We spent all our time together for the next three years. I didn't learn sign language growing up, and though I took a year of it in college, I rarely come across people I can converse in sign with. For some reason, I've never felt like I really belonged in the deaf culture, at least less so than in the hearing culture. How does your deafness make your relationships different from those between two hearing people?
Jacob: One big thing is that we are forced to be more intimate.
Problem was, girls always thought I was trying to play them.
I chose the Rochester Institute of Technology because it had a sizable deaf and hard-of-hearing population.
Describe the experience of meeting girls when you moved to Las Vegas after college. Jacob: Vegas has 40 million tourists every year, which meant if I made a complete fool of myself, it didn't matter because the next group had no idea who I was.
My deafness made it hard to interact with others, so I had to get creative. For instance, I thought it would be a good idea to let people know right off the bat that I was deaf, so they'd understand why I'd need to communicate with them in a different way.
Making the deaf connection starts with communication and learning sign language.
To speak with a deaf person, it's important to face them and enunciate clearly for those who can lip read.
For the deaf person, he or she may be more comfortable dating deaf people or finding a deaf club, a deaf event or even deaf chat rooms where a person can mingle and feel comfortable among people who understand.