There’s a cultural difference in Ukraine I don’t fully understand and it was only recently I saw it firsthand. This past week at camp, my lips were chapped after standing in a field all day teaching baseball to the kids. It happens. It’s dry. My seemingly natural reaction is to put on some Chapstick. I don’t travel without it after I took my motorcycle journey back in the summer of 2012. Lips get dry and they hurt. Chapstick fixes this.
However, in Ukraine, if a guy wears Chapstick, it’s assumed that he’s gay. I’d heard people tell me about this but I never experienced it firsthand. At camp, however, some of the boys were around me as I applied a coat of it to soothe my lips and the instant response from Vladim was, “Danny, you gay?” I was stunned that they were so blunt about it. I tried to explain that my lips were chapped and that just what you do but they moved on.
Would you look at a person applying Chapstick and try to decide their sexual orientation? Is this not only a Ukrainian stereotype and someone just forgot to mention that only gay guys wear Chapstick to me? Enlighten me.