Blindness Beauty And The Beast


Blindness Beauty And The Beast

     An old Fleetwood Mac song was playing when the
main man in our story walks into the bar. For the life of him he couldn't get
the name of the tune and it was bugging him. He was away at a workshop, single
and entering this hotel lounge where he thought he'd see who might be
interesting to meet.

     At the left end of the bar
there were two nice looking middle-aged women talking. To their right sat a
couple that looked married. Next to the right were two empty chairs, a trim
blonde woman, then another empty chair. Next there were two guys followed by a
man, woman, man, woman until the end.

     Sliding in beside the blonde,
it looked better and better. The song changed and he said, "Hi, how are you tonight?"

     The woman turned and faced the new comer. "Hi yourself."

     The guy was again struggling with the name of the tune and now he was having difficulty catching this good-looking woman's eye. Then he got it, the song was Beauty and the Beast, and this woman was blind.

e-mail responses to

**1. Before I met David, I dated three other guys with visual problems. It's more common than one might think. In each case, the problem was secondary to the person. (Before I go further, I should also say I dated forty five gents without visual impairments, most for only one date, over a period of eight years.) It never occurred to me to worry over whether the person could or couldn't see. The biggest problem was if they could or couldn't drive, owing to the lack of adequate public transport in my area.

It's possible I was unique, as I was always running into people who got it into their heads that I had gotten engaged to David for the presents at our engagement party and planned to walk away with them after I dumped him. Or else, they would tell me how grateful he ought to be that he was marrying me, or how he would do anything I asked him to do. One woman, who ought to have known better because she has a handicapped daughter decided she really admired me because I was so self-sacrificing. Huh? Luckily we were at a party together without our husbands, and I was able to mention David was baby sitting our infant daughter (who is now a successful parent in her own right), and that as a favor to me he had done the dishes so I could go to the baby shower. She said, "I don't know what I'm talking about, do I?" I was grateful I didn't have to point that out to her myself.

By the way, the people who decided I was marrying David for the presents
have both had failed marriages. Blindness has nothing to do with it!

Lori Stayer (Merick, New York, USA)

B. "To Tim Olmstead (#3.): I'm sorry your wife left you, but if
blindness was the excuse she used, perhaps she was using it to mask the real
reason? If it's the only reason, she is foolish for walking away. A person is
not less of a person because his eyes don't work!"

C. "Tim: (#3) I am a sighted parent, but my husband is blind. We have
raised two successful young adult daughters together, one of whom is now
married with children of her own. Taking children away from blind parents is
one of those things the National Federation of the Blind fights successfully. I
urge you, or whoever might be fighting such a battle, to contact both his local
Federation chapter and the National office (410) 659-9314, and speak to Dr.


**2. "I want to read the next chapter. Why did she have to be trim,
huh? What did HE look like? could she dance, carry on a decent conversation?
What does blindness have to do with this seduction, excuse me, supposedly
seduction scene? Are pretty blind people more datable than ugly blind folk?
What about control issues? so do men like having a woman they can control?

Safety. What about the date pills now days? At least we don't have to worry
if our stockings are straight!! Good one."

Pamela McVeigh (Herman, Nebraska, USA)


FROM ME: "Pam raises more questions than gives this the


****3. "Beauty comes from within. The only best is the people that can
not look past the outside appearance of someone. I think being blind does
affect a relationship. My wife of seven years left me because of my blindness
and because of my physical condition and wont's to keep my kids from seeing me
if she can. That is what I call a beast. Maybe I am wrong beauty is like a
flower which is planted and nurtured till it comes up and is blossomed and is
ready to pick. And the person who is lucky to get that flower is very

Thank you for your time.

Tim olmstead (Fremont, Nebraska, USA)

FROM ME: "This gentleman has been through it or

should we say, is in it. What do you others have to say to
Tim? How about his wife? Or, his children?"


