That Date With Bob
It started like so many relationships. We both swiped right on OKCupid. Bob sounded smart and kind in his initial message. His photos looked acceptable. It was around the time I decided to not include the fact that I have a disability in my online dating profile, and decided to be completely transparent in communicating with men I dated:
In fact, when Bob and I switched our mode of communication to texting I sent him the link to that story. I didn’t want anyone to be surprised when they learned of my circumstances. I was confused when he responded with “Did you know I had a stroke?”
I wasn’t sure how I would have known this. It was not part of his dating profile, nor had he mentioned it until I sent him that story. At first, it seemed as if we might be a match made in heaven. What are the odds of two middle aged people connecting on a dating app who suffered strokes before they were fifty? We decided we should meet.
I kept an open mind about meeting a man with a disability. After all, I was expecting men to go out with me and my disability. But, I had some concerns about becoming involved with a disabled man. I had only been involved with able bodied men. I had grown accustomed to having a capable “life guard” at my place at the lake on weekends when I went swimming. I figured I would check out Bob to see what his limitations looked like in person. I would not discriminate against him solely because of his disability.
We met at a diner for dinner. He was already seated when I arrived so I didn’t get a chance to watch him walk in. He seemed sort of dazzled when I sat down across from him. He brought me flowers from the nearby supermarket. Points for romantic effort even if it reeked a bit of trying too hard.
Our conversation was typical for a first date except he seemed to exercise less restraint insofar as gushing about how beautiful he thought I was. I found out that his last job before he became disabled was at a large, prestigious insurance company where an ex boyfriend had been employed. I knew the company only hires the best and the brightest so I gave him some bonus points for that.
It got awkward when he asked if he could take my photo. I knew he had seen my photos on the dating app and could access them at any time.
“Why do you want my picture?” I said.
“My friends and I like to send each other pictures of our dates.” I reluctantly agreed.
I noticed his left hand hanging on to his right while his pinky seemed to twitch. I asked him about it. I don’t mind when people ask me questions about my condition.
“Why does your pinky do that?”
“Oh, it’s spastic.” I understood this only too well since my hand is similarly afflicted.
“How is your leg?” I asked.
“It’s just stiff.”
“Do you have a drop foot?”
He was a bit vague in his answer, but it was clear he didn’t have this tell tale symptom of having had a stroke.
I saw him walk when he got up to pay the check. His leg was indeed stiff which caused him to limp. I noticed he didn’t use a brace on his foot or an assistive device to walk such as a cane.
He walked me to my car so he could put the carry out package and the flowers in it for me as I am not able to carry much with my spastic left hand while my right hand carries my cane. We had some uncomfortable moments as we tried to make jokes about neither one of us being able to walk right.
I kept my mind open to giving Bob the same fair chance as any other man I had met for a first date. He asked if he could kiss me. I’m sure we were nervous. I will generally kiss on a first date. I feel if we have made the effort to meet, and there was a reasonable connection, then it is certainly warranted.
The kiss was unremarkable.
I felt I had given Bob a fair chance by meeting him IRL. It was not the most exciting date ever.
Bob tried to seriously turn up the heat between us after we met by sending me romantic and suggestive texts. They were not rude. He even sent me a poem he wrote about me. It was kind of sweet.
It seemed premature and desperate when he told me he wanted us to be in a “monogamous relationship.” Now, I had the right to believe he was weird. I pointed out to him that he barely knew me as he had only met me once.
I struggled a bit with the concept that I was being discriminatory because Bob had a disability. In fact, I thought about how two people with similar limitations could actually turn out to be a safety hazard. We made some jokes about how if we were paddling a canoe, we would go in circles.
I think Bob thought I was perfect for him because I was beautiful and have a disability. He thought he might be perfect for me because of his disability even though he was no longer employed and had not started to receive any disability benefits.
I didn’t encourage Bob to think we were going to have the kind of relationship he was searching for.
Rather than believe I was discriminating on the basis of being handicapped, I treated him the same as I would an able bodied man who came across as desperate and weird.
Thank you for reading:)