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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.I ended up going on one date with him, and then another.For the second date, my bagel suggested a painting night (a social event that involves paintbrushes, canvases, acrylics and, usually, wine) since I’d told him how much I enjoy them.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.
As it turned out, the restaurant was accessible, but the painting class was happening in a room upstairs.
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.
After dropping the “wheelchair bomb,” I’d have to brace myself for their reactions, which were always a mixed bag, often ranging from indifference to ghosting. One man that I connected with on Coffee Meets Bagel was incredibly apologetic when I first told him about my wheelchair, as though it was the most tragic thing he’d ever heard.
I shut that down by explaining that my disability is part of who I am and it’s nothing to be sorry for.