First Date

First dates are intimidating for everyone! Factor in a wheelchair and you have a whole different level of intimidation. I can reassure you that it is still worth it. And believe me, I am a self-proclaimed expert on first dates (as I have had too many to comfortably disclose).

Every first date I have been on, I tried to be myself and then hope for the best. First dates are always a nerve-racking experience and dating from a wheelchair always adds an element of surprise. Take for instance, one first date, when a handsome gentleman took me for coffee. All was good until I rolled out of the coffee shop and the button on my jacket caught in my wheelchair tire. The forward momentum propelled my jacket sleeve forward and pulled me right out of my wheelchair! Yes, it really happened and on a first date. Maybe it was first date jitters. But my date picked me up and I shined with a sense of confidence despite my fall.

Then there was the time when I was asked to go to a formal military ball. I was dressed in a white pearl beaded gown and my date in a tuxedo. The night was filled with dancing, dinner, and great conversation. All was great, until, my last transfer into my wheelchair from his car. My delicate white beaded dress, unknowingly, was caught on my wheelchair brake. When I lifted myself for my transfer the back of the gown pulled apart. I felt the tug, grabbed my dress, and had to ask my date to re-clip my dress. Yep, it happened and on a first date!

Now you may be thinking that this is all a great case to NOT seek out a date. But I want to tell you about one more first date. My date was taking me to his home for dinner with his family. In a brief conversation he asked me the width of my wheelchair. I measured it and gave him the width and questioned “Why?” He reassured me to just trust him; it was a surprise.

At some point in my date, I asked where the restroom was located (they had a two level house; oh how I hoped there was a bathroom on the main level). When my date showed me to the first-floor bathroom, I noticed what looked like “unfinished construction”. But after a second look, I realized what I was observing was a reconstructed bathroom door. Yes, that’s right; he cut into the sheetrock, took down the original door frame, and installed a wider door to accommodate my wheelchair.

This gesture was considerably the best compliment anyone had ever given me. The wider door spoke volumes. He wanted me there--wheelchair and all. He desired me to return. His “act of service” showed his compassion and sensitivity to my needs. Could he actually grasp and completely understand my injury? I discovered he did. This would be my last first date.

Is it worth risking a fall (from your wheelchair) in a chance to find someone you will fall for? Absolutely! It may take several first dates (or many more, like my case) but it is part of the process to discovering true love. And all the crazy, unsuccessful first dates will be a funny story to laugh about for years. Love is totally worth it.

Here’s my best tip to use on your first date: shine brightly with self-confidence. Self-confidence produces amazing results. It means you're content with yourself, your looks and life, which adds to your attraction! Happy dating.

Leslie

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