“Soo…. Can you ….uhm, you know”?
“Can I do what? Please use your words”
“Can you have sex?”
“Yes I can. I’m assuming you can too”
“Of course. Why wouldn’t I?”
“Well you assumed it for me, so it’s only fair?
“You are right, my apologies. Can you send me some nice pictures?”
I roll my eyes at the request from my tinder match. It’s such a cliché.
“Sorry, I can’t send nudes. My job is too risky for such”
“Understood. Can I send you mine?”
‘No it’s cool, I’d rather meet up first and have something that makes you easily identifiable”
“You don’t trust me?”
“I don’t know you. I can’t even say if your name is your real name”
“Where do you stay and who do you stay with? Can I come over to meet you?”
“I stay in town, I’d prefer to meet somewhere public first”
“Where would you like to meet?”
“I don’t know, I just need it to be accessible for me. I’m not familiar with the city and it might be better if you find a restaurant and let me know when you are available. I work from home so I’m easy-going”
“Oh, so you won’t point me in a certain direction?”
“I find that when people realise how much of a hassle it is to find accessible places, they tend to be more understanding of my reluctance to be outside. Talking about ableism and inaccessibility is a hassle in my life.”
“Cool, I will get back to you about the date”
He never called me back. He is not the first and I’m sure he won’t be the last.
I joined online dating after years of being single and locked up because of the pandemic. I am hoping to find a companion or somebody to have dinner with once in a while, and maybe a sleep over if the body and the consent happens
Before I decided to get online I was hoping to find companionship outside – with very little luck and a lot of rejection. It takes a thick skin to approach people because they don’t often see me as a woman. My Disability tends to be the one identity that everybody gives me. Yes, it’s mine. However I’m still human and in want of companionship.
“So what do you do for fun, besides Tinder?”
“I review sex toys and write. Sometimes I’m a mother”
“Yes. I will explain if I see you one day”
“So who takes care of you?”
“Interesting, I’ve never been with a woman like you before”
“You know… with special needs”
“I need you to say Disabled. It’s not a bad word”
“I didn’t want to offend you”
“Why would my Disability offend me?”
I feel like I wheel on eggshells when I’m having these conversations with potential mates. Often their inability to say ‘Disability’ is a signal for me to stop chatting to them. ‘Disabled’ is not a bad word.
“Listen, I think this is not going to work. I’m sorry we matched”
“Are you offended?”
“No. I’m just not sure I want to be with somebody who is uncomfortable with the word ‘disabled’. I am already imagining the constant apologies. Good luck finding what you are looking for”
I unmatch, refresh my app and start swiping again, hopeful the next match won’t be afraid of a word. I have to live as a Disabled woman. I don’t need the drama. Hopefully I will get luckier next time.