**4. "Just to do a bit of deconstructing of the story at the outset:
clearly, everyone in the bar, except the blind woman, are there in couples. The
blind woman, however beautiful she might be, is alone and, symbolically,
isolated, with an empty chair on either side. This could be coincidental, but
probably not; just a bit of avoidance. Thus, isolated and avoided:

now, there's a bit of a beast for you! Relationships are pretty critical
factors in the lives of most human beings and the male-female, husband-wife,
varieties are a kind of paradigm for most of us. Getting them going is the most
critical moment in a relationship, given the kind of society we have become.
Now, we come to that old social interaction thing: eye contact. Now, there's
another beast! Combine isolation, avoidance and eye contact and you have quite
a bearish in the Happy Land of human relationships. You have to wonder if the
beautiful woman was drinking club soda or something stronger to drown the
consciousness of those three beastly elements in social relationships of blind
persons. Well, the story does present a good paradigm of the situation of blind
persons and relationships. Those who are sighted have something of a handicap as
far as forming relationships with those of us who are blind, so I guess we have
to make reasonable accommodations in the form of taking the initiative in
establishing relationships. It takes more than just responding with a single
word greeting in response to the initial opening of someone else. But, I don't
want to get into a long list of do's and don'tis on how blind folks can take
the initiative without becoming overly aggressive."

First thoughts from James Nyman (Lincoln, Nebraska, USA)


**5. "I was the first of two blind girls born to our family. My mother
took the blindness quite well in the long run, but the world may have seen me
as a Beast from the beginning. I was beauty in my mother's eyes until my own
personality began to emerge separate from hers. Actually this happened before I
was ever born, but was not all that evident as a problem to me until about
fourth grade. By then I had been branded as the "family mistake"
which put me in the Beast role. The second blind daughter received all the
benefits of being a second blind child and became the family's good example or
Beauty. Knowing that you've gone from Beauty to Beast in your mother's eyes is
something I wouldn't wish on any child. I'll probably always be working on it.

I was seen as the Beast by most adults in my childhood and teenhood,
however, I was very popular with my peers. I was congenial, attractive, (except
for my eyes) and guys liked me. I was both Homecoming queen and May queen at
school and usually won any elections to be had. I edited the school newspaper,
was in a musical group, and the envy that was there especially among female
friends did not show that much at the time. I was Beauty to most of my peers at
the school for the blind and such achievements seemed to be a major blessing at
the time.

However, I had no idea at that time how far and hard I would fall out in the
sighted world. My parents figured I would marry and raise a family and they
said it didn't matter to them if my spouse of choice was blind or sighted. Love
was the answer. I met guys in college and they were always polite to me but
nothing serious ever happened. All of a sudden I was seen as one to be
respected academically but not a candidate for marriage since I was
"defective." My sudden unpopularity was frightening and depressing.
However, a blind guy from school and I renewed our friendship after college and
we were married. It seemed okay to the public for two blind people to be
married. After all, on social occasions, if we were left out, we had company.
He was much more outgoing than I and nearly forced people to include us. This
worked quite successfully for some time and it appeared that I was perceived by
many to be Beauty and he was Beast-as long as we were married. We had a
daughter who is sighted, very attractive and intelligent. She, at seventeen, is
still working on having a heart. Now she was seen more as Beauty and he as
Beast and me as Mother-Of-Beauty. The parent and child roles kept being
switched by sighted persons around us and to this day my daughter seems a
little confused though I have very articulately explained all along that she is
the child and I am one of her parents.

