's uneasy-making, and I feel like, at a zoomed-out level, it increases the feeling of strangeness, the discomfort between people, and is therefore exacerbating exactly that issue it's supposed to be ameliorating.


Despite living in the US most of my life now I still retain a strong accent. I’m often asked where I come from, and usually find it be ok. On occasion my answer would be the neighborhood I’m living in or a street address. I also ask them where they come from and its often turning to a nice conversation.

What bugs me most is when people ask me if I’m French, which my accent may resemble, then visibly disappointed when I tell them I’m not. This used to be an occurring thing when I was younger and worked in a retail store. FWIW the disappointees- is this a word?- where mostly female customers.

Ms. Muse- Another fine Venn’s coining. Just want to point out that when said together it resembles “mizmooz,” Hebrew for making out/fondling. One may consider using it if and when going on a pilgrimage.

Scottish accent- I found it to be amusing when I first went to Scotland while in my mid 20’s. For me it is still associated with great interactions with locals, tourists could hitchhike back then, interesting scenery, and great booze. I still like mimicking Scottish accent on occasion and usually getting great reviews. Neither discrimination nor putting down, I also like doing Russian, Arabic, Japanese, and intentional French, getting back at those disappointed askers. Hungarian is another one.

Asians- there used to be, maybe still is, plenty of sexualization of "far east" Asian women in US media. For someone growing up with no real eastern Asians folks around it sure did send a message.
Same goes to the portrayal of black Americans as violent thugs.


Ciods @112: Glad we're on the same page :) I never wanted to imply that it is ALWAYS rude to ask, just that certain of us evoke the question as a sort of subconscious Pavlovian knee jerk and that can get old.

When travelling abroad it's different. I quite enjoy being a tourist in Europe, and able to answer "London" when asked where I'm from. Because as a tourist, "where are you from" means "where do you live." As an immigrant/expat, "where are you from" means the opposite -- it implies that your place of belonging is Not Here. I will say that it's different when another immigrant asks. In that situation, it is not othering -- it is establishing common ground. How are you finding this new home of ours, how does it compare to the places each of us left, which of the new customs do you still find weird? When a British person asks me, it's more of an, "I can tell you're not really one of us, even if you think you are." Bah! I'm a Londoner, dammit! :)


Not fancy Brad Pitt in Thelma and Louise, girls you need glasses.
He’s a fuck up to be sure, look at the women he chose. I love that about him, I identify with fuck ups who can still have some fun.
I won’t be going to see this new Tarantino movie, not that I’ve watched any of that man’s movies.
I remember when Sharon Tate was murdered. Those sick fuckers, Manson and his crew.


I tell people I’m from the Universe, the stars and the moon if they ask. Not the sun because they’d know it was a lie because the sun would burn anyone to a crisp. I’m from Jupiter, I say.


Even growing up in Seattle, I always felt it was relatively easy to meet people from other countries. Maybe not a lot but I guess the only "exotic others" in my imagination where like, undiscovered tribespeople in the deepest jungles of the world. But Asians, Russians, Africans, Europeans, Blacks, Hispanics, Filipinos, etc... even in rural areas you don't need to go THAT far to find them, do you?

@104 generally what I'm really asking is "what's your culture?" - ie, did you grow up in an American household or immigrant household? Traditional parents or westernized parents? There probably is a more efficient way to ask that.


I grew up in the mountain west--America, but with enough regional cultural differences from everywhere else I ever lived that I always found that sort of thing fascinating, even the simple stuff like the eternal "pop vs. soda vs. coke" debate. For me, asking where someone is from is an invitation to talk about what you miss (or don't), or what confuses you about somewhere new. It's meant in a friendly vein. But I am trying now to be more aware that it can sound like an accusation, or an assertion that someone doesn't belong. That's just such a strange idea to me--everyone belongs anywhere!--that it's taking me some time to realize people might interpret it as hostility, or with hostility.

But hey, that's one perk of hanging out on this comment board; I get to hear how other people might think about things, and try to factor that in.


@86. Lava. I saw some of the Krygios-Nadal match. Krygios started backtalking the umpire when it couldn't have helped him! But I think in the end he played and lost in a very sporting manner.

@88. Savage. I agree with you. I don't think it's demeaning to anyone--to oneself, to the people one is attracted to, the people one is not attracted to--to say, for instance, 'I'm afraid I'm a bit of a size queen'. I've said it myself in life--hell, could still say it; it's acceptable partly as a joke in subcultural contexts, and maybe remarks of the kind should be more acceptable everywhere.


@71 Donny & @92 Griz. Thank you!!


I remember once in high school at a Model U.N. conference, I was striking up a conversation with another delegate on my committee, a girl from an all-female delegation who all wore hijabs. People came from all around the country to this conference, being a major one at a top college, and I was curious where this school was from.

So I asked her, "Where are you from?" She gave me her country of origin (I cannot remember her response or whether she had an accent), which confused me for a moment. I quickly said, "Cool, but I guess I meant where do you live?" I don't remember her answer to this, either, but I swear she looked a little relieved).

Later on in that conference, she complimented me on a hamsa necklace I was wearing. I said as un-self-conciously as I could, "Thanks. It was a bat mitzvah present." She blinked for a second, said, "Oh I didn't know..." (presumably that I am Jewish), then interrupted herself, "Never mind."

Subtle interactions, but it's always interesting how a common interest can bring together people from cultures that might not normally meet.


@108. ciods. There have been many times in my life when I've thought 'where are you from?' has meant 'you're not one of us'.

@102. Bi. The conversation has taken a bewildering term for me. Yes, the list was of different things that people of a variety of orientations fetishise: it was het white women (or possibly gay tops) liking café au lait skin, and stereotypical het guys liking women's well-endowed chests. You've said your taste in men inclines to slimly androgynous, hairless Goth types. I'm six four, hefty (if no longer fat), gormless or lummox-like in appearance, patchily hairy. Hey! I have a great personality!


Turn, a bewildering turn!


Tennant was hot in Casanova--around that time--but has grown smug, imv-strikethrough-h-o.


