I first started using this hashtag on an Instagram post when Laszlo’s hearing aid was faulty and we opted to stay in, watching YouTube videos with subtitles instead of the date we had planned. It’s only when I tapped on the #DatingTheDeaf that I found it is unique to me, to us… so I decided to make a “thing” out of it and share our chronicles.
I often forget that Laz has a hearing problem. I don’t see him as disabled or deaf. BUT HE IS DEAF!! I get a rude awakening every now and again when I see his hearing aid in photographs, whenever I have to repeat myself or whatever someone else just said, but the funniest is when his rugby coach tells me I don’t need to cheer so loud, “coz you know he plays deaf don’t you?” I stay koeza-ing anyhow!!
Recently someone asked me what its like to date a deaf guy, and I told them “it’s like normal” …well, I lied! Forgive me. What is normal even?
I’d like for you to think of me as Laszlo’s dope girlfriend, who is super supportive, very patient and who puts the awesome in awesome-sauce… sorry to disappoint you but I’m not there yet. Communication sometimes is a pain in both our butts, coz then he’d get frustrated when I get frustrated or say never mind. NB: saying nvm to a deaf/ hard of hearing person would get u the same response as when you’d swear at someone. Also, I have used his deafness to my advantage on two occasions when we had creative discussions (just a nice name he has for arguments). When he’d ask me to repeat myself, Id use the ‘opportunity’ not to repeat but to rephrase my initial statement especially if I didn’t come correct with my game coz man can my guy debate!!
Not so long ago I found myself apologizing for his deafness… typing this just made me realize how stupid it really is. We were walking in the mall on game day, him wearing his All Black jersey and me being proudly South African in my green & gold, as we passed a few All Black uncles trying to get his attention so I told them “sorry he can’t hear”. Normally, Id just tell him ‘boyfriend, this person is trying to talking to u’ then he’d go closer… but we were in a hurry coz he had a 21st birthday party to attend. It just seemed like too much effort at that moment. Despite being deaf, Laz is a very social person and while I’m writing this post it just dawned on me that I have robbed 3 All Black uncles of an opportunity to become deaf aware.
His hearing or sometimes the lack thereof, makes him so much more attentive. I would send him a text and he’d ask me what is wrong coz I don’t “sound” right. Like how can a person pick that up form a greeting or one sentence msg?! The things is this, he not only listens to the words I speak but he catches my vibe.
Laz is one of the funniest people I know, with a brave yet gentle heart, a fierce spirit and generous nature. Boyfriend can be quite a character and spending time with him and going on little adventures, learning new things and doing absolutely nothing is time well spent. We can talk for hours about anything, he is the most open-minded individual I have met, he has challenged and inspired me in ways that I can’t even begin to describe. Knowing him is a pleasure, doing life with him is a privilege.
You know how in the movies when the guy gives the girl extra keys to his apartment or lets her drive his car … things got ‘real’ the day boyfriend gave me a spare packet of his hearing aid batteries. Official I tell you. Coz yes… we’d be out and about and his batteries would die, without any warning. These days I know more about hearing aids and cochlear implants than I do about manicures and the latest nail art trends. I love the fact that Laz is pretty chilled about his hearing disability, it has no effect on his self esteem whatsoever, he knows who he is and Whose he is. He might have had pity parties and “God, why me” moments… I mean that’s understandable, but he has embraced the fact that being deaf is part of his identity… and so have I.