The aspects of me as Beauty which were seen as Beauty before marriage were
eventually seen by my husband as a threat. He was more comfortable being the
noticed one-the independent and approvable one. I backed way off and
experienced all kinds of illnesses and frustrations. My body turned, in the
public's eyes, from Beauty-Except-For-The-Eyes to beast as I joined another
group which is constantly discriminated against in our society, especially for
a female, that of being above average in weight. When the incompatibility and
health problems hit the fan a divorce ensued. I felt like an abandoned Beast,
felt so much pain from social nonacceptance that I turned to my Creator in a
new way. Though I began to see the possibility of Beauty in me in the spiritual
sense, still I vowed I would never marry again. I believed my mother when she
said that no guy would look at me now since I was "used" and had no
traits that a guy would be looking for. I couldn't hide behind my husband
anymore so I became more noticed as Me. The world saw a totally different Me, a
Beast for sure--blind, older, divorced, single parent, lower income, above
average in weight, and assumed to be "welfare white trash" in the
sense of not being trusted by those outside my own neighborhood. I feared that
my daughter would be taken from me by some well-intended social worker with the
belief that she was in an unfit home. Thankfully, this never happened but I
knew it could at any time. I had to remind store clerks that my credit was
impeccable and that if they could give a cash advance of fifty dollars to the
sighted lady ahead of me, there was no reason to allow me only thirty dollars
above my purchase-my money's as good as anyone else's. I was the same person
with all the talents and skills as before except perhaps not quite as congenial
as before. I still had my education (Masters level) had held several jobs, had
written songs and articles, and I was raising my daughter alone with very
little nurturing from the outside. I wondered how all this happened to the
Homecoming or May queen. I realize now that this "fall from Beauty to
Beast" happens often. My mother was right as guys no longer flocked my
way. In most of their eyes I had become more Beast than Beauty and they didn't
come close enough to see through. I was not totally devastated by this change
since my relationship with my Creator took on such beauty that imperfect men
paled in comparison. What I was finally beginning to learn was that our Creator
made both Beauty and Beast and everything in between and this was as it was
meant to be. I was reminded by someone who never dumped his positive regard for
me, that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and if I beheld it in
myself that this would come shining through for those who were willing to see
it. Indeed this has happened on several wonderful occasions, when someone will
see that tangible beauty and overlook physical appearances. One such person is
now my husband. His physical appearance and health are not perfect either, so
we didn't have the perfection game to play. His sightedness and my blindness
are not particularly important in our relationship. Though we certainly
continue to experience nearly insurmountable worldly challenges, we can be
bolstered by our love. Most of the time, we are able to see the essence of who
we really are in and through each other. Our love has grown quietly and
sincerely. This is a blessing from our Creator which neither of us had
expected. I think that we had both decided that though we knew we contained
aspects of both Beauty and Beast, the world saw us more as Beast than Beauty,
but who cares? We know how our Creator regards us and that is really all that
matters. I still feel sad sometimes about the social rejection and/or downright
indifference with which the world sometimes regards me, but then I am reminded
that humans tend to accept less the tornado than the calm summer breeze; less
the flood than the waterfall; less the sun which could incinerate our entire
planet if it were just a little closer, than the warmth and light of the sun
which promotes and encourages life. Our Creator made them all--Beauty and the
Beast in all of us and in all things. This is what matters.

As an aside, I have noticed that in our society, there are the blind
marrying the blind, and one of each marrying the other. It appears more often
than not that sighted women often marry blind men believing that they will have
someone to "take care of." Codependent sighted women flock to some
blind men. I have also observed that more often than not, domineering sighted
males tend to marry blind females, presuming they have an easy conquest. I have
often seen it happen that when the blind person begins to assert his or her
independence, that quite often such marriages end. I have also observed that
often, when a sighted couple finds one to be going blind, that the marriage
will end before adjustment to blindness can occur. Sometimes I think, "If
they would just wait!" I have seen, more lately, that more couples are
getting help with their relationships and in these cases, I see a healthy blend
of both persons into a team in which it really doesn't matter if one is blind
and one is sighted. The National Federation of the Blind, of course, is the
forefront of this positive direction. It will sure be a fine thing when the day
comes when it won't matter to anyone whether we can see or not, since we can
perceive each other as okay as who we are. I do not know if this will ever
actually happen but I know it could happen if our desire for it, in a universal
sense, is strong enough."

