Boys in Chairs: I know you’re scared/even though you say you’re not


Imagine just for a minute, if the guy you were about to hook up with had three penises or three arms. How would you react to this possibility? He may have told you before logging off the hook up site and heading out to you, or he may have chosen to surprise you with this information upon his arrival. Let’s review these two scenarios:

  1. He tells you prior to hooking up

    You’re online, doing what we all do: in search of nothing, everything and anything in between. All of a sudden, you get a message from this guy; he’s cute and fits the bill of what you are looking for (insert personal sexual requirements here) at that particular moment. So, you start talking. Somewhere between what he wants to do, and what you want him to do, he says: “So, is my having three penises a problem?” (Now, if you read “three penises”, and pictured a Colby Keller-esque character at your door waving his hot appendages about, and have started salivating, I can give you a minute….) In that moment, their extra appendage doesn’t seem at all problematic…. But that could easily be the result of your excitement about getting some… who knows? You guys arrange for him to be over in 20 minutes. You log off.

    As you are getting ready (shaving all appropriate areas, making that mix CD filled with such gems as “Pony” and Usher) to host this hook up partner, your brain flip flops between the hot scenario that has in it all the archetypal homo-normative tropes, and what it might in fact be in reality… the dude has three dicks or three arms! “What if only one works? How can I do this? I’m not sure I can??” are all questions that go through your head. You almost bail. You keep telling yourself that you are “fine”… how could YOU be scared? Does being scared make you a prick?

    Finally… that knock on the door… he walks in and you see either a giant bulge (which would be amazing either way, right???) or that extra arm flailing about. The whole thing is too much for you to handle… so you either a) power through, trying to convince yourself that you’re not scared at all or b) tell the guy you are sorry, and jet out of there breathing a sigh of relief…

  2. He chooses not to Disclose his Difference beforehand…

    Repeat all the above prepping, etc., and then you open the door to discover this detail not disclosed to you at all. You probably freak out a bit, and maybe say something like (at this point, Andrew is reviewing his hookup handbook to find responses that were used in real life): “Whoa man. I’m not into that.” OR your distant relative calls right then and needs to be rushed to emergency OR (my all time favourite) you somehow disappear from the elevator we’re both in heading up to my place…

I use the above two scenarios to illustrate what it must be like for many of my partners who, until be enveloped by my awesomeness, have never been with a ‘boy in a chair’. I imagine upon hearing I am one, either of the two scenarios occurs for them. I would like to be one of the first to tell you, that’s okay. It’s alright that my disability is daunting and scary to you – I am okay with that.

I think so often when we talk about disability and sexuality (myself included), we demonize the individual who says or does the wrong thing, and make them out to simply be an ignorant arse. That’s the easiest answer because it places the blame squarely back on the offender. What we need to be doing is accepting that fear, and talking about it. The hookup culture is based on the principle that we fuck first, talk later. If I walked in (okay, if I walked in anywhere, there better be a miracle happening = bad crip joke) and was greeted by the three-armed man, I would be somewhat apprehensive too. Moreover, there are social stigmas and fears that become all too available to us when we are naked and vulnerable: “Will I hurt him? Can he do this? Can I/should I? If I sleep with him, will this mean I have to take care of him?” These are very real questions that can manifest themselves often in extremely insensitive ways… That said, they tell you a whole lot about where we have yet to go in these discussions. Those need to be addressed, accepted and understood.

We also need to consider that the cool, calm and cocky cripple has a role to play in this as well (I speak specifically to this b/c I have done it). It serves no purpose to harbour resentments or anger in these moments despite our urges to the contrary (again, I have totally been that diva who went all, “Oh no he DIDN’T”). Rather, in those moments we need to remember that we are not the only ones coming into this with “stuff”. We would be wise in those moments to remember this, while simultaneously showing our partners that our differences inform our desirability.

To all my would be lovers who really, really like me, but have all these swirling misconceptions and very valid fears, I offer a suggestion: Feel the fear and do me anyway. Feel the fear and tell me. I won’t bite… hard!

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