But the clumsiness and awkwardness that I've often laughed about with those who love me haven't been quite as funny in my love life. What my parents saw as cute and my pals saw as quirky, the attractive single guy that I was chatting up saw as strange, unnecessary baggage that he didn't have the time or inclination to deal with. Walking across the room to introduce myself to the hottie at the bar would go much better if I didn't have to clutch the banister like a lifeline down three small steps to get there. Putting my best foot forward is more difficult when even my best foot doesn't function as it should, and my other one drags behind. First Date Conversation Topics
A few years ago I ran into Eric, an undisputed heartthrob in my hometown. I managed to string a few sentences together that were coherent and vaguely comical. After he had told me how nice it was to see me and gave me the warm smile that he was known for, I walked away—so pleased with the encounter, I felt like I was floating. Then my giddy nervousness caused my muscles to tense. My feet got tangled, and I hit the ground hard. The floating sensation fled, along with my pleasant daydreams of a possible date. The scar on the left side of my chin stuck around, however; the cut required 25 stitches.
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As much as I want a partner who is both understanding and patient, I'm still not sure when to tell him about what to expect. I don't think there's an exact science to telling your date about your handicaps—physical or otherwise. For me, the topic usually comes up in its own time, typically after I ask for help down from a curb. Hand on his shoulder, I confess to cerebral palsy and make a cheesy joke. If he laughs, there's potential for a second date; it's part disability, part litmus test. Man Test: 3 Things To Look For