Laurie Merryfield (Omaha, Nebraska, USA)

FROM ME: "A lot to think on here... Interesting how blindness when
added into the normal dynamics of parental perceptions, family culture, peer
acceptance, dating and mating, body concept, etc. How many of you also
experienced the effects of moving from the environment of the "blind
school" to the public college? How has that gone? Keeping your eye on the
true "Beauty" of the person sure is difficult for too many of us.
Laurie is, beautiful."


**6. "Some people have no conception of loyalty. Tim wife and those
bananas who made that tacky remark about Lory and the gifts are prime examples.
However, it is important for blind people, as well as sighted people to look
their best. Competition is ramppid and has little mercy on the drab. I,
personally, like to ware makeup and think it would be a boon to blind women if
they learned to do the same, it's wonderful on your self esteem."

Patty Svendsen (Omaha, Nebraska, USA)

**7. "About the guy who's wife has left him and doesn't want him to
have responsibility for the children. I think I would have to hear the rest of
the story. I know that blindness doesn't and shouldn't be the only or even the
first and biggest reason why a marriage should break down and parenting is

He spoke of "his condition" and what is that all about? If he has
had a long protracted illness, possibly a life threatening one, that in and of
itself can be a problem for a couple.

Getting back to blindness, we know that blind people can do a great job in a
marriage and as a parent. But, that is only after we have made a positive
adjustment to blindness, both in emotions and in our skills. We can never
afford to only "talk the talk," and not "walk the walk?"
Any of us in that situation need to have good travel skills, good self care,
and generally hold up our end of the duties around the home. I am sorry that
this situation has happened. Do seek out other blind parents, they are out
there. Also work hard to make the best adjustment to blindness as you have the
potential to do. I do not know if this will help your wife and you to get back together
or not, but you need it for you. Your kids need it to, you will still be a
major role model for them."

FROM ME: "When can blindness be a concern in child rearing?"


**8. "Interesting Thought Provoker. When I went to college I found that
it was up to me to start most conversations. It didn't pay to be shy; shy is
being just shy of nothing. But what I found was the people who came up to me
and were the friendliest were the other misfits (not meaning any offence). I
mean, I was pretty good looking, fairly smart and would talk up in class. But
the guys who hit on me were either over weight, generally ugly in some way or
of another race. Now I like people and I'm not really a snob or a racist. But
here I am just making a point. I even learned not only to accept rides from
men, but women too. A few of them hit on me too. Again, I really don't have a
major problem with Gay's either. But I was looking for something different or
should I say something more like the norm, like I saw myself.

My major point is, blindness is still a misunderstood characteristic and it
is up to the blind person to make the best of it they can. You have to try and
educate where you can, tolerate some stuff, fight at times and even be ready to
run other times. I'm not a NFB'er, but I like the slogan they have
"Changing what it means to be blind." We all have a part in that.

FROM ME: "Any present college or high school students out there? How is
it for you? Is there something to this "misfits" attracts other


**9. "What I wrote is in response to what I saw from Tim. I looked at
Tim's response to the "Thought Provoker" and I have one question. Is
Tim newly blind? If not, what kind of person does this to a spouse? If people
would take more time getting to know each other, we would know if we were
dealing with a beauty or a beast. The blond babe in the bar could be a real
sleeze. It's too bad that so many people judge a person by their looks; even
among the blind I have heard it said "I would never go out with so-and-so,
I've heard that he or she is uuuuuuuuuugly!"

Shellie Johns (Lincoln, Nebraska, USA)

FROM ME: "Do we the blind have the interest in or even the right to
have standards for looks?"


