As I was sitting at one of my dearest friend’s kitchen table, finishing dinner, my phone lit up to tell me that I had a new message on one of my dating apps. The message: “If you don’t mind me asking, what happened to your arm and leg?”
With all of my new found self reflections, I wasn’t sure how I wanted to answer this question. Voicing that I was puzzled, my friend asked me a very thought provoking question, “Does it bother you that he asked?” If I remember correctly, I pretty quickly said no. My thought was that this guy probably didn’t know anyone with a disability and simply wasn’t educated.
I took time thinking of how to type the response without saying what happened to one side of my body. The idea was that I didn’t want to offend him by not answering his question. Which I now think is quite absurd! I was thinking of everything that I could say so that he would respond favorably. I finally concluded to send a, “What difference does it make? Haha” message. He responded saying that is doesn’t and added a few haha’s for good measure.
If I didn’t want to answer this complete stranger’s question, it made me wonder when I would disclose what caused my disability to someone I was doing my best to get to know in the hopes of forming a relationship. Odds are, I will speak to way more people through dating apps than I will ever go on dates with. So by eliminating discussing it online, that weeds out a fairly large group. As we all know, if a guy messages you for more than two days and doesn’t get your number, it’s not going anywhere.
So that brings me to the in person date. The choices are, bring it up on your own terms and have the discussion your way, or wait for them to say something. It just may happen that they never ask you to your face. (I say that because I’ve had countless friends ask for me to disclose how someone became disabled after they have walked away.) If they don’t ask, then they may not actually care. That’s pretty darn cool!
I honestly enjoy waiting until they broach the subject because I think it tells me a lot about their personality. And isn’t that important when trying to get to know someone? Through my experience, talking about my disability shouldn’t be used as a way to make a guy feel more comfortable. So letting them come to the topic on their own terms, let’s me know how important knowing is to them.
The next time I have the opportunity, I think I’m going to ask them an equally personal question back. Something along the lines of skin removal, or previous health complications! That ought to be fun! I’ll let you know how it goes!