About two weeks ago I finally got the courage to pursue a young lady who I thought could be Amazing Date Material (ADM). Based on brief snippets of her and random interactions totaltling about 10 minutes of my entire life, I deemed based on superficial investigation that she ticked all my boxes. ADM appeared to be smart, funny, savvy, intriguing, a little dangerous, and oh so goddamn beautiful. This 10 minutes period had occurred across a timeline of roughly a year. When I last saw ADM briefly I thought I would try to test the waters, and see if she was interested in more than brief snippets of conversation. Unfortunately, and somewhat predictably, things were pleasant but ADM made things abundantly clear she wasn't interested in detailed conversation, let alone a date, even though she was indeed single. Chalk another rejection up on my wall.
I am incredibly insecure about my disability, so of course when I get rejected in the manner above I always go to the default excuse, 'I have everything going for me except my disability. She would date me if I wasn't in a wheelchair.'
That same week I was watching an episode of The Dreamhouse, a show about three intellectually disabled people living independently in a share house. This episode revolved around planning a housewarming party. During this process Kirk, (who has autism) told his roommate Justin (who has Down Syndrome) that he didn't want any girls with Down Syndrome at the party. Kirk was going to use the party as a platform to 'find a girlfriend'. His girlfriend must be 'normal' and not have a disability. This is a desire I fully understand and a value which I hold. It is something which I hate about myself, but it is a value, which to me is a necessary evil.
It was not always this way. The very first girl I fell madly in love with was also physically disabled. At the time that we met My First Love (MFL) was not as physically capable as I was. I fell in love with her from the moment that we met, and though we were close friends I relentlessly pursued MFL for the best part of two and half years. Every chance I had, I would declare my love for MFL begging and pleading for her to date me. MFL would politely say no every single time ostensibly because I was disabled, and that having a partnership in which both members were disabled would not work for her because of a multitude of reasons.
Throughout those two and half years I was incensed. MFL was 'rejecting' me over something I could not control, and unlike previous women who had scorned me based on my disability, she was disabled also. I loved her so much that I thought my heart would explode, but there was a part of me that also hated her just as much. MFL was a fucking hypocrite! MFL would hate it if a cute boy rejected her based on her disability alone. I was emotional. I could not see the logic behind MFL's choice. And now I'm just like her.
About 6 months after I could no longer take anymore rejection MFL explained her logic to me. She asked me to imagine several milestones that comprise a 'typical' relationship.
How would we ever spontaneously kiss If we wanted to? Or for that matter how would we be able to show any form of physical affection to one another without an outsider? Todd, I know that you've told me that you need lots of physical affection if you were to be in a relationship (she was right). How would that work between us?
How would we have sex without an outsider present in the room to position us correctly? Even if we could do that by ourselves, how could we have sex that would be fulfilling for both of us?
How could we spend a quiet day of solitude, just the two of us without something going wrong with either person? Even if it is just to go to the toliet? Between us, we have difficulty preparing food, for example, so how could we have a private meal?
Todd, these are some of the things that you say you want to have in a relationship (right again), and I want some of those things too. You want a private world where it is just you and your girlfriend a lot of time (Yes I do). We just could not do that.
Truth be told, I thought about that conversation for weeks and months after and I could only come up with one legitimate response to answer all of those questions.
'I have absolutely no fucking idea.'
And that hurts. It hurts my sense of justice and fairness. It goes against everything I try to teach the community about disability. But it is a pragmatic decision for my emotional and sexual wellbeing.
Because I have a disability I know how hard it is to have a 'conventional' romantic relationship. By any measure I have not had one yet. Times those difficulties I have by two and I just don't see how a relationship with another person with a disability could work for me.
People will disagree with me. Some are probably offended by my assertions. Many will point to what they deem to be 'successful' relationships between two people with disabilities. In my case though, I like MFL before me, know now exactly what I want in a potential partner. So, in my quest to achieve my ultimate goal, I have chosen to make this decision, even if I hate myself for it.
I am the ultimate crippled hypocrite.