Friday, September 29, 2006

Attention World: It's Not Okay to Stare No Matter What

So it's like this. My daughter Kate (Age 3) is a wonderful person. Passionate about music, enthused about travel and life experiences, fiercely loyal to friends and family. She's also two other things: a dwarf and adorable. She's cute as hell, there's no denying it. When you see Kate, you realize that she's proportioned differently than most other people and, as is the case with anything anomalous, that catches your attention and you need a second to make sense of it. And what happens when you add in the cuteness, well, people end up staring at her in public places. Sometimes with a smile on their faces, sometimes not.

That happened today. About a half an hour ago. We were in this coffee shop, waiting in line, and this woman kept staring at Kate.

ME: Please stop staring at my daughter.
HER: But she's so cute!
ME: That doesn't make it okay to stare at her.
HER: Well, I just think she's adorable.
ME: Stop staring at her. It's not okay.

It's not okay to stare. It's not. It's rude. But because she's a child, many people think the rules that apply to civilized society don't apply to her.

But. They. Do.

You shouldn't stare at people with physical differences. You shouldn't even stare at people who are cute just because they're cute. It's not okay.

Here's the deal. If you'd like to meet Kate, or anyone for that matter, walk up and introduce yourself. Show some respect.

Sometimes I'm glad that Kate (Age 3) fills me with such joy for the world. Because that prevents me from punching people in their eyes.


Basil said...

"Hi Kate, I'm Basil.
I think you're a beautiful kid and I hope I get to know you. You're dad's a pretty great guy and I believe he would punch the world in the eye for you.
That's not such a bad thing."

The Mysterious Traveler said...

Perhaps discuss this with other parents of kids who get stared at (twins, cross-cultural adopted kids) and find out what works for them?

My nephew is very crosseyed, has worn eye patches and/or big "Coke bottle" glassses for years. People's remarks ("are you a pirate?") used to get us upset and defensive until our nephew started cutting us off to say to the stranger "I'm cross-eyed." He handled it much better and more matter-of-factly than we did!

Tom Dougherty said...

Boy, this is exactly the reason I don't carry a gun or two. It's like when strangers feel they can touch a pregnant woman's belly. People have no goddam sense.

Love your blog, and I love hearing about your wonderful kids. Whatta pop you must be!

Best of everything,

Matthew said...

Bringing a girl that adorable to a public place and then criticizing people for falling in love with her is practically entrapment.

When people stare at my preternatural cute kid, especially when he's up to his usual / unusual antics, I just say: "He's autistic." It would, of course, be more accurate to say "He has Asperger's Syndrome" or "He is a high-functioning autistic," but I find that just plain "autistic" works best when I am trying to coax the "just got punched in the stomach" expression from the ogler. Which, let's be honest, I typically am.

Matthew said...

P.s. If I ever have the opportunty to meet Kate I will come armed with a hard copy of this photo. When I get overwhelmed by her adorability I will stare at the photo instead of her and THEN WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO TOUGH GUY?!

Anonymous said...

She *is* cute! Downright adorable. But you're exactly right--staring is rude! That person has no manners.