BiDanFan @94 (re hitting the Hunsky): So close! Maybe if we reach the Double Whammy (@100 + @69), and you land on the lucky number @169 you can bask in abundant glory. and
@110 (regarding sanguisuga's and nocutename's comments @103 & @105): I know, right? I treasure my poster of J.D. playing Simon Sez in a Oklahoma City motel room. Yowza! If I ever meet Brad Pitt, I'd be curious to know more about the scorpion tattoo he had below his left shoulder (at least, in the movie).
@103 sanguisuga and @105 nocutename: I second BiDanFan's comment. Neither of you has ever seen Brad Pitt in Thelma and Louise?
@120 Harriet_by_the_Bulrushes: You're most welcome.:)


BiDanFan - I wasn't saying that preferences necessarily are racist. It's just that when it comes to certain "things" we have it's important to reflect on where they come from to make sure they're not based on stereotypes or societal prejudices, but rather personal preferences that allow for individual variance as much as possible. I don't think it reflects well on the gf that she shut down the conversation. If she'd shut it down by saying something like "I've already thought about that and I'm offended you'd think I wouldn't have", that would be different, but her refusal to discuss it makes her seem defensive.

I think the importance of reflection goes for anything society tends to deem attractive or not attractive: weight, bust, muscle, height, body hair, etc. We should try to interrogate whether a preference is really ours or is an idea or stereotype we have from society and then figure out if we may actually have a different or at least broader preference. If we decide our preference is still the same, that's fine. I just think it's important for us to think about. When it comes to race I think that adds an extra layer that I can understand might give a partner pause.

On another note I think switching the genders (I know, but I believe sometimes it is helpful) might show things in a bit of a different light for some people. If in a new relationship a guy said, "I have a thing for Asian girls" "I'm not normally into black girls, but your friend is hot" and his gf expressed insecurity due to these comments, then he refused to discuss it, people would probably understand her pov/feelings. He would seem at the very least tactless and insensitive, possibly like an asshole, and maybe even like he was being a calculating jerk to put her off balance.

As far as asking ppl where they're from: I think the main situation where offense comes in is when someone isn't white, especially when just getting to know them/chatting. They probably get asked this question a lot, so it's annoying, plus there are reasons some ppl might not appreciate it even once. It suggests that this piece of information is more important than the questions you would normally ask when chatting or just getting to know someone. Just the fact that you're asking different questions than you would of other ppl "others" them. Also, the assumption that they're from another country (even if you aren't assuming that most ppl probably do and the question implies that) is annoying. It means ppl see them as "exotic" or different. Even with ppl who have accents it could just be they grew up in a house where English was their second language, or they learned English in a setting where family members/ppl in the area had a strong accent, so it can be annoying for ppl to assume they aren't from this country. It just implies they're different, and with the way race is dealt with in our society that isn't a neutral or positive implication, even if it isn't meant that way. By no means am I trying to say that reaction is universal to everyone, but it's a sensitive enough question that it's best just not to ask until you know someone well unless it comes up very naturally.


And...lest I forget...
@100 Hearty congrats, vennominon, for scoring this week's highly coveted Hunsky Award! Savor your riches.


Damn right she’s defensive KittenW. He can fuck off with his bull. He’s jealous cause she fancies getting with a black man. Why should she engage with him when he’s accusing her of racism, why should she try to justify her attractions.


I’ve never been with a black man, though I’d like to, and I have no issue saying that. It is the attraction of opposites, and that is ok.
We all have stereotypes in our heads about others, a general feeling about how they might be, culturally. I sure wouldn’t get with a man from a culture which thinks women are second class citizens, must obey their husbands. And some cultures do have those expectations. So while a man from a culture like this might attract me physically, I wouldn’t go there because his training would be too hard to fight against. His expectations of me would stifle me.


Disgruntled Potato @ 5 Since it is a basement apartment a large city, to prevent break ins there are almost certainly bars on the windows that obscure the view into the apartment. Tt's a narrow street some depending on where he is in his apartment when he masturbates then given the sight lines the only people at the same level as his window ( i.e. the couple in the basement apartment across the street) can really see into his apartment. It's the unobstructed view statement that makes me question the validity of the letter.

The couple know that he knows that they know that he knows that they can look into his apartment. If the couple start to perform sex acts that they know can see it's pretty sure that they are sexually interested. The next time he masturbates and always there after. He needs to look directly across the street, when he sees the woman looking at him he needs to a her directly, spread his legs apart, begin thrusting movements with his hips, moisten his lips, and make an stationary open handed gesture of invitation, tilting his head wouldn't hurt. Depending on her reaction (standing there watching him, moving away embarrassed, begins playing with her pussy while directly looking at him) if he is really bold the inviting gesture should be as a parabolic arc starting chest high and moving downward to the level of his cock then ending shortly after the upswing. Thrusting harder as he nears orgasm. This is what I would do in his situation.


Mx Wanna - I should go on the record that, having become a GGGM in Amsterdam, I feel morally obligated to back any Netherlands team, although I have no investment in football of either gender.

Ms Lava/M?? Harriet - The pro-Kyrgios commentary was rather over the top. (He'd rather maintain a credible claim that he could have won any number of slam titles than fulfill his potential and find it comes up short. He actually reminds me a bit of Mr Trump.) I think ESPN is worse than usual this year. The pro-US talking points have been amped up to where they even had Mr Cahill rooting for Americans over Australians (and I thought it was bad enough at the US Open two years ago when Ms Mattek-Sands threw her doubles partner, Ms Safarova, under the bus to pull for her American opponent), Mr McEnroe, J is clearly influenced by his Laver Cup captaincy, Ms Fernandez boosts players her husband manages, and I don't even want to guess what tricks Mr Mouratouglou is pulling with all the players he's guiding. It's a shame the Tennis Channel is only available in my area on a highly exorbitant package.


EmmaLiz @ 5 They are both in basement level apartments.


Simone de Beauvoir wrote The Second Sex in the late 40’s. That’s nearly seventy years since intelligent western women have been writing strong analysis of the fuck up Patriarchy is. Slow chip chipping away, and still so many western men carry attitudes to western women which are restrictive, controlling and containing. No way would I test the waters with a man from a culture which has made little effort to change their gender roles.
Individuals are part of a culture, so attraction to the person includes attraction to their culture as well.


BDF @ 17 I agree that it is improbable most instances, but not impossible. It depends on the lines of sight (how the apartment windows are aligned)

My apologies to one and all for any duplication of something already posted. I'm late to the party and I am writing comments as I read comments to the letter.


