Ask the dwarf (or little person, or almost any other term you want to use)

I was rather hoping the jokes would stay out of this thread, but I guess I can’t stop you having fun at my expense, even though the jokes are part of the reason I started it.

Phlosphr, you do? Wow, there’s not many of us. I just started a new job a couple of weeks ago (in hotel reservations) and I haven’t asked for any accomodations to speak of, though if I decide I need to I know they’d do it. They did provide me with a stool during a property tour (condos and stuff) to help me get in and out of the SUV a few of us were being driven around in, and I didn’t ask for it, they thought of it. I was pleased, especially since the ground was icy!

ETA: My username comes from an odd Chinese candy I love, it has nothing to do with either my stature or any classics of literature.

**whiterabbit **- thanks, that’s exactly the type of stuff I was asking for. I hear you about innocent kid questions - my kids do that ALL the time, with folks who are big/tall, have very prominent tattoos, etc… - I always focus on making sure they ask the questions respectfully, but make it clear that it is okay to be curious…

Baldwin, I’ve been attracted to just about any sort of man you can think of, actually. Both of my serious relationships so far were with average-height men. LPs are scattered enought that outside of organizations like LPA the chances of my running into an LP guy are slim, let alone one that I’m attracted to, but when I was in LPA there some attractive men running around. I never had more than an odd date or two there, though.

I can’t say what effect it has on men being attracted to me; I know some have been but beyond that I don’t know. I’ve had more luck romantically than some unfortunate average people on this board, but men have been few and far between for me. I’ve had to watch out for the rare scary weird guys, though. I haven’t done any online dating because I feel like I’d either have to lie or not mention my height at all, or else mention it and watch the weirdos come out of the woodwork.

Do you have health issues related to your dwarfism, such as the problems that afflict Mr. Rolloff or his son? If so, can they be corrected or do you just try to slow down the effects?

If you could change one barrier to your physical life, what would it be? Counters? Bathroom? Doorknob heights? Have you actually made any adjustments in your home (other than a step stool or what have you)?

Please remember that the number one rule of the SDMB is, “Don’t be a jerk.”

Moved from IMHO to MPSIMS.

That’s my favourite candy ever!

An acquaintance is very short and when I talk to her I feel much more comfortable being at her level, so that I can look her in the eye.

Otherwise I feel like I’m towering over her looking down.

I usually try to find a place to sit if possible, to help even out our heights, but if there is no place to sit, I will sometimes kneel. Is this considered courteous or condescending?

I have serious scoliosis; when I was nine I had spinal fusion surgery on most of my spine, and I have an odd neurological issue in my left leg, and my right knee has started giving me problems but is nowhere near needing surgery or anything. My type is one that has fewer ongoing issues than many others. I think my biggest current problem is back pain from my muscles being messed up by the scoliosis, and being on my feet can really hurt sometimes. Down the road there’s no telling; a lot of people with related conditions have hip problems but so far, thank Og, I haven’t had those.

If I owned my own home I would lower a section of the kitchen counter by a few inches, lower the bathroom sink I use the most a few inches and make sure the mirror was low enough as well, and lower the doorknobs. I wouldn’t redo the whole house, that would be silly, but I’d have stepstools all over the place. Right now I’m renting a room in a condo, so the only thing I can do is use a stool where I need it, which is mostly the kitchen and the laundry room. Luckily my bathroom has a low counter anyway, but not all of them do.

Oddly, I rarely think about this stuff. I guess I’m just used to doorknobs being at near-shoulder height sometimes, and other things like that. It’s just the way it is. The world isn’t built for people my height.

Popping in here to add that kitchen cupboards are a big issue. (I’m whiterabbit’s mom, for those who don’t know.) When she was living at home, we had to make sure that breakable or heavier items were stored in lower cabinets where she could reach them. It’s hard to get out a plate when it’s three feet over your head, and stepstools only can accommodate so much. The house I’m living in now has particularly obnoxious cabinets – I’m average height and still find them too high myself. When whiterabbit is around, we have to do an entire rearrangement!

Something that she hasn’t mentioned that was a serious annoyance for years, until she got old enough that she is obviously an adult at first glance, was going to restaurants and having the person seating us look no farther than the top of her head and offering her a children’s menu. We had to do a whole lot of education on that one over the years. :rolleyes: Of course, it happens to folks with other disabilities, too – like the idiot server who, when I was going out to eat with a blind friend, asked me in a stage whisper, “Does she read Braille? Does she need a Braille menu?” To which I replied, “Why don’t you ask her? She’s blind, not deaf!” Well-meaning, but annoying nevertheless.

And I’ll echo whiterabbit in saying that her type of dwarfism has fewer medical issues than almost any other kind I’ve run across. Many have serious instabilities in their neck, for example; a C1/C2 fusion, with the attendant halo, is very common in children with various types of dwarfism. And children with a closely related variety, SED, often have severe issues requiring ventilation for their first 2-3 years, among many other problems. So while at first it was tough dealing with whiterabbit’s issues, over the years I’ve come to be very grateful that we had as little to deal with as we did.

Do you drive?

Is your family average height? Were they supportive while you were growing up?

Since you have mentioned the Roloff family, how do you feel about the program that features them on TLC? Do you think it is Good exposure for LP’s or is it too much?

