This piece originally appeared on TheFrisky last June.
TO: Men all over the planet
RE: Dating me
DATE: March 11, 2010
Would a guy (yes, I’m referring to you, boys) date a woman with a disability?
That’s not the sort of question guys are expecting to hear amidst the typical flurry of getting-to-know-you questions. But it’s nonetheless an important – even critical – one for me. It’s at the top of my list, actually. It’s a question I’ve been asking myself since high school when my peers so easily began to couple-off, and I watched from the sidelines. It all seemed so natural and effortless for them, yet I couldn’t help but feel as though the Dating Gods had forgotten to “cc” me on their Dating 101 memo. I’m sure the memo talked about the basics: courting, flirting, maybe even some tips for hiding those tiny flaws and insecurities on the first date.
But what about those not-so-tiny flaws? What about those insecurities you can’t simply hide with a cute jacket or a thick layer of Maybelline foundation?
Quite a few of the men said they’d be afraid of the responsibility and the fact that they might have to do a lot of extra work to help the woman with the disability. I’ll admit – that one hurt.
What about dating with a disability? Where is the rule book for that?
I was born with Freeman-Sheldon Syndrome, a genetic bone and muscular disorder. It sounds pretty harmless, but when you add my wheelchair (in a screaming-red hue), my hand and feet deformities and my map of surgical scars, believing that guys could actually look past all that and see the woman I am has, I’ll admit, jaded me just a little.
“What man would ever find me beautiful?” was a phrase I’d constantly scribble in my journal. They want a woman with scar-free legs. They want a woman who’s lived more of her life outside of hospitals than inside. They want a woman who can at least reach the top of the counter (at just below 4-feet tall, I don’t quite make the cut; I suppose that precludes me from rollercoasters too, doesn’t it?).
But are my assumptions true? Maybe I needed to give guys the benefit of the doubt for once, so I did what any forward-thinking modern woman would do: I sent out a batch of questions via email to some of my lovely male friends. I wanted to see if my fears about men not wanting anything to do with a woman with a disability were grounded in any real truth. I didn’t get as many responses as I’d hoped, but then again, I sort of expected that. It can be an uncomfortable subject (though, really, why should it be?), and maybe it – and I—intimidated them?
The results, actually, turned out to be more revealing than ever, and even raised more questions, at least for me, than they answered.
One friend suggested that the disabled woman wouldn’t be comfortable in her physique and that this would negatively affect physical relations.
“People do not want to come out and address that this is a major factor, but it is,” he said.
Alright, fair game. That’s true; I haven’t always been comfortable with my body (see the above paragraphs for a review).
Then, they hit me with The Big One. Quite a few of the men said they’d be afraid of the responsibility and the fact that they might have to do a lot of extra work to help the woman with the disability. I’ll admit – that one hurt.
I regularly share my feelings – angry, sad, disappointed, hopeful – about their responses. Maybe that was a mistake. At least that’s what readers thought, who chimed in with everything from saying I live with my head in the sand to lambasting me for not respecting others’ opinions.
Disabilities are a touchy subject, I know. But you know what? They’ve been a part of my life—and part of me—for 28 years, so I’m going to talk about them. I’m going to be honest. In the end, I AM going to tell my story.
In the end, what might seem like a little question to some people is a pretty big one for me. Getting to know me is also getting to know and be comfortable with my disability. My fire engine red wheelchair included.
P.S. A 2010 update: This is me, boys. Are you up to the challenge (note the sarcasm in challenge as expressed by the italics…)?
P.P.S. And yes, boys, you’ve interpreted that last photo correctly…all this dating-me-hang-up nonsense is just a bunch of HOT AIR. Period.
[Photos via Audrey Hepburn Complex]
Jamie Jenson says
This was an awesome article. Very honest!
Thank you for being so honest and open. You are such a great writer!
i agree with jamie and jessica. great article and so honest. i don't think i could be.
Amarie D says
I loved this! Im registered with the disabled services at my school, and I suffer from a heart condition which definitely has its set backs, mostly setting limitations that most people wouldn't see a problem with (like standing for more then 3 minutes) and when it comes to dating it is a bit harder, but eventually you find the man who doesn't see a "problem" with doing the extra "work" of dating a disabled person, which isnt much more then recognizing that yes, everyone has limitations, mine are just more so…
I think you're a wonderful article and that more people should discuss the issue of dating a person with disabilities, it goes both ways
Melissa Blake says
You said it perfectly, Amarie!! Glad to hear you're so positive!
Your article reminded me of this online post from comedian Ryan "Cripple Threat" Nimiller
A Guide to Dating for the Handicapped by Ryan Niemiller
As someone with a handicap, I have had my fair share of troubles finding love. Luckily, all of my non-handicapped friends have been so kind over the years to help me along the way, and tell me how I, someone with a handicap, should date. I've compiled, in conjunction with Ally "Wheels" Bruener, this helpful list for anyone else here that might have a disability! I present… the Guide to Dating for the Handicapped!
