Cleansed, Crisp and Crippled: The Challenges of Staying Dapperly Delicious While Disabled
Picture this: You're lying next to this dude whom you have gone on three awesome dates with. You met him at a bar, went out for a few coffee dates, and now it is the "third date." He comes to your place and brings an assortment of high-class food, which you know under normal circumstances you would never eat, let alone be able to afford. You awkwardly talk about the usual nonsensical things one does when they nervously "wanna bone," but don't know how to initiate: weather, TV, pop culture icons, etc., and then, quicker than you realize, the sex is occurring. He pulls you toward him and all you can smell is a sweet, masculine, pungent mixture of cologne, body wash, and him. It is altogether intoxicating.
Naturally, things progress as they do, and just as he is about to get to your "promise land" (you call it that because it is without a doubt an amazing specimen indeed), and you are whispering dirty, sexy commands in his ear begging him to continue "southbound on the guy-way" (ooh, I like that one!), he stops and looks up at you with a befuddled look. In this moment, you are thinking one of two things, "Ooooh, he likes what he sees down there!" or "Great! Now is the moment where he realizes I have a disability?!" But no, something much worse escapes his lips.
He looks at you and says: "I can't continue. You have an odor down there." In this moment, you are truly horrified at what he is telling you. Everything sexually appealing about this long-awaited rendezvous evaporates in mid air. You realize that he thinks you are dirty (unfortunately, not in the Christina Aguilera-smash-hit kind of way), and there is olfactory evidence to prove this fact. You are lying in your bed in the "dead turtle position", trying desperately to pinch yourself and wake up. This can't possibly be happening, right? Needless to say, you don't see him again after that. You do, however, spend a good chunk of time worrying that you are unclean and unwanted.
Let me break it down for you -- when you have a disability requiring sexy wheels, two truths become apparent: 1. When you sit in a 300-lbs chair all day you are bound to sweat in all the little crevices that would normally be aired out by ambulation (I assume. Having never walked, I do not have proof of this). 2. Cleaning yourself can be difficult due to the fact you rely on someone else to do the majority of your personal care routine (Sidebar: it is altogether angering that these persons do not, in any way, resemble Mark Wahlberg (Beiber has nothing on Marky Mark) or Hugh Jackman).
So, you're thinking, "Great, just have your Personal Care worker come in and shower you. No big deal." The trouble with this is that in many of these attendant programs, everything is booked and nighttime showers are often not allowed due to less staffing. In real terms, this means you get one shower a day. Also, this isn't one of those showers where you can luxuriate and sing off-key Britney Spears in private, or have a moment with yourself and an unsuspecting shower nozzle.
On the contrary, this is an efficient, quick spray more akin to a prison shower (unfortunately without Christopher Meloni from Oz). Moreover, it can be super awkward asking someone to "scrub them again" as they are singing Christian hymns to you (actually happened!). So, you direct them as best you can, and blindly trust that all will be spic-and-span in that area... until that awkward moment when you aren't.
Real Talk: One of the reasons why I have never engaged in any backdoor deliciousness on my end, is for the very real reason that I cannot ask my caregivers to douche me out, and the whole idea of asking a lover to give me a wipe before going in, makes me cringe because I worry they'll simply assume that I am dirty due to my disability and think: "He can't do it himself, so of course he isn't clean."
The fear of being seen as dirty by a sexual partner lingers in the back of my mind every time I am with someone, because I know that, even though I can tell someone how to clean me and what to do, the end result is out of my control. You are constantly worried and wondering if they cleaned your "Creamy Crippled Center," and this can make you doubt your overall deliciousness. You worry that every time anyone comes near your dangly bits or any intimate part of you, that the most offensive odor will stop them in their tracks.
Cleanliness is next to crippledness for me, in every way. Knowing that I am clean makes me feel that much closer to a 'normal' person. I may not be able to run into my lover's arms, but damn it, I will smell amaze balls! When that is called into question in anyway, I am forced to reconcile with the fact that I can't clean myself because I am disabled, and those feelings are very real and very deep. In those moments, I question all the things: my manhood, my desirability, how my life might be different if I could clean myself (true fact: I imagine sexy men banging down my door, wearing nothing except towels and wielding scrub brushes).
There is an upside to this cleaning quandary for the crème de la crip though, and it is this: Next time your lover worries about a possible whiff from the nether regions, invite them to your bathroom and give them a reason to do more than just "scrub them again."
Thanks for reading. Please check out the work I do as a Disability Awareness Consultant, and find out how I can make disability accessible to you at: www.andrewmorrisongurza.com