Dating sucks, and then there’s dating with a disability
It’s a great fuckboy filter tbh
Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimized by the process of dating. ✋
You know when you’re getting ready for a date and the nausea of nerves washes of you, and in that moment you’d actually rather roll around naked in broken glass than meet Dave, 22?
As a whole and especially as a 21-year-old, dating sucks. And then there’s dating with a disability — all of those nerves and anxiety that a fully abled body experiences are amplified tenfold.
I am one of the 17 million rock stars with spastic diplegic Cerebral Palsy, a motor disability that affects my posture and movement in both legs. In my case, I’m chronically pigeon-toed with a limp and shocking balance, and at any point of any day am in some degree of discomfort.
Pitiful glances and stigma are a part of my daily routine, and dating is like climbing the Everest of self-esteem. Let me explain:
Every time I’ve been publicly humiliated, it’s almost always by a guy
It didn’t exactly set my standards very high for finding my Prince Charming when men would mimic, mock, point and insult me at bars, work or on the street, everywhere I went. One fond memory was when one charmer came up to me in the middle of the street and said; “You’re still cute, even though you have a limp.” Dreamboats like these conditioned me to have this awesome mindset that I should be stoked to have any guy attracted to me.
Picking a date outfit is not a game, it’s a sport
I’ve got a date tonight with someone who doesn’t have the conversational skills of a peanut and has yet to send me a dick pic, score! Don’t worry, my outfit has been planned for days.
Being asked out usually requires 3-5 business days of careful strategy that is outfit planning. I’ll venture into the traditional pre-date glow up by pretending to follow a makeup tutorial with enough highlighter to cause the same effect on the eye as an eclipse. However, when it comes to my wardrobe, good decision making is crucial. I’ve only got one shot to make a stellar first impression, and the odds are already against me with my CP, so I gotta go hard or go home.
Dudes are visual creatures, so it’s important that I wear something to distract them from my legs and draw attention to my boobs, to prevent a flight risk; low cut maxi dresses are the go to. Aaaand this is where the nerves of inevitable rejection kick into overdrive to the point where I crack open the vodka, knock back four shots and am past the point where I remember whether I put my dress on inside out or not.
I don’t allow myself to walk naturally on a first date
My shoes for the date would make or break my look — heels are out of the question. I usually go with ankle boots or flats, so that I can force my legs to walk ‘normally’. This usually burns like the fire of a thousand suns with every step. I used to keep reminding myself that this was necessary for a ‘good impression’, that it would be worth it if I made it to a third date, where it was then acceptable to be myself and walk as I normally would.
There is nothing worse (other than missing that spot on my ankle, shaving for said date) than walking toward my date, and instead of meeting their eyes, they are immediately drawn to my legs. This was considered an immediate fail, all those outfit changes, push-up bras and false eyelash applications are gone down the drain. Sometimes, if the date was at a restaurant, I’d turn up wildly early just to be seated when he showed up, so it could buy me a little more time. At least this way he could get a glimpse of my wit and charm before officially swiping left. I was just hoping that he’d consider me a viable potential, “even though I have a limp.”
Having the sex drive of a rabbit and the hip mobility of a 90-year-old does not bode well
Positions and experience are limited, and working out logistics in my head of what I can and can’t do can cause a considerable amount of stress. Especially when you’re supposed to be really swept up in the heat of average foreplay. Whether the guy finishes or not, was, and sometimes still is a huge make or break for me. It’s this cycle of feeling validated if they do, but questioning everything and blaming my CP if they don’t. “I knew they didn’t find me attractive,” “Is he sleeping with me out of pity?” and “Does he think I’m just an easy root?” were the golden nuggets of my self- doubt treasure chest.
I wasn’t even fussed if I came or not, because men have told me my entire adult life with their backhanded comments and stares that I’m “broken.” That I’m not put together properly, but don’t worry! Because, some incredibly tolerant guy will like me one day “even though I have a limp.”
Protesting going on top isn’t out of laziness, but everyone’s general safety
Is everyone familiar with feeling of electrifying fear that you get when you miss a step on the stairs in complete darkness? That’s the exact feeling I get when the man of the moment whispers “Do you want to get on top?” Lol, absolutely not. I spent my rent on lingerie, waxed every crevice of my body, and gave you 13/10 head. This is how you thank me??!!?? Your mother clearly did not raise you right, can’t a girl starfish in peace?
After a lot of stalling with my A+ boobs, it’s time to face the music. I struggle to find balance as a I clumsily position my straddle, and make that eye contact that lets him know this isn’t going to be a good time for anyone involved, *cue repetitive jack-in-the-box motion for approximately 2 minutes*.
To be fair, two minutes is usually all it takes. If anything, this part of my CP has taught me one of many lessons, that sex isn’t about the destination, but the journey – sometimes you just need the Google Maps that is communication.
Disability is actually a nifty fuckboy filter
CP definitely has its cons, but one thing it's good for is giving me my own fuckboy radar to avoid wasting my time with fools. It’s kind of like ripping off a bandaid — hurts like a bitch for a hot minute, but then you're over it. Iconic comments include but are not limited to; "are you drunk?", "What's wrong with you?", and my personal favorite — the nickname 'Pigeon'.
It took me a long time however, to figure out if a potential suitor deserved a rose or not — that in fact, I deserved exactly what i wanted
Three years ago I met the guy who I genuinely thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with. He was older, a Christian Grey lookalike, funny and creative and he didn’t even seem to ask or care about my legs — I had hit the jackpot.
But as time went on, I began to feel more like a sex toy; my opinion and aspirations were background noise. It’ll be better when he gets through this rough patch with work, I used to tell myself every day. He was attracted to me, he wanted me, so I owed him the benefit of the doubt and needed to be there for him. I also didn’t want to start back at square one, I needed to hold on.
All the last minute cancelled dates, excuses and all the efforts to keep me hidden and secret from his friends were simply forgotten when he’d show me any kind of affection or even acknowledgement. I still felt lucky to have him, that I would be lucky to deserve someone, because of who I am. I should allow a few red flags to slide here and there.
Then I realized that Mr. Grey’s blatant disregard for who I am, with and without my disability, was almost worse than it being what I thought all anyone could see in me. I felt invisible. I refused to keep playing a rigged game, where I was either going to lose him, or lose more of myself. It was guaranteed that I was going to spend the rest of my life with myself, so I chose me.
That was when I finally started focusing on loving myself rather than finding someone to love me — “even though” I have a limp.