Sorry it should have been BDF @ 16 not 17


LavaGirl - If she was so righteously offended why didn't she say that wasn't what she was doing, or make an issue of it herself and start a discussion about his crossing the line rather than just shutting down? And it isn't a black man, it's black guys in general. It's also Asian guys in general. Plus I honestly don't think it's all jealousy on his part. He's trying to take responsibility for the variety of factors adding to his discomfort with her comments. I also think there's a difference between saying a person's preferences are invalid or that someone is racist vs asking if that person has reflected on their preferences. If you don't think that kind of reflection is important, that's fine. I agree with the lw that it is, and I think it makes sense to try to make sure your values align with the person you are in a relationship with. If that is important to him, but the suggestion she should think about it is that offensive to her, then maybe they aren't compatible. That is worth finding out, which is why I think openly discussing concerns like these in any relationship, new or established, is important. If she felt that offended she needs to say that rather than being passive aggressive and refusing to talk about the situation at all. Then they can either lay boundaries or decide they aren't compatible.


@KittenWhiskers @126: I've probably already said plenty on this, but I'll just say it one more time. About this:

"It suggests that this piece of information is more important than the questions you would normally ask when chatting or just getting to know someone. Just the fact that you're asking different questions than you would of other ppl "others" them."

My point was that that is exactly a question I normally ask when chatting or getting to know someone. It is not a different question. And I almost never assume, based on looks, that someone is from another country; I would be asking what state/city they're from. But I also don't assume most people are originally from wherever they currently live. I'm not, and haven't been for 20 years, and most people I know aren't, either; hence the question.


@113 I love that! How serendipitously strange.

@125 Last week's column is currently at 166, but commenting seems to have stalled. So close...


@113 At the risk of violating the guidelines laid out in this thread, I shall ask: Are you Israeli or otherwise speak Hebrew, or do you just know words for dirty things in many languages?


@137 ciods - I definitely think it makes a difference if it fits into the conversation vs if it just gets thrown out. Also by no means was I trying to say everybody would have these same reasons for being offended/annoyed or even be offended at all. I often ask this question of anybody, too, if it comes up. It's a good way to move a conversation forward, so I know a lot of people don't mean it offensively. The problem is if someone doesn't know you and it doesn't come up organically it can be hard for them to know your reason for asking, what you mean, or that you ask this of everybody. If you don't know them you can't know how they'll interpret it. If you do ask it just has to be done tactfully. I wasn't trying to say you never should or that it is always offensive, just why it can be. Sorry for the lack of clarity.


@137 - ciods P.S. I have the unfortunate habit of writing way too much, and often still not communicating very clearly. I'll try to work on this.


@Kitten: Oh, you're fine! I'm apparently all grumpy today. No worries, and you're right of course that someone else can't necessarily know why one is asking.


Reading DANGLE's letter, I kept thinking, "Get some fucking blinds, guy," until I got to this bit: "I'm sure the woman knows that I want her—and the male seems to be exhibiting bi tendencies (something I'm not interested in at all). In your opinion, are these two a voyeur couple or a submissive cuckold couple? How should I approach to seduce?"

Ah, so he's an exhibitionist, and a kinda creepy one at that (hence the apartment with a clear view from street level, not wearing clothes at home ever, and apparent lack of blinds, curtains, etc.). Or he's the fantasy of someone with a bunch of fetishes wrapped up with racism who wrote in with a stroke story (hence the utterly irrelevant details about everyone's race in the letter - race has no impact on the situation or advice with the exception of the potential for racist treatment by the police that Dan notes, which a Black man doesn't need Dan's White ass to tell him, though good on Dan for reinforcing it for his melanin-challenged readers). We have a theme this week. Still, in case you're real, DANGLE: you're projecting your own desires, DANGLE. Stop being a fucking creep by masturbating in full view of anyone who happens to walk down your street, and leave your poor neighbors the fuck alone.


@138 CalliopeMuse: I set it up for you. Congrats and to the victor go the coveted spoils. Enjoy! :)


I've seen Thelma and Louise. I don't find Brad Pitt to be attractive in that role.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I dislike the character's character, and to me, attractiveness likes outside features.

Anyway, if someone wants to find him attractive in that or any other movie or photo, go for it!


Ciods: I think my post @16 was clear, I'll add the appropriate emphasis:
"As someone who emigrated, it CAN BE annoying to be asked where we are from. If it comes up naturally in the course of conversation, FINE. If it's the FIRST THING you say to someone when you hear an accent, you're annoying them at best, othering them at worst; and if you are white and they are not, there CAN BE racist overtones. So let them bring it up. Thank you on behalf of immigrants everywhere."
I don't see how any of that post could reasonably be interpreted as "never ask someone where they are from."
My impression is that if it's just one of the questions you ask when being chatty with someone, it is not coming across as othering, just chatting. And I hope it wasn't scolding; back when I lived in America, it wouldn't have occurred to me that asking a foreign-looking or sounding person where they are from might be annoying. It's only while living abroad that I grew over the years to dread the question, so I'm just sharing a tip that probably hasn't occurred to most of you lot either.

Calliope @121: "People came from all around the country to this conference" -- a perfectly acceptable context to ask where someone is from. I'm sure this young woman answered the way she did because in the past, had she answered "Texas," the typical next question was "No, where are you REALLY from?"

Kitten @126: "I don't think it reflects well on the gf that she shut down the conversation." Eh, I don't think any of us could be expected to respond with perfect diplomacy to an accusation of being a racist. Both of these people sound young to me, and I kind of suspect STINGS may not have phrased his question in such a way as to invite discussion. Of course she was defensive; who wouldn't have been?
I agree that the girlfriend was tactless in discussing these attractions with her boyfriend. And thank you for backing me up on the reasons why "where are you from" can be a loaded question.

Lava @129: "I sure wouldn’t get with a man from a culture which thinks women are second class citizens, must obey their husbands." Now that is making a racist assumption about an individual based solely on their country of origin. People are capable of rejecting the ideas they were raised with; some do and some don't. And wouldn't this mean you ruled out anyone who was raised Christian?