**10. "As a blind woman from a small town, I had been involved in a
couple of short-lived relationships in which I felt taken advantage of. In
college, there was one more opportunity for me to learn about such

Relationships are risky for anyone, even if both parties are very healthy in
mind, body and spirit. It is not uncommon for a relationship to become involved
in power plays and motives which are not entirely pure. As blind people, I
think we are more conscious of this fact. I wish this consciousness would make
it easier for us to avoid all of the pitfalls of bad relationships but it
doesn't. When we are dating, I think we as blind people are often more careful.
There is so much to be aware of before entering into a long-term relationship.
First, there is the trying to figure out why the other party wants to have a
relationship with us. Not many people are honest enough to say something like
"I'm looking for someone I can control and you're it". Equally, few
people are willing to say that they are too insecure about their own
characteristics to look for someone else. We seem like an easy catch so they
"settle for" us rather than working toward a more meaningful
relationship. Unfortunately, relationships based on these insecurities and
control issues can last for many unhappy years only to end in an ugly divorce.
My awareness of these factors made me a very cautious young woman. I needed to
put on a tough exterior so as to avoid letting myself be "picked up"
by someone who saw me as vulnerable. When a relationship of value did come my
way, I had to explore it for a long time before I was willing to commit to it.
I think one of the things we need to do once we have engaged ourselves in a
long-term relationship is to keep track of where we stand in that relationship.
Are we using blindness as an excuse for not doing what we can? Is our
significant other using it as an excuse for us not to do what we can? Are we
contributing to the relationship?

Another thing that comes to mind with this blind woman is the amount of
effort she made to show common courtesy. As blind people, I think we need to
use appropriate body language. Attempting to make eye contact demonstrates an
interest in the person you are talking with as well as the subject at hand. I
know of blind people who do not face the person they are conversing with and I
think it makes the other people in the conversation quite uncomfortable."

Nancy Coffman (Lincoln, Nebraska, USA)


FROM ME: "Have you all heard that old one "the blind are more
perceptive." What do you think about that?"


**11. "I think that if one blind person marries another that it makes a
lot of sense. First, I'm sure they love one another. Second, they would have
their blindness and all it means both positive and negative going for them. So
if they are well-adjusted adults and blind people, then they have something
that is very strong. I would say that if two blind people married because they
were non-accepting of the sighted, then that was not healthy (not saying their
marriage wouldn't last). But as our world is today, I know most sighted people
would have a problem in marrying one who is blind; their loss.

Lastly, I'll agree with many comments found in "Thought Provoker,"
blindness can be positively lived with by both the blind and the sighted. Also
that in order to have a healthy relationship, you must be well adjusted to


**12. "As a blind divorced woman, I realize various conflicts that may
arise in a relationship. When I was married, blindness was not an issue with my
spouse, but I had an issue with independence. As a single woman, I have found
it difficult to attract single men. I do not blame that totally on my
blindness. Factors that must be looked at are the involvement I have in the
community, the community I live in, and the friends I have made in this small
southern city. I have been told by men that I am very aggressive and
controlling. Several women have told me that I am one of the most independent
women they have met. Never the less, blindness does play a factor in how people
first look at us. It is up to us as individuals to brake that blindness
barrier. We must give the other individual a chance to get to know us. Isn't
that true with a sighted person?

Vicky Chaptman (USA)


**13. "It is okay that we all have our likes and dislikes. I know I
like blue over all other colors. I also feel it is acceptable to and natural to
pick my friends by the only criteria that counts for me, mine. But what I don't
like is the too often human mistake of judging only what is seen upon the
surface; including those things we do not understand. With my 20-20 hindsight,
I can sit here now knowing that I once did not understand blindness even feared
it. However having the opportunity to get to know and like several people who
are blind changed my mind. Now blindness is no more than another human
characteristic, though desirable, it is one that is only part of the overall
person. Funny to say, but sometimes blindness is an asset in one person, where
it may be a crippling burden in another. Truly, I have seen several blind individuals
who say their lack of sight caused a focussing of talent in another of their
gifts and excelled. I met one gentleman who said blindness changed his life
from one of selfishness and crime, to one of introspection and civility.
Another interesting person was a woman who went from a non-caring D and F
student, to one of B and A; she found meaning in teaching others to cope with
loss. Indeed, some wear blindness well and are attractive because of it. But
alas, as we know the human condition, not all blind nor sighted persons are
knowledgeable about the human ability to successfully live and love in
blindness. Just as all we human kind on this big dirt ball are getting smarter
all the time, we as a race have not matured to the point we can yet understand
and tolerate one another and live peacefully together. Blindness is like that
too, misunderstood, feared, avoided, seen as undesirable, etc. So yes, it gets
in the way of relationships where it shouldn't. But there's hope, there's
tomorrow; providing we work to educate ourselves on the subject."

