My dating profile

Earlier this year, Jason Laughlin removed from his dating profiles any pictures that made his disabilities apparent, like the one on the right. Online dating gifted me just that experience recently.

It was an experiment to see how he would do if he created a persona that presented him as just a normal guy. It happened because I wanted to hide from the digital dating pool an inescapable reality of my life: my physical disabilities.

When I get a person to sort out their dating patterns, usually people get two out of the three.

You hear these people saying, ‘You have to compromise.’ That’s a lie, to me. Eighty-five percent of what you want is not good, not good enough. “So, there’s a fourth ‘H’ after head, heart, and hoo-ha,” says Zander.

The damage happened before I emerged from the womb and life since has been learning to live with it. My amazing parents were fierce about treating me like any child, and taught me to see myself the same way.I’m good at my job, love my city, and have strong, meaningful friendships. Early on, my romantic experience consisted mostly of professing love to close friends who suffered a kind of emotional whiplash when a relationship they thought was platonic swerved in an unexpected, and unwanted, new direction.By my early 30s, I took up a friend on his recommendation that I try something different, and created my first online profile. I dated, experienced my first serious relationship, and found I could hold up my end of an adult partnership. For a single person in the 21st century, online dating is the most ready way to go about meeting a partner.I took a break from online dating about a month ago, but I’ll probably try again.Whether I’m up front about my handicaps or keep them hidden, inevitably women I meet will decide whether they could be with a man who doesn’t look like anyone’s idea of the guy they thought they’d bring home to Mom and Dad. I write this with the important caveat that online dating has at times worked, and some women from my life might say with a weary laugh, “Yeah, his disabilities definitely weren’t the problem.” I have as many personality flaws as anyone and it’s almost a relief when my romantic failures can be blamed on me and not my body. That said, though, it’s hard to escape the thought that my disabilities play a role in my being single.There are also things that have to be present for a relationship to spark. Earlier this year, after going weeks without a match, much less a date, I removed from my dating profiles any pictures that made my disabilities apparent. After weeks without a match, I made several within an hour.Some were cool with it, and we ended up going on dates that mostly went nowhere because they weren’t into me or I wasn’t into them. Others admitted they did not want to date someone with disabilities. The ones that hurt, though, were those who said they were OK with my condition, but began responding to messages less frequently. They reduce complexity and quirks to a few curated pictures and clever blurbs, and make people so very easy to dismiss.They agreed to meeting up in theory but wouldn’t be specific about when. Regardless, there was agony in a once-friendly, welcoming face slipping away. I have swiped left without a second thought because I thought someone was overweight, or had tattoos I found unattractive. As unique as the specifics of my situation are, I can’t escape the feeling there are plenty of people who can relate.You should be able to find someone you like, you love, you respect, and you want to have sex with.”Okay. left for you by an expressive, enthusiastic, emotionally available paramour?

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