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  • Writer's pictureNate Methot

Trying and Failing

I've been on dating apps for almost three years, and every now and then I post hopeful episodes, but overall, it's been really fucking hard. My ongoing mantra is to keep trying, but there’s only so much I can do. Someone has to decide to give me a chance—“like” me and actually talk to me, for starters—and that can be hard to come by.

Very hard, as of late. I think the last substantive conversation I shared was in February. And she was only visiting Burlington for a week! That was my last date and I’ve wondered why I was chosen for that one-time encounter. My best guess is the sense of personal safety she could envision spending time with a man whose best chance of inflicting physical pain may be close-range biting. I’m certainly a “safe” choice; maybe I should play up that angle. Tired of the fear that your date could kidnap you to a dark basement? Why not give those worries a rest? Try someone you could physically overpower with one hand! I can’t tie knots or climb stairs!

These are the kinds of things I think up to get someone to notice me. Though it came to me as a joke, I’m actually considering posting a version of that. It’s a desperate plea to be noticed, for sure, but then so are the shirtless-holding-a-puppy profile pictures I’ve heard so much about.

It’s not that I blame them; if the roles were reversed, I can’t pretend I’d give the ALS wheelchair user a second look. I don’t subscribe to the idealism that everyone “deserves” someone, or to be happy, or whatever. I’m not bitter at “them” or the world, but I am hurt by the experience.

Constant and near-total rejection will do that. I only get back up because I’ve lived the alternative and I don’t want to go back. Trying and failing 99.9% of the time is still—somehow—better than succumbing to hopelessness. Nevertheless, I’m not sure how much of me is left after all of this pain.

It’s at this point that I usually compare myself to a vision from the past, or to others in the present. It all seems so easy for everyone but me. Like everything. And yet, they can’t see it. It’s almost as if their stakes are higher, trying to find a partner and exposing their vulnerabilities without the luxury (luxury!) of a scapegoat as effective as ALS.

There’s probably a lot of truth to that, preventing me from pretending I have all the answers. I can’t compare myself to the rest; no expectations, no pressure. Anything that happens is a positive, for me. And sure, I have faults, but like everyone, they’re buried below the surface. The immediately obvious realities of ALS overwhelm all of them.

I guess it comes down to the same sort of frustrations as everything else: I’d like to be myself, but I can’t. And that’s difficult to accept. But there’s another layer when meeting new people: I may know who I am, but it’s impossible for them to see. Like anyone, I’d like to (need to) be seen, but they only see a broken person in a chair, decidedly “less than” everyone else. And nobody wants what they see. And I’m tired of feeling unwanted.

Oh, yeah, and no one flirts with the guy in the giant powerchair with the slurred speech. I didn’t appreciate the attention. I miss it.

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