Skeptic @130: Well, Lava @39, you've got the ending now. Did we all need to read that? 🙄

Skeptic @132: No. A basement level apartment would not have an unobstructed view into another basement level apartment, all you'd see of the apartment across would be the ceiling. This couple, if they exist, must be on the ground floor. Though even so, basement windows are small; there would only be a small area of the apartment where its occupant would be visible, so either he is taking great care to position himself in full view, or this is a fakety fake fake letter. I'm going with option 2.

Kitten @136: "If she was so righteously offended why didn't she say that wasn't what she was doing, or make an issue of it herself and start a discussion about his crossing the line rather than just shutting down?" Because she was caught off guard and couldn't think that quickly on her feet. It's possible that since the conversation, he wrote to Dan, then she came back after having had time to think about it, apologised for her reaction, and calmly discussed the issue. (Or it's possible she's too young to be that self aware yet, and needs the question to come from someone who does not have a clear vested interest like STINGS does.)

Ciods @137: Then you're not doing it wrong, which I think we have established. Carry on.


Bi, your original post was clear. I had just forgotten it by the time we were at post 100, and was responding to the particulars of the later parts of the conversation. I should be a little more careful to go back and read what's been said before posting!


@131. venn. I watch on Sky Deutschland and the BBC and listen during weekdays to a mixture of BBC radio commentary and German. Both were wagging their finger at Kyrgios in their different ways. Where I am I can get decent European sporting coverage of everything--Champions League soccer, the Tour de France... Only the big English events are free on 'the Beeb'.


Ms. Mooz @ 139
Not enough options given. For further clarifications you may contact me directly, cmd78014 at yeah who.


@129 I agree with 146. Though I don't know whether I'd go so far as to say it's racist, it's certainly prejudicial. Being both a Jew and an atheist, I have had occasion to talk with many people who have rejected the rigid sexist notions with which they were brought up. I would have to say I would never want to date anyone who internalized or never questioned such notions in their background, certainly, but judgments must be made on an individual basis. Rejecting anyone who grew up with restrictive or sexist traditions is to reject a good number of decent secular or enlightened religious individuals who have risen above such base teachings.


@149 I appreciate the offer, but I believe for now I shall let you remain cloaked in mystery. It's more interesting that way. I hope my curiosity was not inappropriate.


@146 Thanks, I appreciate the absolution. I didn't think I was inappropriate in asking that, then. I was trying to give an example of the type of misunderstanding I mentioned @104 and to give an interesting anecdote about subtle cross-cultural interactions -- a presumably religious Muslim girl of different national origin and a partially observant, partially secular American-born Jewish girl who later realized she is an atheist, brought together by a common interest involving fictionalized international diplomacy. One of the more interesting, though brief, acquaintances of my young life.


For the record, ciods, there are variations on such questions depending on what you're trying to determine. For example:

If you are trying to ascertain where someone lives, ask "Where are you living?"
If you want to know where they grew up, "Where did you grow up?"
If you want to know their ethnic origin (presuming it comes up in the conversation and/or you've already shared yours), say, "Where is your family from?"


Given that you seem to be more interested in where someone grew up than where their family is from, I would recommend the more specific, "Where did you grow up?" to the more vague "Where are you from?"


@144 To add one more to my veritable torrent of comments (sorry, guys), thank you auntie grizelda! I was asleep and studying for a chemistry quiz, but I have since claimed the prize.


Of course I've seen Thelma and Louise, and no not even then. I don't even find him attractive in Interview With A Vampire, even though that whole movie is soooo my aesthetic. Brad has only ever been 'okay' in my books.


@153 Calliope: Thank you for the suggestion. I would never have thought that "Where are you from?" could mean other than "Where did you grow up?" (now that I write that, I feel stupid, but honestly, to me they seemed interchangeable).

Quick check of the crowd: is "Where did you grow up?" less problematic? Since they seem so much the same to me, I'm not positive on why that would be less rude (do they not both contain some implication that the person might not be from wherever you are standing at the time? which seems to be what people object to?) but if it is, I'll totally switch to that.



In my experience, it's normal to ask people you meet where they are from just like asking what they do or if they have kids or whatever other get-to-know-you questions people ask over polite conversation with strangers. This is not exclusive to immigrants nor people with accents. Especially when you live in a big city. In Austin, most people are not from Texas- they are from California or New York or Michigan or Arizona or whatever, and it's pretty standard to conversationally ask people where they are from.

Likewise, when you are traveling it's normal for tourists to ask this of one another or locals to ask this of tourists.

I was just trying to differentiate between this normal commonplace polite conversation starter and the more specific and tiresome "ooh I love your accent, where are you from?" or the request to tell your whole life story when you answer "Poughkeepsie" and the person asking you needs to be convinced how someone who looks/sounds like you can be from Poughkeepsie, etc.


Sorry BDF, I didn't see that there was another entire page of posts. My post at 159 is redundant, I see now.


Regarding the question of where did you grow up or whatever specifics...

I'd suggest you take a step back and ask yourself why you are trying to ascertain whatever you are trying to ascertain before wondering about what is the least problematic way of phrasing the question.

If it is not someone you are going to get to know anyway (like someone at work) just let it be. They probably get asked all day long.

But assuming we are in polite get-to-know-you conversation, I'd ask yourself, are you at the level of intimacy with this person in which it's normal and not intrusive to ask them questions about their families and childhood? In short, if you wouldn't ask something else - like say, "Did you grow up with married parents or divorced parents?" or "Did you grow up in a religious household?" or "What was your class background as a kid?" then you are likewise not at the level of intimacy with the person to ask for other details of their childhood and family including their immigration story (if they have one) and also if their parents were Westernized or Tradition (as Sporty says and frankly I have no idea what either of those words mean and they seem really presumptuous to me).

In short, why you wanna know so bad?

If you are at the level of friendship with the person that you are sharing this stuff, then any way you'd normally phrase it isn't a problem as it would happen naturally in conversation.

RULE OF THUMB: When you ask someone the totally normal (in polite get-to-know-you conversation) question "Where are you from?" just accept their answer and don't push for them to explain themselves to satisfy your own curiosity.