1. Only look for other cripples.
2. Never try to date up. You will fail.
3. Make yourself look as normal as possible. If someone is stupid enough, they may think you're normal.
4. Make sure you're in special ed classes. You may just find your soulmate.
5. Never complain about the fact that you don't have anybody. You're handicapped and supposed to be an inspiration. Don't be selfish.
6. Everyone that hangs out with you is paid to do so. Just accept it.
7. Don't ask for anyone to set you up. No one is going to be that mean to their friends.
8. If you are disabled, you must be asexual.
9. If you really want a date, try getting it setup through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. It's your best bet.
10. Just accept the fact that a pat on the head from a little old man will be the most action you'll see.
11. Take some classes on counseling: You'll be the one everyone comes to with their problems.
12. If anyone actually offers to sleep with you, decline. It is a fraternity/sorority initiation prank. Or your parents paid them.
13. If you don't want to die a virgin begin shopping around for the best-priced hooker immediately.
14. The Shriner's Hospital doubles as a dating service.
15. Never let your quest for a relationship get out to your family: They'll reassure that it just isn't practical.
16. Your non-handicapped friends are right – you're just being silly.
17. Society isn't as harsh as you think. You're just being overly critical.
18. Every member of the opposite sex you talk to will tell you there is someone out there for you – it's just not them.
19. You just aren't trying hard enough.
20. You're trying too hard. Just let it happen.
21. You want a family? You don’t want your kids to be fucked up too.
Melissa Blake says
Anonymous – I loooove those! Everything on that list expresses my frustration.
Would you mind if I posted it on my blog next week? xoxo
La Feem says
You are amazing. Finding love is tricky in general and the fact that you have put all cards on the table is truly inspiring and shows how strong and capable you are to be a partner. I think if you give thanks to the great divine daily for the right man he will show up, you deserve it. I truly believe there is someone for EVERYONE out there, if your open to getting him and call him in he will most likely arrive….
Melissa Blake says
La feem, you're so sweet! xoxo
slot game machine ,slot machine cabinet ,slot machine manufacturer ,barcode reader ,barcode scanner ,barcode scanners ,handheld scanner ,laser scanner ,室內設計 ,裝潢 ,上海旅遊,韓國旅遊,北京旅遊,杭州旅遊,九寨溝旅遊,旅行社,旅遊網,廈門旅遊,團體旅遊,桂林旅遊 ,Disposable plastic cups ,Biodegradables ,Biodegradable plastic ,Plastic manufacturer ,PLA
加盟創業 ,早餐店加盟 ,創業 ,創業加盟 ,禿頭 ,玻尿酸 ,美白 ,減肥 ,痘疤 ,雷射溶脂 ,電波拉皮 ,皺紋 ,醫學美容 ,104法拍網 ,大台北法拍屋 ,台北法拍屋 ,房屋仲介 ,房屋買賣 ,板橋法拍屋 ,法拍 ,法拍屋 ,法拍屋查詢系統 ,信義房屋 ,肉毒桿菌 ,抽脂 ,玻尿酸 ,飛梭雷射 ,淨膚雷射 ,植髮 ,微晶瓷 ,雷射溶脂 ,電波拉皮 ,醫學美容診所 ,truss,
日本訂房,日本機票,CI設計 ,FPR大型公仔製作 ,大圖輸出 ,空間設計 ,活動行銷 ,展場設計施工 ,會場佈置 ,節慶佈置 ,道具製作 ,櫥窗佈置 ,水管不通 ,包通 ,抽化糞池 ,抽水肥 ,洗水塔 ,馬桶 ,馬桶不通,清水溝 ,通水管 ,通馬桶 ,二手車,中古車,抽水肥 ,通水管 ,通馬桶 ,肉毒桿菌 ,玻尿酸 ,美容美白 ,健檢 ,淨膚雷射 ,電波拉皮 ,韓風整形 ,醫學美容 ,體檢 ,加盟
氣球佈置,婚禮佈置,情人花束,新竹花店,會場佈置,網路花店,蘭花,木柵動物園,台北民宿,台北旅遊,坪林,坪林茶葉博物館,宜蘭民宿,真情民宿,深坑老街,貓空,太平山,宜蘭民宿,宜蘭旅遊,水餃 ,團購美食 ,水管不通 ,抽化糞池 ,洗水塔 ,消毒 ,馬桶 ,馬桶不通 ,通水管 ,通馬桶 ,上順旅行社,大興旅行社,五福旅行社,天喜旅行社,天福旅行社,日本自由行
性功能障礙 ,陽萎 ,陽痿 ,生物科技 ,壯陽 ,男性疾病 ,性功能 ,韭菜籽 ,起陽籽 ,高血壓 ,外遇 ,徵信 ,徵信社 ,外遇 ,外遇 ,徵信社 ,徵信 ,徵信社 ,外遇 ,徵信 ,徵信社 ,失眠 ,安養中心 ,老人癡呆症 ,疝氣 ,看護 ,情緒管理 ,微整型美容 ,精神分裂症 ,憂鬱症 ,瘦身減肥 ,baby ,月子餐 ,孕婦 ,生產 ,坐月子 ,坐月子中心