Internet dating new york times
But I became skittish about revealing my disability, because in an already shallow dating culture, I believed my wheelchair would cause most men to write me off without a second thought. Once I thought I’d spoken with a guy long enough to establish his interest, I’d choose a moment to strike, telling him about my disability.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.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.My disability is part of my identity and I’m a loud, proud disability rights activist, but there is so much more that defines me (you know, like the stuff I’ve got in my profile).I realize some people are hesitant to date a human who experiences the world sitting down.Unfortunately, he wasn’t interested at all, messaging back only to say: “Sorry.The wheelchair’s a deal-breaker for me.”His blunt reply stung, but the feeling was nothing new.
As soon as the company refunded our tickets, I never heard from him again.Because I was born with my disability — Larsen syndrome, a genetic joint and muscle disorder — I’d already gathered a pile of romantic rejections seemingly big enough to fill an Olympic swimming pool by the time I downloaded Tinder.This particular rejection, however, unleashed a wave of panic within me.But in the online dating world, my disability was my secret shame. I started gradually, making references to my disability throughout my profile, then adding photos in which my wheelchair is clearly visible. For instance, OKCupid asks users to list six things they can’t live without; one of mine is “the invention of the wheel.”Still, I found myself having to make sure that potential matches had actually picked up on the trail of clues I’d left.I grew tired of feeling like I needed to deceive men into being interested because society instilled in me that my disability makes me undesirable.