FROM ME: "Aren't people beautiful! Isn't ignorance a beast!"


**14. "I believe that everyone has their own inner beauty, it only
takes someone to look for it. I have a blind friend who recently tried to start
a relationship with a woman whom they didn't know. The woman didn't want to
meet him because she thought that maybe she would fall for my friend and
wouldn't b4eable to deal with his blindness. I couldn't believe what I was
hearing when my friend told me this. I told him if she can't deal with your
blindness then she isn't the one for you. Blindness shouldn't be the reason to
date, or not date someone. I feel that if the feelings are there it won't
matter if you are blind or not. I hope that if any of you come up against a
situation like this you would have the good sense to get rid of someone who has
difficulty dealing with your blindness. A person like that isn't worth the pain
and hurt you will go through if you try to make it work."

Amy Clark (Lincoln, Nebraska, USA)


**15. "I read the beauty and the beast story and the thoughts that the
people had about it. One thing that I noticed is that the blind people have all
the same problems and feelings and things that happen to them as the sighted
do. I had many of those same things happen to me and I was treated in similiar
ways, as an outcast in my hometown due to being poor. I wasn't ugly, blind, or
anything but poor. The other "outcasts" flocked to me too. I had to
decide if men wanted to date me because they thought I was hard up, or whether
they really liked me. Being blind, one may think that the pain they are
suffering is because of that and that if they were sighted it wouldn't happen.
It still could, just a different reason. We all suffer from imperfection in
this world, both our own and others imperfections.

My husband is blind. We have been married for 26 years. His blindness isn't
a problem, or an issue. I am not a controlling person. I married him for his
wonderful sense of humor, for his kindness, for his exceptance of me and for
his ability to love me for who I am too. We are good friends. He is a good
parent. Blindness does not take the brain away or the heart. Those are the most
important things after all is said and done."

Rory Conrad (Dunlop, Iowa, USA)


**16. To Robert's question "do we, the blind have the right to have
standards to looks?"

As a sighted woman, in love with a totally blind man I feel that the blind may
have much to teach the sighted about the problems associated with placing importance
on appearances. I look average to O.K. - but present myself quite well and
worried myself silly when a "friend" pointed out and exagerated my
worst features to him (what was SHE trying to achieve I wonder?). I thought I
was not a shallow person, so why did I think he would be so shallow as to worry
what I looked like - perhaps I'm too used to the way sighted men have always
treated women. But I don't get off scott free either! My blind partner has
never seen himself, so why would HE care if his belly is not exactly taut and

However much I hated myself for it, I worried about what others would think of
my dating him...I realised I consider good looks more important than I thought
I did. But I love him too much for this to be a real problem, I respect him and
what he has to teach me - he doesn't realise it, but this is his strongest
lesson and I am growing and learning faster with him than I could with anyone.


**17. Interesting site. Where did you come up with the idea of a Thought
Provoke Page? On the Beauty and the Beast story I laughed right out loud. What
did that story have to do with anything? Did he know she was blind? Did he
care? Did he want to have a relationship with her? When did he find out she was
blind? Was she blind or visually impaired? Many questions come to mind.

I am a visually impaired adult. I was married 6 months before I started to lose
my vision. It has been a long hard battle with my husband. It is hard to make a
relationship work when one person has a disability, it can be done, but it is
hard. You have to love yourself to have others love you, disabled or not."

