So after my first field experiment went so well, I decided to try my hand again. This time, 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 sent out another batch of questions to my lovely male friends (thanks, guys!). I didn't get as many responses as I did before, but then again, I sort of expected that. It can be an uncomfortable subject (though, really, why should it be?), and maybe I caught the guys off guard. Or maybe they were just too embarrased or ashamed to be honest?
I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. For now....
Anyway, my questions were pretty straight-forward (surprisingly, just like me. Who knew?)....
Would you ask out a woman with a physical disablity?
The obvious choice for a first question, right? Every guy said "Yes, I would ask a woman with a disability out," "there's no barrier there," and nothing would stop them. I really appreciated how Facebook Flirt framed it when he replied: Why? Because people are people are people are people are people are people."
What do you think are some of the reasons for some guys' fears of dating a woman with a physical disability?
I expected the usual responses (read: lame excuses) like what other people would think, being afraid they'd catch the "cooties," etc., but 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 person. [Editor's Note: Oh, that's right. I forgot. Men (whether disabled or not) come with ZERO responsibility or excess baggage. Don't worry, boys, I can take care of myself, probably better than you take care of yourself, actually]
Still, others said that a guy might fear that the disabled woman isn't 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. Many relationships break down when there is insufficient sexual glue to hold a couple with competing ideas together," replied Crush Boy. He also said there may be some concern about the ability to have "hot sex," (his wording, not mine) get pregnant, and raise children. [Editor's Note: Hot sex? Well, that might be a problem for you (I know, something people don't like to discuss as a problem, but it is....), but when I get married, it definitely won't be a problem for me]
What, if anything would stop you from asking a disabled woman on a date?
"If I wanted to ask her out on a date (because of who she is), nothing would stop me from asking her out," said Kasey, a guy I went to high school with.
I also asked them for some advice, seeing as it seems my disability makes all men run in the OTHER direction. Some interesting nuggets of wisdom....of course, I couldn't help but respond in italics and bold when appropriate.
--Just make sure you maintain your confidence, friendly demeanor, and smile.
--The key is to find yourself in situations where people can get a bit of knowledge of you and feel comfortable with the interaction. College is an excellent source of these opportunities. Some sports opportunities work well for these purposes. Many opportunities exist at parties were alcohol as a social lubricant lets people get past their nerves (Of course, because alcohol consumption solves everything; the next time I want a guy to notice me, maybe I should get him drunk first...)
--Figure out a way to fit into the world that exists (should I should settle? Stick to the status quo? That, frankly, sounds trite and really, really boring. Since when do I just sit down and sell out?)
--The new approach maybe would to show that someone that you intellectually smart and funny and to focus on the attributes instead of the physical (Good call, but what if I do think my outer shell is attractive? But I should probably not present both my physical hotness and my sexy brain at the same time; that might give the poor, unsuspecting guy a heart attack).
It was the advice that made just stop and sit there for a moment. Hold on. I looked through the list a few times (OK, maybe more than a few times). Be friendly. Be who you are. Be comfortable with yourself. Isn't that exactly what I've been doing for more than a decade? So, is it that men have no trouble dating a woman with a disability, just not this woman with a disability?
I just don't know, but maybe I just need to stop thinking about it. Questioning it, really, isn't going to get me any closer to Mr. Right (or his cute twin) any more than Spencer Pratt trying to woo America for the millionth time would.
As my Twitter friend, Matt, said: "As for those reasons it makes me feel quite shameful towards myself and other men how limited we are in searching for that someone."
[Photos via ffffound and Le Love]
P.S. Come to think of it, perhaps I would have made more of an impression on these guys - and received more responses - had I done this in person. I honestly wouldn't put it past myself to do this (note to future self: in the future....). Can you imagine the looks on their faces? Priceless.