Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Inquiring minds want to know

Is it rude to ask people about their obvious physical traits?

Can I ask people about how they came to have their crooked noses, glass eyes, limps, smashed fingers, etc?

Or is it only okay to inquire if the physical difference seems to be only a temporary malady, like a cast or crutches or pregnancy or a zit.

I am extremely (EXTREMELY) curious about people, but I rarely ask.
When I do ask, I never ask to be rude or make a person feel bad. I honestly want to know. Come on, it's not like it isn't obvious. Maybe it would put a person at ease to know they are actually being seen and looked at straight on.

There is a very nice gentleman who comes into my work with only one leg. I always want to ask if the cold hurts his stump, or have him tell me his story. But I don't ask. I'm sure I could, he's a very nice person. But I hold back because I don't want to embarrass him if it is a touchy subject.

I consider myself to be a pretty nice person. I like to consider the feelings of others, but does that trait make it harder to get to know people? I don't want to step on toes, or cause someone to be uncomfortable.

I think those bad haircuts, crooked eye-liner, tattoos, painful shuffles, black eyes, scars and missing limbs are unique and it makes me think you must have an awesome story to tell.

So don't be mad if I start asking.


blackbird said...

I always wonder about those kinds of things too. I'm not brave about asking, but I usually want to know.

Anonymous said...

I just ask = )

Jen said...

I just asked my daughter about this (she is 1s, and missing her left arm below the elbow). Her answer was basically that it's not the end of the world when someone asks her about it, but that overall, "It's pretty annoying." When we're out as a group (multiracial family, a few with missing arms) we are always grateful for the people who *don't* ask.

Jen said...

Oops, that she read "she is 13"

Amy A. said...

Thanks for the insight, Jen. Teenagers are a whole different story and flat out strangers are off limits. It's mostly people I see everyday and have started to get to know in other ways that I truly wonder about.

This is why I love blogging! You get so many perspectives. Thanks for coming by!