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The first time I forayed into online dating, I let my wheelchair show just a little in my photos.
The good guys, I hoped, would be so taken by my clever profile and witty banter that they’d be able to look beyond my disability, if they even noticed it at all.
A few minutes later, he replied, but instead of responding to my reptilian inquiry, he asked, “Are you in a wheelchair?
”I kept my answer simple and told him that yes, I do use a wheelchair, but I was much more interested in the back story of the iguana.
When I found myself newly single, I turned to online dating in the hopes of easing my fears that no one else would ever accept me as I am, that lightning doesn’t strike twice. In this virtual world, I could pretend my disability didn’t exist.
Not one to be deterred, I persevered, downloading every possible dating app and creating accounts on various dating sites. I kept up with this facade for a while, messaging matches who were none the wiser.
I’d send a long-winded explanation divulging my wheelchair use, reminding him that it didn’t make me any less of person and ending with reassurance that he could ask me questions, should he have any.It was painful to realize that the hard part isn’t over once someone learns that I’m disabled.Going on dates with me can be a crash course on disability, and I recognize that’s not always easy for non-disabled people to process.He found a Groupon and I researched a location, picking out a restaurant in New York City that was supposed to be wheelchair accessible.As it turned out, the restaurant was accessible, but the painting class was happening in a room upstairs.