Anyone with a love life knows full well how much people enjoy meddling in it. Everyone has an opinion about the ideal mate, and by God, they want you to hear about it. These opinions are sometimes sound enough, but they’re still just opinions, and not necessarily reflective of your needs, preferences, and values.
I, like many blind people, have heard all kinds of opinions about how I ought to manage every aspect of my life, down to which mobility aid I should use and how passionately I should desire a cure. When I began dating my previous partner, who happened to be blind, people were quick to loudly and emphatically express the opinion that I should choose a sighted mate, because…
“A sighted person can take better care of you.”
We begin with the pervasive assumption that blind people can’t take care of ourselves. Some simply mean that we struggle more with everyday tasks (which is often true). They point to the driving issue: wouldn’t it be so nice, they suggest, if your partner could drive you everywhere? They could come pick you up when you get lost, or help you shop so you wouldn’t need to bother the customer service people, or find your keys when you drop them, or walk with you so you don’t get hit by cars.
While some of these arguments might have merit, I don’t particularly need taking care of, at least not to the extent to which I’d need a live-in caretaker. Besides this, I don’t think most sighted people would appreciate a mate who selects them in whole or in part because they could act as caregivers. Even if a sighted person got off on that idea, I’m not interested in being someone’s source of validation. No thanks.
“A sighted person makes more money.”
Okay, so there’s no denying that many, many blind people find ourselves chronically unemployed. The job market is more limited and less welcoming. Despite diversity quotas and affirmative action, it’s still difficult for us to land and keep jobs, even when the economy is booming. So, technically, choosing a sighted mate would mean that at least one of us would have an easier time finding gainful employment. But…
Blind people can still work. We still establish and maintain high-paying, fulfilling careers. We attain the same level of education as sighted counterparts, and are still more than capable of making a living independently.
We’re supposedly past the stage where we believe women ought to have a man so they can be supported financially, so my argument is that, if I can live independently as a single, educated woman, then I can live with a blind guy, whether he is or is not rolling in it. Again, who would want a disabled mate who chose them because of their employment prospects? Seems a little shallow, no?
“A sighted person will keep you normal.”
Blind people, like many other disabled populations, are usually perceived to be alien. Sometimes, we are socially awkward, hesitant, and even a little sheltered. Some of us never outgrow common blindisms, like rocking, eye-pressing, or hand-waving. These are techniques we use to self-stimulate as children, and while some of us left these things far behind as we entered the adult world, others have more difficulty eliminating these habits. Beyond these very specific issues though, blind people are about as normal as any others, but sighted people don’t always believe this. They think of us as having our own little tribe, and encourage us to mix with sighted people to dilute the blindy weirdness as much as possible.
So, the logic follows that, if we date sighted people, we’ll be forced to stay as normal as possible to retain our attractiveness. There will be no room for letting things slide, or sinking to a lower standard of behaviour. Blind people, after all, encourage each other to act strangely, and don’t value normal human interaction, right?
All I’ll say to this is, there are a hell of a lot of strange sighted people in this world, and most of my blind friends are as normal as can be. Besides, I’m capable of befriending someone without adopting their exact lifestyle and mannerisms. So, even if I dated the wackiest blind guy alive, I’d probably be the same, normal-ish Meagan. (Hey, why are you laughing? Stop that. I can be normal! Seriously!)
“A sighted person is more of a catch.”
So, so many people are under the impression that I was settling by choosing a blind mate. I chose him because he was attractive and compatible with me; I did not settle for less by dating him. Sighted people are not better mates by default, even if they do have an easier time getting a job and are able to drive me to an unfamiliar place. My current partner, who is closer to being fully sighted than he isn’t, is also attractive and compatible with me. I selected him for the same reasons as my blind ex, and benefit far more from his sweet disposition and kind personality than from the various perks his vision can offer me. My relationship with a blind mate failed for reasons independent of disability, and my current relationship thrives for reasons unrelated to my mate’s sight.
If you liked this post, drop by next week for its companion piece, in which I discuss the reasons we should only date fellow blind people (and why they’re totally ridiculous).
I’ve never been told I should date a sighted person, it’s how I feel due to where I live and there aren’t all that many blind women around for me to consider dating. further more, somebody told me a few weeks ago that in Wangaratta the town I live, there’s a drought when it comes to single women and that there are more single men in this town than single women. I myself feel that if I was to dcate somebody sighted it would save the amount of money we’d spend on taxis. Each time I go on about the issue of dating and relationships now my mother will start telling me to stop worrying and stop going over the same issues she still tells me though it is true that it will happen and i’ll be glad when it does well, mum doesn’t tell me this but other people I speak to in conversation do. my mother continually reminds me that my cousin who is closest to me in age is still single and that my eldest cousin got married late in life. I never think of the caretaker line but somebody sighted is probably about the only choice I have as to circumstances due to where I live and there not being many blind women around in the country blind people seem to be more plentiful in cities. now I don’t just use the term plentiful to consider dating I say that on the basis of the population between country and city.
It seems that, no matter what choice you make, blind or sighted, there are stereotypes attached to it and, no matter what choice you make, people will come along and start advising you that you should make the other choice. The one that really bugs me is the one where a blind person should be with a sighted person to be taken care of. OK, but what about love and romance, or do you think blind people are too clueless to understand such things?
ssometimes we blindies are clueless about romance because too many people have made us respect boundaries and when we’re given consent we don’t know what to do or who’s around us that’s going to judge us tear strips off us and drag us away thinking that person is uncomfortable with what we’re doing.
I can’t believe these things have been said to you. I get told all the time how it’s sad that i am not in a relationship and am not looking. I have no interest though and that’s just me, nothing to do with being blind. People certainly have some strange ideas about a persons love life don’t they.