OK now here's a longer answer. I can mostly pass between my two cultures and I was born and (mostly) raised in one city so I have a pretty easy time of it usually. Still when people do guess I'm of Indian descent, it suddenly becomes very important to them to ascertain if I was born here or born there and if the second when I came here, and it does feel like they are prying and wanting to decide whether or not I fit whichever stereotype they have of being Western or Traditional or not. This doesn't feel good- it makes you feel like anything you say/do is going to be judged not for yourself but against whatever notion they already have in their minds that they want you to live up to. Even if you don't think you mean it that way, ask yourself again why you want to know about the childhood cultures of people you are only just meeting.

My husband's story is even more complicated since by Passport and heritage, he is Indian, but he has lived in several other countries before the US, and he went mostly to British boarding schools as a child- so I guess we can say he had a very Traditionally Western upbringing right? And so if you ask him where he's from, he'll tell you Texas. It's where he's spent most of his life- the place he's lived in the longest. His home is here, his family is here, his job is here. Even though he didn't move to Texas until he was in his 20s. By this point, he's lived in Texas longer than most Texans.

People who will not accept this answer want to hear his life story which isn't insulting to him so much as it is just boring to say the same things over and over and over again every single time you meet someone who thinks they have the right to demand you explain how a person who looks/talks like you can be from Texas. And so he usually instead just gives them the answer they want and says he's from India.

Usually at this point, again some people leave it, others must persist- so the next thing is either an expression of "wow India I really like XYZ with a story about that" or "I know someone else who's Indian with a story about that"- both of which, fine it makes for small talk I guess. Then there's the others who want to know even more so they'll say "Oh, what part of India?" or "When did you immigrate to the US?" and neither of those questions are easy to answer without again feeling like you are being forced to tell your whole life story. If you say you grew up around the world, then they want to know about your parents and what job they had. If you say you came at 25 they want to know what brought you here.

Etc. In short- imagine the conversation from other's point of view. For you, it is interesting to hear someone else's story. For the person you are talking to, they are just repeating the same old shit that they've had to say a million times before every time they meet someone.

And also keep in mind that sometimes it's not just polite inquiry and curiosity about people. A lot of time (at least in the US) people are trying to figure out HOW you immigrated (job? school? undocumented?) and (in the case of subcontinentals) if you are Muslim or not.

So hope I was able to get into the meat of it.


@145 nocutename and @157 sanguisuga: Okay. Fair enough. We all have who we find attractive.
To be honest, the only time I find Brad pitt unattractive is when he is sporting a goatee and / or a mustache. By doing so (I think) he looks twenty years older, and not in a flattering way. Otherwise, I love his boyish looks, and in Thelma & Louise I think he's totally buff--must have had a killer of a personal trainer.


Calliope, are you up for another Double Whammy (just 6 more comments!)?


Ciods @147: Yes, that seems to happen a lot - later posts expand upon an original one in ways that distort it, in response to people asking questions. Perhaps I should just say "Refer back to my original post" instead of attempting to clarify, since "clarifying" often seems to do anything but! :)

Ciods @158: With my prior caveats that an American asking another American who is of the same ethnic background as they are, or with whom there would never be an implication that the answer they expect is not somewhere in America (whew), "where did you grow up" does sound like a nicer question to me. It sounds more neutral. "Where did you grow up" implies that the answer could either be "here" or "somewhere that is not here" or even "many somewheres." "Where are you from" implies that you expect the answer to be "somewhere that is not here," which is why it can be othering to someone who is either audibly foreign or has visibly foreign ancestry.

It's also a difficult question for me personally, because what do you mean by "from"? Do you mean where was I born, where was I immediately before moving to where I am now, where do I consider home? Three different answers! I'm not "from" any one place, but I can easily answer "where did you grow up" as "all over," going into more detail if I feel like it. So yeah, "where did you grow up" strikes me as a question someone might ask because they want to know, not something they're just inserting as lazy small talk because they heard an accent.

EmmaLiz @161: Thank you for some more examples. Agree that white Americans, or even African Americans, who are comfortably several-generations American would never think of stuff like this when asking what, to them, is an innocuous small-talk question.

Back to the fluff, so is David Tennant considered more universally attractive than Brad Pitt?


@133 SdB is much too friendly towards men to be accepted by modern feminists. She'd be part of the "dirtbag left" by modern standards.


I've never really had an opinion on whether Brad Pitt is handsome or not. I suppose he's good-looking. Honestly, he's my mom's age, and that's kind of a threshold for me to stop thinking about whether or not someone is attractive. Doesn't help that I've never really seen any of his movies.


@BiDanFan: Sorry to be contrary, but David Tennant isn't my cuppa, either.
I really doubt that there is a universally attractive man, but I'd certainly nominate Idris Elba for the position. I'd also vote for George Cloony, Zak Effron, or Henry Cavill.


I'm a little disturbed to see all the "justifications" for asking - almost demanding - people you don't know what their background is on the premise that it's the "friendly" thing to do. ::shudders:: Interrogation is not the way to wriggle your way into someone's good graces and there are way too many minefields along the way.


DANGLES sounds like a self-absorbed, passive bore. He reminds me of the vain idiot who spent three hours every day at the gym, trying to find people who would adore his physique. Hey, DANGLES, we don't care about your healthy eating, wonderful wardrobe, and fabulous body. He also doesn't say anything about his (middle-aged) life before he moved into this basement unit, or anything about his social (or hookup) practices. He's a blank slate. We know nothing except for the fact that he's a passive exhibitionist who has found equally passive voyeurs who prefer to watch the live show across the street than their own TV.

I'm also of the thought that this letter is fake, fake, fake. Such a wonderful specimen of manhood won't even get dressed up and go out to a bar or anywhere to meet women. He's relying on the woman across the street and her male partner with whom he'd rather not engage, whether he's bi or a het cuck. I'm rolling my eyes so hard they may just jump off my face.

The other fake aspect deals with optics and physics. As others have pointed out, most basement or first-floor windows will have bars on them for security. The glass will be another barrier that prevents a clear view even a couple of feet away until nighttime.


Now that I'm on a roll....

Naturally, there are never any cars parked in front of his or the couple's window, obstructing their view. Ha! I can just imagine him getting close, closer, almost there ... and then a delivery truck parks right before his orgasm.


@169 Helenka (also a Canuck): WA-HOOOO!!! Massive congratulations on scoring the highly coveted SL Double Whammy Award (@69 + @100 = @169). Savor your decadent good fortune.

