Online Dating

“Being upfront about my disability liberated me.”  In this case a young woman, Emily Ladau, who describes herself as playing the online dating game finally decided to make it clear in her online profile that she was in a wheelchair.  Ironically she was a person who was a advocate for the rights of the disabled, but in the dating world, her disability was her secret shame.  Here is how she describes the change she made on her own online world.

“So I decided it was time for a change. I started gradually, making references to my disability throughout my profile, then adding photos in which my wheelchair is clearly visible. I tried to keep things light and humorous. For instance, OKCupid asks users to list six things they can’t live without; one of mine is “the invention of the wheel.”

Still, I found myself having to make sure that potential matches had actually picked up on the trail of clues I’d left. I grew tired of feeling like I needed to deceive men into being interested because society instilled in me that my disability makes me undesirable. Finally, I took the leap I’d been so afraid to make, opening up about disability to strangers whom I hoped would appreciate my honesty and perhaps send me a message.

Prominently in my profile, I wrote: “I’d like to be very upfront about the fact that I use a wheelchair. My disability is part of my identity and I’m a loud, proud disability rights activist, but there is so much more that defines me (you know, like the stuff I’ve got in my profile). I realize some people are hesitant to date a human who experiences the world sitting down. But I’d like to think you’ll keep reading and dive a little deeper. And you’re welcome to ask questions, should you have any.”

Once I added that paragraph, I felt liberated, relieved that anyone I spoke to would have a clearer picture of me. There have been plenty of matches that haven’t worked out, and whether that’s actually because of my disability, I’ll never know. But I had a nearly yearlong relationship with a man I met through OKCupid, so I know it’s possible for lightning to strike again. My dating life remains a comedy of errors, and I still struggle every day with the feeling that my disability means I won’t find love, but at least I’m being true to myself. I’m putting myself out there — my whole self — and it feels good to be proud of who I am.”

Emily Ladau (@emily_ladau) is a disability rights activist, writer and speaker. She is editor in chief of Rooted in Rights. Her work can be found on her website, Words I Wheel By.

Ray Myers


My Heart’s aTwitter with Your Tweets

More than any other social media, Twitter is rapidly becoming the preferred “love” media.  From finding a date to proposing marriage, this is like sailing on the digital “Love Boat,” if you are old enough to remember that TV series.  So many new technologies, to use, so little time.  Somehow Twitter has become the preferred love connection.  Don’t forget the Direct Message (DM) feature when things start to become more intimate.  Twitter doesn’t maintain statistics on how many of its users met through the site, but it does actively crowdsource and feature stories from people who have used the app to “kindle” a romance.”

Here is an unsolicited testimonial from one happy lady, now wife and mother.  “She admits to having met previous dates on MySpace and Craigslist but insists that Twitter is an ideal platform to connect with potential mates – as long as users switch from public replies to direct messaging fairly quickly.  Ultimately, asking someone out on Twitter, there is still that fear of rejection that exists.  But it’s super possible.  It all goes down in the DMs.”

Okay, all you lonely hearts out there.  Brush up on your DM skills to give Cupid a hand!

Ray Myers

Love Online – Modern Romance Part Two

People don’t lie online and online dating is not dangerous.  Well, not exactly, at least in terms of the lying part.  Seems that both men and women like to add a couple inches to their height.  I can relate to that in some ways since it seems that I have lost an inch or more as I get older.  My wife does remind me to stand up straighter so that I can regain that youthful posture, and not look like I’m seventy something.

Now I have read that online dating is not dangerous when compared with meeting people at bars or parties.  Since online dating allows people to browse possible partners from their own homes, it is clearly more efficient and less “random” than meeting someone at a bar or party.  At the same time, it seems that most single “twenty somethings” are now doing more socializing at local bars or Starbucks than going to parties hosted by friends or neighbors (see my blog of 9/21, Party Like Your Parents Did or Not?).  Online just seems to be a safer, and more “controlled”, place.

So whatever your dating preferences may be, it seems that first impressions and appearances still do matter.  When one of the leading online dating sites temporarily turned off personal pictures of their users (blind dating app), most their online searchers were not happy.  In the words of one of their executives, “so we turned the photos back on, giving people the dating experience they wanted: superficial, skin-deep and probably worse.”

Ray Myers

Love Online – Modern Romance Part One

This will be a two-part blog since the subject is so intriguing (at least for an old guy like me), and there are so many ways of interpreting what it all means in terms of “love and marriage.”  In all fairness, we are just talking about online dating, but we all know what usually happens when someone finds the “one” however that might happen.  It seems that online dating may just be a flirtation itself, but it really does offer some “search” options that were not available before Al Gore discovered the Internet (maybe it was somebody else?)

Some researchers have gained the title of being “experts” in this area, and I certainly do not claim to be one.  But for purpose of today’s posting and the one that will follow on Friday, I am going to take their word for it.  Here are today’s three “findings:” (1)  very few men over 30 actually reach out to 20 year old women; (2) online dating has made it easier for those seeking long term commitments to find each other; and (3) a person’s attractiveness had no correlation with how well the date went.  Okay, here are my very unscientific, impulsive reactions to these findings in numerical order: (1) really?; (2) really?; and (3) really?

Well, I still have a couple more findings to ponder before I post anything on Friday, so please give me a couple more days to think about this.  Maybe by then I will have developed a deeper appreciation of why “40 million Americans are looking for love on the web.”  And they all can thank Al Gore (I think?).

Ray Myers