Dating on Wheels: Shy quad looking to make a move

He may have been injured at the most fragile time in a man’s life, but the time has come to let go of his fears.

Hi Tiffiny,

Before my spinal cord injury, I was already lacking skills for making my move with women.  “Making my move” can refer to anything from building up the courage to ask a woman out to making “the move”.  I understand that I just needed to build some confidence to overcome this.  However, I got my spinal cord injury before I was ever able to fully mature and gain my confidence with women that I needed.  Now I’m 8 years post injury, and I have very little dating experience since then.  The inadequate self-confidence was only exacerbated by the spinal cord injury.  I’m a mid-level quadriplegic, so it’s hard to stay confident of myself with my more “apparent” disability and the level of assistance I need with basic things.  As the guy, I’m “supposed” to be the one to step up and make a move, but sometimes it seems so hard.

I’d be looking for any tips for making that move.  What are some good ways to deal with common challenges in dating without making the whole thing an awkward mess?

Quad Looking to Make a Move

Dear Quad Looking to Make a Move,

First, let me first start off by saying that I’ve always felt it’s absolute bullcrap re: the image men have to live up to in this world; the image of physical strength and physical dominance, and if you lack this in anyway you’re not considered a “real” man. This messes with so many disabled men’s minds and egos. It can be detrimental. Us chicks in wheelchairs have it good when it comes an image we have to “live up to.” Since women are already considered “helpless” in this messed up world, there‘s nearly no change in this area when a disability is present. It’s not fair, but it’s the truth.

You say you’re too shy to make the first move because you lack confidence, and you lack confidence because your disability happened smack-dab in the middle of maturing. I can relate. I was hurt at 14 and had zero dating experience in high school. And I know how much men fear rejection. If God forbid it occurs, it can be the nail in the coffin to ever trying again. But the thing you need to realize (and remind yourself daily) is that dating needs to be 1) light 2) fun and 3) game-like; like a neverending game of hop-scotch, a bowl of chocolate mousse, but with kissing.

If it’s one thing I learned is that if you take dating too seriously it’ll kill you. I won’t lie – you WILL get rejected more than the average guy. It’s the cold hard truth. But don’t let that scare you. Let’s say two months from now you’ve become this amazingly charming guy after reading my response (a girl can hope), who can approach nearly any woman with irresistible suaveness (I’ve known guys in wheelchairs who can do this. I have faith in you). You will find even on your sexiest days that the number of women who respond with a serious interest (especially at clubs and gross meat markets) will be less than your walking competitors. But the good news – I have a feeling it’s not as bad as you think.

Sure, you sometimes might come across as a novelty, or worse, get  called “cute,” but there are many women in this world who really don’t give a <insert expletive here> about your wheelchair. REALLY. So please, stop being paranoid about it. As long as you’re a decent guy, you treat your lady with respect, give her the attention she deserves and aren’t a complete loser (i.e. have a job), there are women out there who will totally want to be with you. But finding her is only possible as long as you keep on talking to new women whenever you can. Maybe it’ll be just a one-time conversation, or maybe it’ll turn into a Facebook friend add that turns into a date 6 months from now (love those), but the more women you approach, the better chance you’ll have.

When it comes to approaching women, it’s really not that complicated. A smile followed by a simple How are you? is all you have to do to start the process. Talk to her like you’d talk to a new friend, not a possible sex partner. Don’t try too hard. Just be chill, cool, relaxed. Jersey Shore-esque, not.

And if you’re approaching a woman you know, ask her about things in her life that you know about, things you remember. It shows you care, and oh my, that is indelibly attractive. And if you’re going to ask a woman out on a date, keep that simple too. Don’t make it a big to-do, a big build-up. Ask her out for a casual thing, that way it’s not too serious and she doesn’t have to feel like she’ll be hurting your feelings if she’s not interested after the first date. Remember: Light and fun. Think arcades, ice-cream, goofy movies. Make her smile, maker her laugh, and you’re on your way to having her heart.

And if you must, fake it till you make it, my friend. It can be scary as Hell going up to a woman you don’t know, but really….what have you got to lose? Just think about it. The worst thing that can happen is that she’ll ignore you or laugh in your face. And if that happens, no big. Protocol requires you to call her a bitch and squeal outta there like a bad ass. And you’ll look cool doing that anyways, so win-win.

I’m positive you can find the strength to shed your old scared self and start looking at talking to women as a crazy but fun adventure, not a scary chore. If you’ve survived a spinal cord injury, you can certainly perfect your pick-up skills. Good luck!


What are your preferred ways to approach the opposite sex? Ladies men do respond.

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  1. Yet another reason why I’ve loved reading your blog over the last few years. Really, great response.

  2. I’m a high functioning C7, I’ve been injured for about a year and a half now and haven’t been in a relationship some time before my injury. But I’ve noticed that girls are more curious than you think, I’ve just been approached out of the blue (chating with friends) by some attractive women at bars and well it was a little wierd because I didn’t have to even use a pick-up line haha. It is different somewhat but I’ve always been a happy going guy and always kept in shape and I continue that and it’s been working I guess. I haven’t had time for a relationship due to me attending a franchise of project walk here in Canada (too bad it’s not in my city) but still being intimate with the ladies where I’m placed 🙂

  3. sweet. go john! w00t! 🙂

  4. Hey everyone!
    I have always wanted to date someone (either a guy or a gal–I’m bisexual) who is a wheelchair… or even me being the occupational therapist. That would be an amazing dream come true. Do not judge me, it is not a fantasy of mine. It is that I would love to be there all the way to support him or her especially when they take a step or two for the FIRST time since their accident or paralysis. That would be me who will cry with joy and happiness because of the fact the paralyzed OVERCOMES the odds. I love to cook as well, so I would really love to cook for those who were robbed by life. However, your dreams were not robbed at all so continue to inspire others who are ‘disabled’ (lacking the word there) and surprise the world with your personallity and ABILITIES! WHOOHOO!! God bless you all.


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