I may piss some commenters (nocutename, sanguisuga and others) off, but if we're actually voting on a universally attractive man, Brad Pitt gets my vote. For me, the fact that he's only seven and a half months older than I am--so we're in the same age group--is a welcome plus. To me, William Bradley Pitt is a late Boomer generation of Robert Redford, and will probably still look good at age 70.


NoCute @167: After googling Henry Cavill, I'm afraid I find 0 of 4 of your suggestions attractive. Chris Hemsworth maybe? Not my cuppa but undeniably handsome. Or do we go back to Clark Gable in his prime?


This reminds me of the time Ms Erica was discussing people who performed SS activity for the enjoyment of an OS partner. My counter-example, involving Jeffrey Buttle (gay) and Stephane Lambiel ("disputed" last time I saw - which absolutely breaks my heart, given what a near-universal favourite he is, that for so many years after his dating Carolina Kostner any successor should be such a dark secret), at least had the benefit of raising subjective appreciation from Ms Canuck, who had not known of either of them before. At the time, I was probably beginning to be prickly, as I've always been scrupulous about limiting my appreciation of Wainthropps, and greatly appreciated Ms Canuck's restraint regarding Mr B.

Accordingly, I don't feel it's permissible to take more than a limited part in this portion of the conversation, and will confine myself to my prior point about aging. Mr Pitt I shall put in the category of Hasn't Aged Well. I probably would not have commented at all had Ms Cute not mentioned Mr Cavill, whom I've only seen in The Tudors. The series had to play a lot of tricks with time, as the Duke of Suffolk was about fifteen years older in real life than he appeared at the beginning, and the gap closed gradually over the course of the series, which spanned about 27 years. I thought Mr Cavill in best looks during the even seasons, once Suffolk had clearly grown up and then later in his full wisdom. It seemed interesting that it wasn't a linear progression, as it is with so many people.


Condolences to Ms Lava over Ms Barty's loss. If Ms Pliskova reaches the final, she gets the #1 ranking again, although she has tended to lose when the top spot has been hers for the taking.


@171 It doesn't "piss me off". We all have our preferences and I really can't be fussed with who other people find attractive. The whole 'sexiest man of the year' thing that the rags put together is a farce. I would vaguely concur with nocutename's nominating Idris Elba, but can't say that I agree with the others. The bloke that I hold a torch for probably isn't on the radar for too many people here anyway, as he isn't Hollywood elite.


@auntie grizelda: Your Brad Pitt preference is far too well-established to come as a surprise, and I don't get pissed off at who anyone's celebrity crush is. I am a firm believer in not yucking anyone's yum, or, as I recently read, "Could we, without relentlessly criticizing, let people have their pumpkin spice, and avocado toast, and their fandoms, and their D&D, and their too-early Halloween decorations, and whatever little harmless things in which they manage to find a tiny, shriveled flower of joy?"

So you go ahead and drift off to blissful visions of Brad Pitt all you like, and I will be happy that there is something in this cluster fuck that is the world today that brings you some harmless joy.

I will only agree with Mr. Ven that I don't think he's aging well. But then again, neither am I!

@BiDanFan: See what I mean about there being no universal attractive person?!

Side note: I remember once reading that almost all American women (or maybe it was European and American women) rated Audrey Hepburn as the most beautiful woman or the woman they most wanted to emulate, and that the corresponding (assumed to be straight or bi) men rated her pretty low. A deeper dive revealed that the very thing women liked about her was a lack of overt sexuality and a sense of poise and elegance--which were the same things that kept the men from rating her highly!


Late to the party, but will just say that, as another immigrant, I would like to second much of what @BiDanFan said here. I realise that, 9 times out of 10, people who lead with "where are you from" usually mean well and don't set out to be "othering". But it sets me on edge, especially in this political climate. I usually give them some sort of condensed answer, then change the topic. If they keep re-directing the conversation back to my country of origin, I mentally mark them as "potential xenophobe", and excuse myself from their company. It's not a hard-and-fast rule, and I do make exceptions depending on context, but that's how it usually goes down with me. I wish more people would realise that this a loaded topic, up there with religion and politics. Certainly not the best way to make friends with an exotic-looking or -sounding person you've just met.

That said, I remember a rather different exchange with @BDF a couple of years ago (early in my posting history so easy to find), where Ms Fan said I should just "lighten up" about a similar annoyance, and that she just eyerolls at all the tedious "where are you froms", but would never "go on some nitpicky scolding crusade about them":

I remember thinking back then: hmm, give it a few more years... :)


Sportlandia @90,

"Is it time to bring "Oriental" back"

I'd give this one a hard pass. The whole concept of "The Orient" was a white Victorian invention, complete with all the patronising essentialism and racial stereotypes one may expect. Let's not bring it back, please. Rugs are Oriental, not people.


Geez Fan, some sharp eyes around here.
Sangu and nocute, I was playing with you. Of course there are no universally attractive men.
Not finding Chris Hemmsworth attractive Fan, on that, I’m floored. Have you seen the skit he does with James what’s his name, the one who sings with people in his car. He and Chris do a skit at some posh London restaurant. Total honey that man, a surfer too and a good dad and husband. Just down the ways from me, few hours away.
I used to love Bobby Darin, the singer/ actor. Not Clark Gable. Lawrence Harvey was another favourite. Bobby Dylan, as a young man. He still writes and sings love songs. My total crush, was/ is John Lennon. Love you John.


@LavaGirl: my dad was a good friend of Bobby Darin's in their youth. They mostly lost touch just around the time Darin started getting famous. But I'll never forget my dad calling him just after his divorce from Sandra Dee (Bobby Darin's divorce, not my dad's!), and having Darin wax nostalgic about my grandmother's cooking.



I once saw a little video of a stick figure singing a song with lyrics that consisted entirely of the lines:

It's OK to not like things but don't be a dick about it. It's OK to not like things just don't be a dick about the things you don't like.

I have no idea what the context is, but it's a little song I sing to myself when I'm about to be a dick about things that other people like.