**Mama Tiger **answered my question about your family…obviously they were supportive! I didn’t know she was your mom! :smack:

To be honest, ivylass, nobody actually told us what was causing whiterabbit to drop off the growth chart was a form of dwarfism; it was described as a “bone growth disorder.” It wasn’t till she was in 7th grade that it was pointed out to me that she needed some adaptations at school because her size caused her to be, in this person’s eyes, handicapped – I honestly had never thought of her having a disability up to that point. And it wasn’t till she was nearly an adult that we discovered that SMD is actually considered a form of dwarfism – although, interestingly, there are a few people who have SMD who are considerably too tall to be considered dwarfs under a normal definition.

So it wasn’t that we were supportive, it was that we were ignorant! Which was probably for the best. I don’t know how differently I might have treated her had I been less ignorant, but as it is, seeing my natural overprotective tendencies, I think we would have been doing her a disservice to coddle her any more than we did!

I actually read an article a while back about exactly this- finding guys who are cool with it without being obsessive (it mentioned a few LP dating sites, though I guess they don’t help if you’re more into average height guys). If it helps, you’re not alone. In a wheelchair, red-haired, Asian… there’s a creepy fetishist for everyone.

Question- Is there prejudice among little people as far as height goes? Anything like prejudices among some black or latin people where lighter=better (or, conversely, where lighter-skinned family members are seen as trying to ‘pass’)?

I brought up the Roloffs because they’re well-known these days; to be honest, they irritate me, but I do think the show has been overall a pretty good thing. There’s no reason I have to like them, after all, just because of the dwarfism issue! I’ve heard from a few people that they’ve learned from it, so good, I guess. I do think they should have stopped while they were ahead, after the first season or so, though I can’t really blame the family for wanting to go on really expensive vacations thanks to TLC!

The thing about dating is that I’m far more interested in personality than height. I’d have no problems dating another LP, but I don’t want to limit myself, either. And I know there are creepy fetishists of all kinds out there…my current Google Ads have a link to some site advertising “check out female midget view”, whatever the hell that means. I’m sure not going to click on that to find out. So I’ve avoided the online scene pretty much completely.

Note: I am not currently in LPA, but I was for a while. I do think the organization has some serious issues, starting with the name, but it’s done a lot of good for a lot of people. I’d like to see it go more activist, personally. However, I am not knowledgeable enough about that to say anything more on the topic, so don’t ask, because I haven’t been involved in any way (except being on an email list that I don’t read too often). Anything I say about it is IMO pretty much completely.

That being said, I heard about people in it refusing to date based on height issues; women not wanting to be with men who are shorter than them, and such, and people who won’t date average people at all. My only response to that is WTF? But we’re all only human, and in the same culture as everybody else, so I guess some prejudices just carry over.

My family has been very supportive, and I’d say that even without my mom in the thread.

oh brother, mama tiger, can i relate to that one!

for the last 20 years of her life, my mother was in a wheelchair, the result of a nasty and progressive case of rheumatoid arthritis. if i had a nickel for every time someone ignored her because of the obvious and addressed me as the ‘person in charge’ either in a medical facility or a restaurant or whatever, i’d be independently wealthy today.

it got so i took a perverse pleasure in looking the person straight in the eye, completely deadpan, and say, 'dunno. ask her. she’s in charge." believe me, the lady was most definitely in charge! :smiley:

I didn’t realize you were a dwarf until your mom mentioned it at lunch. I hadn’t looked closely, while we were at the gardens.

Is your form of dwarfism the same as Charla from The Amazing Race?

whiterabbit and Mama Tiger, how do you feel about how dwarfism is portrayed in film and TV? The kinds of characters dwarf actors portray bothers me, and I’m just a little taller than the average American male (5’11"). I like Boston Legal, but it irritates me a little when the dwarf character comes on screen, because it’s clear that her sexual relationship with William Shatner’s character is meant to be hilarious and a little disturbing. I think the only portrayal of dwarfism in film I’ve been totally comfortable watching was the guy in Bad Santa, who was probably the most “with-it” character in the movie other than Bernie Mac’s. Otherwise I’m tempted to walk out or turn the TV off most of the time, since it always seems to be played up as something we’re expected to laugh at (and feel a little bad about it, if the portrayal is a little more sensitive). It just makes me feel oogy, as if I’m watching a black character struggle at writing an essay and it’s supposed to be funny.

Generally, at what age do you actually know that you’re a dwarf (or that something’s “wrong”, like the purported “bone growth disorder”? Is the proportion difference obvious at birth, or does it take a few years? Or is there some other medical clue that tips off the doctors? Does it vary by “type” of dwarfism?

Do you (both whiterabbit and Mama Tiger) view people in general, or our society in general, differently than you think you would have otherwise? IYE, does it give you an insight into a side of people that most others don’t get to see?

:eek: There’s three of us? I love that stuff! I have two or three bags in the kitchen right now.

(You can get it in Oxford?)

Forgive my ignorance; I know the weird fetishists are out there, but I’ve never met them (or an LP, for that matter). Where is the line between “cute” and “creepy” with guys who are into LPs? Is there a specific behavior you look for to tell the difference? Are there people out there who are specifically turned on by LPs but who aren’t creepy “weirdos”, as in other “fetishes” like Asian, red-haired, etc.?

Do you think LP men have it worse than LP women, as far as dating and sex go? IYE, are most LP men limited to shorter (than them) women?

What do you find offensive about it?