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An Indian in conversation with an American

Kristi Lee with boyfriend

Kristi Lee with boyfriend

Kristi Lee is an American woman, having seen American culture so closely, such that she has been through the experience of being single mother. Generally, we, INDIANS have either misconceptions or lack of information on American teen and youth culture. Hence, here I have tried to shed light on some of the western culture related issues such as sex before marriage, divorce, prom night, college life, clubs and parties etc. through the help of Kristi Lee.

Here goes the conversation:

Devang Vibhakar: Back here in INDIA, the youth believes that, American youth culture is very open to living their life. Like they live it at fullest. They leave home and parents at early college stage of their life. They enjoy sex before marriage, rather it is a common practice. What’s your take on all such beliefs of INDIAN youth?

Kristi Lee: First let me say that the one thing about America is that our culture is really diverse. The way I see things may be completely different from my neighbors, or even my parents; that is a part of our culture- that we are pretty diverse over here. Now, to answer your question, we get a very limited understanding here of cultures outside of America, at least during school years. I haven’t learned much about Indian culture so far. But I do think that Indian youth grow up in a much more disciplined atmosphere- with a much stricter upbringing. I think it’s sort of instilled in us to view this as some sort of injustice, but believe it or not, there are a lot of people out there that share in my envy of that discipline. A lot of people originally from India who move to America go on to lead very successful lives. It’s almost as if foreigners can sometimes appreciate our way of life more than we do and I usually contribute this to their discipline.

Devang Vibhakar: On your blog, you have written an article with title When Kristi Met Kevin, where in which you have said “I was a virgin until I was almost 19. This made it hell for me because as soon as a guy found out I was a virgin I became a territory that needed conquering. I can’t count how many bets I have been involved in at some point. It was pitiful. Guys went to desperate measures to sleep with me”. So my question is that, how common is it that girls do fall in love and end up being a single mother in America?

Kristi Lee: Far too often. Teenage pregnancy is getting to be the norm around here. Me staying a virgin until 19 was a pretty big deal. Most girls I knew were having sex at 13 and 14 years old, some even younger than that. It didn’t always used to be like this. There was once a time when the traditional family was much like it is in many other countries around the world- married out of high school, then kids. Usually the woman stayed home to raise the kids and the man worked to provide for them. Now the family unit is as diverse as our culture- including many single parents- some single due to divorce, some never married in the first place.

Devang Vibhakar: Religion, Spirituality, Gurus, Yogas and what not. Is the American youth interested in all this? In other words, what’s their normal approach towards all of it?

Kristi Lee: It is, but it isn’t. The majority of Americans consider themselves as Christians, but as with everything else, people practice many different religions. Since there are so many different religions being practiced here, religion in general is starting to become taboo. Employers typically don’t make reference to religion- it’s not something that is openly displayed in public and it is also kept out of school as well. It’s come to be a “private” matter- to avoid offending people. I am Christian so I can’t personally speak for anyone who practices another religion. Being a Christian here is becoming difficult. For one, popular culture usually is in direct contradiction of most of which Christianity stands for. Most of the people that I meet that are my age or younger don’t even consider themselves as being religious at all. I think we are so consumed with daily life, technology and entertainment that we don’t put much thought into religion anymore. It’s just so controversial now. Here’s a good example. When I was in middle school, I brought a Bible to school to read in my free time. I pulled it on in gym when I had free time and it was taken away by a teacher. You aren’t allowed to bring them to school- at least not mine. You aren’t supposed to wear shirts that depict religious images. I mean, you probably can- but it would most likely turn into a court case due to offending someone. It was nothing like this 50 years ago.

Devang Vibhakar: Sex is in roots of INDIAN history. The great scripture on sex ‘Kamasutra‘ is an INDIAN invention. Though, when it comes to talking about it, most of the INDIANs remain silent, or to worse, act with an opposite attitude, despite liking it so much. Like as per Alexa reports(http://www.alexa.com/topsites/countries/IN), out of total 100 most visited websites in INDIA, 4 are porn sites. Watching pornography is too common among youth these days with easy availability of CD/DVDs from market. How common is the pornography among the American teenage and youth? And what is your personal experience about it?

Kristi Lee: I would be lying if I said I didn’t at some point watch porn. Do I enjoy it? No. I think it’s distasteful. But yes, it’s pretty common here. Kama Sutra is arguably a form of art. People only try to label your stereotypical American porn as art so they can get off without looking perverted LOL. One thing we are divided over as women- are men and porn. Some women have no problem with their husbands or boyfriends watching porn and will even watch it with them. Some women, like myself- find it insulting and view it as a form of cheating. But for the most part, it’s pretty widely accepted over here.

Devang Vibhakar: How is the college life in America? What are its Pros and Cons according to you? And most importantly, how is it from the perspective of both education and enjoyment of freedom?

Kristi Lee: I didn’t go to a University, I went to a community college. I actually dropped out of school early and got a GED, which is the equivalent of a High School Diploma. I enrolled in community college at age 16. There are no dorms at a community college. I really wish I had taken the traditional route with my education and experienced true college life. One thing I can say about colleges is that IMO they are liberal institutions without much exposure to conservative thinking. People can argue with that but it is proven that the majority of college professors consider themselves liberal. That would be my con. College is almost a necessity now. Sure there are people who go on to be very successful without having higher education, but for the most part you are not going to land a decent job without a college degree of some sort.

Devang Vibhakar: Youth, college and romance related Hollywood movies have one thing in common – ‘Prom Night.’ What it is all about? Rather, how has been your experiences about it?

