NEW Column: Dating, Defying and Daring …to Live a Life of your Dreams

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Illustration of girl in wheelchair on phone

Dating, Defying and Daring …to Live a Life of your Dreams

Gina has been sharing her Online Dating Journal via PUSHLiving’s Series “Profiles in Online Dating: Woman with Disabilities Share Their Road Back to Love, Lust and Empowerment.” She is now providing her thoughts and advice in her new column “Dating, Defying and Daring…to Live a Life of your Dreams”.

I understand why it might be weird getting dating advice from a single divorcee, but I think it makes perfect sense. I have made mistakes and embarrassed myself so that you don’t have to. Okay, let’s get real: if you are like me, you’ll probably still make mistakes and embarrass yourself. I say I have foot-in-mouth disease—there’s no cure, but I’m trying to manage it.

Last night, I was talking with my friend Carol. She’s one of those girls that we all like to hate: tall, statuesque, athletic build, long hair… But, you can’t hate her. And men, well… men definitely do not hate her. Anyway, we often share our dating experiences or have a good laugh reading what creepers write to us. Okay, she normally has the creepers, but occasionally I get messages on Facebook or Instagram.

Our conversation last night inspired my first topic about dating: don’t be a creeper. She had a guy message her repeatedly on Instagram after she lied and said she had a man. He said, “Post a pic of you and your man.” Now seriously, do you think you have a chance by writing something crazy like that? Then he wrote, “Well..?” a few times, followed by another direct message.

“My first topic about dating: don’t be a creeper.”

“My first topic about dating: don’t be a creeper.”

We have a long way to go if you’re thinking, “Well, what’s so bad about that?” Nobody wants someone who comes across as desperate. I’m about to give you the secret to my success… rejection. Everyone, especially men, need a little rejection. Don’t be too available, the thrill is in the chase. We all want what we can’t have. Now, does that mean being completely unavailable? No, it’s about finding a healthy balance, and that’s the hard part.

I have a few personal rules that I try and stick to avoid being too available. They’re regarding texts because that’s my main form of communication. Firstly, if I am the last to text, I don’t text them again until they text me. Trust me, if they’re into you, they’ll text. Second, I don’t send multiple texts all at once or super-long texts. It comes across as a little desperate and crazy when you look down to see “8 Messages” all from the same guy or a mini novel. Third, don’t always text back immediately. It just comes across like you have nothing better to do. Fourth, reread your texts. Autocorrect is a frickin’ ninja. And not just autocorrect. If your grammar is crap, fix it. Stupidity isn’t sexy.

 If you are the last to text, don’t text again until they text you back.


If you are the last to text, don’t text again until they text you back.

You may think I’m crazy suggesting you reject someone, but trust me it works. I get messages from men, weeks later, asking why I wasn’t into them or that they want to get together again. That just means I was on their mind. I’m generally surprised by these texts because I didn’t think I gave off the vibe that I didn’t like them. However, I’ve learned by reading back over my texts that I’m a little too unavailable sometimes. That’s where I fail, but I kind of do it on purpose. I’m not looking for serious, so I’m nonchalant about texting and calling. What I forget is that these men interpret that as me being disinterested.

That leads me to my next tip: look back over your messages. A lot of people don’t evaluate where they went wrong. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked back over messages and thought, “Oh my gosh, I’m a jerk.” At other times, I think, “No wonder he stopped messaging, I hardly wrote him back.”

I’m not every man’s cup of tea. I’m an outspoken, assertive, opinionated woman. I have my sweet side, but I expect respect. Everyone should be respected. I give respect, so why should I not get it? Getting back to not being someone’s cup of tea, it’s rarely about the chair. We all have preferences, that’s just part of dating. It’s all about perspective. I don’t understand those people who tell me they’re afraid of rejection. You can only win in the dating game. The person who rejects you wasn’t in your life in the first place, so you aren’t losing anything, plus they must suck anyway. However, you have the potential of adding someone special to your life and, if nothing else, you might gain a friend. In the end, you can only gain a new relationship. See..? It’s all about perspective.

“You can’t win if you don’t play.” What’s holding you back? In a world filled with so many different minds, doesn’t it seem impractical to think there isn’t anyone out there for you?” Image by Neil Kremer for PhotoAbility.net

“You can’t win if you don’t play.” What’s holding you back? In a world filled with so many different minds, doesn’t it seem impractical to think there isn’t anyone out there for you?” Image by Neil Kremer for PhotoAbility.net

Like the lottery in Arizona says, “You can’t win if you don’t play.” What’s holding you back? I’m surprised at the people who assume dating is going to go a certain way for them, yet they have never really dated. In a world filled with so many different minds, doesn’t it seem impractical to think there isn’t anyone out there for you? This leads me to my next point, don’t settle.

