I'll admit it I am that guy. You know the one: the one who immediately following the hook up (I mean, as the door is closing) asks you what you thought about what went down, the guy who texts you in the morning just to see how you are, the guy who is secretly planning out our kids' names and china patterns. I am a clingosaurus.
I liken this to when a cripple is attempting to hold a slippery or delicate food item: Imagine if you will, me trying to grasp a food, that if not grabbed correctly will crumble: cupcakes, gooey cookies, hot dogs. So, my response after grabbing this item to avoid any undue mess (or unnecessarily flinging said food item at an unsuspecting passerby) is to shove the item in my mouth (if anyone pictured me shoving a giant weiner in mouth and broke out into a giggle, I applaud you) so that it doesn't crumble to the floor.
As I am coming to learn, I am the same way with people, friends, dates or man friends in my life. Much like the food item, I am worried that if I don't grasp on really tight and bludgeon my unsuspecting lover with my awesomeness (you can assume that "awesomeness" means whatever you like), they will realize that I am actually disabled and they can't deal. Of course, what is actually occurring is them often realizing that Andrew is indeed 'intense', 'clingy' 'needy' or 'aggressive' and, as it should, this sets off red flags. For the record, I would like to think of all that aggression and intensity as simply "excess awesome" that I couldn't keep in.
I think that this happens to a lot of us, and is a pretty universal part of growing up, regardless of ability levels (You can admit it with me: We have all been that 16 year old girl at the party wanting everyone to like us, who showed up two hours early to help). The difference with disability is that we have been given no framework of our own to follow. Historically, we were not expected to love; a misconception, I think that still haunts many cripples and has buried itself deep within our psyches. We have internalized these tinges of ableism so much, that when we are met with a semblance of romantical possibility, we pounce. We are ravenous for what we have been told is "real love": something substantial so that we can be validated to the world, and to ourselves. Someone asked me recently if I was searching for "the one." I scoffed and thought, "Screw the one. I just want to experience heartache, and the trials and tribulations of a relationship." Often times, when cripples do find someone to date or mate with, those around us romanticize the experience, to the point wherein our own expectations are skewed.
So, soon-to-be lovers, friends or others, know that when I text or call you immediately following our hang out, I'm not trying to be clingy or needy, I am simply ensuring that the potential normalcy I am feeling doesn't crumble to the floor.