I agree about Audrey Hepburn, btw. I think she's beautiful and elegant. I also think she aged in a lovely way. I really like it when people age well while also looking their age. What I mean is, I don't think "aging well" means "looking young"- I think it means looking good as your age. What makes a beautiful 20 year old is different than a beautiful 40 year old, etc. And I think middle aged Audrey Hepburn and elderly Audrey Hepburn maintained her elegant beauty.

For a "universally attractive" male, I suggest Paul Newman. Like Hepburn, he also looked good at all ages. Though I'm firmly in camp Idris in regards to the already offered suggestions, and I think he has universal appeal for similar reasons- aside from the extreme good looks and very fit body, he's also poised and elegant, great smile, etc.

In regards to personal preferences that aren't universal, I've lately been all about Oscar Isaac.


@EmmaLiz: I agree that Audrey Hepburn aged well. And she seemed to be a good and grounded person, too.

I also like Paul Newman and think he aged well. I think that's where George Clooney is going. I always like the way Oscar Isaac looks when I see a picture of him, but I can't summon up an image when he's not in front of me, and I don't recognize him as Oscar Isaac when I see him. It's just "oh, he's cute,"


@178 Orient is an ancient word meaning "East". When you "orient" yourself on a map, initially that meant to face east, towards the rising sun (also, the convention of North being "top" on a map was not always how folks saw the word, the etymology suggests the top of the world was where the sun rose, thus facing east = orienting).

It's also the opposite of the word "Occidental". Orient/Occident - East and West. Someone in these threads probably went to the University in greater LA called Occidental. It just means "Western".

But the basic question remains: What's the most efficient way to refer to the population group that descends from Han Chinese, versus Southeast Asians and South Asians? "East Asian" doesn't quite do the trick and includes most of Southeast Asia in popular parlance.


In support of Mizz Liz, I'll recall a series of summer concerts on PBS a few years ago bringing back a number of singers from thirty or forty years before. I found Debbie Harry easily the most impressive of the bunch; she looked sixty and it suited her, unlike those others who looked as if took them hours to look forty-trying-to-look-thirty. She also found ways to accommodate not having quite so many high notes as before.


Ms Lava - Ms Barty's ranking is safe. Just when we were on the brink of the first Wimbledon final-set tie-break at 12-all (instituted after the 26-24 final set last year in the Anderson-Isner match), Ms Pliskova, serving at 11-12, 30-40, lost on a net cord dribbler. We are left with seeds 7 (Ms Halep), 8 (Ms Svitolina), 11 (Ms Williams, S) and 19 (Ms Konta), each playing an unseeded opponent, and nobody within reach of #1.


Sporty there is no perfect way. There is no correct answer to your question. "Oriental" means east of Europe, and it originally referred to what we'd call the Middle East now anyway so the meaning changes with time.

The typical split right now in the US is to say "East Asian" for IndoChina and East of that (so Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Japan, China, the Koreas), "South Asian" for the Subcontinent (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh mostly but also Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan), and "Middle East" for Iran, Iraq and the nations on the Arab Peninsula.

As I said, this is imperfect for a number of reasons, including questions like where do you put Central Asian states like Uzbekistan or Mongolia etc? Or the Asian island states north of Oceania like Philippines or Indonesia etc? Why do Americans tend actually to divide people up way more by eye shape and skin color than they do by region or culture in the first place. And why are such culturally radically different ethnicities grouped together this way at all? Who are these terms for?

But we are going to face these problems any time you want general terms to refer to ethnicities, especially when we are talking about THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE ON THE PLANET and asking for a term or two to group them together.

If you simply mean "east of Europe" which would be the traditional meaning of "Oriental" you can just say "Eastern" or "Asian". Oriental has negative connotations. I point you to Edward Said who had an entire career explaining these things. It's the same reasoning behind why we don't say "Negro" anymore even though there was a time when it was the common respectable term. The connotations associated with it are negative and it's outdated to the point that the only excuse for using it is to intentionally offend people or else to try to be an edge lord. "Oriental" is the same. Also, this is another example of the "aw shucks, I'm just asking" stuff- I don't believe that you don't know that it's considered offensive now.


Also even if you are referring specifically to people who were born and raised in China, you have no way of knowing if they are descendants of the Han Chinese or not as it's likewise a diverse nation with many ethnicities. Just go with "East Asian" as a general term. If it matters to the context of the conversation what the specific ethnicity or language or nationality of the person is, then you probably already know or else have valid reason / circumstance to ask. If you are simply referring to someone who looks/sounds a certain way to you, then "East Asian" or "Asian" is fine and sufficient.


@187 Appropriate times to use the word "negro": writing dialogue for historical fiction, quoting MLK/James Baldwin/Frederick Douglass/etc... Yup, that's pretty much it.


@187 We don't say negro anymore? Since when?


@191 perfect example of your "aw shucks" MO.


@175 sanguisuga: Fair enough. I'm not hung up on "Sexiest Man Alive" tabloid articles, either. I just go by whom I think is attractive. I find a lot of features and attributes attractive in different people.
@176 nocutename: Thank you. I'm glad that neither you nor sanguisuga are pissed about my celebrity crush on Brad Pitt. I must concur with you and vennominon, though, that mustaches and goatees do not do Brad any favors in retaining his youthful looks (I'd love to hear the story about that scorpion tattoo if I ever meet him!). (re @180): So cool about your family ties to Bobby Darin! What wonderful memories you and your family have had to savor, and (re @183): I also share your love of iconic veteran actors who have aged well, such as (YESssss!!!) Paul Newman and Robert Redford (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting are two of my favorite movies). I also like Tom Skerritt.

Who's up for the Double Hunsky? Lava?


Sorry Venn, missed your post earlier. Yes Debbie Harry was extremely sexy when young and has maintained good looks, very attractive-for-her-age at every age since. She's in her 70s now which makes me a bit uncomfortable as it comments on my own mortality. I think Meryl Streep also fits into this looking-great-while-looking-her-age category, though she was never in the "universally attractive" category in the same way that I think Debbie Harry is (and, until reading NoCute's post, Audrey Hepburn).

Robert Redford was never my thing. Like his voice and his charisma but I just can't get past the bad skin. It's the same prob I have with David Tennant- angular features and not so great skin so that the scruffy almost-beard makes him look ill- though he is definitely charming, great smile, some sort of get-to-know-him attraction. I loved Butch and Sundance though- is it the original bromance movie?