We’ve all done it. Settling, that is. We’ve dated those people who you know aren’t on your level, but if you’re doing it consistently, it may be time to look in the mirror. I can tell you now, if you aren’t confident in yourself, you’re going to fail in the dating game. Like I’ve said in previous articles, you’ve got to love yourself or you’ll never find real love. Insecurities are unattractive. You may say, “I’m not that confident.”  Well, fake it until you make it. Just do what I do—put on some gangster rap and think about why you’re so awesome. Okay, I may not think about why I’m so awesome, but I definitely put on some gangster rap.

Don’t forget, everyone has insecurities, and that includes the person you’re going on a date with. I’ve got a pretty big ego, but I have my days when I wear all black. I’ve got insecurities just like you, but I don’t let them hold me back. In fact, I’ll often joke about them to break the ice. It just shows that I’m self-aware. But don’t forget to joke about why you’re so Awesom-O 3000 (there’s my Southpark reference for the day).

Really though, do whatever builds your confidence. That includes looking good. Don’t go on a date looking like a hot mess. I tell people my vanity is what has kept me as healthy as I am. I care about how I look, and you should too. If you show up looking like a hot mess, I’m going to judge you. That might be harsh but if a guy shows up looking like crap, that just means he doesn’t care what I think and isn’t going to put in any effort. Everyone is on their best behavior during first impressions, so what’s it going to be like later? It’s either that or it makes it seem like you don’t care about yourself, and to me that just means it’s a matter of time before you turn into a full blown cling-on.

"Everyone has insecurities, but don’t forget to joke about why you’re so Awesom-O 3000"

“Everyone has insecurities, but don’t forget to joke about why you’re so Awesom-O 3000”

That leads me to my side topic, and this one is for people with disabilities. I know… I’m going to “piss” off a lot of you, but come on! Don’t discuss the details of your disability on the first date. Unless someone has a fetish for that kind of thing, nobody wants to know how you pee! At least, not on the first few dates. Let them see you as a person first, rather than focusing on your bodily functions.



 

GinaReddressselfieMy name is Gina, I’m 29, and I live in Arizona. I’m goofy, love to laugh, assertive, powerful, loyal, driven (but I drive my own car), and an eternal optimist. I enjoy the finer things in life as much as I enjoy the simple things. I’m passionate about food, and I love cooking. I have two dogs (Fred and Molly) and two cats (Cricket and Almond) who I spoil. I’ve worked very hard to get where I am, pursuing education and graduating from law school in order to achieve success.

I have my own home on just under three acres with an orchard of approximately 100 fruit trees and small gardens. I would ultimately like to turn it into a chef’s urban farm, where local chefs can put in orders for produce to be grown for them, then after the orders are picked up we offer first come, first served on whatever is in season and available.

When I was 18 years old, I had a diving accident that resulted in a SCI at the fifth cervical vertebrae, which is shortened to C 5/6 because I have function at the sixth cervical level. So what does that mean in laymen’s terms? I don’t have the use of fine motor skills in my hands, but I have the use of wrist movement (which is called tenodesis). My triceps are paralyzed, but I have the use of my biceps, and I’m paralyzed from the breast line down.

Despite my achievements and hobbies, that’s not what defines me to the general public. Often, people see me as the “girl in the wheelchair,” and not the “woman” who happens to use a wheelchair. That being said, my wheelchair and my Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) have made a huge impact on just who that “woman” is. I’ve been humbled, and forced to reflect on who I am, which has led to continuous efforts in self-improvement.

Gina Schuh, Editor, Law and Advocacy

Gina, a C-5/6 quadriplegic, describes herself as a “politically incorrect foodie who is an equal opportunity offender.” Beyond that, Gina is a law school graduate who grew up on a farm in California. Gina’s true passion is food, and you’ll often find her posting food pictures on her Instagram under Culinary.Quad . Raised by a strong mother who had an insatiable appetite for any educational psychology materials, Gina swears she was raised by an unlicensed psychologist which led to her being so introspective. After people observed her success in dating, they asked for tips, which eventually led to her regular contribution here at Push Living on issues of dating, disability parking, and medical supply reimbursement, leading to the role of Editor of Law and Advocacy.

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