As I was clicking through my facebook page the other day, one thing in particular caught my eye. I noticed that a few of my friends changed their status from “single” to “in a relationship.” Once I saw this surprising trend, it got me thinking of my own personal life, or severe lack thereof.
From first through eighth grade, I was not unaccustomed to grabbing the attention of the ladies in my class. Whether it was Michelle dropping off a get well card at my house in fourth grade, or Stephanie giving me my first kiss in seventh grade, girls weren’t far from my side. And with all my “success” during my early years, I eagerly anticipated the boundless possibilities that awaited me in high school.
But after I became a quad during my freshman year of high school, everything changed.
While I still had girls at my side, they were my nurse instead of interested coeds. And if a girl did manage to speak to me, it seemed like they were talking to me out of pity and curiosity. Even though I didn’t agree with their reasons to speak to me, I was in no position to turn away a conversation, no matter what the reason.
As I made my way through high school and college, I felt like a spectator in my own life. I so badly wanted to speak to girls, but my courage was in short supply. But with my relative inexperience with girls, I did manage to forge a few friendships with girls.
But friendships were all I could muster (Ryan Reynolds I feel your pain).
I guess the mere sight of a wheelchair would throw me into the “Friend Zone” for any girl. I can’t believe that they didn’t know that nothing says sexy more than Scoliosis and Muscle Atrophy. While I often used my chair and illness as an excuse, I’m not completely without blame either.
The main reason is because whenever I would see a girl that I was interested in, my head flooded with questions.
- What do I say?
- How do I take her on a date?
- Who can take me on the date?
- Will my parents have to drop me off?
- Will she mind feeding me?
I often couldn’t find the answer to these questions and decided that it isn’t worth the embarrassment, so I never did anything but watch her pass by and wonder. I worried too much about my “accommodations” and disabilities and sabotaged my chances before even trying. It was my own self-doubt that seems to be the biggest hurdle.
Every time I watched a romantic comedy (and yes, it is more often than you think), I sat in envy. I so badly wanted to experience what it was like to have a girlfriend. Not just for those romantic, sensual moments, but for those moments that seem to be overlooked at times.
You know, those moments where you cuddle with each other on the couch to watch TV, talk all night in bed about nothing and everything or just walk silently down the sidewalk, enjoying each other’s company. These are the moments I wished to experience, but felt I would never get the chance.
As I look back and think about everything that has happened, I realized that I have to stop being a spectator and get in the game. I may never be able to do the chivalrous things like pull out her chair, stand up when she leaves the table or hold open a door, but I can still be that perfect boyfriend. All it takes is one chance.
Sometimes, it seems like my dating game is unwinnable. But like they say, you can’t win if you don’t play.