A few months ago, a young man who read one of my posts on dating and disability started chatting with me via social media. Like myself, he has Cerebral Palsy and is queer (sidebar: whenever queer crips find each other it's pretty amaze balls, because we're out there, but we very rarely connect with one another). He told me that my writing was like he was reading his life on the page. I am of course, extremely humbled that my few words could have such an impact on my fellow queer crips. As we continued talking, he said something that touched me in a way that almost two months later, I can't shake.
He told me in no uncertain terms, that not once had anyone ever told him that he was sexy. As a result of this, he hated his disability and all that it had essentially "robbed" him of. As cripples of every color and creed -- we've all had days where we be like, "For serious? If I could just walk, I'd score me some c**k". The more I thought about what he said and its effects, I thought people probably just don't realize how fucking awesome we disabled dudes (I was gonna type dudettes here, but this is not a 1987 episode of Full House; to my gimpy gals, I love you too) are. Time someone tells them, right? Also, in doing research for this piece (Note: despite my academic credentials, by "research" I mean Googling the term "disabled dating" -- super profesh, right?) I found that the main question being posed was "Would you/could you date someone with a disability?"
The major problem with how this question is presented is this: automatically the question suggests that there is some sort of risk in dating a disabled person (ummmm, isn't there a risk in dating anyone?). The phrasing of the question accesses one's fear around disability above all else. While it is okay to be apprehensive (being around so much awesome all at once can be overwhelming), the question should in fact be the statement: "You should date someone with a disability!"
Well, of course you should. We are no better or worse than other options (true fact though, I am better). That said, I want to review some reasons that make a date with a cripple really is amazeballs:
1. Looking for Something Different
I'm pretty sure that every T-Swifty song ever, is based on her desire to find something new, exciting and different. If you scroll on through any internet dating website, what do you see: "Looking for a guy not like the rest." Lastly, I'm sure that the gals on Girls bemoan their quest for different dudes (aside from the fact that program makes apathy oddly amazing) each and every week.
Well, if different is what you want, crips got you covered. What could be more different than your date rolling in the bar through the backdoor in their tricked out 300-pound chariot? Don't lie, as you watch them coming towards you commanding their chair with confidence -- you can't help but getting a tingle in your nether regions. Jokes aside, cripples have a different appreciation for the world; we can offer you a different perspective than all those wannabe frat/sorority girls or "young professionals" (can we review this term please -- it's business speak for douche, right?) ever could.
2. Crip Humor
On the handful of dates I have been on, people have told me that I have a sick, yet hilarious sense of humor. I call myself a cripple pretty openly and make fun of the hilariously honest things that happen as a result of my disability... This won't be the case for all of us, but I think once you see how deliciously dirty disability can in fact be, you'll be glad you said yes to that "cripple coffee".
3. Friendtendant Freebies
For the record, "friendtendant" is a combo of friend plus attendant that occurs when your friends help you out with crip stuff. It has happened a few times now where people will blindly assume that my dates are my caregivers. (Before all my fellow crips reading this go up in arms about how someone might use me because of this, not to worry. Dates: If you want to date me simply to get a free movie, we have other things we prob should discuss.) In these instances, we have received free movie tickets, meals, etc. Go ahead. I'll totes pretend that you are my caregiver! When has free shit ever been turned down?
4. Cripple Connection
It goes without saying that the majority of people are simply unaware to some of the things that we crips have to contend with. One of the benefits about going on a crip-tastical adventure date with us is that you will see this firsthand. You wanna go to that hip new karaoke bar, but it isn't noticeably accessible... fear not, let's fight through the throngs of drunken college kids (who by day are "young professionals") belting out the words to "Don't Stop Believing" so that we can get in the club and duet the shit out of some '80s pop. My point being that you will begin to understand my reality that much better, and see that I can still party, it just takes a wee bit more planning.
5. We're All Bad at This Shizz
The most important thing you will learn on our date is this: while you may be sitting there trying to mind your P's and Q's as to what is PC with respect to my CP, what you should know is that I also haven't a clue what I am doing, and may also be really shit at this dating thing. True fact: I have no clue what the f**k I am doing!
So, there you have it. Ask me out for that coffee, the worst that could happen is that I would have a spasm and accidentally throw it in your face, just before we go into our free movie. After you wipe the whipped mocha out your eyes they could be open to a whole new possibility. Not too shabby, eh?