Yesterday, I wrote about the question that I am asked more than any other as a person with a visual impairment. Today, I am going to write about the question I tend to ask other people more often than any other as a person with a visual impairment. What do you look like? Although, I tend to phrase it as “can you describe yourself”?
This is a question I ask for the most part because I used to be able to see better. Because I had vision at one point when someone says that they have blonde hair that actually has some meaning to me.
Even though a description of a person holds some meaning for me, I still kind of feel weird asking that particular question. Nobody with vision needs to ask that question because they can look at a person or look at a photograph and get all of the information they would need. The only way for me to get that kind of information is to ask for it. I also admit that sometimes it becomes easier over time because the longer I talk to a person the more likely certain aspects of what they look like are going to come up naturally. I don’t typically ask that question until I’ve known someone for a reasonable amount of time.
It doesn’t really matter to me what a person looks like. This is why I sometimes feel uncomfortable asking someone this question when the possibility of us dating exists. I don’t want them to think that I am all about looks or fixated on a specific body type or something like that. I’m not going to say that there aren’t parts of the female form that I find attractive because there are. But if I run down all of the women I’ve ever been attracted to in my life going back to grade school they have come in all sorts of body types, hair color, style and so on.
I have to say that generally when I do ask a person what they look like they are usually very accomodating. My friend Megan was incredibly thorough in her description of herself down to the scars on her nose.
I rarely ask someone to describe someone else for me. I did that with my friend Mia where I had my friend Melissa describe her for me. She did a good job but either she neglected to mention or did mention and I forgot that Mia wore glasses. I bring that specific point up about Mia because I was just on the phone with her and she mentioned her glasses and I was surprised to learn she wore them.
I’m sort of surprised when I ask women to describe what they look like how many of them volunteer their weight. I know better than to ask a woman directly how much they weigh, although to be fair I don’t think I would ask a guy that question either. I actually think it is a good thing if a woman tells me how much she weighs because to me it is a sign that she’s probably comfortable with her own body image and I consider that a good thing. Or if hse’s not comfortable with her body image she’s at least going to be honest about it with me.
Until I have some idea of what a person looks like I use a stock image when I imagine them in my head. Or if they share the same name as someone I already know I tend to think of that person’s body in my head until I’ve got a better idea what the new person with the similar name looks like. So until I hear differently all girls I meet named Amanda kind of get the picture of my first girlfriend who was also named Amanda. Confused yet?
As valuable as a description is for me it really isn’t enough. This is only true of someone I have only ever conversed with by chatting online but people don’t really become real to me until I have heard their voice. Even with the description I had of Mia, it was not possible for me to think of her in any real way (like in a dream for example) until I finally got to hear her voice. Now I can imagine actual conversations with her in my head because I know what she sounds like and I know her laugh. Someone like my friend Kerry, whom I haven’t spoken to voice-to-voice since I graduated from High School when I hear her voice in my head it is the one she had back then even if that’s not really how she sounds any more. Once I’ve heard a voice I really don’t have a problem playing it in my head.
Most of the examples I’ve given in this post involve women. This is because I have had more women rotate in and out of my life in recent years than guys. All of the guys I know I have known for quite some time so the examples aren’t as fresh. Most of the people I have met in recent years and now consider my friend have been women. Too bad most of them are several hundred miles away from me.
The next post I write is going to answer a question that most people wonder about but almost nobody has ever asked. I am going to talk about what I find attractive in the opposite sex. How can I become attracted to someone if I don’t know what they look like?