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"Now I know to keep my pants on.”
February 8, 2013 9:38 AM   Subscribe

When Bill Met Shelly Bill Ott will always remember the moment he met Shelley Belgard. It was in spring 1988. He was 12 and sometimes shy. Into music, sports and, suddenly, girls.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero (27 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
That was a good read...

Favorite quote: "She’s like the color of orange...."

I wish them the best...

And, let me be the first to say, fuck health insurance companies....
posted by HuronBob at 9:51 AM on February 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


What a sweet story! Thanks for posting it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:51 AM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


"A good kiss is like a great sandwich..."

Love that analogy.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 9:58 AM on February 8, 2013


That was a heartwarmer for sure.
posted by orme at 10:05 AM on February 8, 2013


The writers did a really good job of reporting the story in a respectful way -- not infantilizing the couple or setting them up as being particularly special, just sharing the quiet moments that make married life what it is. But at the same time, they did a good job of discussing some of the different realities for a couple like this: the decision to have a vasectomy (very controversial in the larger disability community), insurance issues, all that.

And what a beautiful, meaningful wedding.
posted by Madamina at 10:08 AM on February 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


We need to sweep up around here.
It's a bit dusty.
posted by Mezentian at 10:10 AM on February 8, 2013


First time I've needed the tissue box on my desk at work. And what Madamina said.
posted by bashos_frog at 10:18 AM on February 8, 2013


If it's possible to feel joy at these two people finding love and each other and sadness at the realization that so many before them were denied this basic human right, then that's what I'm feeling right now.
posted by tommasz at 10:21 AM on February 8, 2013


"A good kiss is like a great sandwich..."

Completely impossible. (I hate sandwiches.)
posted by Nomyte at 10:22 AM on February 8, 2013


Just a sec. Something in my eye...
posted by jim in austin at 10:23 AM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Okay, not to derail, but hating sandwiches seems about as impossible to me as me not crying when reading this. Never let me say that Metafilter comments can't surprise me. I cannot wrap my head around that. In fact, I'm going to go get a sandwich for lunch just to process it. (No offense intended, Nomyte; I'm just seriously weirdly stunned.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:27 AM on February 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


A good kiss is like a great sandwich.

There's a grilled cheese joke in there somewhere.

Incidentally, a mentally retarded (specific diagnosis) couple I used to work with just celebrated their 20th aniversary still very much like a couple of giddy newlyweds! Mazel tov Bill and Shel!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:31 AM on February 8, 2013


Fantastic story, thank you for sharing it. We could all use a little of what they have.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:41 AM on February 8, 2013


I love Bill's synaesthesic similes:
“When I see her, she’s like a bright penny,” says Bill, who tucks his T-shirts into his jeans and wears a belt beneath his round belly. “She’s like the color of orange, like a real joyful, lively spirit. Her love is like pink. There is so much good in her that I really fell in love with.”
So wonderful.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:53 AM on February 8, 2013 [12 favorites]


That was wonderful. Thank you, I needed that to kick me out of a funk.

(and seconding HuronBob.)
posted by notsnot at 10:55 AM on February 8, 2013


A good kiss is like a great sandwich.

It's probably a bánh mì because there's either tongue or head cheese in there somewhere.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:13 AM on February 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


So lovely.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 11:17 AM on February 8, 2013


If you enjoyed that, I encourage you to watch Monica & David, a documentary about two adults with Down syndrome who are preparing to get married. It is a very thoughtful documentary.
posted by plinth at 11:28 AM on February 8, 2013


How can you hate sandwiches? Isn't that like saying "I hate foods that are wider than they are long" or something?

(This is totally charming. Thanks!)
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 11:32 AM on February 8, 2013


This is sweet. But it makes me sad. My brother is intellectually disabled, and I know the lack of a romantic relationship is something that bothers him. I don't think there's much I can do (as a sister who lives hundreds of miles away.)
posted by vespabelle at 11:50 AM on February 8, 2013


My dad used to work with people with developmental disabilities, and his officemate ran an affiliated program for discussing and encouraging appropriate expressions of sexuality with DD people. Aside from the fact that every person has a different experience, it's such a difficult subject: they're incredibly vulnerable to Bad Things, but then again they're adults with adult bodies... but they supposedly have the intellectual capacity of [insert lesser age]... but they have entire lives of lived experience, JUST LIKE US! Mindblowing!

