Dear Regular Guy,
After reading your article, ‘Look but don't touch', I decided to relax and enjoy the rest of this summer's sport with my husband. It came as a bit of a shock when we were watching the opening ceremony of the Paralympics, then, when he announced "Hey, she's quite fit for a . . . " Is he out of order?
Essentially, yes he is. If she was good looking then she was good looking full stop, not good looking for a . . . anything. No description, no justification, no clarification. She was just good looking.
But go easy on him.
I think the Paralympic games have come as a revelation to a lot of people and taught us all something quite important about some of the human beings we share a planet with. A lesson that should have been learned centuries ago but somehow wasn't. Maybe it's time to go back to the classroom. We need to understand more about the disabled than how to limp like one when we have parked our cars in their parking bays.
Your husband won't be the only man who watched the Paralympic athletes' parade, at the opening ceremony, in shameful surprise as a bevvy of beautiful ladies hobbled or wheeled past the camera. We have spent our lives blindfolded to the possibility that somebody with any kind of disability at all might actually be genuinely attractive.
Surely any able bodied or minded person who dates somebody who isn't, is trying too hard to make a point, or kinky, or too ugly to get a ‘real' girlfriend? Isn't that how it goes? Surely any girl in a wheelchair should accept any offer she gets - no matter what the man is like?
I know a lot of people think this way.
I think that maybe we have all seen how wrong that way of thinking actually is.
There's far more to it than simple attractiveness though. These games have shown us all just how brilliant people can be when given the chance. When they are taken seriously and allowed to be considered normal, in the same way as any other athlete, given proper funding and facilities, then they really can show you genuine ability.
The tag line that has come from the Paralympics is to see what they can do, not what they can't; and boy did they show us. I have sat with my mouth open in sheer dumbfounded disbelief at the superhuman achievements of people that have never let the dice life has rolled them force them down.
I caught my son splashing about in the bath, the other night. He was playing at being a one armed swimmer. Can you believe that? There was no malice, no amusement, it was genuine hero worship. Like me, my son sat breathless watching people with no arms at all competing against people with no legs in a swimming pool at speeds we mere mortals could only dream of. We looked at each other in awe.
I sat back and wondered how in hell it can have taken me 23 adult years to open my eyes when my son has already seen through his. The Paralympic games have opened my children's eyes in a way that I could never have managed, no matter how P.C. I may pretend to be. This has to be worth the cost of the games by itself.
I think that finally, we can all start to see the abled in disabled. To see how appalling it actually is to ask the person pushing a wheelchair what the person sitting in it might want.
And yes, it's time to see sexiness in places we had never thought to look.