Friday, September 14, 2012

What Is It Like Dating In The Hearing World?


                         

Once upon a time, a long, long time before I met my husband (dang, I just made myself feel old); I dated plenty of hearing boys, and the fact that they were hearing did not bother me. The most common questions I got were: Why didn't you date Deaf guys? What was it like to date a hearing guy?

Why did I not date Deaf guys? First of all, I didn't have a chance to date a Deaf guy. I grew up in a mainstream hearing culture, and admittedly; back then I viewed my Deafness as something to be ashamed of and to be shed of. I was being young and I wanted to be accepted in the hearing world and by my hearing peers. Unfortunately, I carried some negative attitude toward Deaf culture and people. I felt Deaf guys were uneducated, and unable to really provide for themselves. Was that right way of looking at my culture and Deaf people especially guys? No. Thankfully, at least I definitely did change my attitude and views once I've accepted my Deafness and broke away from hearing world's perspective on Deafness. There were definitely a lot of intelligent, fun, and kind Deaf guys that I became friends with over the years (just like hearing guys, really).

If I had a chance to start all over again, and had a positive view about Deaf culture then would have I dated Deaf guys? Probably not. It was not because I would not want to, but rather how I had been brought up. Too many Deaf people, especially guys, often mistaken me to be a hearing person. That was something I did not really want to have to deal with on a frequent basis as a Deaf person. 

What was it like to date hearing guys? I was, what you would call a serial dater, and did not really like to commit myself to one person in a relationship. I figured that I was still pretty young--the best advice I have ever gotten for dating was to go on a date with different guys and have fun. When I had the experience of dating different guys out of my system then I would have known when it was a good time to settle down, and who to fall in love with.

It was definitely challenging to date hearing guys and it left me with a lot of amusing stories to share. My favorite story to share is the most common one. More often than not, I've had a hearing guy leaned in to me to talk, because of habit or environmental noises going on, and I gently reminded him by smiling and shrugging my shoulders while pointing at my ear. The hearing guy ended up feeling somewhat foolish, which was not my intention at all, and we had a good laugh over his brief lapse of memory of me being Deaf. Habits die hard. 

I enjoyed teaching basic signs, fingerspelling in my language, and writing back and forth on paper during my dates. The guys I went on dates with definitely did not know sign language, but that did not stop us from having fun. One thing for sure was that I never had nothing to say. There was always an icebreaker or something to talk about which was mostly about my Deafness. Me being Deaf also provided some amusing and creative ways with how guys tried to communicate with me. I had to give them some mad props for coming up with crazy ways to talk with me. 

With every few nice hearing guys I've gone on dates with, I've also had my share of pretty idiotic guys that left me with lessons to learn from. I've been told that I would have been an ideal girlfriend if it was not for my Deafness. Ouch. What I had learned from that is that I did not need an approval from a man to boost my self-esteem. There were some more experiences that I look back and roll my eyes at, even though at that very moment in my life, I was pretty upset. Ah, the youth in the dating life. 

Fortunately, all that was quickly washed away when I met my future husband, Stuart, when I transferred to a different college during my Sophomore year. I knew Stu was the real deal when he learned my language without my knowing and surprised me one day by signing to me. It was a sure fast sign that he had accepted me for who I was. I knew I was going to marry him right there. 


I'm happy to say that almost 8 years later, we are still going strong and we have a little boy to show for it. ;-)




5 comments :

  1. Beautiful story and insight! You guys really are perfect together :) And now you have the start of an amazing family! Just a thought...if you could choose to hear or stay deaf, which would you pick? Just curious :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Stacy, for saying so. :-)

      That's a really great question. I should write a post about this! I won't make you wait for a post to get an answer though! I'd definitely chose to stay Deaf because I believe that if I have a chance to be hearing then I would not be me anymore. I hope that makes some sense?

      Delete
  2. what an adorable story. very happy for you!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love your answer. It totally makes sense. And...just for the record...I thought that would be your choice :) you are an amazing individual!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love your answer. It totally makes sense. And...just for the record...I thought that would be your choice :) you are an amazing individual!!

    ReplyDelete