Vespabelle, there are a lot of professionals out there who deal with issues of love, relationships and sexuality for people in your brother's situation. He might not have access to someone specific in his area, but I bet there are some great online resources that could help him socialize in a romantic way.

The most difficult thing, I think, is that all of us have a chance to learn by doing: we fail, and we try to learn from our mistakes when we try again. But when people with disabilities of all kinds are protected so carefully that they simply aren't allowed to fail, that gets to be more of an issue than just about everything else. How do you discuss things like appropriate boundaries and respect for others -- and personal safety, too -- when, say, you've spent most of this person's life wondering if they'll survive another year? Or if, like our family friend with autism, his main interest seems to be the Disney princesses whose likenesses he arranges very carefully on the floor of his bedroom?

I have so much respect for the families, friends and caregivers who have these conversations.
posted by Madamina at 12:16 PM on February 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


...the decision to have a vasectomy (very controversial in the larger disability community),...

As well it should be.

And not only because it's externally imposed birth control.

I love Bill's synaesthesic similes:

“When I see her, she’s like a bright penny,” says Bill, who tucks his T-shirts into his jeans and wears a belt beneath his round belly. “She’s like the color of orange, like a real joyful, lively spirit. Her love is like pink. There is so much good in her that I really fell in love with.”

So wonderful.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi


It is wonderful.

I'd bet his metaphorical thinking is highly developed partly in compensation for deficiencies in logic and ability to grasp cause and effect.

A kiss is like a great sandwich because you put it in your mouth and it has a moist meat filling between two other pieces, for example-- as octobersurprise implies, but doesn't (quite) make explicit.
posted by jamjam at 12:48 PM on February 8, 2013


I want to say hat's off to the rabbi and priest as well. My father does a lot of weddings (he's a pastor) for people outside his denomination (Lutheran) because of constraints their own church places on them. For example, many priests will not perform outdoors weddings. They have to be in the church. And I've know some priests that will only allow inter-faith marriages if the couple agrees to raise children as Catholics. Some rabbi's will not perform inter-faith marriages at all. So to find two that would do a wedding without making it legal is amazing. To find two from different religions that agree to officiate together...I wish they had got the viewpoint of these guys as well.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:39 PM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


cjorgensen: "Some rabbi's will not perform inter-faith marriages at all. "

You;re right, but on the other hand, I think my rabbi from growing up would have married me to a friggin door if I asked (and paid an honorarium.) "Whatever makes you happy Johnny," he would say.

I really liked this article and Bill and Shelly. I get the controversial aspects of getting a vasectomy, but I think both sets of parents handled this really well too. I cannot express enough that my only goal for my children is that they are happy. These two sets of parents put actions to words, one even moving to the area because of the higher probability their special needs daughter would be able to lead a happy life.

(Looking back on my own marriage, I think I never learned what Bill did; that is, men sit at home and watch sports in their underwear, but that is probably not a preferred marriage activity.)
posted by JohnnyGunn at 4:01 PM on February 8, 2013


Wonderfull love story. And I agree with PhoBWanKenobi - Bill might very well be synaesthetic on top of all his other attributes. How cool.
And the sports. In the underwear.
Dude - we could be brothers.

posted by Sk4n at 5:09 PM on February 8, 2013


Awesome story and beautiful comments. Now I'm wondering, would it be good to send this to a friend whose boy has Down syndrome? Also a highly functional child, but I can also imagine that a happy conclusion like in this story could awaken really painful longing.
posted by TreeRooster at 8:02 AM on February 9, 2013


They have found someone to settle with, kinda no matter what. Sweet.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRb1h989_jk
posted by primdehuit at 2:19 PM on February 10, 2013


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