Wednesday, September 06, 2006

337: games deaf people play



Thought Experiment: What is the most maddening thing about dating Deaf/dating Hearing? Some friends' experiences prompted this post.

Is it when you're out with your hearing family and your boyfriend complains about leaving a tip?

Is it when he spends the entire night reading ridorlive on his blackberry 8700g?

Or does it have to do with his social past?

We all know the Deaf community is small. We all commit indiscretions now and then. A young lad feels his oats. A young lady thinks, I know a guy who has bigger oats, but at least this one doesn't smell funny. But hold it, young lady.

Do you know this gentleman? If you ask his deafschool classmates, will they tell you half the illegitimate children at Someplace School for the Deaf have his nose?

For a young Deaf professional woman such questions can be more than just girl gossip. Young Deaf professional males have more ways to spin it. ("I tamed the smoky beast," grinned Flint Lockheart, as he gazed down at admiring Chelinda, who worshipped his manhood. His wife Marin offered them more coffee.) How many times have you hesitated hanging out with a guy because of his past? Sometimes it seems an easier option is the hearing guy who smiles at you when you stop for a latte.

Deaf/Hearing relationships are pretty common, but their complications are vastly different. Instead of the community being too small, it's suddenly too wide. Conversations run the risk of faltering on shallow shores. And the avenues for available misinterpretation are way too many. I wrote one post on how the exact same comment meant two entirely different things to myself and a partner, and how neither of us had any idea how either would think about the issue - we were operating on totally different dimensions. Deaf people and hearing people - and deaf people and Hearing people - do think differently. Deaf are from Jupiter, hearing are from Saturn. As a person in a Deaf/Hearing relationship myself, this made me wonder.

Can we look at other mixed couples to give us pointers on how to ensure smooth sailing? Or are we doomed to a trip to the briny deep?

Well, a google search proved interesting. I looked for issues that come up between black/white as a starting point. I figured there were different categories to help us focus on Deaf/Hearing issues. I tried breaking them down a bit. I found articles which seemed to focus on:

  • Family Resistance. How does the Partner A's family affect Partner B? Are they resistant because they've heard stereotypes about what Partner B's race/religion/culture entails?
  • Reasons they're getting into a relationship. Is partner B afraid of being alone? Does Partner B have an obsession with Partner A's culture - or vice versa? Some Hearing people are obsessed with Deaf people and read websites about sex with Deaf people, touching hearing aids and other items in... new... ways.
  • What if the relationship ends? How will Partner A and B be affected by each other? When the relationship ends - and invariably a number of relationships will end - will they take with them anything they cannot recover from?

Feel free to join in with thoughts and musings. Wednesday evening madness!

Gallaudet Protest? It seems the issues raised at Gallaudet this previous spring are still up in the air. MishkaZena reports, also Ridor. You can find the official statement of Gallaudet's FSSA here. I tried to look for an official comment or response from Gallaudet but I see nothing so far, although there are reports of students being harrassed. Nothing on the news yet? Except for a brief article about cued speech in the Baltimore Sun which I found interesting for some reason.

5 comments:

Lonamstven said...

Generally speaking, I think deaf/hearing relationships aren't that fulfilling. Some do last for a long time but I do wonder about the substance or quality in the deaf/hearing relationship. Don't get me wrong, I do find myself attracted (and fall for) hearing guys but I'm not sure I'd be happy staying in the relationship with a hearing guy (unless he's a CODA). My great-grandfather was deaf and my great-grandmother was hearing. It wasn't that easy between them. My great-aunt, one of their daughters, mentioned that my great-grandmother did admit she wouldn't recommend a hearing/deaf relationship in general.

Anonymous said...

I'd be interested to hear more of your thinking on this. I've only ever had relationships with hearing people. None of them have lasted (though a 10 year marriage isn't exactly short term) but then I'm hardly out of the norm for what I see in hearing only relationships, either.

Joseph Rainmound said...

I have had one Deaf/Deaf relationship.

It sucked. He had nowhere near my experience in the gay world, though he was older than I. I think he'd be different now. But then, so am I.

Deaf/Hearing... well, it can exhaust me. It can reward me. I've been with one person who learned enough sign language to really talk to me, but even then, it's tough. Impossible? no, but... tough.

Anonymous said...

"Deaf are from Jupiter, hearing are from Saturn."

Hey, women are from Venus, and men are from Mars!

We're all just inherently different. Attitude is everything, too.

I've been in a deaf/deaf relationship, and it wasn't a bed of roses.

I'm now in a deaf/hearing relationship, and, well, it's going better than my deaf/deaf relationship.

It's more about the person you're with, than about the differences between the two of you.

That's my take on it.

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