Hey Woody!

I am disabled with a disease called fibromyalgia.  I am retired now– on disability, use crutches, and deal with some pretty wicked symptoms.

I try to meet people either face-to-face or online.  I always make it clear that I am looking for a range of connections so if they don’t feel comfortable with dating a gimp they could go for something less stressful. 

I am HIV positive as well, and communicate that in my ads.  Ironically, I once joined a group for HIV positive men and got kicked out because I talked about dealing with the physical pain I experienced from fibromyalgia.

Most of the time I stay pretty upbeat.  I make it clear I am looking for a connection and not a caretaker, but as you can imagine, my “capture rate” is pretty low.   Given what the rest of the market has to offer, my medical profile isn’t doing me any favors.

 I have a dark, ironic sense of humor and make fun of myself and my illness.   I am wondering if you have any suggestions on how to better sell myself.  Also, what do you think of NOT mentioning my crutches when I’m online until I actually meet the person? 

— Quadroped

Dear Quadroped:

First off, I’m not buying your “poor me” bulls–t.  Support groups bend over backwards for their members.  You’d have to be a real *putz* (that’s Jewish for *putz*) to be thrown out of a group that specializes in letting people b-tch and moan about pain.

You need to do a personal inventory and get an honest appraisal of this wonderful persona you think you have.  You know, the one that’s driving everybody away.  I’d start by asking the support group leader the real reason why he threw you out.

I’m not trying to be mean or anything, but…wait.  Who am I kidding?  I love to be mean!   I don’t give a s–t about your HIV or your crutches.  Rules are rules and they apply to everybody, including the likes of you.   Rule #1: You will attract the kinds of people you want if you become that which you want to attract.  Rule #2:  There is no getting around rule number one.

Something tells me you haven’t worked out the understandable anger, resentment and depression around your HIV and fibromyalgia and that it’s coming out in your interactions with people.  A little therapy might be in order.

As for not telling prospective meat about your crutches till you meet, FORGET IT.  To watch an online date walk in with crutches has to be one of the most shocking—and unfair—experiences you can foist on someone.  To put someone in that position is unethical.  To put yourself in that position is masochistic.  Everybody loses.

It may be wrong that people can’t see past your crutches but you don’t fight injustice with unfairness.  You fight it with truth, dignity and respect; especially for yourself.

I’d lay off the mainstream hook-up sites if I were you and concentrate on sites that attract men with your conditions.  Hey, you gotta go where the fish are biting and where you’re casting your bait ain’t nobody even sniffing.

The best places to meet people most likely to accept you are support groups.  Of course, you need a charm transplant first.  After you get one, call your local hospital’s patient education department and ask them for fibromyalgia support groups.  Join them too.  Also, check out people who have crutch fetishes (hey, when in Rome…). and other sites specialize in people who like a little crutch in their crotch.