Dating While Chronically Ill Is Not A Crime

Day 27 of NHPBM

I Bet You Didn’t Know…

Being single and 40 is no picnic.  Remember when you were married or in a committed relationship and you used to chuckle about your single friends using online dating sites?  How’s that Humble Pie taste now, fellow Bitches?

My slice of humble pie tastes like lentils.  Sure, it’s healthy, but until I got the recipe right, it tasted like crap.

What?  Online dating is good for me?  After conducting what I can only describe as “research”, the answer is, yes.

Now, I’m not suggesting you ask dates to doctors appointments.  There comes a time (hopefully) during a chronic illness when things slow down, stabilize and we’re ready to be social creatures again.  Don’t loose faith, it can happen.  It happened to me and I should have been dead years ago.

When I was newly single in 2009, I had completely lost my confidence and self esteem and I was feeling miserable.  My ex-husband suggested I try online dating. I thought: If he could be successful, how hard could it be?   Ignorance is bliss and I am glad I did try it.  I learned something from every person I have met.  If I had to do it over again, I would do it again to gain the knowledge and self confidence I now have because of it.

I encourage anyone considering online dating to try it.  Everyone’s experience is different, but for me my biggest lesson was: I don’t have to settle for anything or anyone. And, if you let them, people will show you exactly who they are without getting naked first.  For me, it was the spirit of research that kept me going.   My efforts were rewarded with good old fashioned learnin’.

So, The Adventure Began

After posting what I thought was a confident and stellar profile, I was flattered by all the responses, winks and messages.  Looking back, I can see now my profile was screaming, “Fresh Meat.”

After lots of dates and a few adventures, I will talk about some interesting characters I met, learned from and awarded nicknames.  

After a few dates, one guy added to his profile, “50 Shades of Grey is my life story.”   He is  forever known as 50 Shades.  Had I not met him, I would have never known how truly awful the book was because I looked it up on Wikipedia where it gave away the plot.  I am forever grateful to him because I will never have to read it to know what a true piece of shit story that is.  Doesn’t anyone just watch porn?    No one should be subjected to such a lame plot and cheesy dialogue without background music.  Bow-chica-bow-now really would add something to the story.  Thank you, 50 Shades.  You have saved me so much time.

I would be remiss not to mention I have been asked if I would participate in ‘panty hose spanking’.  It’s exactly what you think it is.  DON’T Google it.  You cannot un-see it.  Well, unless you are into that.   I don’t want to judge, it’s just not my thing.

One guy I dated exchanged my crappy couches and $100 for his super nice sectional.  I love this couch.  I have learned I love the shape, but will eventually get the same model in leather instead of microfiber.   Again, a valuable learning experience.  Things had to end  after he called my mother “sexy pants”.  He is affectionately referred to as, “Couch Guy”.

I met one guy for an Angels game.  He was a season ticket holder, and we had great seats.  In the 7th inning, I don’t even remember how we got to the topic- but here’s how the conversation started:  He said, “You know what I hate about Anaheim?  Mexicans.”

Yes, he did say that while sitting in Angels Stadium in Anaheim, California.

Now, my first instinct was to pour my beer on his head and leave, but he said it loud enough for those around us to hear and it didn’t seem to bother him.  The inner research psychologist kicked in, and my curiosity was peaked.  So, I placed my elbows on the arm rest in his direction, rested my chin in my hands in classic Jon Steward fashion.  Wide-eyed, smiling  and in my best Jon Stewart voice said, “Dooo go on!”

I let him continue until I could no longer stand it.  I put my hand up to interrupt him and said, “You do know my last name is Vasquez, right?”  And then, he went for the Asshat Racisit-Trifecta:

1. I know, but I’m not talking about you.
2. I have Mexican friends.
3. I have dated a Mexican.

The date didn’t totally suck, I mentioned it we had great seats…

I learned from him to put Caucasian as my race.  It has helped me filter out the bigots like nothing else.  I look white and it’s a great way to know what people really think sometimes.    For the record, I have no idea what I would be considered racially.  I like to skip the question, just like my Aunt Carmen.  To paraphrase her, “We’re human.  Who gives a shit?”  She is one brilliant woman.

Dating While Chronically Ill Is Not a Crime

At first, I thought I needed to disclose my health in my profile, like some warning label.  I did and I got lots of prayers, offers to be brought to church, but no dates.  It’s a bad idea. A chronic illness is not a death sentence and we certainly do not need to come with a warning.  More and more of us with scleroderma and sarcoidosis are surviving, adapting and overcoming.  Just because we need to maintain our health with meds or were are disfigured from the damage, does not mean we are supposed to stay home.  People take high blood pressure meds, cholesterol controlling meds and God only knows what kind of graveyard they’re tending in their closets at home.   We all have something to deal with and it’s just life.  I know it’s not the same, but in the big picture, we are all going to die of something

 And yes, I have experienced a lunch date where the conversation turned in, “Sooo, can your hands be fixed?”  

Poor guy couldn’t take his eyes off my hands.  When I dropped him off, I’m not sure he flung open the door and ran because he was really late, or I had just frightened the shit out of him.  I’ll never know and I don’t  care.

And yes, having a medical condition was a deal breaker for one guy.  At least that’s what he told me.  He was Mormon, so he may not have wanted to admit he was looking for someone who would be willing to convert.  The truth is, whether you have a chronic condition or not, you will meet people you would not want to see again and sometimes, it hurts.  Be thankful for the learning experience and you will recover and be stronger for it.

A Happy Ending

Happy endings are for fairy tales, but every now and then, I meet a nice guy.  It’s all about odds.  The more you get out or talk to someone else, the odds are higher you will meet someone who does not have their picture in the dictionary under the word, “douchebag”.  My best date was was with a guy who bugged me until I met him for coffee.  I did not mention a word about my health before meeting him.  When we did meet, I offered my goofy hand out to shake and it was not even

an issue.  Not to mention, he was much cuter in person than in his picture.  We later ended up in a bar- well lit mind you, and had a great time. Yes, the nice guys are rare, but that’s kind of the point.  So, if you’re ready and a little freaked out about online dating, get out there.  Be safe, watch for red flags, try panty hose spanking- if that’s what you’re into, but most of all, have fun.  If it’s not fun, step away from the computer and give yourself some “me” time.  It’s not required to find someone and it certainly should not be a “job”.  There are no guarantees, there may be disappointment, but like anything worth having it does take a little work.  Keep it fun & stay safe out there!