**18. "Jane Lyons (USA)

I am a unique person in that one of my desires in a man has always been that he
BE blind, (I am sighted), (but only if the rest of him is calm, stable,
approachable, loving, tender, gentle, peaceable, a good conversationalist,
intelligent, faithful, G-d fearing, (a Christian or a Jew), a non-to-light
drinker, nonsmoker and taller than me (I'm 5'7"). I have met a couple of
hostile, angry, violent blind men, and I will not even consider dating men who
are explosive, whether sighted or blind.

Now, your response about whether or not blind individuals have the right
to want someone good- looking, I say that the answer is yes, just as a sighted
person would. However, I have to wonder if the blind person who feels this way
is feeling it because of what others (friends, etc...) think. I dated a
visually impaired man who really hurt my self-esteem because he made references
to my tummy (I was a little overweight, but not at all obese), even though he
himself had a 'beer-gut', psoriasis, and one hand and foot turned in as well as
his visual impairment, and could not talk about anything more than stocks and
bonds, gambling in Las Vegas and a few other subjects. In other words, he
needed this 'image' of a beautiful, thin, long, blonde-haired woman by his
side, which was fine, but he has never gotten that. He still calls me from
time-to-time, but he is so swallow, he has nothing to offer me! In the
meantime, I went on to date a wonderful, gentle, tender man just as I had
wanted, who is a "nerd", complete with eyeglasses from the 50's, not
a bit of sense on what to wear, and who is an inch shorter than me. It has been
over 4 years since the blind guy's insensitivity’s caused me to leave him, and
during those same years, fall madly in love with my nerdy sighted boyfriend.
Even though I certainly am attracted for some strange reason to non-sighted
(sweet and decent -looking, loving men, I would pick the sighted 'nerd' over
the non-sighted gorgeous guy any day. For me, looks are not as important as how
a person treats you, and respect is essential.

Does it not matter/count how a sighted woman treats a blind man if she is a
little less than a "10"? What if the blind man is actually

I too, have a blind male friend who was left by his wife of 6 years because
'she was not able to 'get-off' by him, since it took visual looking with her'.
She knew of his blindness before their marriage. I think she's a beast.

Maybe I will meet the right man someday. Oddly, I'd like it if he were blind,
but not because of any self- image problems with myself (I am pretty and told
so), but because of the total experience that is found in being with a
blind/visually impaired man. Maybe it doesn't have a thing to do with sight,
but I have always felt that a sweet, sensitive blind man was what I was looking
for. What would you blind men out there think of that? Oh, I am learned,
college-educated, work with abused kids, love the outdoors, water sports, art,
classical, blues and jazz music, dancing to 50's music, 60's and 70's music,
like light rock, and am tall, with long legs, sensuous lips, am very playful,
spontaneous and creative, tender yet assertive. I have never had any kids, and
may never.”

Julie Daniel (USA,

**19. "FROM ME: About the man in number 3., Tim."
As far as what this man is going through, I have this to say:

1). Does he have another disability or condition rather than blindness? He said
something regarding this.

2). A good friend of mine for over 10 years was also recently abandoned by his
wife of 6 years due to his blindness, (or so she said). Usually a
non-judgemental person, I don't have any respect for her at all. You don't love
and marry someone who can't see and then divorce them later because of it. So
what a man can't see? A truly loving commitment is based on the person/people
involved, not whether they can see or not. She knew of his blindness before
marrying him. To me, she was just a selfish, inconsiderate person, She left
with her lover, having verbally abused my friend regarding his lack of sight.
That's plain evil. Going a step further, I think there are many blind men who
are very desirable. You can do a lot with touch and the other senses that
sighted men could never even come up with!! I would rather have a loving,
gentle, calm, peaceful, supportive, involved, giving blind man than an ordinary
hedonistic sighted man any day of the week!

3). Unless there is some reason that we don't know about, like Tim abusing his
children, or something like that, I think the children need to be able to see
and spend time with their father. A father's love (as long as it's healthy),
can never be replaced. 4). Finally, I would need to know if there were other
circumstances other than just Tim's inability to see, because if that's all it
is, then I see his wife as being abusive."

