Monday, February 15, 2010

Disabled Dating

disability, disability, chronic illness, dating, love, stupid, asshat,
I've thought of a few more rules for when I am Empress of the Entire Freakin' World (the business cards will be so cool!). No one will be allowed to write about disability or chronic illness unless they have a disability or chronic illness, or if they receive a special dispensation for me. Most people will not get those dispensations, including Brian Alexander at msnbc.com.

An Internet entrepreneur named Ricky Durham believes he has the answer to
Valentine’s Day loneliness for people living with chronic diseases or health conditions: match them up with other
people who either have the same conditions or are, for some reason, looking for
a lover who has them.


I cannot imagine dating. I just can't imagine it. Exactly when does one bring up their disability/chronic illness? "So, I'm a Saggitarius, I really like video games, and I can't stand in place for more than 30 seconds, can't lift more than 5-10 lbs and will never be able to have children. Oh, you just realized your house is on fire? You'd be surprised how often that happens."

This is, btw, the reason I have very few IRL friends. Most healthy people don't get it. I never know how I'm going to feel day to day. Some days I'm perfectly capable of going out to dinner or watching the game. Some days I'm barely capable of getting to the bathroom. So, I make plans for Saturday, and Saturday comes and I can hardly move and the pain has made me mean and I cancel. A few people are willing to put up with that, but most aren't. I can't imagine trying to explain that to a date.

So, yeah, why not try to find someone who is likely to understand your particular difficulties? If you did the above to me, I would totally understand. Let's try again another day, in the meantime, would you like me to call you later or stop by with something to eat? Not everyone will have that reaction.

But, oh, no, those silly sick people don't know what they're getting into! Mr. Alexander needs to set them straight.

Her experience did not surprise Miller, the psychologist at Fox Chase.
Often people with long-term health conditions are so pleased to simply find
somebody they like who understands the inconveniences and challenges, she said,
that “there is a very strong risk of overlooking things you should not
overlook.”

Cancer survivors, diabetics, people with psychological disorders —
anybody dealing with a chronic condition — can come to see that condition as the
main thing in their lives. “Your sense of self is so wrapped up in your physical
condition that becomes the main barrier to connecting with others. It becomes
your new identity," said Miller. "But it is just one piece of your overall
personality and your needs.”

The other person may have the same issue you’re facing, but is he or
she an extrovert while you are an introvert? Messy while you are neat? A planner
while you are spontaneous? We are more than our diseases.


And how is that different from any two people, healthy or not? Of course one point of similarity does not a relationship make. Nobody is suggesting that simply sharing the same race, love of Depeche Mode, or vegetarianism is enough to base a lifetime on. However, it's not a bad place to start. If you're a vegetarian, and watching people eat meat ruins your night, why not only look amongst other vegetarians for love? Is anybody chiding vegetarians for sticking with other vegetarians? No.

Also, I know that chronic pain isn't the only thing about me, but it does affect every other part of me. There is no facet of my life or my self that has not been impacted. If you have not been impacted this way, you really cannot understand. I say this not to offend or hurt my healthy friends, you are great and I love you, but you truly do not know what my illness has done to me, for which you should be eternally grateful. I fail to see where starting a relationship with that level of understanding is a bad idea.

And then we have this:

Imagine the possible financial consequences of, say, two bi-polar people with a
penchant for big spending during manic phases falling in love. Genetics are also
a consideration. Many long-term conditions like depression, some cancers,
Crohn’s, some auto-immune diseases and others, can involve inherited genetic
risk. The children of two parents who both have Crohn’s, for example, have a
greatly elevated risk of having an inflammatory bowel disease themselves.


OMG, what if two stupid people got together? What would be the consequences then? What about racists- can you imagine? Seriously, wtf?

Has Mr. Alexander never heard of birth control, genetic counseling or adoption? Does he think that the disabled/chronically ill among us aren't quite aware of the risks of reproducing? Does he think that healthy people don't produce less than perfect offspring? Down's Syndrome anyone?

I think we should prevent Mr. Alexander from breeding on the chance that patronizing condescension is genetic.

4 comments:

  1. People love Depeche Mode?

    I didn't react as strongly to this article as you did, albeit for obvious reasons: all things being equal, I have nothing that'd make a relationship more difficult than the average person (except my personality, of course). I read his MSNBC piece as more of a cautionary tale than something designed to warn us of the hazards of flirting with "the wrong person".

    Still, I guess I agree with you. Relationships are never a sure thing; they don't guarantee happiness nor are they guaranteed to succeed. "Disability" is no more of a deterrent than sleeping habits are, and the article annoys me because he seems to be treating the former as an additional hurdle - rather than one of many which people may or may not encounter.

    FFS even religion can prevent relationships from being successful, and I don't see Mr Alexander warning us against the hazards of Christian dating web sites.

    ---

    By the way, I once saw a vending machine that let you build your own business cards on the spot. Great fun...

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  2. I'm a bit too much in favor of free speech to prevent people from saying stupid stuff. In any event, it seems like Alexander has more of an issue being the classic uncritical reporter than anything else. That's a much more general problem than an attitude towards disabilities which may not actual reflect the writer's own opinion.

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  3. ...

    i don't even know how to react to this.
    what set me off was the implication of fetishism, and the idea that i *deserve* a quote-healthy-unquote partner. that last may just be me, reading *too* much into comments, but still.


    also - really godsdamned sick of the "children" in EVERYTHING.

    na da. i like your rule about who can write, and will duly enforce it when the time comes.

    side note: we need to talk logistics, the glitter supply for our Air Force of Sparkly Purple Pegasi[Alicorn Division] isn't stable right now, the TwiHards are stockpiling in anticipation of the Twilipocsolypse, we might need to look into domestic production

    :D
    i'm goofy today. probably because my BDay had very little drama for once. *and* i was able to go to a movie!

    ReplyDelete
  4. disabled dating uk disabled dating sites to have meeting people with disabiltiies looking for love, friendship and relationships. Providing best disable dating uk service with instant and fast contact

    ReplyDelete

Comments are for you guys, not for me. Say what you will. Don't feel compelled to stay on topic, I enjoy it when comments enter Tangentville or veer off into Non Sequitur Town. Just keep it polite, okay?

I am attempting to use blogger's new comment spam feature. If you don't immediately see your comment, it is being held in spam, I will get it out next time I check the filter. Unless you are Dennis Markuze, in which case you're never seeing your comment.

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