Saturday, January 31, 2015

Since When...

Since when did it become acceptable to openly and freely state a bias against someone's desirability based on an uncontrollable physical attribute.  I don't mean "his nose is too big" or "she has weird teeth".  I mean "Oh I could never date him, he's too short".  Height is such an irrelevant factor to me.  I'm not sure what I find more offensive.  The statement itself or the fact that people have no issue making it to me in direct reference to my husband.  He is 8 inches shorter than I and this apparently causes a lot of concern to a lot of people.  I have more than once had people volunteer that they could never date him, he's just too short.  The most recent person to say this will, I'm sure, not be the last.  But it's shocking to me that none of them see the ignorance in this statement.  Would you openly state that you could never date a man in a wheelchair?  Or a blind man?  Or a man of a certain race?  While I'm sure these thoughts are more common than most of us would like to think, no one says them in public settings and they certainly don't say it proudly.  It's just not socially acceptable.  So why are comments about height exempt?  Looking me straight in the eye and reducing every part of my husband down to his height.

My husband is not perfect.  No one's is.  He has many flaws just like I do.  But one of them is not his height.  He has given me an incredible family.  He is my best friend, my confidante, my protector, my harshest critic but also my source of guaranteed honesty, my biggest fan and my hero.  He will, without hesitation, dive in to fetid, stinking water with an extra 30 pounds strapped to him so that he can pull an unconscious stranger from his underwater car.  He will wipe tears and snot off our child's face when they trip and fall.  He will work all his scheduled shifts and then spend all his days off helping a friend renovate his house.  He will get up after only having 2 hours sleep and spend an hour comforting a sick little child.  In all my time with him, I have never had a moment's hesitation that he is the person I will spend the rest of my life with.  And I would be missing out on all of this and more if I had, upon seeing him for the first time, said "he's too short for me".

The complete dismissal of all of these amazing parts of him comes from strangers, family and friends.  The more it's said, the more it angers and offends me.  I also struggle with the concept that I regularly withhold and hide my frustration and anger from the one person I've promised to never lie to because at the end of the day, if I told him every time I heard it, I would know that I was helping to take another undeserved shot at his confidence.  He says it doesn't bother him and that he doesn't care but I can't turn off my instinct to protect him from injury, both physical and emotional.  It's getting harder and harder to turn my verbal filter on when people say this to me and I'm starting to wonder why I even bother. I think it's probably an automatic effort to prevent an awkward social situation that would inevitably ensue.  This doesn't even address those that openly ask about the logistics of our sex life but that's a post all in it's own.  Regardless, I know in my heart of hearts, that the people that believe not only this offensive remark, but also that it's okay to say it, are the ones that are missing out.  They are writing off people that could change their world.  They are dismissing, without ever knowing, the memories they could make.  It's quite possible that someday, somewhere, someone will read a newspaper article with the tagline "Woman charged with assault after trying to physically shake some sense into someone after offensive remark".