Dying is easy, dating is hard; pretending that you’re always happy, keeping up that easy-going facade, coming up with lies that everything is great in your life, trying to take off wrinkles with sandpaper, etc. The nuisances are endless. It’s almost not worth the trouble to find someone special. Now throw on top of all those hassles and anxieties the dilemma of being disabled. There’s only a small clan of special people in the world that are willing to take on questionable goods.
I know, it’s hard to believe and probably everyone who is reading this is saying, “Oh I’m not like that.” Nobody wants to admit that dating someone with a disability is at the top of their ideal qualities they look for in a partner. It’s probably somewhere between “one who still lives with their mother” and “one who uses a bicycle as their main mode of transportation.” Some may say that it’s shallow. As a disabled person in a wheelchair, I don’t know if I would label it shallowness, maybe it just a matter of taste. I happen to like brunettes better than blondes. Most of us have an idea of our perfect mate we would like to spend our life with. A guy who uses a respirator and firing off leg spasms is not typically thought of as a fine catch. But most won’t admit it. They’ll claim I’ll give anyone a fair chance if they are attentive, caring and kind. It sounds nice. It makes you look good. The only problem is it’s not true.
I was on this dating site before and I just had a headshot and my profile didn’t mention anything about a disability. This cat was hit up by oodles of eager women. When I say oodles, I mean oodles of lovely ladies. I don’t use the word oodles lightly. That made me feel good because just the day before I was looking at myself in the mirror and the next thing I know, my mirror spit on me. After that, my confidence level had gone down a few notches. Anyway, I would strike up a conversation with the ones I was attracted to by text or e-mail and all was well. I’d get responses back like “I was thinking about you all day” and “when are we gonna meet?” I could feel their interest in me. Then, after I got to know them a little, I’d dropped the D bomb. I would be assured that I could tell them anything and it wouldn’t affect the relationship. “So, I don’t know if I told you this yet but, I’m disabled in a wheelchair. Crazy, isn’t it?” It would usually be a day or two before I’d a response back, perhaps they needed time to digest the explosive news that just put a crowbar into their bicycle wheel. Some never responded back but most replied, “Oh really, that doesn’t bother me.” But it clearly did because I would no longer get four or five emails or texts a day as I had become accustomed to. For some strange reason, they quickly tapered off. I’m a big boy, I can handle it. At least they weren’t as rude as my mirror. I don’t make any judgments on it. Some might say I was false advertising and should put that pertinent info upfront. Maybe, but maybe I just wanted to feel good for a little while. I guess I could liken it to dating a woman and after a month of romantic dinners and movies she throws out, “Did I tell you I have seven kids? Oh, and I have herpes, too.”
I’ve seen calendars like the twelve sexiest firemen—they have a helmet on, holding a hose and their shirts buttoned half-opened revealing a well-oiled glistening chest. I’ve yet to see a calendar of hot men in wheelchairs popping a wheelie with oiled glisten chests and maybe holding a leg bag. I think it’s safe to say, at least for now, the disabled person is not really viewed as a sex symbol, even if he or she rides around in a really cool sporty wheelchair.
In all honesty, being in a wheelchair myself, I’m not sure if I could date someone in a wheelchair. I have a hard enough time taking care of me. Sex could be a little difficult. Somebody should be able to do the heavy lifting in the bedroom, right? If I became intimate with another person in a wheelchair it would be quite complicated. I’d be afraid we would just end up lying in bed, smoking cigarettes, and talking about how great it could’ve been.
I would think a guy in a wheelchair would be a good catch for many reasons. You can always push him around; you don’t have to worry about ever standing him up and he won’t walk out on you. Plus, he has that parking placard. Perfect for your shopping day at the mall. You get to board a plane first. If you go to Disneyland, they move you to the front of the ride lines. How about when you get in an argument with them? He can’t really get away too fast giving you ample time to unload a slew of criticisms “Don’t think you’re gonna roll away from me! And another thing…” Also, if you’re really upset, you can always just go upstairs for some alone time. Or, heck, not to throw out more sick ideas, but if he really pisses you off, wait ‘til he’s asleep then move his wheelchair into another room. These are just a few perks of dating someone in a wheelchair and the fun you can have together.
Of course, whether you’re disabled or not, it’s never easy for anyone to find the right somebody. Can I get an amen? I mean it’s difficult to find someone who can deal with you, the whole you; you’re annoying mannerisms, you’re pissy moods, snoring, you’re body odor, smelly feet, who knows, but believe me, you got some stuff going on and it ain’t pretty. I’ll throw in bad breath too. Can I get another amen?
Can there be compatibility with disability? My best relationships in life were with that one who looked past my disability and saw the me inside of me. That scared little boy who is dying to grab you and kiss you goodnight then be invited into your place for a night cap and enjoy a nice breakfast in bed. I don’t like when people see the disability part unless I need to use it to get out of something I don’t want to do—like clean out the cat’s litterbox, go pick up the Chinese food or do the dishes. “Honey, can’t you see I’m disabled!” The good thing about dating someone who is willing to look past your disability is you don’t have to go on a lot of dates to find out that they’re special and a keeper. They are the ones who don’t huff or make irritating perturbed noises while you’re taking an hour to button your shirt or put on your shoes. That’s a quad reference.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could just be happy dating yourself? Save a lot of time trying to find the right person. You’d probably have a lot in common. Talk about love at first sight. Could you imagine if you didn’t get along? Like everything you did pissed off yourself. What could you do? You can’t leave the relationship. That’s definitely a “‘til death do you part” situation. No two ways about it. What if you caught yourself cheating on yourself? You going to make yourself sleep on the couch? I have trouble forgiving myself after eating a candy bar.
I’m going to keep swinging for the fence. There’s got to be someone out there for me, somewhere. I’ll bet if, instead of baseball cards, I put dollar bills in my wheelchair spokes I’d get some interest. Everyone tells me to just be myself. I’ve tried that enough. Wasn’t it Einstein that said the definition of stupidity was doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result? The crazy thing is I’ve been through this routine before in my life. I search, I find, I begin a relationship then I spend most of the time wondering how I’m going to get out of this thing. Breaking up is hard. That’s a whole new article. Right now, I’m just focused on finding that perfect compatible lover that can fill my needs until we break up.
by Jeff Charlebois