AITA for rebelling against my family and faith by dating a short-sighted girl?

Euan Toh

I (21M) am rebelling against my quasi-religious middle-class family by dating a girl who just so happens to be myopic (short-sighted).

I first met Velma when she and the Mystery Inc. gang visited my university to investigate why the ghost of Jeremy Bentham kept appearing to frighten staff members into submission right before a major UCU strike (It was the provost all along!). When she lost her specs in a hallway chase scene, and crawled along the floor shouting for them, I found them and returned them to her. She placed them back on, and we finally locked eyes with 20/20 vision. It was love at first sight. 

We had a few dates before Velma asked if she could meet my parents, which gave me a nervous sweat. Velma was the type of girl my mother had always warned me about. She despises myopic people, calling them freaks of nature that went against God’s will. “Short-sightedness is a state of mind”, she would always mutter at family dinner. I vividly remember my mother calling for schools to ban Harry Potter books because they promoted visual impairment in children. In her words, they make myopia seem like a special trait to be picked up by younger generations, taking away from the time we could spend developing “real” character through deadlifts and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. 

That said, I was fortunate to grow up knowing that there are so many more layers to people beyond their surface appearances and traits. That is why, before I introduced Velma to my mother, I bought myself a pair of £49 black square-framed glasses to show solidarity with my short-sighted sweetheart. She asked if I had developed short-sightedness, to which I said no. That was the end of that conversation. I could tell she appreciated my thoughtfulness.

When we stepped up to the front door, my mother received us with a deafening scream and she subsequently suffered a major panic attack. She fell onto her knees and grew hysterical, begging me to cut ties with my dear Velma. She kept going on about how God made us who we are, and how wearing glasses was an offence that would drag us straight to hell. The last thing she said before she slammed the door on us haunted me for days. “When doomsday comes, you won’t see it coming”. Needless to say, we ate Burger King that night. 

Previously, Velma and I didn’t feel it was necessary to talk about her short-sightedness. However, after that incident, I told Velma that I would feel more comfortable if we could meet and have an honest one-way discussion on my feelings about having a spectacled girlfriend. So we sat in a cafe, sipped on our mochas, and I did all the talking.

It was so reassuring to have a short-sighted individual like Velma nod politely while I tested myself on my knowledge of near-sightedness with her. Her lack of interruptions proved that nothing in my speech and way of thinking had made her uncomfortable. At that moment, I felt so proud of our relationship; it was as if we made proper progress through conversation and learning more from each other.

Yet deep down, I sense my mother has a point. The world is not ready to accept alternative lifestyles like short-sightedness. I feel sorry for Velma as I know she had a difficult upbringing, but at the same time, I can’t keep feeling sorry for her. Just because she was born with poor vision doesn’t mean I have to reduce myself to sin, wandering blind as a bat with my back turned to God. ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ can’t be my mantra. 

Nowadays, I reflect on this verse from the New Testament…

Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.

-John IX, 24-26 KJV

Am I the asshole for feeling this way? Should I go back to bible studies with my family? 

This was posted to r/CheeseGrater on the 31st of February 2023