Touching Faces

When I heard a story on todays Selected shorts radio program on NPR, about a man who was the reluctant host to a blind man, I was reminded of many misconceptions and myths about blindness, but Ill just talk about one in this post.

In too many movies and stories with blind characters, the blind person wants to touch the face of another character.

Never, in my 60 plus years as a visually impaired person have I wanted to touch somebodys face to get a picture of who they were. Sure Id like to see the faces of people I love, but touching their lips, noses, cheeks, chins, ears, and brows, wont tell me nearly as much as listening to their words, paying attention to their body language, and tuning into the words they dont say.

Furthermore, I dont know a single blind person who wants to touch the faces of the people they meet. How then, did that perception become so common? Are we viewed as people who can only interpret our surroundings by what we touch? But thats another misconception for another day.

When I am introduced to another blind person, never do we extend our hands to feel the faces of the other. How creepy would that be. We will probably shake hands, and you can tell a lot about a person by a handshake, but thats true of anyone, blind or not.

Forget about what you see in the movies. Thats Hollywood, not reality.


1 thought on “Touching Faces

  1. Thanks again for the insight. I figure the face-touching bit is a dramatic device to introduce intimacy into a scene, but you’re right–in real0life it would seem kinda creepy.

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