The Star Tribune has a great profile of Shane Bercaw and Hannah Aylward (or Squirmy and Grubs to their fans), a young Minnesota couple who have earned a considerable following on YouTube by vlogging about their unique relationship. Shane has spinal muscular atrophy and Hannah is able-bodied. Their videos offer glimpses into various aspects of their relationship and some of the challenges that they encounter as they go about their lives. Here’s a cute video showing how Shane and Hannah cuddle:
And here’s another one recounting the hassles they faced while planning a trip to Poland (at least Shane didn’t have to deal with the airline losing his wheelchair in Amsterdam, which happened during my European trip years ago):
The Strib article also describes some of the cruel and thoughtless comments that their videos have received. Unfortunately, this doesn’t surprise me; misconceptions about disability, dating, and sexuality are stubbornly persistent. But I’m glad to see Shane and Hannah make the effort to document their relationship in both its ordinary and distinctive facets. I’m not sure that I would be willing to be as open about my personal life (although that may be because I am old and increasingly crotchety). Videos like these could go a long way towards normalizing how people see relationships like theirs, even if it means putting up with all the assholes online.
Perhaps I can persuade Shane and Hannah to do a brief interview for my dusty corner of the Internet. Feel free to suggest questions.