Since we are reaching way back in time, I'll add Gene Kelly to the list of "universally" good looking. But I'm very into thighs and butts in general and man oh man. Also aged very well.

Though I think if we were to go out looking for the best man evah, we should leave behind the silver screen and focus on some of Dan's ballet boys. He has opened my eyes and I've found so many new ways to waste time online since that last post. I might suddenly get into theater.


@194 EmmaLiz: YESssss!! I love Meryl Streep, Audrey Hepburn, Grace (and Gene) Kelly, too. Like you, I LIVE for musical theater, too!


@164 BiDanFan (re fluff): I had to Google search 48 year old Scottish actor, David Tennant. Unfortunately I haven't seen him in anything. While I concur Tennant is indeed, good looking, Brad Pitt still gets my vote if we were conducting a Savage Love Sexiest Man Alive contest.

Only four more posts for anyone hungry for a Double Hunsky!!......


That’s cool nocute. It was sad he died so young.
Dear Sandra Dee.. the Gidget movies, with Moon-Doggy, her beau.
Good to read Mr Venn, be great if Ash won another major.
Great to see the US Soccer team winning the World Cup.


Sangui @175: Do tell! My unlikely celebrity crush is Adrien Brody. So much more compelling than the generically handsome (Hemsworth, for instance. Though I did love him in the Ghostbusters reboot). It seems the character played has a lot of bearing on whether the actor is appealing. And for the sake of millennials like Calliope, I think we need to add an "in their prime" caveat to any comparison, which also allows for subjective interpretations of "prime." For instance, does Marlon Brando's ageing terribly mean young Marlon Brando wasn't sexy? And if so, how can we compare Hemsworth, who hasn't done his ageing yet, to Paul Newman or Sean Connery?

Margarita @177: Argh! I'll have to take your word on my reversal, bit you're correct that the Brexit/Trump context adds a layer of ominousness to the question. I will, however, refer you back to my post @16, which every other post has merely been a response to people challenging me on, and which does state that the question can be "annoying at best" which is consistent with my eye rolling stance! :)


BDF - Rupert Graves. Etheral as a young man and stunning as a silver fox. At least to me. And I'm right there with you on Adrien Brody. I don't know how many times I've rewatched "Predators" just to ogle him. I also find Adam Driver with his strong features to be attractive in the same way. Not so sure about his acting chops, though...


@192 Hmm I funny know if I get this one. I just think that most of y'all live in a different world than I do and it's funny because I look around at my experiences and see that it represents most Americans - just, the wrong ones. I'm sure many slog readers come from working class backgrounds but aren't connected anymore. I come from mostly white working class neighborhoods that don't exist anymore (Ballard, which is unrecognizable to me today, and Lake City, who's days are numbered) but the people still do. Everyone here talks like the whole world went to college and behaves in private the way that would be proscribed in a modern critical studies course.

So I dunno if it's "aw shucks" but come down off capital hill sometimes and see how us unwashed live some time eh? There are literally more of us than there are urban college grads but that's the dominant perspective here and no one else seems interested in speaking towards a different experience.

And yes, negro is still a not uncommon word. Sorry to burst your bubble


The first letter writer should listen to the episode of the podcast Invisibilia's newest season titled "A Very Offensive Rom-Com." It deals with exactly the issue he addresses and I think would shed light on both his and his girlfriend's biases.




BDF - I had to google Brody, then I realized I've seen him in several things. Yes I think he's attractive as well, something compelling about him, especially when you aren't just looking at a pic. I think I'm the one that brought up aging well (or at least riffed on it a bit) and no I don't think it's a requirement for our quest for "universally attrative"- young Marlon Brando was hot hot hot and his older self doesn't change that. But I tend to appreciate beauty at different ages- especially if we are talking about sexual attraction- so it's nice when you can get it all in one package. Like the gift that keeps giving, ha ha ha. Hemsworth is a great example. I think he's hot- also built like Idris Elba or Hugh Jackman, also charming like both of them and yes great smile too. But I don't think he's sexy. Why? Personal preference probably has something to do with it, but I think it's because he looks so much younger than he is- like you know how Micheal J Fox and Leo DiCaprio never really looked like grown ups, they just looked like aged children? If that happens to Hemsworth (if he never looks 40 and just starts to look like a crumbling 25 year old) then no it won't make him any less hot in "his prime" but it will affect the results I get when I do a google image search. This is an important factor complicating this very serious research, and I appreciate you bringing this potential bias up to our attention!


Sporty, the only thing that really stands out about your experience is that you still have the adolescent feeling that your experience is somehow more unique than others. Don't give me all that working class hero bullshit. I live in a small rural area outside Austin- the town is mixed due to proximity to the city, the main jobs are service industry and ag. I don't believe at all that you don't know that "oriental" is out of favor. You asked about it, I ignored. You asked again because people ignored you, so I answered your question in some detail, acknowledging that you probably aren't genuinely asking but giving you a genuine answer anyway. As expected, you did not respond to anything I said and instead picked up on another snarky "aw shucks" thing, and now you are going to pretend that "negro" is a commonly used word without any intention of offense by working class people. I've heard it in street slang, mostly among black people themselves and ironically, I've heard it from bigots. There's no work environment I've ever been in when you could use it, anywhere on the class scale in any place I've ever lived since I started working in the early 90s. Basically no one on my father's side of the family went to college. His extended family is all bigots, even they don't say it much though they will sit down with you and argue for their right to say it since the NAACP exists, they mostly prefer a different n-word. My immediate family are not bigoted, but they are solidly working class, never went to school beyond high school and certainly know better than to say "negro" instead of black because not going to college does not make someone stupid nor does it make them out of touch with changing social norms, and your implications that it does are offensive. I doubt very seriously that working class white people in capital hill or lake city or whatever place you are referring to (I have no idea) where "unwashed" people live don't know that "black" and "African American" are now acceptable and "negro" isn't. I don't believe you. And your elitism is sneering which is ironic considering the point you are trying to make.


Romy Schneider, Catherine Deneuve, Anne-Marie David, Jane Fonda, Audrey Tautou, Alain Delon, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Marcello Mastroianni, Clint Eastwood, David Bowie,


Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida, Dominique Sanda, Bibi Andersson, Liv Ullmann, Golda Meir, Theresa May

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