When you drop the D bomb.. The post about disability and dating.

I have to be mindful in this post to make sure that the feminist affirming tones of Beyonce’s Run the World (Girls) that’s currently playing at volume doesn’t taint this post and make it sound like I’m man bashing because I don’t intend to. Maybe it’s time I let the blog world know about my recent ventures into the dating world and more precisely online dating.

This is the first time in my life where I’m treating the whole love and relationships thing as a separate part of my life and not just falling for male friends like I did in my teenage years, so with one serious long term relationship under my belt, what’s it like online dating? Answer: Absolute mind field. You know when you’re on the internet and you can get to some pretty useless crap in a matter of clicks?? (I’m thinking anything written by Daily Mail, barring the ‘Sidebar of Shame’ that’s keeping me up to date with all things Celebsville), well this is what it’s like online dating; sometimes it’s fun, always a bit awkward and you never know what’s coming next!

In my quest for love I’ve spoken to many, many guys, a good thing about dating online is that you can speak to people from all walks of life and you can do it in your PJs which is a bonus when you’re having a lazy day. However there’s a downside to online and that is people hide behind a screen and say whatever they like. Allow me to elaborate…

Online we can all be who we want to be, we’re completely anonymous and often a lot more confident than in real life. When I first talk to people whether this be in a flirtation kinda way or making a new friend, I use humour. Humour is my friend when trying to break the ice. Or maybe that’s where I’m going wrong- I’m not as funny as I think I am?? Nahhhh, unless my friends are laughing at me rather than with me, I think I can safely say that humour is a definite positive trait of mine. Once the ice is broken I then have to address the elephant in the room: My disability.

Addressing my disability is always risky, I don’t overtly state it on my profile because if we’re all being honest here that will certainly put many off, I try to drop it in a jokey way if I can but this is where the exchanges become errr interesting? These are genuine reactions I’ve had after saying that I’m in a wheelchair…

“Oh that’s a shame”

“How bad was your accident?”

“Can you feel everything?”

“What’s your condition? Can I google it?”

“What a waste of a pretty girl”

“So you’re a virgin then?”

“Cool, I’ve never had sex with a disabled girl before, can we?”

Believe it or not these reactions are all too common. And quite often communication ceases, Just seeing those reactions written down it’s pretty clear that the perception of disabled people is warped and based on stereotypes but for every 9 idiots there’s 1 guy that will still talk to me once I’ve dropped the D bomb. So we’ll exchange numbers.

I don’t know what is wrong with people these days but why do people assume that after building up a rapport with someone online that automatically entitles them to put in minimal effort and try and get an instant invite to my flat? Just no, If you’re lucky enough to get to the stage where we are arranging to meet in person, I’ll meet you in a public place incase you are actually a Catfish. Because A) I don’t want to die and B) I only have people I actually like in my space and C) my dog hates men.

Once I can breathe a sigh of relief that my date is not a Catfish the usual date nerves can then kick in. “Oh will he like me in person?” “I hope this won’t be awkward..” “What if I’m not funny and he doesn’t ‘get me’??” All valid concerns in my head particularly considered that some guys still can’t drop or know when to drop the wheelchair thing. My most awkward date has to be a couple of months ago when a guy uttered words that were intended to make me what I can only assume (and hope for) swoon.

Mr Try too hard seemed pretty nice online, a bit of an hopeless romantic, however when I met him it was full scale awks. I can talk to pretty much anyone but even this was a difficult situation… We were on the date for approx. 30 minutes when he came out with this corker.. “So when are you actually going to tell me why you are in the wheelchair?” I quickly joke “oh this is a bit heavy for a first date…” His response to this was as follows…

Considering your handicap, you’ve actually done pretty ok for yourself, You are doing a Masters, You don’t live with parents, you have a job”.. I proceeded to tell him I was not an inspiration as many 20 somethings do I what I do. If that wasn’t enough the ‘compliments’ went on… “It’s a shame really, you are too sexy to be in a wheelchair.” WHAT THE??! Okay so being seen as attractive by the opposite sex has took me while to accept the possibility particularly after fusion, but why say such a thing? Shortly after this comment I ended the date and ignored the string of texts that told me how ‘amazing’ I was.

But’s it’s not all bad, I have had great first date experience too, Mr good guy was actually a swipe right and unlike the guys before him he treated me like the young (ish) woman I am. He had a sense of humor, a good smile and there was no awkwardness. I don’t want to place this guy on an obscure pedestal for just being a decent human being but so far my experience of the dating game is that guys like this are like majestic endangered species and are not seen often. Did I see Mr good guy again? Yup.

Dating today is hard for anyone and it’s just that bit more awkward when you have a disability, I can understand to a degree why some find it scary but we are still people. I don’t need to be told that you find me inspiring or you want me to fulfil a quota on your sexual exploits, I just want people to remember that yes, in dating my disability has to be consideration but is not a definition. I am more than that. I’m the girl who laughs at her own jokes, watches trashy TV but knows how to hold an intellectual conversation.

I may not be the next Carrie Bradshaw and I may not have found my Big or Aiden but I’ll have fun searching, watch this space.

Until Next Time

HollyBea

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