Kristi Lee: Unfortunately, I never went to prom. This is due to me getting out of school early. I do remember shortly after having my son, I helped my sister get ready for her prom. I did her hair for her and made sure she looked just right, and she did. I had to hold back from crying because I wished I had been able to experience that same excitement. It is a big part of a person’s youth. Girls spend months planning on the perfect dress to wear, stressing over the color- boyfriend arguing that he will NOT wear a pink sash and corsage. It’s common to rent a Limo and ride together with your friends, then check into a hotel afterward. It’s a big deal.

Devang Vibhakar: In INDIAN metro cities such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore etc. late night clubs are becoming a common practice among the INDIAN youth, where they dance, drink, match up and break up. Shed some light on American Club culture. What are the things happen there mostly?

Kristi Lee: It’s extremely common here. I went to clubs for about 4 years before I got extremely bored by them. It’s typically a scene that single people enjoy. There are married couples and people in relationships that enjoy going as well but in my personal experience and in regards to my friends, it breeds drama. But yeah, same thing- dancing and drinking…… and hoping you finally find a decent guy because you are tired of being single yet it never fails on the way home, you and your friends talk about how all of the men in the club are dogs haha. It was really fun while it lasted but I think I got drunk one night and stood there, watching everyone stand in a huge circle, all facing the dance floor. I watched the people dancing and thought, “Wow. Everyone is pretty much doing the same thing”. It weirded me out so I stopped going. I’d rather get drunk and dance by myself in my house- at least then I don’t have to worry about pouring sweat and ruining my hair and makeup.

Devang Vibhakar: About family life in INDIA, parents do raise their children, pay for their school, college and further education fees. Mostly help them find their life partner, and even pay for their wedding expenses. Children get married, and mostly live with their parents, doing their job and taking care of parents. Best example of this system is myself! This practice is breaking up these days slowly but normally, it is mostly how I mentioned above. How is it for an American family?

Kristi Lee: Well- that’s how it’s supposed to go for the most part, unfortunately college and weddings are pretty expensive and my parents could never afford it. Parents are not really involved in the process of selecting a mate. But I think my parents know me well enough to know I would have never settled down with someone they didn’t approve of. A lot of people here, particularly my age have that “no one else matters” mentality when it comes to their personal relationships. My parents mean a lot to me and their opinion matters to me so I couldn’t live out my life with someone they didn’t approve of. It’s common to take care of your parents but it’s also common to put them in a nursing home and let them fend for themselves, sadly. Matter of fact, my grandma is turning 93 on this Thursday and my parents spent the majority of this year taking care of her due to a fall. I would never put my parents in a home, they would live with me if they were unable to care for themselves. This is the traditional view that’s rapidly declining here.

Devang Vibhakar: Is it a common trend there to earn while you learn? That is, doing some job while you are studying in school and college?

Kristi Lee: Oh, definitely. My sister had a job throughout her high school years. Usually high school students find part time jobs, there are even programs in school that encourage it and will work with the student in that regard. In college, unless your parents have a never ending money stash, you have to get a job.

Devang Vibhakar: Last question for the moment would be, what are the different kinds of mischievous things teenage and young guys and girls do in American culture mostly during some parties at friend’s home?

Kristi Lee: Sex, drugs and alcohol. That about sums it up. That’s why I didn’t go to a whole lot of parties when I was younger. I did smoke weed for a while but other than that I thought pill popping and snorting cocaine was disgusting- as well as whoring around. I remember one particular party I went to. Everyone was loaded with drugs and alcohol and some guy was running around the house filming everything. There was a girl there that I went to school with a few years prior, she used to be such a sweet girl. My friend and I heard a lot of cheering going on in the back room so we went and checked it out- wouldn’t you know daddy’s little girl was back there giving blow jobs to practically every guy at the party. Later on that night, the cops came knocking on the doors. The guys that threw the party were drug dealers- I was terrified, I just knew I was going to jail. Everyone at the party literally hid on the floor while the cops knocked on all of the windows. Most of the parties I went to after that were pretty similar….


Photo courtesy:  http://theonestopthoughtshop.wordpress.com/


Devang Vibhakar is the Founder and Editor of www.SpeakBindas.com. He has interviewed more than 350 people. His effort was recognized by Limca Book of Records, twice. He has been to Scotland as well as Germany as part of vocational & cultural exchange programs and has compiled five books so far. He's passionate about bringing forth interesting stories & interviews of entrepreneurs to avid readers of SpeakBindas. He can be reached here.

5 thoughts on “An Indian in conversation with an American

  1. Preeti Patel says:

    Wow! Kristi and Devang’s joint venture is really outstanding. This is what should be done regularly at Speakbindas. Devang, you should hunt for more people coming from different culture and discuss in the same above pattern.

    Kristi, thanks so much for clearing some of my doubts about western culture. you both, rock!

    1. Thank you Preeti.

      This adds leverage to my passion now. I will be putting more efforts in getting Kristi like people on board of SpeakBindas. I know, very rare jewel are like Kristi who share their opinion very frankly, but my efforts will be in totality.

      Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks a tone to Kristi for sharing such interesting information with SpeakBindas’ readers.

  2. Kristi says:

    @ Preeti Patel: You are very welcome. We do have really awesome people here in America- as a matter of fact, the majority of us do have strong moral convictions. I think our problem here is that we lack action. It is a very small minority of people here that are causing the most damage. I have met some young people (teenagers) that are really great as well, but in my opinion the youth is being completely indoctrinated here. I don’t want to let off the impression that Americans are heartless savages, you should see us when we actually do pull together. But like I said- there is a small portion of the population that is hell bent on completely transforming the American way of life.

    @Devang- you are so welcome, anytime.

  3. This was a great interview and a frank discussion of things and comparison! 🙂

    Enjoyed reading it.

    1. Hi Vikas, actually this wasn’t meant to be an interview, but an opinion sharing.

      Glad you liked reading it.

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