Julie Daniel (USA)

**20.“This is interesting to me. I have never dated a blind person, but not
because I have chosen one way or another. I just have never been asked out
because I am never anywhere that there are blind people. I must mention though,
that when I was younger and life was perfect, I dated a guy for a while who really
liked being blindfolded. He actually enjoyed not being able to see. We would
either go to his place or to my apartment, and he would tie a blindfold around
his eyes and then try to get around. The smile on his face was ear to ear, and
he'd kind of giggle whenever he bumped into something because he was groping
too high or too low. At first I didn't know what to make of this behavior, but
it really became a turn-on when his groping led him to me. It became a game,
he'd rove around helplessly feeling his way and was rewarded when he caught me,
then I'd move and he enthusiastically would set off groping, stumbling and
feeling walls again, all the while thoroughly enjoying himself and very much
turned on. That relationship didn't last for many reasons, but to this day when
I see a blind character on TV or in a movie, I still get a little tingle as I
remember my carefree, dating days and how good it felt to be groped, and
touched by such inquisitive fingers. Since discovering blindness, I just
happened to think about this guy, and I wonder what would happen if he should
ever lose his sight for real. I mean, he liked being blind, really liked it, it
was obvious, and if he were blind for real, I can't imagine how it would still
be fun for him. I would like to think that he'd be very adventurous and that he
would handle it well. That is the only experience I have with "blind"
dating, and as you can tell, it was a real "beauty”

K (Florida USA)

**21. "Is it the five senses we fall in love with or the person as a
person? We all have limitations!"

Vince Llanas

**22. “I am a 47 year old totally blind man. I've been married twice-- once to
a blind woman and once to a sighted woman. Both marriages ended for reasons
other than blindness. There are certainly things about blindness that change
the dynamic of starting a relationship. One must take the initiative in
developing relationships with sighted women because they don't usually see us
as options for mates/partners. If they do, they are often over weight women who
view themselves as undesirable to sighted men; or very beautiful women who get
tired of men who just look at their tits and bodies rather than seeing the
"real person". Many of these beautiful women have confided in me that
they are "certain" that a blind person would see beyond the body and
into the person. They obviously don't know some of the people I do. I had the
experience for the last five years of owning a tavern. It was my policy not to
date customers but I found it interesting to see which women were obviously
attracted to me and would have dated me. Frankly, it was a great ego booster to
notice that there were a lot of women who were interested in me. One reason was
that I was clearly in charge of my bar and my environment so I think they forgot
about blindness after awhile. I also think that in a funny sort of way, the
reason these women were interested in me was that I was a challenge. In other
words, I wasn't looking for a relationship in that environment so they
naturally wanted one. Seems like when people know you're looking they are more
wary. Human nature I suppose.

Having said all this, I do think that relationships that work are built on
maturity and good character. Looks are only important to the extent that one
can change them. Some people are overweight because they don't discipline their
eating. Others are overweight because they have a health problem. Some people
don't dress well because they don't have nice clothes. Others don't dress well
because they don't care to look nice for others. For sighted people deciding
whom to date/mate with is clearly, and initially, a visual experience. Ask
virtually any sighted guy how his date was and the first thing he'll say is,
"Well, she's beautiful..." And I'm thinking to myself how sad it is
that he's deciding his future not on the person but on the body. One work I
read recently on genetics speculated that this trait is genetic. Humans have
evolved through the millennia by deciding which body types to mate with.
Certain body types are evolutionarily more fit and better than others from
nature's point of view. That may be so because the trait seems so pervasive. I
have this cousin that I believe has married the same woman three times. What I
mean is that they are all built alike, talk alike and even have the same
mannerisms. He's clearly attracted to a particular body type and can't get
beyond it to the person. Our goal as maturing human beings needs to be to rise
above our less desirable genetic characteristics and develop friendships with colleagues
that may or may not mature into life long romances. If we can develop real
friendships we'll at least have them to carry us through even if that love
relationship never comes along. I'm still looking and still maturing.

Mike Bullis (Portland Oregon USA