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Beauty Unsuspected


I wear the top button of my jeans unbuttoned at all times. For most women this would make me a slut, but in my case it just makes me pathetic. Today, I have funky red hair, I’m 5’ 2”, one hundred pounds, a 34-C, Banana Republic size zero. I have blue eyes, eyelashes so long I can’t wear sunglasses, lovely skin, and a smile that never stops. I’ve been schooled in classics, theology, philosophy, Spanish, Arabic, ballet, athletics, kinesiology, theater, Karate, and politics. I’ve traveled to 14 counties, broken 5 international track and field records, and taught school in Mexico.

Like what you’re reading? I’ll go on. I’ve got a cute butt, an absurdly long tongue for cocktail party tricks, a set of wheels custom made for me, and a great sense of humor. I’m an hour glass figure, a la Marylyn Monroe, very flexible, and ready to embrace the true meaning of freedom. 

All of this and I’ve never been asked out on a date. 

Which doesn’t mean I don’t any action. Every time I go to the airport I get pulled out of line and patted down by some security guard, their gloved hands running up and down my most intimate areas. The last time I was in Boston one hefty, uniformed individual whispered into my ear “this is my favorite part about my job. I’m so good at it,” as she rubbed her hand up the inside of my leg.

Come fly the “ friendly” skies.

After nearly twenty-one years of living with a disability, I am still constantly amazed by how sexually frustrated young disabled women are. I’ve seen girls with all types of disabilities burst into tears and held them time and again as they sobbed “but I’ll never have a boyfriend.” Often it seems as if perceived asexuality is the greatest disappointment from disability as I watch young women yearn to feel beautiful, desire a man’s touch, wish to have the freedom and confidence to invite him back to their room for the night. Just like all women, we too crave to feel cherished. 

It is particularly difficult to watch idealized images of love, even though my brains knows that these ideals will falter, fall flat on their faces, and cause more heartache that I can ever imagine. I remember coming home after a bridal shower for both of my hall counselors last year and sobbing in the shower “I want to be loved like that. I want to be held like he holds her. I want to be someone’s sexual dream. I want so badly to be given dishtowels by my best friend and be excited about them.”

Perceived asexuality does have a wonderful advantage though. I may cry every time I see Cyrano de Bergerac, but I am able to take the time many girls primp and throw themselves ruthlessly at guys to truly excel at everything I wish to do. And I know I have be given desire that only certain guys are man enough to fill. True, pure, hunger is made to be satisfied.

Unlike many of my disabled peers, I know my inactive romantic life is actually not my fault. Indeed, it’s amazing how guys who do not know about the disability will give me complements without hesitation. (It is important to note I use the term “guys” here, because males this shallow are not men.) On the way back from church today I looked out the car window to see the car full of guys whopping and yelling at my eye contact and wagging their tongues at me. In Switzerland this summer, during a particularly hard evening, I opened my third story window and stood alone watching the sunset on the balcony. Within a few moments a Swiss walked by, stopping to stare at me. He yelled up, first in French, then Italian, then German. After all attempts failed he tried English. “You are the most beautiful vision I have even seen. I wish I had a camera to make your picture. May I came up to see you?” Unaccustomed to such attention I always smile and back away, knowing that mystery is more romantic than exposure. 

I am beautiful. I am sexy. I will be cherished by a man someday. I don’t need to waste my time with false lovers, for I know I have these characteristics, even if no one else suspects it.

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