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You may believe all of my online dating adventures began in utter horror (if they ever begun at all), but you’d be wrong. Even though this relationship never worked out, it was one of the best experiences I’ve had in the shortest amount of time. Welcome to STORYTIME TUESDAYS!!!
I messaged him first on POF (2 years ago) because he was BEAUTIFUL. Online dating is a funny thing: you are drawn to them because you are physically attracted to the photo you see, but then depending on what they write about themselves will increase that attraction or completely dissolve it. It was the former for this gentleman. He was a triathlete, family-oriented, did I mention he was beautiful? He did a lot of volunteer work, he owned his own home, he was successful in his line of work – everything on paper was just what I was looking for. For the sake of this story, let’s call him “BM.” We had a few days of email interaction and he was super sweet and gave me butterflies and was really into meeting in person, so he suggested we get together for a drink.
I remember being incredibly nervous. My best friend’s mom was over at my place that evening helping me decorate and then gave me a ride to the meeting spot. I arrived early facing the stairs he’d have to climb and decided to browse the ol’ Facebook to pass the time and calm my nerves. All of a sudden a rose landed on my lap. I looked up and there was this shiny, happy person smiling at me. ‘Twas him. I swooned inside. BM took a seat across from me, locked eyes with me and never let mine wander. The bar was a dump and that’s what made it even more fun. We made joked about the possible lives of the regulars, we had a few drinks and the conversation was SO easy. I can’t remember what I asked but it prompted this answer from him: “Well, I have spina bifida.” *single blink* This was probably the only time when my single blink was not done to make someone feel stupid or to punctuate something I didn’t agree with. I single-blinked in sheer shock. I looked at him, I looked at the steps he’d have to climb to reach the table where we sat, I looked into my mind at all the TLC specials I’ve seen on people with spina bifida. Nothing was computing and when my eyes got back to his, he was smiling like a Cheshire cat. The next words out of my mouth were: “Are you sure?” And he doubled over in laughter and then I was laughing!
If you’re unaware, someone with spina bifida is born, essentially, with an opening in their spine. The messages we get from our brain to get our body to do simple tasks, i.e. kick a football, doesn’t necessarily translate to the body of someone who has spina bifida. Our brain tells our leg to kick, so it kicks. In a lot of cases, people with spina bifida suffer from paralysis and those messages don’t get to certain parts of the body. So you must understand how I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I mean, I saw pictures of him riding bikes and standing for his friend at a wedding and he was fully mobilized and he had muscles and he wore his suit jacket so well and he WALKED UP THE BAR STEPS – how does this beautiful creature have spina bifida??!?!?! I wasn’t shy, I asked him to tell me everything. I asked him to spare not a single detail! He told me about being diagnosed with it a few years after he was born. He had more than 20 surgeries on his back to correct the problem as much as they could and as a result, he was free of his wheelchair and crutches he used growing up. He told me about the times he died on the operating table. While you may have been angry or felt like you were betrayed that someone didn’t reveal something like this BEFORE meeting, I pretty much fell for him after that story. I didn’t care that he didn’t tell me because it didn’t define him. He was BM, he wasn’t spina bifida. I was in awe and just wanted to know more about him. It was only when we left that turrible bar that I noticed he walked with a little bit of impairment but if he didn’t just tell me that story, I wouldn’t have noticed anything. We agreed it was a great first date and he asked me for our second date right then and there. I said yes.
To be continued next STORYTIME TUESDAY!