A reader sent me this email (do we still use email in the year you're reading this? At the rate I'm looking for you, I'm going to take a wild guess and say no) last week:
Do you ever try and hunt out disabled men in your search for love? I notice that many of the men you have crushes on are described in such a way as to make me think that they're not disabled, and in fact men that most women would feel intimidated by, regardless of their beauty. Perhaps searching for a man you have something in common with will yield better results, since he'll be more likely to "get past" your disability. They are in the same boat you're in - they feel like everyone casts them aside due to their disability. It would be a little hypocritical to pass over someone yourself because they're disabled.
She asked if I would openly address the subject, and who am I not to answer honestly? It's a very good and valid question. I figured this would also be a good idea to get this out in the open and just address it now so it doesn't become a devisive issue between us, causing intense friction (of the bad variety) that could lead us to years of lengthy divorce proceedings.
Anyway, I've had several people ask me the very same question - or a very similar one - and I wrote a Dating With Disabilities column on the very topic a few months ago. In the column, I said...brace yourself, because this will probably shock you to the core.
“Of course I would,” I forthrightly say. I don’t elaborate, instead opting for the direct and honest approach, but what I’m really thinking in my head is: “And I’d date someone with blue eyes, someone without freckles, someone who doesn’t like chocolate and, oh yeah, someone whose favorite color is orange.”
You see, that’s how absurdly idiotic that question has always been to me. I sometimes think people are on the edge of their seats, half expecting me to say “No, I would never, ever date anyone with any sort of disability,” and then are ready to pounce on that ever-popular hypocrite bandwagon.
Now, of course I know that people mean well when they ask this question. I would love to be with someone who acutely understands what my life is like, someone who has had some of the same experiences I've had. I know that's what people mean when they ask this question. But honestly? This is what my heart hears:
It would probably just be easier and less heartbreaking for you.
Honestly, what chance do you really think you have? That’s a little pathetic?
You'll never have a chance in hell with an able-bodied person, so just stop trying
Stick with your own kind (my personal favorite)
I hope this clears things up for you. Or, at the very least, points out the blatantly obvious. Until we meet...
[Photos via Abby Sharp]