Saturday, May 5, 2007

Deaf School Dating

I was never one of those types of girls that brought every boyfriend home for the parents to meet. I was also not the type that wanted to meet my boyfriends' parents. This was all made possible by living at a residential Deaf high school and our parents being far, far away. Going to Deaf school really made kids grow up a little faster. We were not able to depend on mom and dad to do things for us, like helping us with our school-work, or having them around to talk to when there was a problem, and even going through puberty on our own. I could tell countless stories of girls in the dorm when puberty went up a notch and them having to ask the other girls what to do... but that's another tale for another time.

Growing up without the parents around made it easy to date among ourselves and not worry about a parent asking us, "Where have you been? Who were you with? Is that a hickey?!???!" We would have make-out sessions behind the dorms and spend hours just kissing and hugging (at least that's the farthest I went, no telling about the other couples). Oh, sure, we had dorm supervisors, but it was 3 or 4 staff members up against a dorm-full of 60-75 girls with raging hormones!

The particular dorm that I lived in was across from the boys' dorm and if you left the curtains open, you could see right into each others' rooms. It just so happened that our room was in sight of our boyfriends' room, and being deaf, a distance of 100 yards didn't matter-- grab some binoculars and sign away! We had all kinds of "conversations" with the boys, my roommate and I-- we made the usual goofy face conversations, the lift-your-shirt and flash 'em conversations, and the lovey-dovey, sappy, I-miss-you-cant-wait-to-see-you-at-breakfast-tomorrow conversations. I'm sure the boys in the dorm got an eyeful more than once, but I always made sure to close the curtains when it was time to change clothes-- I didn't put everything on display (I can just hear mom breathing a sigh of relief)!

Deaf kids were prone to drama-ridden, on-again, off-again relationships just like in hearing schools and there were plenty of times when a break-up happened right there in the student lobby. I think it was a little more difficult in residential schools, because we were together 24/7 and there was hardly any time apart from each other. My particular school had students from all over the US and some parts of the world, so it wasn't like they could go home for the weekend and come back on Monday all fresh. If we wanted to avoid seeing an ex-boyfriend, you pretty much had to stay in your room, and how boring is that? No computers or phones and almost none of us had our own TV; we had to watch TV in the wing lobby, phone calls were made in the 'Communication Center' and computers were in the (you guessed it!) 'Computer Center'.

There were plenty of times when us girls resorted to wearing turtle necks for the obvious reasons, and the boys would strut around like roosters in the chicken coop, proud to show their symbols of the previous nights' passion. I know some couples went off to the dark and secluded parts of campus for more than just kissing, and there were plenty of places to hide. Curfew was at 9 and lights-out was 11.

Dating in Deaf school was both easy and difficult. Difficult because you were growing right in front of everyone and the awkwardness of puberty was tough to deal with. The acne, the periods, the growth spurts (height and boobs), and facial hair. The self-awareness of your changing body and then constantly being around other kids who didn't know what the hell was going on with their bodies, too! Easy because you were in misery just like everyone else.

In a way, not having parents around was both a blessing and a curse, they weren't there when you needed them, but you also didn't have to explain that hickey on your neck.


Krissie said...

I still have to explain hickies to my Mom...
I'm not deaf and I'm 25 but that school sounds great to me. Do you think I could get in?

Lantana said...

Your post brought back memories!

I recall one night we were all riding the school bus back to the residential school after a football game far away in another town. I was sitting with a male classmate, we were just friends. But the couple behind us were very serious about one another (and later married) and asked my "partner" and I if we could put our heads together close enough to "cover" for the couple behind us. Guess what? My seatmate and I were the ones who got nabbed and separated and placed into different seats! I was 13 years old.

jenny said...

Krissie-- If you pull a 'Never Been Kissed' stunt, I'm sure you could get in! I peeked at your blog, and if that's you in the pic, you'd pass for 17.

Lantana-- Isn't it amazing how 2 people can find each other at such a young age? I believe in soulmates and there is someone out there for everyone! Sorry to hear you got nabbed! :o)

Krissie said...

It is me and no one at my Uni believed me I was 25. lol
Thanks for stopping by and for linking me.

Lisa C. said...

It brought back some memories. I recall one of my classmates went into the cafeteria for dinner wearing a white turtleneck, I saw someone going behind her and pulling down the neckcuff. Guess what?! She had a really big hickey on her neck. If her mother who lived far, far away was there, she would flip!!!